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Scary Finance Terms Explained for Students – Infographic

Nearly 22 million students will be heading off to college this coming Fall semester and many admit to not knowing very much about personal finances. In an effort to try and help educate college-bound students about some financial terms that they may encounter, I am pleased to share the following infographic with you. In addition, if you are looking to increase your financial literacy acumen (and have some fun along the way), please don’t hesitate to visit Financial Football on

(click on picture to view in larger format)

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5 Tips to Securing Your Finances While In College

mediumpigCollege is typically the first time that young people get a real taste of adult life. For many, that means taking on a higher level of responsibility in different areas. Financial responsibility is one important lesson to be learned during this time. Keeping track of cards and cash, maintaining bank accounts, and protecting personal data are all major components of being smart when it comes to finances.

Lock Down Info on Laptops

Laptops are one of the most essential tools for any student today. While their primary purpose may be school related, they can also be an integral part of one’s personal life, as the Internet is used for so many different things. Managing bank accounts online is very common, but it is crucial to protect the information stored on sites at all times. Laptop theft is always a concern, especially when taking it to different places like the college library, to class, or to coffee shops and cafes. Never allow passwords to be auto-saved for banking websites so that thieves cannot access an account.

Keep Smartphones Safe

Smartphones are another item that people tend to carry with them frequently. In fact, most people do not leave home without their phone today. Using the Internet with a web browser on a smartphone provides a convenient way to keep tabs on accounts, but it also leaves personal info vulnerable. College students should avoid using public wireless networks that are not secure for data transmission. Turn on password security so that not just anyone can pick up the phone and use it.

Check In With Checking and Savings Accounts

Online banking has made it easier than ever for people to access their accounts and check transactions and balances quickly. Frequent monitoring of an account is a great way to catch any suspicious activity or fraudulent charges right away. Make it a point to log into accounts often and check up on the activity to ensure that it is all correct.

Many credit and debit cards/bank accounts offer customers to set up free alerts which will be sent via email. The alerts will let customers know when transactions have been made, or when suspicious activity has been detected on an account.

Change Passwords Often

Even when a person thinks that have a really strong password, there is always the risk that someone else can figure it out fairly quickly. It is important to change up passwords frequently. Aim for a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, when possible.

Leave Credit Cards at Home

Most people carry their debit and credit cards around in their wallets, but this puts the cards at a high risk of being lost or stolen. Once a credit card is stolen, a thief can wrack up charges in a matter of minutes. It can cause a big headache at best, and a loss of funds at worst.

Unless a college student is heading out with the intent of using a card to make purchases, it would be best to simply leave it at home or in the dorm in a safe, hidden spot. Hide cards away in a drawer or a secure safe with a lock when they are not needed. Just be sure to check up on them from time to time.

Financial responsibility is a lesson that cannot come too soon for young adults. Keep finances safe and secure by taking the right preventative steps and keeping tabs on accounts, cards, and personal electronic equipment. Being smart with bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards is the best way for a college student to protect their money.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offers financial security tips to students and aims to encourage further study with an NJIT Online Masters of Computer Science.

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What Every Graduate Should Know About Credit Cards

creditcardsFor the majority of graduates, college tends to be an amalgam of learning and personal discovery, however, there are some things that a graduate will discover cannot be learned from a book : money management.

Credit Cards for Students

For the most part, students will live alone or with a roommate, but some will live at home in order to save money. No matter where they live most students will need some money to purchase books and equipment. One of the easiest ways for a student to borrow money is by applying for a credit card; however, credit cards can lead to debt and other financial difficulties if they are not managed properly. Suzanne Boas of credit counseling group CredAbility says, “Every year, our credit counselors see young adults whose credit card bills got out of hand shortly after leaving home for college or a job. Many were charging without a plan on how to pay off their purchases.”

On the flip side, student credit cards can be handy for emergencies, and it is advisable to have one in case something needs to be paid for at short notice. There are a number of credit cards that are being targeted at students by  banks and financial institutions, and it can be quite confusing for a lot of students who are new to the credit card market.

Avoid Unnecessary Fees

One of the most important aspects of any credit card is be able to find one that does not charge an annual fee or a fee when you sign up. For the most part, credit card companies that charge an annual fee or sign up charge will try and tempt you with a gratuity such as free cinema tickets or similar; however, do not fall for this offer as this is just a ploy to get you to sign up and thus fall into the fee trap.

Get Something in Return

A lot of cards offer cash-back bonuses,  this works by giving you a percentage of your total spend back at the end of the month. The amount you receive depends on how much you spend, and is one way a credit card company will lure you into using your card on a regular basis. This is a good offer, so long as you are in a position to pay off the balance, in full, in order to avoid interest payments.

Aim to Find the Best Interest Rate That you can

One of the most important aspects to any credit card application is to make sure you are signing up for a credit card that has a low interest rate. The lower the interest rate, the more money you can save on annual interest payments, although, this does depend on how much money you owe on the card, and it’s always advisable to spend only what you can pay off at the end of the month. The interest rate is important, as is cash-back, but try to opt for one that has the lowest interest rate possible, regardless of cash back offers. In the long term a lower interest rate will save you more money. Interest rates on student cards are around 30% APR, but they do vary so it is best to shop around.

Over all, avoid cards that want to charge you an annual fee or fee to sign-up. Try to get a card that gives you cash back, but not if you can find one that has a very low interest rate, resulting in a better bang for your buck. Try to pay off the outstanding balance at the end of the month in order to avoid paying interest on your purchases.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from +Chris Mettler , a personal finance blogger.  His blog is where he shares his insights about credit cards and personal finance tips.


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5 Budget Saving Tips for the Frugal Student

statebudgetYou’re a student. You don’t know much about money – except that you don’t ever seem to have any. That’s OK, but you want to better manage the money you do have. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to save money as a student. It just takes a little ingenuity. Here are five ways you can save money right now:

Take Advantage of Your School’s Cafeteria

Most students shudder at school food, but the fact of the matter is that it’s cheap – at least compared to the other options out there. If you have a meal plan, then going out to eat doesn’t make much sense. If you’re the type of person who enjoys going out with friends, you might not be able to convince them to eat with you. That’s fine. Grab a quick bite to eat at school, then go out with your friends. You may not be hungry at all (thus saving you a lot of money) or you’ll spend much less wherever you go because you’re already pretty full.

Buy On Consignment

Consignment shops aren’t sexy, but they’re an easy way to save money. You can often find amazing deals – including clothes – for up to 70 percent off. Another idea is to hit up the Goodwill and Salvation Army outlets in the nicer neighborhoods.

Why the nice neighborhoods? Because it’s likely that the people in those neighborhoods made donations – and donations from people in nice neighborhoods means you might score some designer clothes for cheap.

Rent Textbooks and are excellent places worth checking out. You can get textbooks for deep discounts here. In fact, you might save up to 80 percent off. That’s a significant savings when you’re living on student loans or a part-time job.

Split The Cost of a Warehouse Membership

One of the best ways to save money while in college is to buy in bulk. The problem is that you might not need a gallon of mayonnaise or 25lbs of chicken breasts. However, if you pool your resources with your fellow roommates (or friends who aren’t your roommates), then you could end up savings a substantial amount of money on groceries and other necessary expenses.

This is especially nice if you don’t have a meal plan or don’t like the school’s food. Divvy up the cost of a membership at a warehouse club, and buy in bulk. Use coupons to get even greater discounts. Then, split up the bulk items between you and everyone else you’re sharing the membership with. You may be surprised at just how far you can stretch a dollar using this tactic.

Lock Up The Credit Cards

You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses in college. It’s tempting to whip out your credit card and start charging it up, but this is usually a recipe for disaster later on. You’re eventually going to have to pay that bill. A lot of times, college students are trying to have fun while going to school. There’s nothing wrong with that – but realize the simple fact that you don’t have a lot of money.

This is a time to hunker down, financially. You’ll have plenty of time to buy expensive gadgets and, while it might seem tempting to go out and party all weekend long, there’s a price tag that comes along with it. Is it really worth it? In most cases, no.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Gillian Kearney, a personal finance consultant. Her articles mainly appear on personal finance blogs where she shares her money saving tips. Visit Monkey for more money saving ideas.

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6 Ways to Get Through College Without Going Completely Broke

Young woman putting money into a piggy bankIf your full-time job is going to class everyday, chances are you don’t have much spare time for money making. Graduation comes with a price tag, but it doesn’t require a 20-year debt sentence. Avoid financial pitfalls and make college affordable by following these six tips:

Fill Out the FAFSA

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or about to start your junior year, fill out the FAFSA— the free application for federal student aid. Don’t let your economic background or the size of your parent’s paycheck keep you from applying, either. Different types of aid have different eligibility criteria, and most people are eligible for financial aid, according to Each year the U.S. Department of Education gives out more than $150 billion in grants, loans and work-study programs, according to Apply and see how much you can get to help offset college costs.

Work Odd Jobs

If you don’t have time for a part-time job or don’t want to sacrifice any sleep, study or social time for one, pick up odd jobs. Participate in studies put on by the psychology or biology department. Provide your tutoring skills to underclassmen. Apply for seasonal jobs around the holidays or when a big event is coming to town. To earn extra gas money each week, donate plasma at a government-regulated plasma collection center. Your donation goes toward helping diagnose and manufacture therapies for a range of diseases, plus you’ll pocket anywhere from $20 to $50 each visit.

Keep Track

Start small. For three months, track every purchase you make, from a pack of gum to fueling up at the pump. Either keep your receipts and plug them into a spreadsheet or download a budget app and update it every time you swipe your card. You don’t have to make any changes— just keep track of where you spend your money.

Cut Back

After a few months of tracking your spending habits, take a look at your record. Where do you spend most of your money? Do you see any patterns? Are you surprised? You may notice you spend a lot more on food than you expected, or that you’re consistently going over your minutes in your current cell phone plan. Stop eating out so much. Cut back on your texting or upgrade to a new package. You can get unlimited data from T-Mobile for about $50 a month. It’s even cheaper if you share a line with someone else. Now that you have an idea of how you spend your money, decide where you want to improve. Set goals and continue to track yourself.

Be Creative

Don’t rely on paid entertainment to keep you busy on weekends. Instead, get creative. Organize a bocce ball tournament and play on campus or at a local park. Host swimming parties and outdoor competitions at your apartment pool or on campus. Plan barbecues, scavenger hunts or play shoe golf instead of eating out, paying for movies or going to clubs. When traveling, stay in hostels or couch surf instead of paying for a hotel room. You’ll save money and impress people with your creative resourcefulness.

Pay Yourself

Every time you get any money— for your birthday, when you cash your paycheck, if you’re awarded a scholarship— pay yourself. Put some of it in a savings account and don’t touch it. Even if it’s just $10, it will start to add up.

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Fast Cash Ideas for the Perpetually Broke College Student

dogwalkerMaybe there is a big sorority party this weekend and you simply must have something new to wear.  Or maybe all the guys on your dorm floor are going camping and you need to pitch in for gas and supplies.  Or maybe you are in a constant state of need-more-money.

If any of these scenarios sound like you, you probably want to know about some fast cash options.  Not every college student is able to manage a part-time job.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to get a little – or a lot – of money fairly quickly.  And depending on your success level, some of these options could potentially turn into a part-time job – one where you are your own boss.

Be a Guinea Pig

All around you, there are people who are conducting research, analyzing cause and effect, and conducting experiments.  You are, after all, at a college!  Get in on that action.

Volunteer to be a study participant.  Ask your professor or advisor for possible contacts.  Check with the administrators in the psychology department.  See if your student services center has a listing of the studies going on around campus.  Check school job boards.

If all else fails, do a search for “paid medical studies.”  See if there are any medical companies or cosmetic developers in the area who need assistance.

Give of Yourself

Oh plasma donation, how I love you!  I survived my freshman year of college on plasma donation.  Twice a week, I plopped myself down in a chair and donated my plasma.  Afterwards, I was “compensated for my time” – $25 a pop!

Yes, you do have to submit to a (free) medical examination once a year.  And each time you donate, you have to answer certain health questions and get your finger pricked.  But then, for an uninterrupted hour and a half, you can study, read, watch TV, or sleep.

Plus, and maybe I should have mention this first, you can help save lives!  Check with to see if there is a donation center near you.

Share Your Talents

Right now, as your brain is getting a routine beating from your professors and finals week leaves you feeling like a failure, you may find it hard to believe you have any talents or skills worthy of sharing.

Fortunately, that just isn’t true!  You have lots of great skills.  And those skills can earn you money.  For example, you could…

  • Preform.  See if any of the local bars or restaurants are looking for live music.  Invite all your friends to come out and watch the show.  In addition to your pay check and a night with your buddies, you’ll probably get some free food and drinks out of the deal.
  • Give lessons.  You might have hated those piano lessons when you were a kid, but they will come in handy now.  Hang some posters around campus.  See how many students you can get to sign up.  Check with the dorms.  Many of the public rec rooms or parlors have pianos just sitting there.  Or, see if the school’s music department will let you “rent” a piano for a few hours.  Churches usually sit empty during the weekdays; see if you can borrow their quiet sanctuary a few times per week.
  • Tutor fellow students.  Once you have mastered a subject, turn around and help the next batch of suckers.  Check with the student services center.  There are usually tutoring opportunities available in just about every subject.
  • Converse with others.  Most colleges have a very large international population.  For these students, English is usually a second language.  Sign up to be a conversation partner.  Meet up with someone a few times a week and simply converse for an hour – help your partner practice his or her English.  It isn’t difficult, you’ll make some good money, and you’ll be helping a fellow student.  Again, check with your student services center.
  • Make and sell stuff.  If you are good with a sewing machine or knitting needles, you can probably make a small fortune selling stuff on Etsy.  Or, if you can swing a hammer, you’re in luck too.  Either way, find a craft project that appeals to the masses and then get to work.  My friend went back home for a weekend, used his dad’s woodworking shop, make 10 sets of cornhole boards, brought them back to the dorms and sold them all in the first week.  Every college student loves cornhole; boards were the perfect thing to make and sell for a profit.

Start Your Own Business

Freelancing is all the rage these days.  Basically, you can launch your own business and work for clients all over the world – right from your dorm room.

You can choose which projects you want to complete and when you want to work.  Why is this ideal for college students?  Try asking for the day off from a part-time job on the day of the big game.  Or, fight all the other college students employed at the same company for time off work during finals week.

If you are your own boss, you can simply say no to clients who want jobs done during those busy/I’d-rather-be-somewhere-else times.

Plus, as a freelancer, you can do just about anything.  If, for example, you have website design skills, you can easily find clients.  However, if your skill set is less technical, there is still something for you.  For example, apply for a job as a virtual assistant.  Work for any company from anywhere in the world; answering phone calls and sending emails can be done from anywhere.

What is the best part of freelancing?  You immediately have job opportunities after graduation.  I planned to work temporarily as a freelancer until I could find a “real” job.  But guess what.  I never did.  I loved freelancing so much I never even bothered to enter the 9-5 rat-race!

If you’re interested in launching a freelancing career, check out this article; it tells you everything you need to know.

What did you think of my fast cash ideas?  If you have any other suggestions, let us know.  Everyone has uttered the phrase, “I need more money;” help us all when we get in those financial binds.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Velasco. She was a poor college student who is now a well-off freelance writer.  During her years at university, she put many of these fast-cash options to work.  Perhaps her favorite idea is making and selling cornhole boards.  She now works for Custom Corntoss, a supplier of custom cornhole bags and boards.  On a daily basis, Jessica witnesses first-hand what a great money making idea cornhole is.

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Reducing Your Student Debt Through Frugal Living

financial_freedomWe all know that a college education does not come cheap, but the thought of having to pay back the national average of $26,600 after graduation is certainly daunting. When you take into consideration that you are about to find your first real job and start making your own way it the world it is a fairly frightening prospect that you will be starting your adult life with such a massive debt. However, with some careful choices while still at college and a frugal lifestyle after graduation you can reduce your student debts to something more manageable.

Curbing Your College Spending

They first step in reducing student debt begins while you are still at college. It is common for many students to accumulate large debts not just from tuition fees, but also from day to day living expenses such as groceries and text books – not to mention transport and entertainment. If you can start out with a frugal lifestyle you will be able to keep college debts to a minimum.

One of the main expenses for most students is the cost of textbooks and required texts. We have all heard stories of students spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks each semester, but there is another way! The first rule is never buy brand new books especially on popular courses. Check out places like Amazon and eBay, or ask around on campus for students who took the course last semester. This can help you to pick up textbooks at a fraction of the costs. If you are lucky you may even find one in the library.

Frugal shopping can also extend to other areas such as groceries, dorm room décor and clothing. There is a lot to be said for using thrift stores and seeking out sales and special offers both in stores and online. You might be amazed at home much you can save on shopping when you are careful about spending.

Staying Frugal After Graduation

After you graduate, no matter how frugal you have been during college it is likely that you will be carrying some sort of debt from student loans. In order to pay these off as quickly as possible you will want to make more than the minimum monthly repayment. However, your first job out of college may not pay particularly well so it can be difficult to free up the additional cash to do so.

With some frugal living you should be able to reduce your spending allowing you to top up the monthly repayments on your loan. Some of the things you will want to consider are budgeting all of your bills and expenses very carefully and sticking to that budget. Do not assume that you can give up shopping like a student immediately on graduating! You still need to look for those fantastic deals on groceries, clothes and more.

You can also save a great deal of money by making do with your current phone or computer. Do not upgrade these immediately. Keep hold of them until they are no longer functioning properly before replacing them. With the money you would have spent buying that new iPhone you can make an additional loan repayment.

Graduate bank accounts are another way to keep control over your finances. So many people assume that 0% interest overdrafts end when college does. Some banks continue to offer interest free overdrafts with graduate accounts which means you do not need to pay interest on your overdraft giving you some extra cash to work with.

It is fairly clear that with some frugal living both in college and after graduation it is possible to pay down your students debts a little bit faster and start enjoying life. If you feel that your student debts are unmanageable and frugality is not going to cut it, you can always look at other ways of managing your student loans, such as a debt consolidation loan. They key is to make sure that your start in life is not burdened by debt.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Hugh Tyzack. He is a specialist in no fee Guarantor loans. Hugh is the founder and managing director of GBP Loans limited. More details are available on his website, or you can catch up with him on Twitter (@GBPLoans)and Google+. Hugh enjoys playing the piano and listening to music when he is not writing about loans and financial matters.

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Looking to Cut College Costs? Here are 5 ways!

pigeducationmoneyWhether you are a student preparing yourself for college or a parent preparing their child, cost should not be the end-all cause for giving up on higher education altogether. Although the burgeoning costs of college can intimidate families, there are plenty of ways to cut back, save up, earn a little extra, and find additional funding to help cover expenses. In fact, a Sallie Mae survey from 2012 showed that college spending had gone down 5% in the past academic year, confirming that cutting back is possible. An investment in your education (or your child’s) is an investment in your (or their) future so make sure to take advantage of these reliable cost-cutting ways as you map out your financial plan for college.

1. Consider community college. Most students don’t know what they really want to pursue during their first two years. Instead of spending those “undeclared” years in an expensive university, consider taking up minor classes of general education at the local community college. It’s less expensive and will be very helpful for students still deciding on what course to major in. In addition to saving on the cost of pricey university courses, this can also help out with living expenses if the student decides to live with their parents during this period.

2. Apply for scholarships in your hometown. Though there are national scholarships available, applying for local ones may be easier since the pool of applicants is smaller. Consult the high school guidance counselor or check with the local university or college to see if such programs are available. Since the responsibility of finding scholarships falls largely on the family, as opposed to the common misconception of the guidance counselor, parents can help their kids by researching scholarship opportunities.

3. Seek out financial aid. A lot of families immediately assume that they won’t qualify, but you’ll never know if you never try. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is simple and easy. The student just has to submit the application annually before every school year starts. As a parent, you can help by reminding your student to fill this out each year. Since the FAFSA is linked to a lot of different educational assistance programs, there may be chance that an applicant can qualify for a scholarship or a work-study program.

4. Take advantage of student discounts. A lot of establishments near colleges and universities will offer discounts to students. Identify these places and see if you can get cheaper meals and school supplies. At many schools, these same perks can be enjoyed by alumni, so even after you graduate you can take advantage of these savings. Inquire at your school’s alumni association to see if they offer these rewards.

5. Try to get into a fast track option. There are accelerated programs that allow students to finish the curriculum in three instead of the usual four years. This may mean a more difficult workload, but at least it minimizes the cost of education significantly. If parents know that their child is diligent enough to handle this kind of increased academic responsibility, you should introduce them to this option.

Today’s guest article comes from the Student Financial Literacy team at



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