Compare Colleges Find Scholarships Financial Literacy College Pulse

Archive | Financial Literacy

Tips For Protecting Your Identity While In College

Tips For Protecting Your Identity While In College

Young adults head off to college hoping they’ll learn enough in the classroom to get their degree, and enough about life to make their way in the world once they graduate. But firsthand knowledge of identity theft is one lesson they don’t want to learn.

College students have little credit history, and often lax protection behavior, making them an easy target for identity thieves. So before you head off (or send your child off) to college, here are important identity theft protection tips to remember (provided by Experian.com):

  • Always keep your dorm room or apartment door locked, even when you’re home. Most identity theft still occurs in mundane, nontechnical ways, like a wallet being stolen from a drawer or a purse taken from an unlocked room.
  • Be careful with documents that contain personal information. Shred bills, and keep credit card and bank account statements stored in a safe, locked location.
  • Leave your Social Security card and birth certificate at home, with your parents. You’ll need your SSN constantly in college, so you should have the number memorized. Be careful about how you use it and who you give it to; they should have a legitimate need for it. Only carry with you the ID that you actually need, like your driver’s license and student ID card. Never loan those items to a friend, no matter how close you think you are.
  • Be wary about who you allow in your room. Remember, anyone who enters your living space could gain access to your personal information.
  • Be careful what you share on social media. Never expose personal information such as your date of birth, home address, phone number and unique information like your mother’s maiden name which is often used for authentication.
  • When making online purchases, only do business with websites that have the security lock symbol. The symbol indicates the website has taken measures to protect customers’ information.
  • Never complete a credit card application at a table or booth on campus. Instead, go through the credit card company’s secure website or contact your bank before you go to school.
  • Monitor your accounts and credit report regularly. Not only will regular monitoring help you identify possible occurrences of identity theft, it can help you better understand how the financial decisions you make affect your credit score.

With some preventative steps and prudent caution, college students can ensure identity theft is one thing they don’t learn about the hard way.

 

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Experian. To learn more about identity theft and how identity protection services can help your parents, visit www.Experian.com

Posted in Financial Literacy0 Comments

4 Ways to Create a College-friendly Budget

4 Ways to Create a College-friendly Budget

Being a college student can be financially stressful, to put it lightly. Not only are you likely already in debt, but it seems like you never have enough money for your day to day life. One of the reasons it can seem that way is because keeping track of your spending and where your money is going can be difficult.

Creating a budget in college may not sound like the most glamorous or fun thing to do, but not only will it help you keep track of you money, it will also help you spend less and save up. Here are a few tips for getting started:

1. Digitize Your Money

Cash may seem like the way to go, but how often do you lose, misplace or just ignore your small bills and coins? If you digitize your money, e.g. paying using your debit card, you can track every cent and have a log of what you spent your money on without having to do it yourself. Stocking up on change might seem like a good idea, but coin machines often charge a large amount of money to convert to bills, which makes it not worth the trouble unless you have hundreds of dollars in change.

Think about getting a phone with mobile pay to make digitizing your money even easier. For example, the iPhone 6s features Apple Pay which uses Touch ID to verify a purchase made on your phone, so it’s safer than ever before.

2. Start Setting Savings Goals

Online apps and banks, like Simple.com, let you set goals on your phone to further facilitate saving. Whether your want to save up for something specific or for a rainy day, setting a few bucks on the side is never a bad idea and can help prepare you for big-time savings that will come after college.

3. Cut Out the Non-Essentials

This is the hard part. The easiest way to save money when budgeting is to take a hard look at what you’re already spending your money on and cut out the things that you don’t absolutely need.

If you have a gym membership that you haven’t used in a few months, you should probably cancel it and save yourself that money. Instead of eating out once a day, try cooking more often and eating out only once a week. If you’re spending large amounts of money on online gaming, you should probably skip a few hours a day and study anyway. Double incentive.

4. Set Money Aside for the Things You Really Need

Think about how much money you need for your essentials that will last you until your next paycheck and set that money aside as soon as you get paid. When you start budgeting for stuff like food, the easiest way to figure out how much money to set aside is to go grocery shopping with a list of all the things you’ll need for a week. Go to the store, buy your stuff and make note of how much you spend. Now all you have to do is budget accordingly.

You can also budget for future events or purchases by setting money aside beforehand so you don’t have to spend an entire paycheck on something like the gift you forgot to buy for your best friend’s wedding.

College is a trying time. You feel like an adult, but at the same time feel like there are so many things your parents forgot to tell you about adulthood. Hopefully, you now have one less adult thing to worry about.

Posted in Financial Literacy1 Comment

A Student’s Guide to Adulting: 4 Tips to Save Cash During Your Move

A Student’s Guide to Adulting: 4 Tips to Save Cash During Your Move

Whether you are a recent college grad starting out on your own or a student transferring to a larger school, moving to a big city can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to cope with the stress of leaving all that is familiar behind, but you also have to deal with the arduous and expensive task of moving to an ultra-urban area. Don’t let your first time living in a bustling metropolis break your spirit and your bank. You are on your way to bigger and better things, and with a few tips and a little planning, you will reach your new home with high spirits and a few bucks left in the bank. Here are four tips that can help you save money while moving:

Lighten Your Load

Sell anything you can do without. As you pack, set aside non-essentials that you may have accumulated over the years. Anything you have not used in the past year is eligible for the chopping block. This goes for clothing, books, CDs, smaller belongings and under-utilized furniture. Furniture will be the most difficult and expensive items to move, so if you can ditch the second-hand sofa that’s been serving as a hamper for the past year, do it.

Post items on Craigslist or host a yard sale to help you downsize and earn enough money to purchase a new futon when you arrive in your new city. The less you have to drag along with you, the easier your move will be.

Haul It, Don’t Store It

Storage facility costs add up quickly, so if there is any way to avoid renting a place just for your stuff, go that route. Rental truck companies charge based on the size of the truck, so if you have sufficiently downsized, you’ll already be saving money. Many rental places also offer deals during the slow season in winter months, so timing your move appropriately could also save you some cash.

Do It Yourself

Hiring a moving company to come in and do all the heavy lifting for you is a fantastic luxury, but also likely one you cannot afford. It’s difficult work and it shows in the price. Consider what is manageable on your own, and enlist the assistance of friends for the rest. This is the perfect time to call in some favors, or offer to bribe them with food and drinks. If you combine your moving day with your bon voyage party, you could say your goodbyes while soliciting help with the loading. If you are moving to a nearby city, load up your friends’ cars and have a tailgate party from your old pad to your new one.

Get Help Online

Moving to a big city might mean you won’t be able to do a walk-through of an apartment on your own, but there are online search tools that can help you when you’re looking for apartments in mega-cities like NYC. Particularly in areas like this, square-footage is worth its weight in gold, so give yourself time to research and find the apartment that’s right for you.

Posted in Financial Literacy1 Comment

Creating a College Budget: How to Save and Cut Costs

Creating a College Budget: How to Save and Cut Costs

collegebudgetpigNo money and no time to make money may be the hardest college equation you’re asked to solve in the next four years. How are you supposed to pay for tuition, living expenses, entertainment, travel and more when you’re in class, studying for exams, or trying to find and complete an internship? It’s hard, but it can be done.

Indeed, the best way for college students to make money is to save the money they have already earned — whether from part-time jobs or student loans — by practicing smart spending habits and using student discounts. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Choose a Money Management Tool

Whether it’s pen and paper, a simple spreadsheet or an app, you must come up with a way to track your spending. Mint, a free app, helps you create a customized budget, track your spending, pay your bills, and even learn about how to improve your credit score. When creating your budget, set goals for your spending, but be realistic. If you’re a foodie, don’t cut eating out completely — just limit yourself to a certain dollar amount each month. The same goes for gamers, sports enthusiasts, shopaholics and adventurers. To save money and stick to your budget, you don’t have to live a boring life — you just have to plan ahead.

Save and Splurge

When money management is on the mind, every activity, cup of coffee and weekend get together all of a sudden looks like dollar signs to you. These things, as well as fixed costs and unexpected expenses, are part of life. Figure out a balance of when to save and when to splurge — and recognize when doing either will benefit or break your budget in the future.

When it comes to insurance, for example, you don’t want to skimp now and then find yourself paying big bills later. The same goes for car maintenance. If you can avoid choosing cheap repair options now, they won’t keep popping up in the future. So, the next time your car gets a blowout, see it as an opportunity to invest in high-quality tires, which will save you money in the long run.

Discounts: Use, Don’t Abuse

Whether they advertise it or not, tons of businesses offer student discounts if you just ask. From technology and travel to entertainment, food and clothing, simply flashing your college ID can save you anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent at many retail stores. For example:

  • If you join or renew as a Sam’s Savings member, you’ll receive a $15 gift card with your student ID. In addition to groceries, varying Sam’s Club locations also offer members-only discounts on tire service, an optical center, pharmacy and more.
  • Students can earn discounts on Adobe Creative Cloud by choosing between the All Apps plan (giving you access to the latest versions of every Adobe creative tool) or Photography plan (which includes Photoshop and Lightroom).
  • The Student Advantage Discount Card from Greyhound will save you 20 percent on walk-up fares and online tickets. It also saves you 40 percent on package shipments sent through the company’s Package Express offering.

While these are all awesome discounts, remember, there’s a reason businesses offer student discounts: It’s because students usually don’t have a lot of money to spend. Don’t let yourself jump on the “But it’s such a good deal!” train. The key to saving money with coupons or student discounts is to only use them on products and services you already planned to buy.

Posted in Financial Literacy0 Comments

Use the 5 Love Languages to Date in College on the Cheap

Use the 5 Love Languages to Date in College on the Cheap

Young Couple at College

You don’t have to drop $100 on dinner to woo your college crush. Some women prefer quality time with their beau over pricey gifts. In Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Languages of Love,” he explains how to foster a healthy relationship by recognizing what exactly makes your significant other swoon. While one person might appreciate a love letter, another might prefer a night alone together cuddling under the stars.

If you can tap into your partner’s love language — words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch and receiving gifts — you can better plan a date that takes not only her needs into account but your budget as well. Here are some tips to dating in college without breaking the bank based on the five love languages.

Words

Words of affirmation is sometimes the hardest love language of all. You may not have reached the “I love you” phase, but everyday compliments can be just as powerful. The most financially sound gesture of all, verbal terms of endearment provide a feeling of warmth to the recipient.

Date ideas:

  • Create a mixed playlist with specially chosen songs for her. Pack a picnic, go to the park and listen to the “mixed tape” together.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt with little sticky notes about what you like about your date at each location.

Time

Make your date feel like the only man in the world by giving him uninterrupted quality time. Put your phone away and offer your undivided attention. If this is your beau’s love language, he prefers experiences over tangibles.

Date ideas:

  • Take in one of your college team’s sporting events together and give it your full attention. Cheer, eat a hot dog and laugh together. No texting!
  • Have a board game night.
  • Take a road trip together (this might be the ideal time to pop in that playlist you created).

Service

While the phrase “acts of service” may seem a little archaic, it really is just about being kind. What can you do to make her life easier?

Date ideas:

  • Cook her dinner. This includes going to the grocery store, setting the table and cleaning the dishes afterward.
  • Wash her car together. It may not initially seem like a fun date idea, but water, sponges, soap and your little lady could turn into the best water fight you’ve ever had.

Touch

Even if you’re not a touchy-feely kind of person, if your mate’s love language is physical touch then you have to find a way to show them affection. Whether you snuggle during a movie or take her hand while strolling through a farmer’s market, physical touch is free and can make a world of difference.

Date Ideas:

  • Dance together. You can hit the club to get funky or dim the lights and pop in some Frank Sinatra at home for romance.
  • Trade massages. Enough said.
  • Tour your city’s downtown hand-in-hand.

Gifts

Even though you are trying to save money, it might be necessary to show your affection with gifts. They don’t have to be fancy, expensive gifts; it’s the gesture alone that counts. Be thoughtful in your efforts and give gifts that align with your partner’s interests.

Date ideas:

  • Go to the farmer’s market and buy her that organic honey she’s been raving about.
  • Gift her a date night like a cooking class or a paint and wine night.

No matter what you are doing together that night, begin her day with a special flower delivery to let her know you are excited and thinking of her. A reasonably priced floral arrangement catered to her flower preference is always a safe bet.

Save money when dating in college by using your partner’s love language for a guaranteed good time.

Posted in Financial Literacy0 Comments

Why Building Credit in College is Crucial

Why Building Credit in College is Crucial

poorcreditscoreIf you are planning to head off to college, then last thing on your mind right now is your credit score. While you may have tucked your thoughts about credit into the back of your mind, it is time that you bring those thoughts back into focus because it is important to build your credit while you are away at college.

You may be thinking right now that you can’t possibly understand why you should build your credit now, as you will have years to do it after graduation. Thinking like this can actually set you up for failure in the future. Below, we will go over some of the reason why you need to build your credit now.

It Will Teach You to Budget

One reason you should work on building your credit in college is because it will also teach you to budget. When you have a credit card, you will quickly learn that you cannot spend money simply because you are allowed to. In fact, if you do this, you will actually damage your credit score if you cannot pay the money back.

Some students enjoy having a secured credit card in their possession because it does allow them to build their credit without the worry of going negative or falling into debt from using the card.

If you want to build your credit, you should start out with one card and then add a second one later on. To limit your spending even further, choose a credit card that is store specific, that way, you won’t be tempted to use it elsewhere.

You Can Apply for a Mortgage or Auto Loan

While you are probably not thinking about buying a home or vehicle right now, you will want to at some point and having a solid credit score will help you. As you work your way through college, you should be building your credit now to secure your future.

If you ruin your credit score, it is hard to get it back and will take a lot of work to do so. In fact, many people who ruin their credit score too much will find that they are unable to receive approval for anything they apply for. Having items such as a charge off on your credit report can bring your credit score down considerably.

Therefore, if you work hard to build your credit now, it will pay you back in the end when you are ready to purchase your dream home or car.

You Can Apply for Student Loan Refinancing When the Time Comes

Later on down the road you may find that you want to apply for student loan refinancing and to do so, you need to have good credit. In fact, a financial lender will not approve your application if you have a poor credit score and a bad credit history.

Student loan refinancing is beneficial when you want a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment. If you find that you are having trouble affording your student loan payments, refinancing is an option in most cases.

How to Build Your Credit

Now that we have talked about WHY you should build your credit, you are probably wondering HOW to do it. Let’s go over some ways.

Use That Card

Above we talked about how you should use a credit card to budget for yourself. This is a great idea, but you should never just have an open account and not use it at all. To help you build your credit, take something that you do on a monthly basis and use your credit card to purchase it, then pay it off. Since you are already used to paying for this item or activity, you can use your card and then pay it off immediately without dipping into your savings account or into additional money.

Pay on Time

Always pay your bills on time. Never let one of your bills go late and if it happens to for one reason or another, pay it immediately. When you do not pay your bills, you ruin your credit score and it takes longer to build up your credit than it does to destroy it.

If you are getting ready to head off to college, it is important that you focus on building up your credit to prepare yourself for the future.

Posted in Financial Literacy2 Comments

5 Ways To Make Extra Money In College

5 Ways To Make Extra Money In College

dogwalkerCollege costs were lower, once upon a time, and so working part time in the summer plus a small loan or two would get you through to graduation day. Now with college costs soaring and jobs scarcer, getting a diploma without getting into massive amounts of debt takes a whole lot of hustling.

Even if you’re getting a full ride thanks to scholarships or generous parents, it pays to make a little extra cash. Not only does it give you some walking around money for the weekends, but a side hustle also gives you a taste of what it’ll be like to bring home the bacon after graduation.

In the best case scenario, you find a way to turn a hobby or passion into a part-time profession that still gives you plenty of time to hit the books. But if that’s impossible, there are still plenty of ways to bring in extra money without sacrificing study time. Here are just some examples:

Put your writing and editing skills to use. Content marketing is big these days and there is plenty of work for freelance writers who can work fast. Fiverr and Craigslist can help you get started, though you may be able to drum up business on campus by helping people polish papers, too. This is flexible work that can be done anywhere, anytime – especially during semesters where you’re not doing a ton of writing for class.

Be a part time virtual assistant. A phone is all you need to make between $3 and $7 for quick tasks like calling to make appointments, doing light research, or finding the best prices on services and products. Sites like Fancy Hands are almost always looking for organized, friendly people to sign on as assistants, and it’s easy work that doesn’t require an hourly commitment.

Buy and sell online or IRL. If you have space to store goods, reselling on eBay or Amazon is an easy way to pick up some cash. This is a good option for students who have the patience and time to go grab free or low priced items locally to ship out nationwide or anyone who has the skills to refurbish old furniture or electronics. Another option specifically for those born with the persuasion gene is starting up a legit business with Amway or Mary Kay.

Do the boring things no one else wants to do. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a micro-task site that pays minute amounts for tasks that take seconds but the work tends to be uninteresting. Click Worker will hook you up with data entry and SEO work, and sites like UserTesting pay you to evaluate their clients’ websites. All three are good options for students stuck in work study jobs that involve a lot of sitting around.

Move stuff. Websites like Movers Corp let you sign up to be the muscle when businesses and individuals need a strong pair of biceps. The company provides the truck and the supplies; students (who set their own rates and availability) provide the manpower. It’s a solid option for anyone who has free time and a strong back.

Remember that having a side hustle during your university years won’t always be easy or fun, but the feeling of knowing you’re not going any deeper into debt is absolutely priceless.

Posted in Financial Literacy0 Comments

5 Great Ways Students Can Have an Active Social Life on a Budget

5 Great Ways Students Can Have an Active Social Life on a Budget

Group of friends at college campusAs a college student, chances are good that you have champagne taste and a beer budget. In other words, you want and deserve to do fun things during your spare time, but you’re not exactly rolling in dough to afford the nice dinners out, endless shopping sprees or even popcorn and tickets at the movies.

Fortunately, with a little creativity and a group of willing friends, it’s very possible to have an active and fun social life in college without breaking your budget. For example, check out these affordable ideas:

Check out semi-pro sports games

If you attend college in a major city, you might dream of attending a professional sports event. While the ticket prices for an NHL or MLB game may be more than you spent on books last semester, semi-pro games tend to be just as fun and way more affordable. Google your college town name and “semi-pro sports” and see what pops up.

If your college is in an area that hosts spring training baseball games, you can often purchase a general admission lawn ticket for very little money and watch the pros play a game from the comfort of a blanket.

Outdoor concerts

Some concert tickets may be affordable at first, but once you add in parking and a post-show meal it can get expensive quickly. Instead, check the local paper and watch for posters advertising outdoor concerts. Typically held in a park or amphitheater, outdoor concerts are often free or cost a few bucks for a ticket. You can usually bring snacks and beverages in plastic containers with you and enjoy a fun evening of music.

Host social gatherings at your place

While it can be fun to head out and hit the local bars, the tabs add up pretty quickly. Instead, host some parties at your place and encourage everyone to bring a favorite food or beverage to share. You can even up the cultural ante a bit and purchase high quality beer like some Guinness Nitro IPA for your gatherings.

Schedule a craft night or game night

Two great ways to socialize with other college students are to host a craft night or game night. If you are feeling crafty, check out Pinterest for ideas and invite several friends over to share a creative evening together. Crafts don’t have to be expensive—for a few bucks you can buy supplies to paint wooden ornaments or picture frames.

Game nights are also a budget friendly option. Check out thrift stores for gently-used copies of Monopoly or Clue, pop a few bags of microwave popcorn and stock up on soda when it’s on sale.

Explore your college town

Google “things to do in (name of your town)” and you might be amazed at how many free or cheap events are coming up. You might find spring carnivals that are open to the public, art museums that offer free admission for college students, farmer’s markets where you can purchase inexpensive fresh produce, or even a planetarium that offers shows for a few bucks. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on what’s happening on campus, it can be easy to miss some amazing cheap events that are within biking or driving distance.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Financial Literacy0 Comments

Advert