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Adulting Transition

3 Tips to Help You Plan for Home Ownership in College

May 26, 2021

Many younger Americans say they are in no rush to become homeowners, and instead want to focus on enjoying life experiences. However, on the flip side, there is also a growing percentage of younger adults working towards homeownership before 35. In fact, many of them are planning to buy their first home while they’re still in college. If you’re thinking of homeownership, you will need to be careful to avoid making common money mistakes in college. Planning ahead gives you ample time to prepare – if you know where to start.

Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Early Homeownership 

College graduates spend three to six months after graduation job hunting. They are also very occupied with setting up their lives, either renting an apartment or focusing on paying off student loan debt. Adding a monthly mortgage to that list can be tough, and should only be undertaken with proper planning. Renting after college also comes with less financial commitment, which can be a good thing. If you haven’t decided where to live or your career path, it may be difficult to stick to a long-term decision like buying a home.

There are also great perks to getting on the property ladder instead of renting. Depending on the location you choose, a mortgage can sometimes be cheaper than renting. If you’re in a good credit position after college and have little debt, it increases your chances of getting a mortgage in the long run. Lastly, if you purchase a home while you’re in college, you could be better off financially by saving on dorm costs. Renting out your home can be a stable income stream. Consider all of these pros and cons before making your decision to become a homeowner.

Narrow Down The Location Early

The earlier you know where you want to own a home, the better prepared you can be to do so. If you choose to, you can buy a home close to your college and skip the boarding costs on campus. Alternatively, you could rent it out to fellow students to help with paying your mortgage. Another reason to choose your location early is that it helps you track home prices and how much you need to save before applying for a mortgage.

Work On Reducing Your Debt 

Many young people are delaying homeownership because of student loans. In a survey by Clever, half of undergraduate students said they would have to put off buying a home to repay their student loans. Around 43 percent of Americans who attended college have some sort of student loan debt to their names, along with credit card or personal loan debts outstanding. When it comes to credit cards and students, starting earlier is always better. 

To make money, consider getting a part-time job while you’re in college, or launching a side business. There are many earning opportunities for college students, including tutoring or on-campus jobs. Also, learn to stick to a budget. If you are not familiar with budgeting and money management, a great place to start is inquiring if your college offers personal finance classes.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why buying a house in college makes sense. Equally, there are many reasons against it. While real estate can be a great investment in the long term, it’s not universally applicable. The area you choose, your personal finance habits, and the additional expenses that come with homeownership should factor into your decisions. For some, it may be a great dream. For others, it may be too much too soon.

Adulting Student Life

How to Prioritize (Not) Paying Off Your Student Loans During the Moratorium

May 24, 2021

Student loans have been in the news recently as there has been buzz surrounding some sort of government relief soon. If you are a borrower looking for relief, you may be wondering what your best move is regarding repayment. How you act now could help you gear your finances up for any upcoming legislation on the matter.

What you are about to read will seem counterproductive – but stick with it till the end.

Hold Off On Repayment Until the Moratorium Expires

It may seem crazy not to take advantage of our current relief period to pay down some of those federal loans, but, instead, consider taking what money you would be paying, interest included, and putting it into a separate savings account.

This interest-free period means that the total amount you have to pay back won’t increase in the interim. By putting the money you would typically use for loans aside, you can create a pool of funds that will amount to a significant sum whenever the moratorium is allowed to expire.

The Political Future of Student Loans is Uncertain

President Biden has stated that he is open to $10,000 of blanket student loan forgiveness, eliminating some of the economic strain for many borrowers. However, there is reason to believe that the relief will be much broader.

The last major stimulus bill extended the moratorium until March 2022 and made any future loan relief tax-exempt. Though we are not quite sure what will happen, there is strong evidence that lawmakers are gearing up for some type of comprehensive action regarding student loans. We also know that student loan relief has some bipartisan support, though disagreements exist.

The Scenario You Want to Avoid:

Let’s say you owe $15,000, and pre-COVID, you were paying $300 a month, including interest. You decided to make monthly payments throughout the pandemic even though the interest was frozen and payments were paused.

Now we’re over a year into the pandemic, and the moratorium on student loan repayment is extended until at least March 2022. Let’s imagine that the progressive wing of the democratic party can convince Joe Biden to raise the initial offer of $10,000 to $25,000 of loan forgiveness.

You’ve essentially wasted all the money you’ve been paying back throughout the moratorium because your loans were forgiven.

If you had put that money aside, you’d have a significant amount of cash.

What If Nothing Gets Forgiven?

If there is no action taken to combat the student loan crisis, then we can assume payments, as usual, will resume in March 2022. If you had been saving your monthly payment amount, then in February of 2022, you can make a large lump sum payment that puts you back on track as if nothing happened.

Why Not Paying Right Now Makes Sense

Because we know something will likely happen regarding the student debt crisis, and because we don’t know exactly what that something will be, the best course of action is to save that money you would normally use for repayment.

You either have some (or all) of your loans forgiven and have a large sum of money available, or you resume payments like nothing ever happened. By not paying during the moratorium, it’s a win. However, by paying, there is a chance you’ll lose.

BIO: Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for the Law Offices of David Offen, who is a successful bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia.

Adulting Other

Easy Ways to Start Investing

May 14, 2021

As a college student, you have some unique challenges. There’s a lot on your plate between attending classes and homework, but also studying and balancing a social life, too. You should also devote time to your own wellness.

In this post though, we are not talking about physical or social wellness. Instead let’s focus on a more neglected wellness aspect – financial wellness.

Here are five easy ways to achieve that glow in your investments while being sensitive to a college student’s lifestyle.

Open an Interest Generating Savings Account or CD

Got some cash? Here are two easy, super safe ways to earn some interest:

  • High yield savings account from a bank that pays you a variable interest rate.
  • CD (certificate of deposit) guarantees you an interest rate if you leave your money in for a certain amount of time.

Both offer some return for your money, so they do count as investments. Be prepared to let this money sit in these accounts for a while. After a few years, you will start to see some real return, more than you would see if you let it sit in a standard bank. Work for your money, then let your money work for you!

Modern Brokerage Account

Back in the day, brokerage firms were stodgy and cumbersome to deal with. You had to physically call a broker or use a desktop computer. Not to mention the fees that came along with it.

That’s changed. The internet is not just for cat websites or eating challenges. In today’s investment landscape, there’s a plethora of free online brokers with slick interfaces that work on phones, tablets, or desktops.

Names like Robin Hood, Webull, or M1 Finance come to mind. These apps have truly introduced a large group of “retail” investors to the markets.

Index Funds

Now armed with a modern broker app, you can start diving into the more “traditional” investments like stocks and funds – the kind of stuff you hear about on CNBC (but never paid attentioned to).

For a busy student, simple is best. And the simplest is to buy an index fund, a fund that holds ALL the stocks in a given market. This is less volatile since you are well diversified and exposed to many stocks. Over the long term, America’s stock market only goes up.

Basically, if you are not interested in individual stocks or sectors of the market, just investing in the whole market is the way to go. It’s generally a safer way to get your start in investing. But again, this won’t make you a lot of money quickly, unlike how you may be able to make a quicker profit through riskier, more volatile trades.

Retirement Account

“Retirement accounts” once made my eyes roll. I know the last thing on your mind is 40 years from now.

But hear me out. Basically, IRA’s and Roth IRA’s are just accounts or vehicles that your investments live in. You contribute to these accounts, then decide what funds or stocks to buy from there.

With a Roth, you contribute money you’ve already paid taxes on, and when you withdraw, it’s tax free! With an IRA, you contribute pre-tax dollars, then pay taxes on it when you withdraw.

For a busy college student, there are two things to set up. First is an automatic monthly or quarterly withdrawal from your checking or savings into one of these. Second is to reinvest dividends from that fund back into the fund. Something to look forward to in the future is to look for employers who match employee 401K contributions. That’s something you’ll definitely want to take advantage of — it’s basically free money.

That way, time and compound interest helps grow your account, hassle-free. Even contributions of a couple hundred dollars a month, over 30 years, end up massive!

In Closing

When I started “adulting,” my knowledge of financial products was minimal. I freely admit I did not know the difference between a checking and savings account, much less investing.

Now with modern apps, investing is easier and more accessible. Get started with a few of the top tips above!

Adulting Student Life

Creative Ways to Map Out Financial Goals as a Student

May 7, 2021
Hand holding up money

As a student, you probably have plenty of financial goals in mind for your future. Having goals is a good thing, and it can keep you on the right responsible track to saving money and having enough to cover your expenses.

But, if your goals feel more like dreams or you haven’t thoroughly thought them out, you could have a harder time achieving them. 

Thankfully,  with a little creativity, you can map out your money goals and take charge of your finances from a young age.

With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of creative ways to map out those goals and how you can use them on your financial journey.

Have Fun With Budgeting

You might think of the word “budget” and groan. But, budgeting doesn’t have to be a tedious or boring practice. That’s especially true when you break down your budget into different categories to achieve your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals.

You can separate your budget into these different areas by putting a bit away into each of them. Visualize it as having three jars set out on your counter. How much of your budget do you want to use right now? What about in a year or so? What about in 20 years? As a student, it can be hard to think about your life after retirement, but imagine how much you could have saved up if you do think about it now.

Some other examples of long-term financial goals include:

  • Paying off debt
  • Saving for a car
  • Striving for homeownership
  • Paying for college

Those goals might sound closer to home for a student. So, as tempting as it might be to use all your budget in the here and now, think about your future and all you can do with what you save. If you’re having trouble figuring out just how much you should be putting away, don’t be afraid to try a budget calculator. You’ll be able to play around with numbers to determine what will work for you.

Try Mind Mapping

If you’ve never heard of mind mapping, it focuses on having a central goal, then using different “branches” toward achieving it.

Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be.

When you have a main goal, you can add “branches” to your map in different directions. Each branch will be another tactic you can use toward achieving that goal. For example, if your goal is to save up enough money for a car, one area of your map might include things like working extra jobs, selling some of your unwanted items, or taking on “gig work.” Another section might include giving up things like going out to eat or entertainment until you have enough.

Mind mapping is even easier when you use software to build your map. Visualization is important when it comes to achieving your goals. It gives you something concrete to look at and focus on while you put in the work.

It’s never too early and you’re never too young to create financial goals for yourself. Doing so now can set you up for a much more comfortable future. Keep these creative ideas in mind as you start to work through those goals as effectively as possible.

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Adulting Career

The Best Options for You After High School

April 27, 2021

When graduating high school, many people assume that the next obvious step is going to college; however, this is not the only option available to graduating seniors. There is an endless number of positive experiences and opportunities at your fingertips. Whether you want to explore, venture out into the professional world or learn more about yourself, there are boundless choices and paths in front of you. As you think about your next steps, here are a few of the best options for you to consider.

A Gap Year

If you want to take time to reflect, grow and learn, gap years can be a great option. Gap years have gained popularity in recent years due to the invaluable and incomparable lessons and opportunities for reflection that are difficult to replicate. You have the wondrous experience of venturing out into a new community and visiting new places within the structure and format of the gap year experience. You can learn from others their reasons on why take a gap year, so don’t be afraid to ask around to help you decide if a gap year is the best next step for you.

Volunteer

If you find yourself wanting to do something positive and productive with your time after graduating high school, volunteering can be a marvelous move. Keep in mind that volunteering won’t pay the bills; however, it can be a formative and impactful experience. Not only will you inevitably learn about the community that you are supporting, but you likely will learn a lot about yourself and benefit greatly through the process.

Professional Ventures

For those who want to test the waters of the professional world, don’t be afraid to start working following high school and delay further schooling for the time being. Whether you need to pay bills and as a necessity or you are looking to explore the startup world, there are plenty of reasons and opportunities to start work right away. Professional experience can also be a great way to set you up for success in college and leave you more prepared than you would have otherwise been.

Road Trips

Another quintessential high school graduate experience is a road trip. If you have never had a chance to truly explore the country, consider packing up your car and a few friends and taking a long road trip. Whether you schedule this before college or your gap year, this can be an exhilarating way to experience the world. Regardless of the length of your trip, don’t be afraid to take an adventure once you graduate high school.

College or University

You can always take a traditional path after high school and go to college. This is not just a chance to venture out from home. Whether you choose community college or a four-year college or university, the reality is that college can be challenging, and you need to be prepared and know what to expect. Whatever you choose, you should make sure that you select the option that best suits your needs, goals and next steps.

As you reach this pivotal point in life, don’t be afraid to take a detour or alter your path to find the best fit for your next chapter. Once you graduate high school, you have the world at your feet.

Adulting Student Life

Tips to Save Time in College

April 20, 2021

Going to college is all about learning new things and expanding our horizons toward new opportunities. Many college students falter in the early semesters because they don’t have a plan of action to help them transition from a child’s world to a grown-up world. You can waste a lot of time in college if you don’t approach it with the right frame of mind. And wasting time in college generally equals wasting money.

Learn How to Send Email

One of the most grown-up things you can learn in college is how to send an email. You may have gotten through high school sending emoji-filled texts, but that’s not going to fly when you get into your 20s. If you’re interested in getting internships or applying for work-study programs, you need to be able to craft an email that makes you sound intelligent. In other words, check your spelling, watch your format and use capital letters found in standard English. Take a tip from a successfully written sales email and learn how to stick to the point and send emails at a time when they’re likely to be noticed, i.e., not at 2 AM. If you are sending emails in the late night hours, Gmail and other email platforms typically have a feature to schedule them for later.

Keep Up With Paperwork

Another big time-waster is hunting for lost paperwork. Create a clearly labeled filing system to keep track of your most important papers. This can include course syllabi, university programs you’re interested in, car maintenance and health care records and membership cards. Papers that get lost most often are the ones that you don’t need all the time. It costs you time to have to hunt through piles of paperwork, and it will sometimes cost you money to replace what you’ve lost. The sooner you get organized, the quicker you can find what you need and move on to another activity. 

Create a Routine

Every semester in college will probably look different from the one before it. The college years are a great time to learn about flexibility. However, within each semester, it’s important to create a routine, even if it changes every couple of months. Add your classes to a calendar and then start looking for chunks of time to mark off for studying and whatever else you need to do such as working or exercising. If you don’t have it written into your calendar, you are more likely to view it as free time. Too much free time can lead to too little study time. Poor grades might mean you have to retake a class. In other words, by wasting time, you’ve wasted money. To make sure that doesn’t happen, check out Truliant’s College Savings Calculator that is specific to helping college students save money.

Get Help

If you’re struggling with a particular class or concept in college, don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out on your own. By the time you understand, it may be too late to save your grade. It’s far better to seek help early either with a private tutor or through your university. If it’s early in the term or semester, you can probably drop the class without penalty or losing money, to take it at a later time or another class altogether. Many campuses offer writing centers or low-cost math and science tutors. Don’t be shy or too prideful to ask for help! Use what’s available to give yourself an advantage before you have to play catch-up.

There is much to learn when you go to college. There is plenty of content knowledge you will need for your post-graduation job, but there are also basic time-management skills that will be invaluable to know for your future. 

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Adulting Career Student Life

3 Ways to Balance Work and Study

April 6, 2021

You’ve probably always had a certain subject that fascinated you. In your free time, you may find yourself reading about new innovations and insights in the field. You constantly have ideas on the topic that start with, “It would be so cool if they…” 

Sound familiar?

The only downside is that your field of interest has zero to do with your current job. 

It may be a great time to take the leap, study your chosen subject, and get a degree or certification that would allow you to channel that passion into a career that inspires you every day.

Studying and working simultaneously can be a daunting endeavor. But it can be done! Some sacrifices and strict budgeting will be required, but only for a finite period of time. 

Here are three tips for how to make the most of your schedule when balancing work and study:

Maximize your available “ear time.”

There are more times during the day than you realize when your hands may be busy doing something, but your ears are available to study. This is why it’s a great idea to get assigned reading in an audio version if available. 

Record all of your lectures and corresponding notes that you take yourself. You can even create “audio flashcards.” Record a question or definition and leave a few beats of silence for you to drill your responses as you listen.These recordings can be used when you’re driving, working out, cleaning, cooking, getting ready, waiting in line, etc. 

Also, be sure to take advantage of the time immediately before bed. Our brains retain information that we consume right before bed the most clearly into the next day. Wake up and refresh the information as you get ready, and you will have successfully “locked it in.” 

Another great idea is to use repetition immediately after hearing a lecture. Take several minutes to go over the notes you just took and “teach” them to yourself out loud as if you were the professor. This will solidify connections between ideas and make them far easier to remember in the long run. 

All of this will help the information you’re learning to become information that you know. Which means you won’t have to desperately cram before a test. Instead, you’ll be refreshing thought connections that have already been solidified with personalized associations.

Break apart your workload into bite-sized pieces.

A great method for managing your study load is to chop up your reading and studying into smaller goals for each study session available over a given period of time.

For example, you’ve been given a 50-page reading assignment due in five days. First, determine the available time you have outside of work and family obligations. If you have four hours over the course of five days, you can estimate your target per-hour page rate. For that particular week, it is 12 and a half pages an hour. And, depending on how long your time blocks are, you will divide your page goal accordingly. So if you have 15 minutes while you’re waiting for something to cook, try to read about three pages.

Breaking up your reading and studying into smaller, more manageable chunks will help you avoid the stress of trying to find huge blocks of time to complete larger assignments. And preplanning the proportions helps alleviate the constant, “I have so much to do!” feeling. You can relax a little, knowing that as long as you successfully accomplish each predetermined portion in the schedule you created with your free time, you will reach your target goal for the overall assignment. 

Take advantage of vacation days.

This tip is likely not a crowd favorite. When taking on the added workload of balancing a job and study, sacrifice will be needed on some level. The things you should not sacrifice entirely are as follows: sleep, exercise, meals, hygiene, your job, and at least some quality time with family and friends. 

But the things that you will need to be willing to sacrifice are watching TV, viewing social media, partying, and sadly, vacations. You will still be utilizing your vacation days but as brief rest days and pre-test or presentation prep days. 

When you get your syllabus, mark out when events like this are happening and put in your request to use a vacation day for the day before well in advance. This will allow you a dedicated chuck of time to refresh everything you’ve learned and finalize any preparations you may need.

A major benefit to this: it will decrease your anxiety leading into a test or presentation day. Increased anxiety will only undermine your performance, so take that vacation day to prep and gather focus.

Throughout your time as a working student, have your “why” handy. Write a mission statement for yourself beforehand and read it whenever you feel a bit like tearing your hair out. Writing down your “why” will also help you understand where this motivation to study and shift gears is emanating. If at first, your “why” is only “to make more money,” you may want to do more research into careers that can make you more money but also genuinely interest you. 

When you read your “why,” you want it to touch something deeply motivating and energizing within you. Once you have that, it can act as a pair of jumper cables when you feel depleted and fuel you as you master the balance between work and study.

BIO: Kristie Santana is a life coach based in New York City. She is the founder of the National Coach Academy and co-founder of Life Coach Path. Her mission is to help prepare aspiring coaches for a thriving career doing the work they love.

Adulting Student Life Transition

6 Common Money Mistakes New College Grads Make

March 25, 2021

College graduation is a time of celebration for students and a jumping-off point for the next chapter of life. It’s a time to make important decisions, whether you’re continuing your education with a higher degree, starting your career, or taking a moment to regroup.

But it’s not the time for making poor financial choices. Here are a few common money mistakes recent grads make and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking retirement is too far off to start saving

Retirement may be years away, but it’s better to start saving for retirement as early as possible. The earlier you start saving, the more time your investments have to grow. As you add money to your retirement fund, interest also starts to accrue. Over time, you start earning interest on the interest you’ve earned. This is called compound interest, and it’s a powerful savings tool. The earlier you start saving and earning compound interest, the better.

2. Missing student loan payments

Right after graduation is the time to focus on your financial future, which includes keeping up with student loan payments. This will help ensure you continue to build a positive credit history and possibly improve your credit score. A positive payment history and healthy credit score could open up more money-saving financial opportunities down the road, such as lower interest rates on an auto or home loan.

3. Overspending that new paycheck

If you have a new job in your chosen career field, you could be making more money than ever. But before you go spending your paycheck on the luxury items you’ve always wanted, consider the impact these purchases will have on your budget.

Necessary expenses — like rent, utilities, and groceries — should come first. Less obvious but important expenses like building an emergency fund or having enough for auto insurance coverage should also be considered before splurging on “wants” versus “needs.”

4. Banking where your parents do

The bank your parents use (and now you probably use) is likely a suitable location for storing money in FDIC-insured accounts. It’s not a bad thing to have access to brick-and-mortar locations, but most traditional bank accounts can’t compete with the benefits of online banking.

Making the switch to an online bank could help you earn more interest, avoid unnecessary fees, and still have FDIC insurance. In addition, your current bank might not offer other perks that come with the best checking accounts, like getting your paycheck early or having easy access to your money through a mobile app.

5. Misusing credit cards

Credit cards can be a helpful tool for building credit and having cash flow when you need it, but using them irresponsibly can offset their benefits.

Keep in mind that building your credit history and improving your credit score means following some accepted best practices. This typically includes making your payments on time, using less than 30% of your available credit line, keeping your oldest credit accounts open, having different types of credit accounts (for example a credit card and an auto loan), and not opening too many credit cards too quickly in a row.

6. Skipping renters insurance

Whether you’re back studying on campus or off to live on your own, renters insurance can offer you essential financial protection. This type of insurance can include coverage for clothing, laptops, bicycles, and other belongings in case of unexpected events like vandalism, theft, or fire.

If you keep these six tips in mind, you could avoid some of the common money mistakes that recent college grads make. This will help you take proactive steps to secure your financial future.

BIO: FinanceBuzz’sVP of Content, Tracy Odell, also held the same position at Student Loan Hero and has expertise in this subject, as well as all things related to college finances.

Adulting Student Life

Learning to Drive in College

March 10, 2021

There is really isn’t a perfect time to learn how to drive. While it may be common for people to get their driver’s license in high school, for some, it may not be the right moment. Furthermore, accessibility plays a major role in learning how to drive at a young age. Not having a car or lack of affordable lessons can be just a few reasons why someone might not learn to drive before heading off to college.

With that being said, there are a number of benefits to learning how to drive — especially for the average busy college student. It can provide a greater sense of independence and open the door to new adventures, as just a few examples. It can also make commuting between classes, internships, and extra-curriculum activities a bit easier, especially if your current city or school campus lack public transportation services.

Whether you’re about to graduate or just starting your freshman year, learning to drive in college doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting.

Let’s Be Crystal Clear

There’s a lot to look forward to once you learn how to drive, but before that happens it’s important to do a bit of housekeeping first. Ahead of setting up driving classes or arranging a testing appointment, it’s worth getting your eyes checked.

Your vision needs to meet a certain standard before you’re allowed to hit the roads. Of course, finding a convenient eye doctor while in college isn’t always the easiest or most affordable. Luckily, there are eyewear services that allow you to try certain eye prescriptions and accessories at home. Having slightly blurry vision might not be a huge problem while in class or walking around, but it’s extremely dangerous as a driver. Make sure your vision is crystal clear before getting behind the wheel, even if that means investing in a new pair of glasses.

Get Ahead of Traffic

There are a number of surprises and challenges drivers can encounter on any given day. However, one thing that is not at all surprising to the average seasoned driver is traffic. Depending on the city where you attend school, traffic congestion could be a major factor you need to keep in mind while driving. Researching things like your college town’s local traffic patterns can help you learn more about what roads are best to avoid at what times. It’s also essential to study high-traffic rules and other safe driving practices to ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers. It’s a lot easier to manage things like sudden speed reductions, lane merging, and aggressive rush-hour drivers if you know what to expect beforehand. 

Start With Familiar Places

Like with most things in life, practice can help improve your confidence, but particularly as a new driver. Considering that driving is often much more than pressing your foot on the accelerator, a great way to build up your driving skills is with short and familiar routes. Whether that’s to a nearby park or to the bodega down the road, you can build up your driving skills, improve your reflexes, and work on your weakness without the pressure of navigating a new area.

Even though we’ve agreed there’s no right or wrong time to learn how to drive, there can still be some anxieties surrounding learning to drive at an older age. You can feel judged or embarrassed about not having a driver’s license yet, but don’t let those feelings stand in the way of your goals. Good luck!

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Adulting Health Student Life

How to Learn to Cook When Moving Off Campus

February 12, 2021

Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!

Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!

Stock Your kitchen

It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.

Conquer the Basics

When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.

Getting Started:

  • Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
  • Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes

Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting

It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money

As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!

Meal Prep Necessities:

  • Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
  • Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.

Remember Balance is Key

Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.

Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.