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Archive | June, 2017

3 Real Ways To Cut Your Expenses At College

3 Real Ways To Cut Your Expenses At College

CuttingCostsAs a college student, you are likely looking for any way to cut your spending and save some cash. Plenty of people and articles will tell you to stop getting Starbucks or closely examine all of your small expenditures – because they can certainly add up! However, is that really the biggest way to make a financial impact? Here are some tips to save and make money in the long term.

Examine Your Current Bills

The first place to look at cutting your spending is by examining your recurring bills. For the most part, these are services you need, but you may be able to cut out some of them. For example, if you pay for a streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix, do you also need to be paying for cable? Is there any way you can split entertainment services with friends and roommates? There’s also a good chance you are overpaying for some services, like your cell phone. Switch to a plan with no unexpected costs or hidden fees, such as T-Mobile One. If you have a strong credit history and a good record of paying your bills on time, try calling your cell provider, or even your electric company, to see if they are willing to lower your monthly payment. They often want to keep good customers like you, and will be willing to work with you if you explain your budget.

Track Your Spending Habits

Time to dissect that credit card bill! While cutting out a latte per week may not make that big of a difference in your financial situation, completely analyzing your current budget and creating a new one that is more in line with your ideals can. It may seem stressful and time-consuming to go through all your spending and come up with a plan, but thankfully there are personal finance apps that do it all for you. For example, Mint connects to your bank accounts to track your spending by category, such as restaurants, groceries, entertainment, gas and more. From this information and your input on priorities and goals, it creates a personal budget plan for you. It can even warn you when you are close to reaching your monthly budget, alert you when bills are near due, and more! Having a pulse on your funds at all times will make you more responsible with your spending.

Minimalize

Whether we like it or not, a lot of us are materialistic. While this is not necessarily terrible for your financial situation, minimalization is sure to improve it. Start by taking a look through your clothes and taking out anything you haven’t worn in the past three months. Sell these clothes to thrift shops or an online marketplace, and make a couple bucks. Next, move on to some non-essentials, such as makeup. Put all your products in one location and move them to another as you use them. If you haven’t used a product within two weeks, you should probably throw it away. Continue to do this throughout your living space. While you may not receive much financial gain from this type of spring cleaning, keeping the mentality will save you money over time. Before you make a purchase, think of what it will provide to your life, and even consider how much you are paying per usage. For example, a $200 dress that you will only wear once seems a little silly, right?

Saving money can be difficult, but there are many expenses that are easier to cut back on than you might think. Dedicate some time to looking at your wallet and figuring out a plan to improve your financial situation. Your future self will thank you!

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4 Affordable and Relatively Easy Ways to Improve Your Campus Rental

4 Affordable and Relatively Easy Ways to Improve Your Campus Rental

After a year or two of living in the dorms, or commuting back and forth to college from your folks house, you finally have an apartment or rental home near campus. While you are excited to have your own place, you can’t help but notice that your new digs are pretty average looking. Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to jazz up your new home that won’t break the bank. For example, check out the following ideas; some you can even take with you when you move:

Change the Shower Head

If your shower head looks like it has seen better days, or perhaps about 20 tenants before you, you might consider switching out the shower head for a new and snazzy model that actually has a nice steady stream of water coming from it. As HGTV notes, head to your local home improvement store and pick out a nice-looking model maybe one with a bunch of settings. Then, when you are ready to move out, simply reattach the original one and take your shower head with you.

Install Security Cameras

A great way to set your mind at ease in your new place is to install security cameras. This way, when you are busy on campus and/or at your job, your home will be monitored 24/7. For example, Lorex offers an HD security camera that is weatherproof and budget-friendly. Unlike other companies that require you to sign up for endless contracts, you can buy Lorex cameras outright and install them around your new apartment or home. The cameras store a large amount of HD security footage that you can access remotely at any time, so if you head back to your folks’ during school vacations you can still check on your college home.

Paint the Walls

Many rentals tend to be painted in fairly neutral colors, like off-white or tan. To help make your new place feel like home, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to at least a couple of the walls. You should definitely check your lease first to see what the rules are about painting, but in many cases the landlords are fine with it if you agree to paint the walls back to their original colors before you move out. Start with an accent wall in the living room and if you like the way it looks, move on to your bedroom and bathroom; you will need to take the time to properly prep and wash the walls, but the end result will be worth it.

Add Throw Rugs

In a perfect world, your landlord should have had the carpets in your rental home professionally cleaned before you moved in. If this didn’t seem to happen, or if the carpets are still stained and torn in some spots, spring for some colorful area rugs. You can use the colorful small rugs to strategically cover high traffic areas of the home, and they also do a great job of hiding scratched hardwood – just be sure to get a slip proof mat for underneath the rug. Like the shower head and the security cameras, you can roll up the rugs and take them with you when you move. As a bonus, some area rugs are machine washable so if you spill your soda or coffee on them, you can take them to a laundromat and clean them up.

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