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Archive | October, 2016

Essentials for Commuting Students

Essentials for Commuting Students

CollegeStudentsNot every student moves into the dorms when they go away to college. Boarding in a dorm costs about an average of $10,389 a year so it’s no surprise that many college students choose to stay at home and commute to school. Although commuting to school has an advantage when it comes to saving money, it has its own challenges, like making sure you’ve packed everything you’ll need for the day, having enough gas to get to school, or, if using public transportation, that you’ve timed your schedule right. Such challenges are easy to overcome with these essentials for the commuting student:

Public Transportation Musts

If you’re commuting on public transportation, you’ll want to make sure you have your bus schedule, along with any transfers, timed out perfectly so you don’t end up late to class. Download a public transportation app, like Moovit, for real time status updates so you can make it to your bus, train, subway, or trolley on time. Moovit even sends service alerts to let you know if there’s a delay or other issue, great for avoiding getting stranded or missing an important class altogether. Taking public transportation to college isn’t all bad, in fact it has many benefits, like reduced fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions. Plus, commuting on public transportation provides college students a great opportunity to catch up on reading, assignments, and studying—just be sure to pack a pair of earphones to help block out noise of other commuters and traffic.

Car Essentials

If you’re driving yourself to school, there are some car essentials you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you don’t get stuck on the side of the road or hit crazy traffic. Keep a set of jumper cables, and learn how to use them, in your car in the event your battery dies and your car won’t start. It’s also a good idea to keep a set of spare keys in your backpack in case you lose a set or accidentally lock them in your car. You should also make sure you have a full tank of gas to last you the week so you don’t have to stop by the gas station (especially if you’re running late) on your way to school. You might want to consider keeping a prepaid gas card in your glove compartment for when you run out of money and gas at the same time. Download a traffic and navigation map, like WAZE, to look for alternate routes to school in case of road blocks or other traffic problems.

A Durable, Comfortable Backpack

When you commute, you have to have everything you need for the day with you since there’s no dorm to run back and forth to. Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to be prepared to lug around heavy text books all day. One of the best ways to tote all of your books around is to get a seriously durable backpack. You’ll also want to make sure the backpack is comfortable, after all, you don’t want to kill your back carrying your books from one end of campus to another. You can help prevent back pain by evenly distributing the load, wearing both straps, and wearing your backpack 2 inches above the waist. Finding a backpack that will take weight off your back such as the Comet pack by Osprey, will make your gear feel like a second skin. Find one that has back comfort and safety, as well as durability, and padded straps for added shoulder comfort—your back will thank you later!

What to Pack in Your Backpack

What you pack in your backpack might change day-to-day, depending on your class schedule or after school plans. Regardless of your schedule or plans, some things that always come in handy and are absolutely essential for commuting students are device chargers, a water bottle, and sunglasses. Since it can be hard to predict how long you’ll be on campus, you don’t want to get stuck with a dead laptop or smartphone. Bring a charger for all your devices so you can plug in at the school library or cafeteria, or bring a portable charger to power up your phone anywhere. Keep a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated and save money. Try the S’well water bottle to keep your drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. Whether you drive or take public transportation to school, sunglasses are a must. Be sure to keep a classic pair of sunglasses on hand to keep the sun out of your eyes when driving (the sun can be blinding), and for looking good when walking to your classes.

Enjoy the Commute

Some may argue that living on campus is better than commuting, but commuting provides something life on campus doesn’t—a reprieve from being at school. So enjoy the commute, make a playlist of your favorite songs and turn every car ride into a karaoke party for one, until you make it to graduation!

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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

  • 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

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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, 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.

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