Budget

Sticking to Your Guns

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Setting a budget can seem like a daunting task especially when there are so many expenses to keep track of. When you’re a college student on a tight budget, there’s no point in making a budget because you’re already in debt anyway. Right? Not so much. Your finances aren’t completely a lost cause and shouldn’t be put to the back of your mind until graduation. Here are a few tips to set a budget and stick to it.

1. Prioritize
Knowing what is most important to you and your success is the best way to keep your mind focused on your budget. Keep your eye on the prize (graduation) and you will be much less tempted to blow through your tuition savings on that fancy jacket you’ve had your eye on.

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2. Avoid Temptation
When you know you are at the end of your budget rope, stay away from big sales and stores altogether. Odds are you will end up making impulse purchases with money that you really should have used for textbooks instead.

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3. Count every purchase
It’s tempting to count small purchases as freebies when it comes to your budget. A box of mints here, a nail polish there, and before you know it you’ve racked up quite a bill of small purchases that you didn’t account for in your budget.

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4. Ask yourself if you really need it
Even when we have the best intentions, a budget can be ruined with buying things that you just don’t need. Let’s say you need a paintbrush for your art class. You arrive at the art supply store and you see a fancy set that you’re pretty sure Picasso himself recommended. Purchasing such a luxury is a budget blowing move that you could try to justify, but deep down you know that you could have cut easily cut costs by only buying what you truly need.

What tricks do you use to stick to your budget? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Ways to Make a Healthier Pizza!

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1. Use a whole wheat tortilla as the crust.

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This is a healthier alternative to a traditional pizza crust, but is just as delicious! Put your sauce, cheese, and desired toppings on and then put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle some garlic powder and basil on top for added flavor. You can adjust the cooking times depending on how crispy you want your crust to be.

2. Make a personal pizza on a portobello mushroom cap.

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This makes a great snack or pair it with a salad or some other side to make it a meal. This is a very healthy, low carb alternative to a regular pizza and it is very tasty! You can get very creative with this option. Use any sauce you want: marinara, Alfredo, or pesto and it will be delicious. Then top with some low-fat shredded cheese or fresh mozzarella and any toppings you want. Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. It is super easy and a great way to satisfy your pizza craving!

3. Pick up some whole wheat flat-bread pizza crusts.

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You can find these premade crusts in stores (the package pictured above is from Target). All you have to do is add your sauce, cheese, and toppings and toss it in the oven for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and you’ll have a delicious and crispy thin crust pizza! Use lots of veggies for toppings for added nutrition and tastiness!

4. Choose your toppings wisely.

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You can easily cut calories without sacrificing taste by picking more health-conscious sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Go for a simpler tomato sauce and stay away from sauces that use heavy cream or cheese. Pick up low-fat cheese or fresh mozzarella, which is actually one of the healthier cheese options because it is low in sodium, has no carbs or sugar, and is rich in protein. Fresh mozzarella is also really delicious and melts perfectly! Choose fresh veggies for added healthiness and nutrients.

Cheap Eats

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When faced with the financial burden of college tuition and fees, one must stretch their budget elsewhere. There no getting around paying your college fees or textbooks, but you can stretch a dollar (or dollars) in other ways.

1. Chose meals that have a long shelf life.

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If you dorm, this may be especially useful. You may not always have the time to prepare a meal with fresh ingredients and they may spoil before you find that time. In this case, you risk losing your hard earned money. Meals that have a long shelf life are usually canned good, such as soups, certain fruits, vegetables and beans or prepackaged foods such as pasta, instant oatmeal and rice. Also, they are relatively inexpensive, costing no more than a few dollars for each item

2. Pasta, Pasta, and More Pasta

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Not only can you buy a package of pasta for no more than two dollars but you can make a meal out of it to last two or three days. It also falls under the list of non-perishable foods so there’s no worry of spoil before it’s cooked. Pasta can also give you that much needed energy as its high in carbohydrates. Ramen noodles has become a staple in many dorm rooms due to its versility and cheap price tag. A package can cost no more than 50 cents.

3. Quick Pick Me Ups

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Mothers always tell us to eat our fruits and vegetables and we should always follow their advice for they know best. Certain fruits and vegetables are expensive, especially if you may be searching for organic types. Bananas and apples, the loose variety not the bundles, are relatively cheap, readily available and easily consumed on the go. Just make sure it’s washed before consuming. Celery and carrot sticks in a to-go package is usually no more than 3 dollars.

4. Cheap Foods with a Short Shelf Life

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Keep in mind that the body needs a whole array of nutrients in order to sustain itself. With that being said, some foods may need to be consumed that do not have a long shelf life but will be relatively cheap nonetheless. Eggs for protein and versatility in salads or sandwiches, and fresh leafy greens for antioxidant and immune support such as Spinach, can be found for a few dollars per bundle.

7 Things To Do When You’re Broke

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Let’s face it, many college students are usually a little short on cash. Not because they don’t work or have money, but because they use their money on important items, like textbooks and food, which could be a bit pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do with friends or alone that will cost next to nothing.

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1. Go for a Hike or Walk

Put on those walking shoes and put in those ear buds because this fresh air will make you feel amazing.

2. Have a Picnic

In the mood to dine out but don’t have the money? Having a picnic changings your regular routine, making it feel fresh and exciting, similar to dining out.

3. Meet at the Nearest Coffee Shop

Bring friends and a few dollars for coffee or tea.

4. Read a Book

Visit your school or public library and immerse yourself in a good mystery novel.

5. Rent a movie

Renting a movie only costs a few dollars and if you’re with friends, they can help front the cost. Better yet, if you frequently want to watch movies and TV shows, Netflix is even better than renting.

6. Play a Board Game

If you or a friend has board games, now would be a great time to play them. Not only is it free but you can spend time with another person or with many.

7.  Make Something

DIY projects sometimes require items you no longer use either around your house or in your dorm. Search the internet or your own imagination and create items into something useful again.

If all else fails, catch up on some school work or if your professors have given you an itinerary for the full semester, start completing work for the following week.

How To Prepare for Fall Semester in College

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With summer in full swing, it’s difficult to think about returning to school and spending hours in lecture halls. However, there are a few things we can do to take advantage of the summer months in order to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the upcoming fall semester.

1. Apply for Scholarships

6-13 cap-diploma-moneyMost college students are far too busy worrying about their vacation plans to bother with scholarship applications. This lower competition makes it a bit easier to win scholarships that are offered during the summer months.

2. Find a Job

6-13 bigstock-Waitress-Serving-Food-To-Senio-47117440Use your spare time in the summer to save money from working. Extra earnings can be used for books or to pay on interest on your student loans. Every little bit counts!


3. Intern

6-13 photodune-202599-smart-business-man-with-a-laptop-and-colleagues-at-the-back-mThere are many internship programs offered during the summer. It’s easier to focus on your internship when you don’t also have to commit time to your regular classes.  One simple way to get started is by visiting sites like this one.

4. Register for Classes

6-12 stack of books2The last thing you want to deal with is trying to register for a class for the fall semester only to find it has already been filled. Especially since sometimes certain classes are only offered one semester a year. Avoid all of the inconvenience by registering as early as possible.

How do you stay ahead of the game for upcoming semesters? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Thrifty Ways to Enjoy Summer Break

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With May came graduations, the end of final exams, packing up, and moving on to the next chapter of this year: summer break. There is finally time to relax and spend time with family and friends, but as a college student or recent graduate, many of us are still on tight budgets. Here are some low cost (or free!) ways to enjoy this summer without breaking the bank.

1. Go to a public beach Beach_Public

If you live on a coast or by the Great Lakes, this can be a perfect option for you! Many beaches are free and have free parking for residents. You can also pack your own lunch and bring things to do such as a Frisbee or a volleyball.

 

 

Picnic2. Have a Picnic

If you don’t have any beaches nearby, find a park in your area and have a picnic. Bring a few friends and make it a potluck and you’ll cut costs even more.

 

 

Hiking3. Go Hiking

Take advantage of the sunshine and head out on a hiking trail in your area. The best part about it is it’s absolutely free! Spending time outdoors can really make you appreciate the beauty around you: no wifi required.

 

 

Museum4. Visit a Museum on a Free Day

During the summer months, many museums and aquariums have free days on the weekends. These places will usually advertise events such as these on their websites and in local newspapers.

 

 

Movies5. Go to the movies

When summer heat gets too intense, take advantage of air conditioning and catch a movie. After all, it’s time for summer blockbusters!

 

 

Concert6. Catch a Free Concert or Theatre Production

Keep an eye out for advertisements for local free concerts. Many parks and small theatres have shows for upcoming bands or community theatre productions. These ticket prices are usually very low (or free!) and you can support local artists at the same time. It’s a win-win!

 

 

Share your thrifty summer plans in the comments below!

How to Earn Extra Money During College

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Let’s face it: you’re busy. But this doesn’t change the fact that your textbooks cost an arm and a leg, tuition is rising constantly, and you still need to buy groceries this week. How are you supposed to keep up with your studies as well as your expenses? Here are a few ways to make extra money without letting your grades suffer.

1. Work Study Programs

Most colleges have employment opportunities specifically for students. Work study programs usually subtract your pay from your tuition bill. A few hours a week working at minimum wage doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly. The best part is this work can usually be scheduled around your class schedule so it won’t interfere with your studies. Check with your financial aid office to see if your school offers programs like this.

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2. Sell Unwanted Items

Whether it’s clothes that you don’t wear anymore or your old guitar that, let’s face it, you haven’t picked up in years. There are usually plenty of things lying around your dorm that you have no use for anymore. Like the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Snap a few clear, well lit pics of your unwanted items and list them on eBay for a small fee (this fee is so small, you probably have enough change under your couch cushion to cover it). Another wonderful platform for selling clothing is an app called Twice available here. With this app you can sell your gently used nice clothing.

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3. Start a Side Business

Okay so maybe this one is a bit more time consuming but with the right work ethic, you’d be surprised how easy this can be. This doesn’t have to be a full- fledged business venture. You can make a decent amount of money mowing lawns or painting houses over the summer. If you have a knack for crafts, you could also make and sell handmade items such as jewelry or paintings at craft fairs or with online marketplaces such as Etsy.com. Similar to eBay, with Etsy you can pay a very small fee to list your handmade treasures for others to purchase.

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Whether you choose work study or cleaning out your closet, there are simple ways to earn some extra cash while also taking some of the strain off your parents to cover your tuition bill. What other ways do you make extra money for college? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

How to Make Your Own Infused Waters

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Healthy Waterimage source 

It’s no surprise that my Pinterest feed these past few weeks have consisted of colorful bikinis, floral prints, pastel colors, and spring décor. But my favorite trend of the season? Infused water.

For the longest time I couldn’t bring myself to drink water, it was just so bland compared to my favorite fizzy soda pop flavors. However, last semester a friend of mine introduced me to infused water, and I was instantly hooked. Infused water helps make staying hydrated fun, offers a dose of essential vitamins, gently cleanses your body and works as a natural skin care. But, the best part about it all? It’s such a quick and easy process, it takes just under 5 minutes to prepare!

Making your own infused water is quick and simple! Here’s how to make your own infused water:

Step 1: Fill a pitcher with water,

Step 2: add thinly sliced fruits, herbs or spices and ice

Step 3: chill in the refrigerator.

For stronger flavored water, prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight before drinking, The fruit should stay fresh as long as you keep your water refrigerated, and should be consumed in 3-5 days. That’s it! No fancy gadgets or confusing recipe cards, it’s simple as 1,2,3.

Here are a some infused water recipes that make will make your taste buds sing…

 - Raspberry +  lemon  +  mint

 - Strawberry  +  Kiwi

- Lemon  +  cucumber  +  mint

 - Blackberry  +  cherry  +  lime

 - Orange  +  lemon  +  lime

 - Strawberry + Lime + Mint

We’re always on the hunt for new flavor combinations, so snap a photo of your beautiful beverage on Instagram or tweet us your favorite recipe on twitter by using #tastebuddanceparty

 

Cheers!

Fruit Infused Waterimage source

Real World Experience: Why You Should Intern In College

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College may be little more than a four-year party to some, but for many it’s a time to learn new things, meet new people, and live independently. Students tend to hold their undergraduate years in such high esteem that they often end up calling them the best four years of their lives. Yet upon graduation, many still feel surprisingly ill prepared to venture out into the “real world”. Even those students who graduate with a high GPA can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the professional world, making them wonder if their academic accomplishments were ever worthwhile.

 If you’re looking for a manual on how to succeed in the real world, you have come to the wrong place. However, here’s one valuable piece of advice that may alleviate some stress once you graduate: find an internship.

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  Interning in college is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your future.  An internship can open up a variety of networking opportunities and can provide you with valuable work experience in your intended field. It may also help you in determining whether the field you’ve chosen is right for you. Sure, the typical life of an intern may not be the professional life you imagined, but for what it’s worth, you could be taking a small step towards landing the job of your dreams.

Getting a taste of the real world while you’re still in school may seriously pay off in the long run.

Whether it’s mastering a certain skill, learning how to interact with coworkers, or finding ways to score points with your boss, an internship is a great way to break into the occupation of your choice without dealing with the crippling pressure of a year-round job. As college students, our summer and winter breaks provide great opportunities to work full-time. While you may be tempted to sit at home and lounge around during your time off, do yourself a favor and go find an internship. You’ll be glad you did it.

The Art of Gift Giving for College Students

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I love giving gifts, but as a college student with very little free time during the year, I come across many issues related to gift giving. Having no free time keeps me unemployed, and so I end up with little or no money at all. Almost every time a birthday or anniversary comes around, I spend very large amounts of time planning out a gift, only to find that it is too expensive for my budget!

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It seems that many other students are experiencing the same problems that I am, so here are several ideas to keep your presents (somewhat) cheap, but memorable:

  • If you have the ability, or the interest, take the time to sit down and write the gift receiver a poem, letter, or maybe even paint them a picture.
  • Take them out for a nice, romantic picnic. All you really need are a few sandwiches, a blanket, and a warm, sunny day.
  • Buy tickets to their favorite artist’s concert, or their favorite comedian’s show. I mean, who doesn’t love Louis C. K?
  • Try simulating your first date. The old memories will definitely make it a great gift. Or, to make it even better, at the end of your date, add something new, such as ice skating. On top of your first date, this will create even more cherished memories.
  • The ideal present is one that does not fade, but grows and changes as time goes on. However, not many examples of this exist. Luckily, a great gift that WILL last is a charm bracelet. Each holiday, or special occasion, try adding a new charm that really means something to you. Soon, there will not only be a bracelet, but also a collection of memories that is one of a kind.

I will warn you that some of these suggestions can become quite expensive, so keep that in mind as you make an attempt to give a truly special present. For more unique gift ideas at every price point, I recommend online shopping at etsy.com (they’ve got it all)! If you have some gift-giving ideas that I didn’t mention don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below!