College Savings

The 4 Best Time & Money Savers for Busy College Students

Black Students and Care Packages

(Photo Credit: NWI Times)

Managing classes, exams and special projects makes it difficult to find any “me” time, and according to a recent survey conducted by Citi Group and Seventeen Magazine, almost four out of five college students work while attending school, making personal time just about impossible.  Save time and money by taking advantage of the following four resources—you don’t have to go off-campus for these services, and they’ll help you get it all done with some down time to spare.

Wellness Around the Clock

Studying for finals might seem more important than tending to a cold, but sometimes you need to receive input from a medical professional.  If you get sick but aren’t sure if you should take time off from classes to see a doctor, schedule a consultation with an online healthcare provider at MeMD. You’ll get high-quality, affordable healthcare from a board-certified doctor right from your mobile device.

A Workout You Can Do Anywhere (and It’s Free)

College involves a significant amount of time sitting: you sit through lectures, sit to study and sit to type papers.  If you don’t have the funds to join a gym or the time to spend working out at one, download the free Tabata Timer app.  In Tabata training, you do 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by a 10-second break for four-minute increments.  The routine, commonly referred to as high-intensity interval training, offers optimal results when performed three to four times throughout the day or over the course of 20 minutes, according to the American Council on Exercise.  You can easily set the timer from anywhere, bust out the moves and be back to studying in less than 10 minutes.

Join a CSA

If money is tight, you probably already do your own grocery shopping instead of eating out.  Join a Community-supported Agriculture (CSA) to save even more on food.  In this system, consumers buy seasonal, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and often meat and fish directly from a farmer.  Boxes are delivered on a bi-weekly basis, and many CSAs deliver right to college campuses.  Not only does this type of service support a well-rounded diet with just-picked produce, it conserves time and money; no driving to the store every week.  Split a box with your roommates or neighbors to save even more.

Tell Your Family What You Need

If your grandmother and aunt send you random assortments of cakes and knitted sweaters, tell them what you really need the next time they ask.  Supplies such as reusable water bottles, lotion, shampoo, snacks and other personal care items add up.  A subscription care-package service such as PijonBox is a cool way for your family to help you get the supplies you need sent right to your door every month.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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College is Expensive So Cut Costs and Save More

College Expenses

(Photo Credit: Original People)

Nearly 20 million Americans attend college each year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Of that number, 60% borrow money to cover the costs.  Footing the bill for a higher education can be daunting, and the last thing you need to be worrying about while blazing your career path is how to fund the next four years.  This piece offers some fairly painless ways you can cut costs and earn extra money while remaining on top of your already overflowing to-do list.

Start a Business

Starting your own business can help you manage costs while you’re in school and if done well, could even become your full-time career.  A funding site like Kickstarter can help generate interest and funding for your product without having to go door to door peddling your wares.  To date, the site has helped fund 55,000 creative projects with $950 million in pledges.  Therefore, depending on your craft, you can obtain substantial support to finance your venture while keeping ownership over your creativity.

You can also secure funding for your business through other means.  Look for assets you can liquidate. For example, if you receive regular structured settlement payments, you may be able to sell your future payments for a lump sum of cash now.  You could then use the money to build capital toward your enterprise.  You can learn more about selling your future payments at J.G. Wentworth’s Facebook page.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

CNN reported in June of 2013 that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, but financial analysts recommend everyone build a six-month cushion of savings.  A budget will aid you in saving for your future.

Start by calculating all your expenditures for a month.  Once you’re aware of what you spend, you can resolve where you can cut costs.  For example, instead of indulging in eating dinner at restaurants every Friday, consider having more candlelight dinners at home with tasty appetizers.  Use a budgeting app like Mint.com to help you track your spending.

Cut Costs

  • Instead of purchasing brand new textbooks, take advantage of used bookstores and e-books. Sell your books once the semester is finished.

  • For transportation, carpool, take the bus or subway or check out whether Zipcar services are available in your area.  Check if the Student Services office offers students who commute any options to reduce their gas bill.

  • Food costs can be tackled by thinking ahead.  Clip coupons, make shopping lists and stick to them—this way you won’t impulsively buy food you don’t need when you get to the store and blow your budget.  Thinking ahead will also help when you are deep in the throes of a cramming session the night before an exam and hunger rears its ugly head.  Instead of ordering takeout, you can rely on your well-stocked refrigerator for a perfect snack.

Begin to transform your spending habits to save money and become the fiscally conscious citizen you aspire to be.  In time, you will be able to spend more extravagantly, knowing you have a thriving savings to see you through the tougher times.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison