Browsing Tag

financeyourfuture

Student Life Uncategorized

Are You a College Student? It’s Time to Control Your Finances

April 2, 2020

Getting an education is one of the best things you can do for your financial future. However, it’s just part of the success equation and it’s easy to make financial decisions that complicate things. It’s best to take control of your finances as early as possible and it’s never too early. The tips below can help any college student take charge of their finances.

Establish a Savings Account

Saving money is something that some college students don’t think about because there’s usually a limited amount of money available. Even if that’s the case, it’s best to set aside a small amount of money to serve as an emergency fund. Things happen and you don’t want to end up in a financial bind without a solution.

Avoid Debt When Possible

The biggest debt that most college students incur is student loans. That’s because college is expensive and sometimes it’s hard to pay for tuition and the cost of living without a loan. If there is ever a way to avoid getting a student loan or any other debt, you should definitely steer clear. Some people struggle for a lifetime to pay off student loan debt. If you decide to get a loan, make sure you do so wisely by consulting with a financial aid advisor.

Monitor Your Spending

A simple financial rule that should always be followed is to spend less money than you make. It’s easier to spend more money than you actually earn by using credit cards. This is rarely a good idea and it’s usually something that people end up regretting for many years.

Limit Credit Card Use

Credit cards are surprisingly easy to get when you’re a college student, which can be unfortunate because you’re still learning about finances. Sometimes what happens is the credit cards are maxed out and not paid on time. As a result, a good number of college students end up having to repair their credit later. If you end up getting a credit card, make sure you get one with a low interest rate and pay off the balance monthly.

Stick with a Budget

Having a budget is far more important than you may realize. That’s because knowing how much money you have to spend and sticking with your commitment not to exceed your budget can help you achieve your financial goals. If you need to earn more money, consider a side gig like Uber if you have a vehicle. You’ll be considered a contractor and you can work whenever you want. Instead of receiving Form W2, Uber will use a 1099 generator and send you the information by email or regular mail.

Start Investing

If you’re working a full-time job and they provide a retirement account, make sure you take full advantage of that benefit. It’s easy to think you have plenty of time to invest in a retirement account, but that time will go by quickly. By starting at a young age, you’re more likely to achieve your retirement goals.

Maintain Insurance

Health and disability insurance are two types of insurance that most people should have. If you don’t know whether or not you have these insurance plans, check with your employer. If you don’t have them, it’s time to get them. Not having insurance is something that can have devastating consequences when it comes to your finances.

Being a college student doesn’t mean you don’t have to be diligent about your finances and the financial decisions you make now will impact your future. Since you will probably have a learning curve like most people, it’s best to read as much as possible about personal finances. You’ll be glad you did.

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.

Career Uncategorized

Knowing How to Finance Big Purchases

October 4, 2019

Grand vacations, weddings, and house purchases are all financial commitments that you might consider in a single lifetime. They’re exciting milestones, but they can be incredibly expensive. Spreading out the purchaser’s cost with financing is the easiest pathway to take. Learn how to finance big purchases with a few tips from the professionals. Those lofty dreams are achievable with smart spending.

1. Know Your Budget

You are the only person who knows your budget. Calculating your monthly expenses, such as rent and utilities, is unique to every individual. Take a look at any leftover funds at the end of your billing cycles. These are the funds that are available to pay for your big purchase.

Figure out this amount well before heading to any store. It’s tempting to walk into a shop, listen to the sales pitch and end up with a larger purchase than you intended.

2. Consider a Large Down Payment

The best way to finance a big purchase is by putting down a large amount on the item before financing the rest of its cost, reports Discover. The down payment can be in any amount, which reduces your monthly cost and interest-rate charges.

For example, you know how much to spend on an engagement ring before you select the jewelry. Pay for 20 or 30 percent of the ring’s price right now, and finance the rest over a few months or years.

3. Use the Credit-Card Trick

Financing a large purchase on a credit card isn’t always the best idea. The interest charges across a year or longer will be staggering. As an alternative, look for cards that have an introductory period of around 18 months, encourages Equifax. Use these 18 months, which are free of interest, to pay off the debt. You end up financing the item without taking out a loan.

4. Think About Personal Loans

Almost all lenders offer some type of personal loan. You can always use this financial tool when you know that a monthly payment over a long period of time is possible. Use loans for those purchases that might be tens of thousands of dollars. You’ll secure a reasonable interest rate for a fixed period. Credit scores might dip as you apply and secure the loan, however, but they will improve with on-time payments.

5. Shop Around

You aren’t limited to your local shops for certain purchases. The Internet gives you a glimpse at the unprecedented competition. When sellers must compete, you save money.

Comparison shop online and in your town, suggests Quicken Loans. You might find the same ring or other items for hundreds of dollars less than you thought before. Open up your mind to jewelry sold from an artist or small business. There are more outlets for big purchases today than ever before.

Everyone falls into financial struggles at some point in life. Continue to assess your budget and save whenever possible. Major purchases are part of a unique life that you can be proud of as success follows your every move.

BIO:Brett 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.

Student Life Uncategorized

A College Student’s Financial Bucket List

June 25, 2019

You’re about to graduate from college, and you’re staring at your financial future with wide eyes. But the more uncertainty that exists in a situation, the more freedom there is to shape it the way you need it. One great way to approach your fiscal future is to create a “bucket list” of things to do as soon as possible to improve your financial success. These simple tips will help you save a lot of money and give you the chance to reinvest in your future.

Cut Your Entertainment Costs

If you’re like most college students, you probably incur entertainment expenses that you might not be able to afford once they’re no longer subsidized. For example, you might have a combo of cable, Netflix, Prime or other streaming accounts, books, comics, and much more. If you seriously cut your entertainment budget to only a few options that you use regularly, you can save yourself real money.

In the analog sphere, stop buying books and magazines and, instead, visit the library. Digitally, you could cancel your cable and streaming video accounts, and turn to YouTube and other free sites. Don’t forget that you can also visit the library to find movies and even television shows. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save if you slash your entertainment budget in this way.

Don’t Be Afraid of Roommates

Like many students just out of college, you probably want to get a place for yourself as soon as possible. However, your post-college years are the best time to get a roommate or two. During this time, you’ll be able to save money on rent if you live with friends or people you know.

This step is also a smart choice if you want to move to a new city shortly after graduation. If you pair this step with relocating to a new and less expensive city, like Tampa, your chances of saving money grows exponentially.

Start a Side Hustle

This is the retirement strategy favored by most millennials these days. Many people of this generation — and many others— use the side hustle as a way to explore their hobbies as a source of financing. For example, you might sell paintings, clothes you’ve made, or many more items, or you might offer services you can render for a fee.

You can also try to collect items such as old electronics, cell phones, gift cards, vintage furniture, and more. Fix these items up, flip them for a buck, and you can make a small bundle of cash. While you’re piling up this profit, as with any business venture, you need to make sure that you keep track of tax expenses to avoid issues in the future.

Use Public Transportation

If you own a car or are thinking of getting one, why not instead focus on public transportation, which is loads cheaper? Though you may spend $5 for a bus ticket to get to and from work every day, you’d still ultimately be paying a lot less than if you buy (or even just maintain) a car. Let’s break this down financially.

If you buy a new car and pay $350 per month in payments and $250 in insurance, you’re paying $600 every month. By contrast, paying $5 per day for public transportation racks up a mere $150 during the 30 days of any month. That difference represents a huge savings you can’t ignore.

These ideas are just a handful of the many ways you can save money and work toward financial success as a college student. Try to expand to other plans if you have the skills and patience, and never sell yourself short. If you cut your expenses and build up your income for a few years in college or just after graduation, you could walk away with huge savings — and a more stable financial future.

For more tips on preparing for life after graduation and making the most out of your college experience follow @GradGuard on our social media!

Student Life Uncategorized

Important Things to Know About Your Student Loans

April 10, 2019

With total student loan debt in the United States now over $1.5 trillion, students have to be prepared to pay off those student loans when they graduate. Knowing your available repayment, forgiveness and tax options will not only help you manage your student loans effectively—it may also save you money.

Many students fail to look into their repayment and forgiveness options, which can hurt their ability to pay off their loans on time. On top of this, some students don’t realize how private student loans differ from federal aid. To help you understand your student loans, here are some of the most important things to know.

Interest accrues while you’re in school.

When you take out an unsubsidized federal student loan or a private student loan, interest will start accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. This means that although you can usually defer repayment until after you leave or graduate from school, the interest you owe on the loan will start to build up while you’re in school and will continue accruing throughout repayment. When you graduate, you will be responsible for paying off the interest accrued and your total loan amount.

There are multiple federal student loan repayment options.

Federal student loans have several repayment options. Upon graduation, you’ll be automatically enrolled in a 10-year standard repayment plan unless you opt for an income-driven repayment plan. With one of these plans, your monthly payments will be based on a percentage of your income, and your loan balance will be forgiven after 20 to 25 years of repayment.

Private loan repayment options are limited compared to federal student loan repayment.

Private student loan repayment options are a bit different from federal aid options. Generally, private lenders don’t base your monthly payments on your income. Instead, you will choose a loan term, usually between five and 20 years, with a monthly payment based on paying off your balance and interest by the end of your term. There are no forgiveness options for private student loans.

You may qualify for tax deductions or tax credits.

You may be able to claim certain education tax credits or deductions if you’re in school or paying off a student loan. If you are still in school, you may qualify for the American opportunity tax credit and lifelong learning credit. And if you’re repaying your student loan debt, you should look into the student loan interest deduction and the earned income tax credit. Tax credits and deductions typically have income and filing status requirements, but if you qualify, you stand to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on your taxes.

As graduation gets closer and those loans start to creep up on you a little faster, remember these financial tips from GradGuard to help you out!

Student Life Uncategorized

How to Travel Around Europe on a Budget

February 27, 2019

European countries have a myriad of magnificent, breathtaking places. Especially in spring when nature wakes up, many European cities are perceived differently, as they acquire a special and unique atmosphere.

As spring gets closer, some European cities get ready to welcome spring by having festivals, like the one that takes place in Seville, called La Feria de Abril. Paris also bounces back from the long winter, with the openings of beautiful street cafes around the city. It’s a true delight to the visitor’s eye.

For a college student, spring is the ultimate season to visit Europe. There are not too many tourists and there are some unique events to attend, which you won’t find anywhere else. However, traveling to Europe as a college student can be quite cost-intensive. So how can you afford a trip to Europe as a college student with a limited budget? Here are some effective tips.

1. Opt for Budget Airlines

Besides accommodation, fights are the most costly part of the journey. For instance, a round trip ticket from New York JFK airport to Paris CDG airport can cost you up to $900, which is too much for a college student on a budget.

The best way to save on a flight is going for budget airlines. Although they have specific luggage limitations, it’s still cheaper to pay for some extra luggage. The list of budget airlines is quite impressive, including Ryanair, Wizz Air, and EasyJet. If you still want to go for the “flag-carrying” airlines, download the Skyscanner app. It works out the best when it comes to finding available cheap flights and discounts.

Pro tip: Note, that many airlines have a discount club. For an extra price, you get a permanent discount, helping you save tons of money on flights.

2. Plan Accommodation in Advance

Like with flights, booking accommodations in advance when planning your trip will save you a lot of money. The closer the date of your arrival is, the higher the prices get. So, if you plan to visit Seville for that La Feria de Abril festival in May, you better start looking now.

One way is to choose traditional websites like Booking.com or Airbnb to find accommodation. They offer many options, including hotels, hostels and even rooms for rent. However, if you want both to experience local culture more and save money, the best way to look for an apartment is to try a local service like Flatfy or even go for a completely different experience called Couchsurfing, which allows you to stay with locals, who will give you useful advice on which places to visit and what experiences to try.

3. Use Public Transport to Get About

Lastly, let’s talk a bit about getting around a European city. If you plan to stay long in one location, you need to think about how you’re going to explore the city and which transport you will use.

Using a taxi service can be a bit harsh on your wallet, and public transportation is a very good option in this case. If you want to save money on traveling around a city, you can buy a tourist travel card. For instance, the Tourist Welcome Card offered in Berlin costs only 20 euros and gives you unlimited access to all means of public transportation. It’s a great way to save some extra money and to enjoy the experience of exploring the city.

Visiting Europe should be on the Must-Do list of every college student. There’s no other place with such variety of cultures, architecture, and cuisine. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy Europe more without it having to be too cost-intensive. GradGuard is here to help both your finances and all your college tips.

BIO: Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works as a real estate agent at https://hu.flatfy.com. She likes everything related to traveling and new countries.

Student Life Uncategorized

Spring Cleaning for Your Bank Account

February 13, 2019

As February rolls in, New Years’ Resolutions start to drift off your to-do list. This is the perfect time to reset and realign your resolutions. Instead of cleaning out your backpack or promising that you will study more, take this time to review all of your recurring monthly subscriptions. Reconsider the value that they are providing you. As a college student, every dime counts! We are here to help you pocket as much savings as possible.

Let’s face it: no one wants to pay utilities on a monthly basis, but this is a necessity. Stay away from cancelling anything that provides you a financial safety net. This includes auto insurance, college renters insurance, student health insurance, money management apps (that you’re actually using), and more.

In this article, we are speaking more towards those pesky recurring payments for products and companies you once desired. As Marie Kondo, the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, would say, “Does it spark joy in your life?” Follow these simple steps to de-clutter your recurring monthly charges.

Step One: Check Your Apple ID Subscriptions

Whether it’s a trivia app or bird-slinging game, everyone has their kryptonite that will make them pay $1.99/mo. for extra lives. You can check your subscriptions by going to settings > your name > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > view Apple ID > subscriptions.

Step Two: Check Your Entertainment Subscriptions

Notice your monthly streaming subscription hike up in price? Chances are you signed up for a free trial of an added perk and never thought to cancel it. Make sure to think about audiobooks, unlimited eBooks, and music as well.

Step Three: Check Your Online Shopping Subscriptions

When you have a monthly or annual membership fee from an online store for discounted products or free shipping, calculate its worth. Habits change. Perhaps you moved off campus and closer to a grocery store. Many companies will even offer you an incentive to keep the service, thereby lowering it and still saving you money. Some offer student discounts. Make sure you take advantage of these discounts while you still can!

Step Four: Check Your Bank Statements

Now that you’ve cleaned out your online subscriptions, print out two months’ worth of bank statements and highlight the charges you see occur twice. If you don’t recognize a charge, research what the company it is. Was this a free trial you forgot to cancel? Should you keep that gym membership, or use on-campus resources?

It is important to scrub through your financials on a regular basis to ensure that you did not forget to cancel a service you no longer need. Doing so will help you grow closer to achieving your financial goals.

At GradGuard, we know there are some subscriptions that we aren’t ready to give up. One thing that we all subscribe to is the value of protecting ourselves with insurance. It may not give us four hours of Friends repeats, but it does protect the TV that streams it.

Transition Uncategorized

How to Become Financially Independent While in College

February 6, 2019

As a college student, you may not feel like a full-fledged adult just yet, but establishing your financial independence shouldn’t wait until graduation. While you might currently be supported by student loans or the benevolence of family, it’s still important to get into the habit of budgeting, saving, and responsible spending. That way, when career opportunities knock, you’ll already be on the firm financial footing of other young professionals.

Here are four steps you can take toward financial independence even if you’re still in college.

Get a Flexible Job

You may already have some experience in the workplace. But if not, college is the time to start building your resume. While the job you choose should have opportunities for advancement and demonstrate responsibility, the position you take should also be flexible enough to allow you to maintain a focus on your studies. Tutoring or working as a personal or research assistant can give you a professional boost in addition to providing a steady source of income. If those jobs don’t grab your attention, look for on-campus jobs as many offer more flexible work hours or downtime you can use to finish class assignments.

Make a Smart Budget

The key to financial independence starts with making a simple budget. Track your expenses and begin to comparison shop for ways to whittle down some of those monthly costs, like a cheaper cell phone plan or a better interest rate on your credit card bill. You’ll be surprised how cutting costs for even minor monthly expenses can make a big difference to your budget in the long term. Smart cuts help you focus on better purchases and limited spending while you’re still a student.

Use Your Credit Card Cautiously

As a student, you’ve probably already been bombarded with offers for credit cards with attractive interest rates, but choose carefully. While it’s essential to establish a line of credit and build toward a healthy credit score, it’s also entirely too tempting to use those same credit cards to live beyond your means. Try not to charge items you haven’t explicitly budgeted for and focus on keeping large amounts of debt from building up.

Start Saving Now

Once you’ve made a budget and begun to trim those expenses a bit, start to squirrel away a little bit of savings every month. Even small amounts of money matter, and over time they can help you build up a larger nest egg to cushion the blow of unexpected costs. Now is also an excellent time to plan how you’ll pay off those student loans and what your minimum income needs to be once you’ve launched your career. Your future self will thank you for the self-restraint, and hopefully, you’ll be able to achieve financial independence sooner rather than later.

Don’t forget that GradGuard has your back! Be sure to always refer to our blog for further tips on financing your future.