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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

 

This week’s installment of the Rich College Student series is probably a step that will have the biggest impact on being responsible with finances while in school. The best way to succeed is to come to college with the financial skills and knowledge already in practice. Unfortunately that isn’t as common as one might think. After reading Flexo’s post about this project and reading an article in the local newspaper, I decided to undergo the Green Panda Treehouse Challenge. (Alright, it’s not too original, but read on, it gets better.) I’m going through the pfblog.org’s Financial Literacy Challenge site.This week the money I save by not eating out for lunch will be donated to a charity listed on DonorsChoose.org. The Project I’m supporting is Future Philanthropists in Training. I can’t fulfill this class’s program by myself with my budget, but I want to give something towards a good cause. If you want to join me please go write ahead. If you have another worthy cause you’re saving up for, then by all means to do that. Leave a comment about what you plan to do with your money saved this week.piggy2.jpg

Photo Credit: vnysia

How does this program work? I’ll let the site explain:

DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.Fulfilling Student ProjectsDonorsChoose.org performs a good deal of work to ensure the integrity of its philanthropic marketplace. Here’s how it works:

  • 1. Public school teachers create student project proposals at DonorsChoose.org. This consists of writing a one page essay and listing the exact resource(s) needed.
  • 2. DonorsChoose.org volunteers screen each project proposal before posting to the website. Volunteers verify that the teacher and project meet our eligibility requirements, emailing follow-up questions to the teacher if anything is unclear.
  • 3. Concerned individuals fund the student projects of their choice-in whole or in part-and are emailed immediate email gift acknowledgments from DonorsChoose.org which can be used for tax deduction purposes.
  • 4. DonorsChoose.org emails the school principal, alerting him/her to the funded project.
  • 5. Within the next week, DonorsChoose.org forwards the donor an “e-thank-you” from the teacher, which notes the date by which the donor can expect his/her full feedback package.
  • 6. DonorsChoose.org purchases the student materials and ships items directly to the school along with a disposable camera, guidelines for preparing feedback packages, and a stamped envelope in which to enclose the feedback.
  • 7. Students experience the project that the donor made possible! The teacher photographs the students participating in the project and writes an impact letter to the donor. Students write their own thank-you notes. This feedback is then mailed to DonorsChoose.org headquarters.
  • 8. DonorsChoose.org develops the photos, and compiles the letter and thank-you notes. This feedback is mailed to the donor(s) who completed the project or made a partial contribution of $100 or more.

piggy1.jpg

Photo credit: NessieNoodle

Sometimes as we try to budget everything and save money however we can, we need a reminder that being generous with our resources (time, skills, money, etc) helps us live happier lives and help others as well.

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 I’m still continuing on my post on why learning a foreign language is beneficial.
The next question to ask is; which language do you choose?

There are so many ways to look at this question. The first step is to decide why you’re learning a foreign language. A person who is doing it to communicate with family is looking at it differently from one who is looking to increase their edge in business. Some things to consider when choosing a language are:

  1. Level of Difficulty
  2. How Popular is the Language
  3. Access to Native Speakers

asia.jpg

Photo Credit: nuomi

These are not definitive lists, but looking at some websites concerning languages, I noticed some came up more often than others. Please feel free to disagree and leave your thoughts.

If you’re new to learning a foreign language and want to pick something up that’s easier to learn, then you might want to consider some of these languages. (I recently realized that this site is sometimes translated into other languages, so I included English for our more global readers.)

Easiest Languages to Learn:

  1. Spanish
  2. Italian
  3. English
  4. Portuguese
  5. Hindi

This next category looked at languages from a business world perspective for those who are learning a foreign language to expand their career potential.

Most Popular Languages:

  1. English
  2. Mandarin Chinese
  3. Spanish
  4. Arabic
  5. Japanese

I found this site to have a really good guide to help choose what language to learn. The chart is very easy to understand and it helped me with my decision. I’m working on Italian right now. My reasons are because it’s relatively easy to learn and I love the way the language sounds when spoken. I would like to feel more like a global citizen. Do you speak more than one language? If so, when and how did you learn?

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your_image.jpgI noticed more visitors lately so I thought I might re-introduce myself out there. If you visited from Krystal’s site, I want to say thanks. If you don’t know who Krystal is then I highly recommend you visit her well-written blog Give Me Back My Five Bucks . I check that blog everyday.panda.jpgHello, I call myself online Green Panda. I’m a Business Management senior on the East Coast of the United States expecting to graduate December 2007. I’m working part-time as an intern in Operations Planning. I have recently married (not one year yet) and have one cat who is both sweet and evil.Some Random Facts:

  • I love Eggplant Parmesan and very few restaurants do it right.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing the new Bionic Woman. (I liked the cheesy old one too.)
  • I’m a Star Trek Voyager fan.
  • I have inconsistent handwriting. It has been known to change in one paragraph.
  • I own a VW Jetta that is a mess due to practically living in it during the week.
Credit: Gather Little By Little

While I have taken finance classes in college and am currently taking another one this semester, I’m not a professional financial adviser. I’m just someone who wants to develop good money habits now so don’t have to work hard later.This blog is part diary and part scrapbook of things that I have learned personally or from others experience. I love reading and this gives me an excuse to keep up to take with the latest. Many times you’ll see post based on seemingly random things. I had a post about legal consultations and another on financial aid. These post coexist on this blog because I have gone through it or am currently going through it. For a good example, look at the posts about our car shop nightmare.If people have any ideas or tips, I’d love to hear them. (Thank you Aaron, Julie, and Jorge!) If you like this site, please subscribe to my feed. Thanks for visiting and I hope to hear from you.

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walllet.jpgI’m continuing on the Rich College Student Series. After yesterday’s post, Jorge made a valid observation:Under ideal circumstances (you do get financial aid as in Part 1), this is a very smart idea. My opinion, however, is that it’s too much of an ideal situation. Quite a few college students don’t have the support from family and end up taking loans and working 20+ hours / week. FAFSA’s great if you’re in the lower income bracket, but as a middle class college student, FAFSA has done absolutely nothing for me in terms of grants or federal aid (with loans as an exception).He’s right that it is an idealized situation to stay at home while you attend college. If you are in that situation, consider yourself fortunate. As regards to FAFSA not being the end all of financial assistance, I also agree. As part of that post, I also included state grants, school scholarships, and scholarships that can be found on the web. The reason why FAFSA is important is that many grants that are need based do ask if you filed for FAFSA. Don’t just count on grants and scholarships, but by all means exhaust everything before you turn to loans. If you do have to take out a loan (which is very possible), please take the minimum amount you need.As for the budget yesterday, I wanted tostart off with something simple and work from there. Today, we’re looking at someone who works part-time (30 hours) and goes to school full-time (12 credits). To complete this I had to make some assumptions:

  • Rent was calculated on national average
  • Car insurance was based on national average
  • Roommate was included
  • Pay was calculated on a part-time worker at UPS (Jobs are national and available for college students)

Within this situation I did 2 quick budgets: having a car loan and not having a car loan. As you probably know that best situation is have you car completely paid off. However many student are going back to college and already have it. (I have a car loan myself and I wished someone drilled it to me the extra costs associated with it.)While working on the budgets, here are some of my notes:

  • Rent: You really need a roommate if you’re going to school fulltime and are working part-time. Roommate would also include spouse, relatives, etc. If you have more than one roommate and everyone gets along, that’s wonderful, as you save money and peace of mind. Please put the division of bills in writing. It’s a protection for both of you.
  • Transportation: Try living close to either your school or work, as it can lower insurance rates and gasoline. Public transportation is a good option if it is reliable and safe. If you have the ability to stay under your parents’ insurance, do so as it usually makes a big difference. Maintain good grades and you can save approximately 10%.
  • Utilities: Remember to keep with the necessities. Do you really need the premium package for cable? Do you even need cable? Find a roommate who shares your values. You don’t want somebody who makes a habit of wasting electricity and then expects you to help foot the bill.
  • Food: Learn to cook beyond macaroni and cheese. Cooking saves a lot of money when you go shopping at the grocery store and it makes leftovers taste better. Make sure you have a slow cooker as that can also save you time and money. Chili, lasagna, and stews are just some of the foods you can make with it.

Here’s what I came up with on the budget:Without a car loan:

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$ 901.62

$ 185.85

 

With a car loan (yikes!):

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Loan

$ 125.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$1,026.62

$ 60.85

Let me know what you think.

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lecture-hall.jpgCredit: Phillip CThis blog is directed mainly towards people who in my boat, working college students. As I’m working on finishing my last semester I’m looking for ways to help save money. Part I was about getting the most financial aid. This week’s topic is budgeting when you’re going to college. I found the hardest part was figuring some basic scenarios. I went back and forth dividing it up by part-time and full-time. Then I decided to break it down by single, married, or have kids (single and married).I’ll go over the first scenario which is living with your parents with the minimum amount of obligations. From there, I’ll look at more and more complicated situations. If you have any tips, suggestions, disagreements, or feedback, please leave a comment.

  • Pay ‘rent’. There are many students today who don’t pay for anything and receive money to support their spending habits. College is supposed to be a time of learning academic and life skills. A major part of life is to be able to support yourself. It also shows respect to your family who are supporting you financially while you make this long-term investment.
  • Save at least 15%. You’re at a very fortunate time in you life where bills are minimal. Take advantage of your situation and put at least 15% of your take home in a high yields savings account. A student working 20 hours making $6.50 and hour can save $1,681.95 in two years, before interest!
  • Use your own money for splurges. Don’t waste other peoples’ hard earned money. If you want something, earn t. It will give you the satisfaction of doing it on your own and build your self-esteem.
  • Think twice before getting a credit card. If you’re not able to completely support yourself, then getting a credit card can be a recipe for disaster. Many students will still go ahead and get a credit card, so my advice is to have a credit limit of no more $500. If they offer to raise your limit, ask them instead to lower your interest rate. That would be better for you. As you are well aware, pay the balance in full each month. Bad credit will haunt you long after graduation.

Here’s a sample monthly budget:

Income
Job

467.21

EXPENSES
Family

100

Groceries

100

Gas/fuel

137.7

Savings

93.44

431.14

36.07

It’s not complicated due to the relative freedom one has in this situation.

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J.D. from Get Rich Slowly did a review of two books about voluntary simplicity. The second book, Live Simple: Radical Tactics to Reduce the Clutter, Complexity, and Costs of Your Life: offered practical tips on how to do this realistically. J.D. recommended it, so I gave it a shot and started reading.livesimple.gifI was reading over the first section and I have to say that this e-book is fantastic. It opens up with wonderful real-life examples of people who are not in complete control of their time and place. I related to many of the scenarios John December presented. It’s very well organized and if you wanted a printed copy of the book, it’s only $4 in PDF format or $14 as a soft cover book. Readers who are comfortable using the site can get this valuable material for free. Please check out the ebook and let the author know if you benefited from it. I’m giving it a go this weekend and I’ll email him my results.

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lecture-hall.jpg Photo Credit: Phillip C

This blog is directed mainly towards people who in my boat, working college students. As I’m working on finishing my last semester, I was reflecting on some things that could help others in getting an education at an affordable rate. The most affordable rate I could think of was free. My goal with this post is to try and get you the information you need to find this money.

People don’t normally associate college students with being rich, but it is possible to have money saved while going to college. It takes some effort at first, but once you get into the habit, it’ll pay off in spades.

walllet.jpg

Photo Credit: Jeff Keen

  1. Apply for FAFSA early: As soon as you can, apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid in January. Use an estimate for your taxes when you initially fill it out. Once you get your tax return back, (or your parents’) sign in online and update the information. The earlier you do this the higher your chances of receiving more grants.
  2. Be aware of individual states’ deadlines for getting financial aid. Each state has a different deadline on getting grants from them. We’re talking about an extra hundred a semester to thousands of dollars. Remember you’re looking for grants, which mean you don’t have to pay them back.
  3. Apply for scholarships. Just because you’re getting money from the government doesn’t mean you can’t try to get some scholarships. FastWeb is a popular site that searches applicable scholarships for you. You should also check out the institution’s scholarships, which are usually based on need, merit, and/or major.
  4. Stay local. By staying in-state, you get much cheaper rates than out of state students. My university doubles the rate for a class for out of state students.
  5. Go to a community college first. In my area, the community college is close to the local universities. Many of the university professors teach at community college. You also save 40-60% on the price per credit!
  6. Maintain good grades. Most federal financial aid require a 2.0 GPA or higher to keep it. Don’t use that as a guideline; strive for a 3.0 or higher. It will help when you go to a 4year university and are looking at their scholarships.
  7. Consider work study as an option. This helps put cash on your pocket and the schedule is typically good for a college student. If you have dependents and going to college, this may not be an option, as the pay is usually $6-8/hour.  I would suggest looking at jobs from the career center.

Tomorrow Next Monday, I’ll look into how to budget on a college student’s budget and save money. I’ll do two basic ones:

  • A dependent student living at home
  • An independent student living on their own or have familial responsibilities

*Working on these budgets made me realize I was narrowing the field too much, it look I’ll have at least 5 sample budgets next Monday instead of just 2 budgets!

There are several articles great articles from other blogs that can help college students. Here’s a list of my favorite:

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