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saving money

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. 

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 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

Making Green Decisions in Your College Apartment

February 8, 2021

College can be a stressful period of life that leaves you little extra time to work with. Things like living sustainably and making eco-friendly choices can often be pushed to the backburner as you attempt to keep up with your assignments and attend classes on time.

On top of that, renting a dorm or apartment can make it feel like you have little-to-no say on how your living situation impacts the environment.

Nevertheless, there are still many small, yet powerful ways that you can make green decisions while you’re living in a college apartment.

Consider the Temperature

The easiest way that you can do your part in the fight for a cleaner planet is by adjusting your thermostat. If it’s hot outside, turn up the temp by a few degrees. If you’re experiencing wintry weather, bring the thermostat down a few degrees. If the weather is nice, open the windows up and turn the HVAC system off entirely.

This won’t just reduce the amount of pollution you’re putting into the air, it can also lower your utility bill. This can be a great first step in helping you save money, address debt, and increase your financial independence.

Embrace Thriftiness

Thriftiness is another way to better the Earth and bolster your finances at the same time. By shopping for second-hand clothing, you avoid much of the dramatic wastefulness that comes with fast fashion. You can also get gently-used furniture, sports equipment, and even electronics.

By trying to reuse rather than buy new, you will naturally reduce the quantity of garbage that you’re creating. It is also a great way to save some cash as you tighten your belt and try to get to graduation day.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Even if you’re renting, it’s still up to you to clean your space. Fortunately, you can even turn the act of mopping a floor or scrubbing a toilet into an eco-friendly activity by using green cleaning products.

This can reduce the number of chemicals that you’re using, protecting both the Earth and your own health in the process.

Cook for Yourself

This one can require a little more time, but if you plan things out it really doesn’t have to impact your schedule much. By purchasing food in bulk and then cooking it yourself, you can dramatically reduce the amount of packaging that you’re throwing away.

You can even take things one step further by using reusable shopping bags each time you head to the grocery store.

Bike to Class

Finally, if you live on or near campus, consider ditching your car. Instead, get a bike or walk. By opting for a fuel-free mode of transportation you can avoid putting unnecessary carbon emissions into the air.

The extra exercise is also a great way to stay fit, especially when you’re spending so much of your time sitting behind a desk.

Going Green in College

You don’t have to be the king of your own castle to make a difference. On the contrary, there are countless smaller steps you can take to do your part in the battle to protect our planet, even when you’re renting on a college campus.

So put down your textbooks for a minute and take a moment to consider where and how you can put some extra effort into creating a brighter future.

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.