Saturday, December 1, 2012

Benefits to Credit Cards

Everyone has a different view about credit cards... probably because everyone has a different spending style. Some people know that they can handle credit cards and can use them wisely. Others can easily get excited and end up spending thousands of dollars in high interest fees.

Credit CardsI've used credit cards all throughout my college years. They have been wonderful! Spectacular even! I've probably earned close to one thousand dollars in rewards and not spent a penny in interest fees. As long as you get a credit card that gives you 2-5% cash back, you're basically going to get paid for the money you'd spend anyway. Now this is where it is easy to get carried away and justify spending money that you don't have in the bank. The best way to use this hunk of plastic is to pretend it's just a debit card on a month long delay. Make sure that you can pay off the total amount at the end of the month and you'll be on track to get your rewards without those pesky interest fees. 

Ok, ok, I have to confess that I don't always follow my advice to the letter. When money gets extremely tight I have been known to put purchases on credit cards without having that money in the bank. I don't recommend this! AND the only way I ever do this is when I can get a promotional offer for 0% interest over the course of a 1 or 2 year period. It is risky business, but it at least gives a cushion of time to pay off that account without paying any interest whatsoever.

So be smart. If you know that you can be a responsible spender and want to get a discount on all the everyday stuff you buy. I do recommend getting a credit card. However, if you know that you get carried away easily, then try to stick to cash or debit cards (at least until you find that you can handle a credit card.)

Finally Back!

I know it's been a long time, but I'm finally back to the blogging world. There will hopefully be much more content coming in the coming weeks and months.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Personal Finance Specialist - Dara Duguay

Here's a little video I found with some good tips on loans, credit card debt, and budgeting

I think that she's got some good common sense ideas about personal finance. What she said about learning finance from the school of hard knocks hits our problems right on the head. Most Americans don't learn how to manage their money in the proper arenas. I believe that we should be teaching kids about money at an early age, especially at home. Parents have every opportunity to discuss finances and budgeting with their kids, but often times they don't.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Graduating With NO Debt

The day finally came when I could walk out of my last final! All I could think about was, “is this real?” It was such a relief to know that I was done. That was two days ago and I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am to be graduating with zero debt and with money in the bank. I know that I’m blessed because when I look at the statistics they say that this does not usually happen.

I know that the odds are stacked against students. A 2008 study said that between 72% and 96% of students from private universities graduated with student loans! Only 62% graduated with debt from public universities. I’m not writing all this to toot my own horn, but to encourage you in the knowledge that it can be done! You can be that in that minority of students that graduates debt free, but you’ve got to concentrate and stay on track.

Hopefully the knowledge that it can be done will make you stronger and more determined to beat the system. Hope you enjoyed this little pep talk. Good luck in your studies!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Deals for College Students

If you are a college student, then you know how important it is to find great deals at the most ridiculously inexpensive prices ever. You know what I’m talking about… the ones where you go around bragging to your friends about the steal you just got.

Besides the tuition, the bills, and other living costs, it’s hard to find cool items at the right price, but one website has got your back. CollegeBudget is a site founded especially for college students. Every day it’s got a new steal of deal! You can find items ranging from jewelry to athletic apparel, and iPods to dresses. What’s great is that most items are at least half off their original prices! If that’s not a good deal, then I want to know where you’re shopping.

All you have to do us sign up with CollegeBudget and click on whichever deal fancies you. You will then get a coupon that is worth whatever the deal was for. You may be asking how this is possible. Can it really be true? Can such wonderful student discounts exist? It is true because companies are ok with giving out a few discounts for the publicity that CollegeBudget provides, and the new customers who are referred. It’s a win, win, win situation. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and check it out at the main CollegeBudget site or their Facebook page.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Should I Apply for Scholarships?

A lot of students are probably wondering if they should even bother going through the application process. I admit that it is a lot of work, but it does pay off. Scholarships can range anywhere from $200 to $20,000. If you think about it even the smaller awards are worth the trouble. When I applied for scholarships, I liked to think of the process like a job. I show up for work, put in the hours and then I get paid. Even if you spend 5 hours (which is a lot of time) on a $200 scholarship and win, this means that you were getting paid at $40 per hour! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a summer job that pays that well. Your chances of winning these small awards are pretty good too. Most people aim for the big bucks and tend to ignore the smaller ones. This leaves all the money for you!

You should definitely apply for the large scholarships too. I’m just saying that you should mix it up a little bit. Apply for all different amounts and you will probably get several of them. If you are going to go after the big fish, you should make sure that you match the requirements exactly and that your essay is great. Invest a little more time on the scholarships that are worth more and the ones you think you’ve got a good chance of winning. These are the awards that are really worth it.

If you are worried about the grades… don’t worry too much. There are lots of awards out there that are so specific that you may be the only one that fits the requirements. Focus on your ethnicity, your interests, your skills, and you will be able to find something. It is definitely helpful to know your heritage and where you come from because there is tons of money set aside for those who have a diverse background. If you are a young white male, then you will have to either get creative with your skills or really focus on the academics because there are no awards specifically for you. I know this because I searched… long and hard! There is always a scholarship that will fit you. All you’ve got to do is spend the time finding them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Balancing School with Life

This is for all of you workaholics out there, because life is not all about work! We humans need a little thing called rest if we want to keep our sanity and stay productive. I know a few people, myself included, who for a few years of their academic life went off the deep end. All assignments had to be perfect! All readings had to be completed! It was a little ridiculous (not to mention stressful). Sooner or later perfection is going to take up all of our time. School is not meant to be the end goal, it is supposed to be the beginning; a means to an end.

I hope you don’t take this the wrong way and drop all your books and fly to Mexico. That is not what I’m saying at all! What I want you to do is spend a reasonable amount of time on your studies, a reasonable amount of time on your job, and take the rest of the time and rest! Here are a few things that I think are beneficial to recharging those brain cells.
  •          Spend time with your family: They should be a great source of encouragement. Most people feel very comfortable around their family and are then able to relax. They don’t have to be anyone but themselves. Family members can also be great for bouncing ideas off of. If you’re stressed about school, then ask a family member, and they will more than likely have a good answer for you. This should be a no pressure situation.
  •          Spend time with friends: Friends are great for goofing off with and just plain old having fun. Try to get a group of friends together and just hang out or play a game.
  •          Be active: Staying active is actually extremely beneficial for your brain. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring either. You can always get your friends together for a game of basketball or soccer.
  •          Take summers off: I always tried to take the summers off from school. These extended breaks allow you to travel and simply take your mind off things. I’ve found that these times allow for multiple perspectives on school. It’s super refreshing!
  •          Sleep: This is the first thing that goes when we get too busy. But sleep is vital to our brain functions and a lack of it can mess up our day. Take it from a guy who has tried to start the day on less than three or four hours of sleep (on multiple occasions). It is not pretty.

Most of this stuff is pretty simple, and there are probably a million other things you can do to balance work with life. I think that spending quality time with people after a good night’s sleep is a good place to start.