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Archive | November, 2015

3 Key Ideas to Save Your Wallet While Still in College

3 Key Ideas to Save Your Wallet While Still in College

A concept related to saving early in a childs life for their future education.

There are three keys to saving your wallet while still in school: make money, save money and be smart with your money.

Make Money

Your class schedule may make “regular” jobs hard to find, but earning supplemental income doesn’t need to be an obstacle. There are 53 million freelance workers in the U.S. today, according to Freelancers Union. You can join them, while still in school.

First take stock of what you have to offer.

  • Are you crafty? Turn your fun hobby into income on Etsy or similar sites.
  • Don’t forget to consider the standard-bearers of independent work. The powerhouse Amway is built on the work of people working for themselves. You get the name recognition of an international company, with the self-directed flexibility of the gig economy.
  • Whatever your talent, consider offering it up on a platform like Fiverr. Everything from singing a jingle to researching a domain name nets a “fiver,” hence the site’s name.
  • TaskRabbit offers a different model. Check to see if your city is listed. If so, you can apply to become a tasker. Jobs range to standing in line (seriously) to delivering groceries to assembling IKEA furniture.
  • If you have a car, there’s Uber if you’re willing to drive people around, and Getaround if you’re willing to rent your vehicle. Make your assets work for you. (If the car is actually in your parent’s name, you probably need to discuss it with them first.)
  • Does your school have a psychology department? Check to see if there are trials, experiments or testing going on and whether they pay. Do it for science (or for twenty bucks).
  • There is a constant need for plasma. And it usually pays somewhere between $25 and $50.

Save Money

  • You most likely have access to Wi-Fi on campus, so take full advantage of what your school offers technology-wise. If you have sufficient access to the Internet for free, why pay for it at home too?
  • You may need a cellphone, but you can let cable go. Check out music and DVDs from the library instead.
  • Textbooks shred your wallet, so be on the look out for a good source of used textbooks. Then, sell yours when the semester ends. Another option is renting those tomes through services like Bookrenter.
  • Many campus social events feature food, so attend and eat for free.
  • Always keep your student ID handy. Discounts at museums, movies and transportation all add up.
  • Many big companies offer students special deals that no one else can get. For example, Amazon has Amazon Student.

Be Smart With Your Money

When evaluating what kind of jobs to take, keep in mind the ratio of your time and energy spent to the dollars earned. If your grades suffer because you’re too busy on Fiverr doing five-dollar gigs, it’s time to rethink your position.

It won’t do you any good to save money by buying an old textbook if the content has changed too much. Do some research. Very often there is virtually no difference, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Keep in mind the skills you want to build on for the future. And finally, don’t sell yourself short.

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Consider Giving The Gift of College This Season

Consider Giving The Gift of College This Season

holidaygiftsWith student debt growing 56 percent over the past ten years, saving for college has never been more important.

One way to face the challenging costs of college head-on is to open a 529 college savings plan. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary (typically one’s child or grandchild). Investing in a 529 is a quick, easy tool to realistically meet your college savings goals this year—and beyond. With more than 12.3 million 529 plan accounts open nationally, 529 plans continue to be one of the most compelling ways for families of all income levels to plan ahead, save for college, and reduce their reliance on student loans.

Committing to a college savings plan may seem overwhelming at first, but if you are in need of some inspiration to start, consider this: children with a college savings account are six times more likely to attend a four-year college, compared to children with no dedicated account. In addition, college graduates earn an average of $1 million more than high school graduates during their careers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, a recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the workforce reported that by 2020, more than 65% of new jobs in our country will require a college education.

The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)—the nation’s leading objective source about Section 529 College Savings and Prepaid Tuition Plans—strives to educate people on the benefits of 529 plans, and why they are necessary for our children’s future. Here are some saving tips from CSPN to help you jumpstart your college savings plan and ensure it is financially fit for 2015 and beyond:

Define your savings goals: The first step is to determine how much you ultimately want to save for your child’s education. Do you want to save for tuition only or include room and board? All four years of college or just two? Public or private? You can use a college cost calculator to forecast what the estimated cost of college will be when your child is ready to enroll.

Start early and save often: Start saving as early as possible – you can even open an account before you have children. The earlier you begin saving, the more time your money has to grow, and you can always increase your contributions to an account in the future. Just like exercise, it’s never too late to start saving. Remember, saving something is always better than nothing. Think of it this way, a family that begins setting aside $50 a month when their child is born can accrue over $21,000, in an account that earns 7% interest per year, by the time the child turns 18. In this case you can see that a little bit goes a long way in helping to eliminate future debt.

A recent nationwide 529 investor survey conducted by CSPN confirmed that investors are choosing to start early. According to the results, 31 percent of investors opened a 529 account for a beneficiary aged one or younger. In addition, the average age of a first beneficiary is five years, while the average age of a second beneficiary is four years, suggesting that investors begin saving earlier when opening a second 529 account.

Find Your Fit: Nearly every state offers a 529 plan, either a prepaid tuition plan, and/or a savings plan. Many plans offer tax or other incentives for residents, so it’s always a good idea to look at your state’s plan first. However, you don’t have to go with your state’s plan if it isn’t the right fit for you. In fact, you can participate in almost any 529 plan across the country. CSPN’s website is an excellent resource for choosing a 529 plan that best meets your saving goals/needs. You have the option of comparing 529 plans by feature and by state.

For more information on how to start saving for college, or to spread the word on 529 plans to friends and family, visit CSPN’s website: CollegeSavings.org.

About Today’s Guest Author:

Betty Lochner is currently Chair of the Executive Board of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), a national non-profit association and is the leading objective source of information about Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans. Lochner also serves as director of Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program, a division of the Washington Student Achievement Council.

Posted in Paying For College1 Comment

5 Ways to Save Money with Mobile & Gamification Apps

5 Ways to Save Money with Mobile & Gamification Apps

budegtingappBudgeting in order to save money can be a tedious task that’s often daunting and overwhelming. However, thanks to mobile technology and gamification, keeping to budget has never been so fun and easy. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “gamification,” it simply means the implementation of gaming concepts, such as competition, challenge and reward, into an arena that does not innately hold them–in this case, that would be financial management. Below are five ways you can save money using the latest and greatest tech out there in the market.

  1. Groupon

The activity of grouponing is a guilty pleasure for good reason, however you should definitely not feel guilty for doing it because it could save you money in the grand scheme of things. Not only do you get to spend money in a sensible manner and rewarded for it, but the entertainment factor of searching for the latest deals on everything from clothes, events to fitness classes, makes it a win-win situation. As mobile commerce becomes increasingly prevalent, the Groupon mobile app proves to be quite handy with its push notification feature and social sharing functionality to further save.

  1. Level Money

Level Money, known as “the mobile money meter,” makes budgeting your funds easy and fun. It shows you exactly how much you can spend in a visual manner so you can better track your progress in budget management. The visual engagement makes the app irresistible to users thus encouraging continuous interaction and monitoring. It provides you with a sense of accomplishment when you haven’t popped the budget bubble, working to help you save money in a highly engaging manner.

  1. Amazon Local

With the Amazon Local mobile application, searching for savings is made an adventure. It uses your location and preferences to present local deals to you and allows you to buy instantly right from the phone or tablet. So not only are you saving money on the gas you would have used to shop, you’re viewing some of the best deals around you to get the best bang for your buck.

  1. Mobile Education

Aside from the literal money saving apps, there are many mobile gaming apps that help lead to cutting costs in the grander scheme of things. Serious games, games that serve a purpose to educate, are becoming very popular for students and professionals to learn in a more efficient manner. Some of the best processors for gamification in mobile devices are coming into play in terms of providing highly immersive and effective mobile education. For instance, those in the medical field can partake in simulated operating room scenarios with mobile virtual reality technology. It helps medical students and professionals to practice techniques in a low-cost manner and can actually lead to avoiding mistakes that would end up costing way more if made.

  1. Foursquare

If a lot of your money tends to go towards eating out, the Foursquare app could help you save on the gluttonous hobby. Users play the game by checking-in to the restaurants they dine in. Each check-in gives you points and levels you up to various statuses like “Mayor,” which leading to more savings. It’s hard to avoid eating out when it’s your top habit, so you might as well make it a game and goal to save money while at it.

It’s time to take advantage of life-changing tools mobile has provided. The emergence of gamification in budget management via mobile device is an innovation worth investing in. Utilize wisely and your money flow should be all a go.

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