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Investing

How Can a College Student Invest? Easy Tips

In my opinion college students are the best investors. They are constantly learning and not afraid to make mistakes. As you get a college education, you should be getting an education in building wealth. You don’t need tons of capital to start your investing journey: you just have to know how to do it.

This article will focus on the most popular option for college investors: online investing. If you are wondering how can a college student invest here are some tips to get you started.
If you want to get started investing the process is so much easier than you think. Great guide for beginners!

How Can a College Student Invest Starting with Stocks?

When you first start investing you will most likely want to start with stocks. The reason most first time investors start with stocks is that they are easy to relate to and they are widely discussed. You can start up a conversation about stocks with almost anyone and they should be able to voice at least an opinion. While some believe that there are certain best stocks for college students, I believe a general education on how to invest is important.

Establishing Your Online Investment Portfolio

According to financial experts, college investors have a significant advantage over other types of investors. They have time – lots of it. Considering the amazing powers of compound interest (i.e. a type of interest that earns additional interest), we can say that time IS money.

Experienced investors state that even a small amount of money, if invested properly, can reap huge profits in the future. That means you really have to think about building your personal investment portfolio while you are still in college.

Here are the things you have to do to jumpstart your career as an investor:

  1. If you are beginning with small capital (e.g. $25 to $50), find a broker that will accept the small account. Then, you can increase your overall capital by investing more money on a regular basis.
  1. You should calculate the total amount of money you are willing to risk. As a college investor, you have to keep in mind that investment always involves risk. Your personality and available funds are two of the most important factors that determine your “risk tolerance.”
  1. If you like to take risks, the possibility of earning large profits probably outweighs your fears of losing money. If you are risk-averse, on the other hand, you have to perform serious calculations regarding the exact amount that you are willing to risk.
  1. There are savings vehicles that guarantee profits and offer minimal risks. Here are some examples: certificate of deposits, federal savings bonds, student savings accounts approved by the FDIC, etc. Yep, I’m talking about saving accounts, CDs and other bank saving products. In general, these financial instruments provide the best protection against risks. However, they also involve the lowest potential for getting large profits. If you will invest in these instruments, your earning potential will be severely limited.
  1. If you can shoulder more risk and invest your money for a longer time period, you may try investing your capital in mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs). These funds are composed of various securities such as bonds, stocks and commodities. Mutual fund corporations collect and manage the money of other people for investment purposes. Since these corporations employ financial experts, lots of college investors opt to put their money in mutual funds or ETFs.
  1. Prior to investing your hard-earned money in these mutual funds, you have to perform your own background research. Some mutual fund companies focus on particular industries (e.g. pharmaceutical, telecommunications, banking, etc.) while others use diversified portfolios (i.e. they make investments in different industries). You should research about the past performance of the company you will be investing on and the industries they work with. Remember: The past performance can in no way guarantee future results.

How Can a College Student Invest in Stocks?

As a college investor, once you become familiar with how the financial market works, you can start to invest in individual bonds or stocks. You can do this through the help of online brokerage firms. Individual investments, as the name implies, require the investor to personally manage all of the securities that he/she owns.

This might sound a bit scary.

However, there are lots of tools that you can use to simplify your investment decisions.

Almost all online brokerage firms provide their clients with reliable tools to monitor their investments. These days, lots of investment companies offer free accounts and minimal balance requirements. That means you can start your personal investment portfolio today.

You may think that investing is difficult or that it is hard to get started. That is not the case. Beginning your investing journey is as easy as opening an investing account. I used to have a few accounts with different brokers because I liked them for different reasons. Now I just have a few ETFs and stocks.

For example, I can buy stocks with an Ally Invest account. But I also like them because I can invest automatically without choosing stocks; you can open an account here with no minimum.

Lesson 1: What is a Stock?

A stock or a share, is an ownership interest in a business. A publicly traded business will use stocks, also called equity, to raise capital. As a stockholder, you own a piece of a business. You have the right to vote on certain changes, and you should be involved in the process. Figuring out what stocks to choose is the tough part. I remember when I made my first investments. I bought stocks based on what reporters were discussing on tv. And I lost horribly. After a few years, I learned how to research stocks and invest with the markets, not against them. I was a college student investing with extra cash and I enjoyed the process.

Lesson 2: How to REALLY Trade Stocks

Once you’ve placed a few trades and are confident in your abilities, it’s time to put some muscle behind your trades. You can beat the stock market if you make the choice to research your trades and take the time to follow the markets carefully.

Lesson 2b: Technical Analysis vs. Fundamental Analysis

This is where you have to do your homework and it’s really not that hard. Fundamental analysis is looking at the story behind the price changes whereas technical analysis is looking at the previous price changes to determine a future.

4 Tips for College Students Who Want to Invest

The following tips are recommended by financial experts. You should consider these before or while investing your money in the markets.

  1. Learn as much as you can – You can acquire investing knowledge and techniques just by reading reliable investing books and articles. The pieces of information you can gain from these resources can help you become a successful investor.
  2. Eliminate high interest debts – Debts (especially those with high interest rates) should be paid off first before making any investment. Risking your money in investments while having high interest loans can greatly worsen your financial condition.
  3. Select a brokerage firm – If you really want to make investments, you have to create a brokerage account. You have two options here: online firms and traditional firms. Online brokerage firms offer easy and computerized investment systems. However, traditional firms may provide personal advice and services.
  4. Diversify your portfolio – Investing all of your funds in a single company can result in financial disaster. Consider putting your money in various industries and investment vehicles. This strategy is called “portfolio diversification.” Even if you think an investment is a “sure thing” never put all of your eggs in one basket. A diversified portfolio is recommended.

6 Fears That Prevent You From Investing

It’s hopefully no secret that investing is the way to build wealth. Stock piling your money in a savings account won’t help you become a millionaire, or even help you achieve your financial goals. Unfortunately, there are a lot of concerns and excuses that young professionals like to throw around that keep them from investing. I hope to dispel a couple of them in this post and to help motivate you to look at investing!

1) Investing is for rich people.

How do you think most of those people got rich? Not by sitting around and working their 9-5 job! It only takes a little bit of money to get into investing, and anyone can start trading stocks online!

2) I just don’t have enough money to make it worthwhile.

It’s the principle of the matter; if you can learn to make a little bit of money, you can learn to make a lot of money!

3) I just don’t have time.

Let’s face it; what young professional does? The fact is, if you don’t purposefully make time for your finances, they’ll easily slip out of control for you. It actually doesn’t take all that much time to research and invest your money, plus there are now more and more affordable services online (Ally Invest, Learnvest) for you to pay a nominal fee to have your money invested.

4) There are too many options out there to invest in.

Well, you’ve gotta start somewhere. Try picking one good mutual fund or an index fund. This is a quick way to diversify your money and lessens the risk of just picking one stock.

5) I’m afraid I’ll lose my money.

That’s a fair point. Firstly, never put more money in than you could see decline. You should always keep an emergency fund as well as a nice pile of cash in the bank before you start investing. Secondly; no risk, no reward. You have to be willing to take a risk with your money in order to get the reward of actually making money. Thirdly; start small and safe with your investing. Don’t go investing in high tech companies that you don’t even understand their business model. Although you won’t ever eliminate the risk, you can certainly learn to mitigate it.

6) I already have a retirement fund, why should I invest more money?

Firstly, good for you for having a retirement fund! Take a look at your savings account right now, how much interest is it paying? I’d be surprised if you said more than 1%. Inflation in 2013 here in the US was 1.5% last year. That means that your money essentially lost some of its value just sitting in the bank.

Although you shouldn’t go out and invest all of your money in the market, investing more than $0 would be a good start.

By investing early, you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy years of compounding interest and will see you total net worth grow!

How did you start investing?

Originally posted 2019-04-20 08:00:27.

Categories
Investing

Review of Betterment How to Invest the Easy Way

This post includes links to Betterment, a trusted partner. If you choose to open an account, we receive compensation as an affiliate. View our full disclosures here.

Let’s face it, most people are lazy… including me and possibly you.

Yeah, we work at what is interesting to us, but otherwise, we’d rather keep things simple.

Here at Young Finances I’ve been trying to teach how to research stocks, build a portfolio and invest for retirement, but some people just hate finance.

And many Americans invest too little.

An Easy Way to Invest

Fortunately, I recently stumbled across a simple way to invest.

It’s called Betterment.com. Betterment.com was founded in 2008 as a simpler, smarter, safer way to invest.

The CEO and Founder John Stein said “I created Betterment because after years working in financial services I was amazed that no one made saving and investing money as simple as it ought to be.”.

How Does Betterment.com Work?

When you open an account at Betterment.com, you can deposit or set up recurring deposits from a checking or savings account.

Then the folks at Betterment will invest on your behalf into ETFs based on your portfolio allocation. Portfolio allocation just means where you want your money to go.

There are two options, stocks and bonds.

You don’t have to do any research or constant monitoring of your portfolio. They manage everything for you.

The only thing you have to do is decide whether you want a low risk portfolio or high return.

What Does it Cost?

I think this is my favorite feature of Betterment.

There are no hidden costs, fees, or minimum balances.

They simply charge a small percentage of funds under management. If you are familiar with hedge funds, you know that they may charge 2% and 20% fees for funds under management and performance.

Betterment.com charges anywhere from 0.25% to 0.40% based on how much you have deposited.

This fee covers everything. At most that’s 40 cents a year for every 100 dollars deposited and there is no minimum balance for a trading account.

Trading in a traditional brokerage account, even if you only made one trade a year, would cost you at least 5 bucks.

Is it Safe?

Betterment LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC.

They have to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission and maintain fair dealings within the rules of the SEC.

Remember that it is an investment account not a savings account so your funds are not protected by FDIC insurance.

However, your investments are protected with SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) just like with any broker-dealer.

And Betterment.com has a systems and security team that works around the clock to protect your account from fraud or malicious activity. If you already have an account that you actively trade stocks in, then this is a great way for you to supercharge your long-term savings.

A good way to use this account is to set up automatic transfers each month.

Making investing automatic and inexpensive will allow you to keep more money in your pocket.

You could use Betterment for a travel fund. The same money that you would likely have sitting in a savings account earning a risk-free rate of pennies a day, could instead automatically invest.

I am no stranger to risk, so I would prefer have the opportunity to earn more for my money. But everyone is different, so choose what works best for you.

Remember that you can withdraw funds at anytime without fees, so it will give you flexibility as well.

Have you tried Betterment.com yet? Click here to open an account today!


Review of Betterment Easy Investing Account

5
LaTisha Styles
September 2018
“Easy way for young adults to invest in 5 minutes…”
“The Betterment brokerage account is an easy way to immediately build a diverse portfolio. Young adults can open an account in 5 minutes.”

Originally posted 2019-04-14 06:00:59.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

How to Fix Bad Credit?

Wondering how to fix my credit myself? Or how to fix bad credit? There’s no doubt that living in the modern world requires credit. Yes, you can live without a credit card and survive on cash or cashback debit cards.

I know because I did it for over two years as I paid off credit card debt. But what I really wanted to do was improve my credit score immediately.

However, when you are ready to buy a house, you’ll need to get your credit straightened out. In this post I’ll discuss getting a credit repair service as well as what steps you need to take if you decide you want to fix your credit score yourself. You might even be able to fix your credit in just 6 months.

These steps are so easy. Perfect guide for do it yourself credit repair.

Related articles from our approved partners:

  • Three Tips to Get Approved for Better Loans at Better Rates
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  • Save $50 off Credit Repair Service

How Can I Fix Bad Credit Myself? – 6 MonthCredit Repair Guide

First, watch this video from my friend Dominique over at Your Finances Simplified. He’s going to tell you exactly how to fix your credit.

Watched the video? Good.
Feeling overwhelmed at the next steps?
Yep. I understand.
Let’s take this step by step.

Take a deep breath. People think that having bad credit is the worse thing that can happen. But just calm down. You are taking the first steps which puts you on the right track.

Remember, it’s just money.

No one is going to die. Take control and get back in the driver’s seat!

Fix 1: Check Bad Credit

The first thing you’ll need is your creditor information. Get the most recent credit card statements, loan balances, and installment loan reports along with addresses and phone numbers. I recommend printing everything old-school style. It’s going to come in handy later.

Fix 2: Get a Free Credit Report

Then, take a second to get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Each year you are able to pull your credit report for free from the three providers Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Optional: Get Your Free Credit Score

You can check an approximation of your credit score for free at Credit Sesame one of our approved partners, but if you are trying to fix your credit, you probably already know your credit score looks a little like this….

bad credit personified

But that’s ok. We’re going to put you on the good foot.

Fix 3: Review your credit report for errors (highlight each error).

You’re getting ready to take charge and stop being a victim. Most people don’t even realize what they could get removed from their credit just because of errors.

What should you look for?

Wait a minute. So, you’re telling me you didn’t watch the video above?

Scroll back up for me right quick and you’ll find out exactly what you should look for.

Or keep reading…

Dispute incorrect names, addresses, SSN, and date of birth via the certified mail.

You will need supporting documentation and letters. You will have to write a dispute letter and include the specifics of the inaccuracies. You want to dispute inaccurate, erroneous, outdated, misleading, and unverifiable information in your credit reports.

Tired of being harassed by your creditors? Maybe you’d prefer that someone else handle all of this for you?

In that case, you might was to work with a credit repair company to improve your credit.

Are you ready to…

  • Remove bankruptcies to rebuild credit?
  • Permanently delete foreclosures and repossessions?
  • Erase debts that were in collection?
  • Completely get credit cards under control?
  • Get approved for loans?
  • Get the best financing on cars and homes?

In that case, check out our partner Lexington Law for more details on how they can help you clean up your credit report.

Finally, fixing your credit permanently also means creating good habits and getting out of debt.

How getting out of debt is like the MTV show, I Used to Be Fat.

I used to watch this TV show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat. The show documents young adults, usually high school seniors and high school graduates who want to lose weight before they start college. Each episode features a different teen. I absolutely LOVE this show. I like seeing the determination and perseverance of these kids, they are really focused on their goals. Most of them thought about quitting along the way but each one makes it to the end and they usually reach their goal.

I was thinking the other day about how the TV show is very similar to a battle with debt. When you’re in debt, it can feel like you’re carrying around a second person, experiencing frugal fatigue, or that you have a spare tire of bills around your waist. I know because I’m working on getting out of debt myself. I realized that there are 3 major points we can learn from the MTV show I Used to Be Fat when trying to take control of our debt.
debt

Improve Your Credit Step 1 – Give Yourself a Deadline

Before the teens even begin a weight loss program, their coach/personal trainer gives them a large tear off number calendar to place on their wall. It has the total number of days until their program completion date, and every day they rip off the next number.

It is a good idea, when you are paying off debt, to set a deadline for your debt-free date, like 6 months. Setting a deadline is a way of making your goal specific. Every time you look at that calendar or see that date it will push your brain consciously and subconsciously to make it to your ultimate goal, to reduce spending and get out of debt.

Improve Your Credit Step 2 – Check in Regularly with a Coach

Every week, the kids had a weigh in. Their personal trainer was making sure that they were on track with how much weight they were supposed to be losing at each stage in the process. Sometimes they were attempting to lose one pound a day! I never thought that was possible or healthy, but most of the teens actually accomplished it under the supervision of their coach.

If you really want to prioritize your goal of becoming debt free then you really have to give yourself check points. You can enlist the help of a friend or even a debt counselor to help you along the way. Having a good support system can make all the difference.

Improve Your Credit Step 3 – Get Rid of Old Habits and Create New Ones

When one of the teens was at a restaurant with her friends, she ordered a lean meal instead of the greasy french fries that her friends had. The personal trainer also taught her how to cook healthier meals so that she would be able to maintain her new lifestyle change.

Becoming debt-free is not a one-time goal. It has to be a lifestyle change. When I decided to start getting out of debt, I had to first evaluate why I was in debt in the first place. I had to eliminate my habit of impulse spending and replace that habit with a good habit. Now I impulse buy stocks and my portfolio loves it! It’s not easy to change a habit that took years to cultivate, but with a good support system, it is entirely possible.

Are you ready to make a change?

Some of you may be thinking, I’m still young, so why should I care about my credit score? Lots of people have debt and less than stellar credit, but they’re still enjoying a cushy lifestyle. As long as I’m able to buy the things that I want, why should I be concerned? The answer is simple. Life is easier when you have good credit.

Take a look at it this way. Landlords, employers, and lenders need to determine whether they can trust you, and they look at your credit score as an indicator of your financial reputation. You may not think credit affects you greatly, but it does. When you ruin your financial reputation (a.k.a. credit score), it will take you a long time to restore it.

Poor credit affects your ability to rent, buy a car, get a home loan, and even open up accounts. Creditors don’t want to work with people with bad credit because the risk of not getting paid is very high. How can they trust that you will pay them back if you haven’t even paid others? If you’ve already tarnished your credit, here are some tips to help you fix your credit score and reestablish your life.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 – Make Your Payments on Time

This may sound trivial, but we all know that money can be tight, and skipping payments on one bill can help pay for other expenses. But, timely payments are the biggest factor affecting your credit score. Keep a budget, and make sure you have sufficient funds to make your credit card and loan payments on time.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 – Consider Getting a Secured Credit Card

Obviously, it will be very hard to get a regular credit card if you have bad credit. If you don’t qualify for a credit card, you can get a secured card instead. This is when the bank gives you a credit line equal to the deposit you make. If used wisely, a secured card can help nurse your poor credit to better health.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 – Add an Installment Loan

You can improve your score quickly if you show that you can be responsible for both major kinds of credit: revolving (credit cards) and installment (mortgages, auto, student loans, etc.). If you don’t have an installment loan and feel you are ready to handle one, consider adding a small personal loan. Stay away from expensive finance companies and “teaser” deals, and use a company that reports the loan to all three credit bureaus.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 – Avoid the Minimum Payment Trap

Credit cards come with high interest rates. We all know how our $2,000 computer ended up costing $8,168 because we only made the minimum payments at 20% on our credit card. Ouch, that hurts! Keep constant payments on your credit card (and don’t run them up again) and your balances will drop.

Improve Your Credit Step 6 – Use Your Credit Cards Lightly and Check Your Limits

Even if you pay your bills on time and in full each month, having big balances can hurt your score. Try to limit charges to 30% or less of your card’s limit. Lenders typically like to see a big gap between how much you’re charging and your available credit limit.

Improve Your Credit Step 7 – Keep Old Credit Cards

Don’t close out old credit cards. The longer your credit history, the better. Leave the accounts open but once you pay them off, stop using them. Closed accounts tend to bring down your score.

Improve Your Credit Step 8 – Suspend Credit Inquiries

The more credit inquiries you have, the more your credit score drops. Fix your credit and wait a while before allowing your credit to be pulled again.

Improve Your Credit Step 9 – Get a Goodwill Adjustment

If you have been responsible about paying your credit cards on time, the lender may agree to erase a late payment from your credit history. For more troubled accounts, communicate with your lender about possible options to erase previous delinquencies. If the lender agrees, it will improve your overall record.

Improve Your Credit Step 10 – Check Your Credit Report for Errors

You can check your credit report without negative scoring (once per year, for free) with the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Make sure to look for any mistakes that could be hurting your score. If you see something wrong, make the effort to have it corrected.

Improve Your Credit Step 11 – Seek Professional Help

If you are overwhelmed with debt and don’t feel you can handle the problem on your own, consider working with a professional debt relief agent. They can help you explore your options and give you guidance on this post

It’s very easy to ruin your credit, but it takes time to build it back up. No matter how bad your credit is, you can take steps to make it better.

Sometimes we mishandle our budget, and we spend more than we should. (You know that you shouldn’t have bought that expensive flat screen TV). And, sometimes we end up in tough financial situations because of things beyond our control. Whether you have experienced job loss, illness, or another type of financial disruption, it’s important to know that you can turn things around.

It may not be easy, but step by step, you will be able to fix your financial situation. Just don’t delay facing the issue. The longer you wait, the harder it is for you to recover.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

7 Places to Find Money for College

College can be a big expense. Unless you have parents who saved for your tuition and agree to pay, you will likely have to figure out how to finance your college education yourself. If you get creative with your financing, you can minimize your need to borrow funds for college.

1) Complete the FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is your first step in looking for free money for college. Often, there are grant programs or scholarships that work in conjunction with this federal application. You may also be eligible for grants that you were not aware of. The FAFSA can help you automatically apply for these grants.

2) Win Scholarships via Alumni Clubs and Religious Organizations

Check for scholarships offered by alumni clubs or religious organizations that you or your parents belong to. I applied for a scholarship that was awarded by a club that my mother was a member of. It was a small scholarship of $500, but every little bit helps.

3) Apply for Grants via the Federal Government

One of the most popular places to get free money for college is the federal government. Yes, they supply funds for direct loan programs, but they also have grant programs. Grant money does not have to be repaid and can help you pay for tuition, fees and supplies.

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is awarded based on financial need. The grant is awarded to low­ income undergraduate students. In some cases, graduate students may qualify.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant

The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant is also awarded by the federal government based on need. Priority is given to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

4) Ask the College

You may qualify for a scholarship directly from the college you plan to attend. Often the college will have donors that provide scholarship money. At my college, completing the FAFSA was the first step in applying for these scholarships. Some scholarships require a short essay or demonstration of interest in a particular major.

5) Serve with AmeriCorps

Serving for 12 months in AmeriCorps will qualify you for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. This award may be used to pay education costs at eligible post­secondary educational institutions (including many technical schools and GI­-Bill approved educational programs), as well as to repay qualified student loans.

6) Qualify for the GI Bill

Serving your country will qualify you for the Montgomery GI Bill. You can also qualify for funds if you have a parent or spouse in the military with unused Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. These funds do have to be repaid and can be used for tuition, fees and supplies, as well as housing.

7) Try Professional Organizations

There are professional organizations that offer monetary awards if you demonstrate interest in a particular career path. For example, the American Marketing Association Foundation awards several scholarships, and the National Association of Black Journalists awards scholarships to foreign or American-born students pursuing careers in journalism.

There are many ways to secure free money for college. It will take a little effort but it is worth it. Take the time to research these ways to finance your college education and chase the degree you’ve been dreaming about.

Disclosure: This post was written as part of the University Of Phoenix Versus Program. I’m a compensated contributor, but the thoughts and ideas are my own.

Originally posted 2014-10-30 13:00:23.

Categories
Earn Extra Income

5 Businesses to Start in Your Dorm Room

When you’re in college, money can be extremely tight. Between paying for tuition, room & board, and your food, your cash flow can be in need of some tender love and care. While it may be a little difficult to find a job on or around campus, you can always start a business right there in your dorm room.

You don’t have to become the next Zuckerberg to get a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Resume Writing Service

I used to help my friends spruce up their resumes all the time, and I wish I would’ve charged for it! While the career center is there on campus, sometimes it’s easier to send it over to a friend.

Offer to organize someone’s resume for them, but make sure you maintain your integrity and encourage them to only put the truth on the document. Employers will always find out if the job candidate is lying. Your service can include resume creation, editing, or even submitting based on the type of jobs your clients are looking for.

Charge a reasonable price, as your clients are probably in the same boat as you cash wise.

Dinner Delivery

If you have a car on campus, you suddenly become the popular friend for those who don’t have one. You can be your campus’ Eat24 by offering a service to pick up and deliver food for people at your school.

It’s probably not going to make you rich, and you will have to take into account gas prices, but you can definitely make some extra money during midterms or finals when people are in desperate need of food and caffeine, but don’t want to leave that special spot in the library.

Website Designer

Hand in hand with the resume writing service, your school mates should be securing their online real estate by buying TheirName.com. Some people don’t know what to put on these sites, though, and that’s where you come in.

Even if you have just a bit of experience in content management systems like WordPress, you can set up a quick landing page with a copy of their resume and a brief bio. You can also expand your clientele by reaching out to local businesses around your school, and offering your services to them (especially if their website is in desperate need of improving).

Personal Trainer

You’ll have to step out the dorm room for this one, but if you have a passion for fitness and health, you can make some good money being the go-to personal trainer on campus.

The campus gym facilities may be free to students, but not everyone knows how to use the equipment, or has the motivation to go on a regular basis. You can charge per session, offer boot camp classes, meal planning sheets, and more.

It’s a good way to stay in shape yourself, and an excellent option for those who are studying kinesiology or another related major.

Tutoring

This is probably a no-brainer, but if you’re excelling in a subject that your classmates are struggling in, offer to tutor them. You can charge by the hour, and help them understand the material before the big test comes.

Students are always looking for some extra help, even outside of their professors’ office hours, and you can be the one to help them save their grade.

What are some other small businesses you can start on campus?

Originally posted 2014-10-17 06:00:07.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

3 Ways to Save Money on College Expenses

There is no doubt that college is a large expense. It requires an investment of time and money. However, your college studies don’t have to break the bank. Here are three simple ways to save money on college expenses.

Shorten Time in College

Decreasing the number of semesters that you are in college is one of the best ways to save money on college expenses. Take more classes each semester or quarter. If you can take just one extra class, that could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your college career.

If you are not able to take more classes, then choose to take classes during the summers or during mini­sessions. For example, my college offered courses during May­Mester. That is the two weeks between spring classes and fall classes. My brother’s college was set up a bit differently and he was able to take classes back-to-back in quarters.

Borrow Computer Time

These days, much of your coursework will be completed with some sort of online component. I remember a class where we met twice during the semester for a midterm and a final. The remaining class work had to be submitted via an online classroom. With that in mind, you should think about saving money on a desktop.

The most inexpensive way to complete online coursework is through your local public library. However, when the library closes, your access to the computer also ends. Look into inexpensive deals for laptops or desktops. An investment of 300 dollars is certainly worth it when you think about how it helps you to graduation!

Rent College Textbooks

On the first day of classes, the professor typically mentions the required course book. After I researched the price of the textbook, I almost popped a vein. Textbooks can be very expensive! However, I was able to cut costs by renting textbooks. There are many services that will allow you to rent a textbook for a fee. Then, when the semester is over, you simply return the book. You can also look into borrowing the textbook from a friend who has taken the course previously.

Learning to hack your expenses is an informal college class. It won’t be a grade listed on your transcripts, but you will certainly be tested on it in the real world. Figure out where you can trim expenses and make the most of your education dollar.

What about you? How did you hack your college expenses? Is there a suggestion that I missed?

Disclosure: This post was written as part of the University Of Phoenix Versus Program. I’m a compensated contributor, but the thoughts and ideas are my own.

Originally posted 2014-10-16 13:00:51.

Categories
Young Finances

The Hidden Expenses of Travel

The costs of travel – especially international travel – can be steep.

The last thing you need are hidden expenses, no matter how small, sneaking up on you. While $25 here and there may not seem like much, it can truly add up when you account for all the unanticipated costs of travel.

The next time you are planning a trip, be sure to include these hidden expenses of travel in your budget so as not to be blindsided by them.

Travel Insurance

If you’re traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance. While not typically required for a leisure vacation, protecting yourself against risk, such as sickness or injury, theft or damage to belongings and trip cancellation, will be crucial in the case of something detrimental.

Depending on the extent of the coverage you purchase, it can cost anywhere from $60 to $200+.

International Bank Charges

Every bank has different charges for international usage, so be sure to find the information for your bank. It’s a good idea to get a credit card that does not charge international fees for purchases.

But, some countries don’t take credit cards as often as the U.S. and you may need to use ATMs for cash. There is usually a percentage charge on the amount withdrawn from an ATM plus an international fee of around $5 per withdrawal, depending on the bank.

While not much, it can add up after repeated withdrawals.

Try pulling out as much cash in one withdrawal as possible.

Tip: Some banks, like Bank of America, have alliances with international banks and don’t charge fees. Call your bank to see if they partner with any international ATMs/banks that won’t charge you a fee for withdrawing cash.

Currency Exchange Rates

Another expense to account for when you travel internationally is the currency exchange rate. Where you travel will have a huge impact on how far your money will go. Be sure to thoroughly research your planned destinations and allow extra money for money exchange.

Also, currency exchange rates tend to fluctuate, so check the rate frequently and measure the expense of exchanging money to a new currency.

Deposits

Some of your activities while traveling may require a deposit.

While you’ll likely get this money back, it’s important to ensure that you have enough cash to cover these deposits when you partake in said activities. For example, riding scooters or jet skis will probably cost you a hefty deposit in case of damage.

If you rent a boat, you will probably have to pay a deposit. And, some accommodations may require a deposit in case of damage to the housing. These are just a few examples, but something to keep in mind wen planning your activities for your trip.

Baggage Charges

So you scored that great deal on the budget airline. But then they hit you with a multitude of charges. One of which being hold baggage charges. If you plan on checking a bag, it may be to your benefit to travel with a slightly better airline.

Budget airlines will charge you extra to check a bag.

If you can carry on your luggage, then you are probably okay. Just make sure you watch the weight of your bag on any airline as overweight luggage will get you hit with another extra charge.

Tip: Budget airlines will also charge for food and drinks, not give them to you for free. So bring items on board or be prepared to pay a very steep price for snacks and beverages.

Seat Reservation

Most airlines, not just budget airlines, will also charge you to choose your seat. On long international flights, it may to your benefit to reserve a seat in which you’d be more comfortable – and that might require absorbing the cost.

However, if you don’t mind your seat, or need to save a little bit of money, try to avoid this added expense.

Wi-Fi

In America, we have become accustomed to free wireless Internet anywhere we go. But that is not always the case in airports, hotels and other countries. You cannot always rely on access to free Wi-Fi.

However, Wi-Fi is a commodity and can be sacrificed to reduce those extra costs of travel. In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise to disconnect yourself from the online world.

But do keep in mind that Wi-Fi may not always be free and you may have to pay to use it.

Resort/Luxury Fees

A hidden expense of hotels may be that in addition to the nightly rate for the room, you must also pay a mandatory “resort fee.” This usually compensates for usage of things like the pool, fitness room or any other amenities.

To my knowledge, it’s not easy to get this fee waived, so you may be stuck with the additional fee when booking a hotel. To avoid it, try less common forms of accommodations such as hostels, Airbnb or couch surfing.

Towels/Linens

Like the mandatory resort fees at hotels, hostels may also have hidden expenses for which you should keep an eye out. In some areas, hostels will charge you an extra fee for towels or linens. It is likely in your best interest to bring you own.

Tip: Try a microfiber towel. They take up less space and dry quickly. Or check the details and reviews for the hostel before you book it to ensure you don’t get hit with an extra cost for linens.

Cell Phone Usage

Quite possibly one of the most aggravating hidden costs of travel are those that come from cell phone usage. It is aggravating because it’s possible to be getting charged for things without knowing it.

You must speak with your phone provider before going overseas to figure out how to turn off mobile data on your phone – otherwise you will get charged an outrageous rate per minute for international data roaming. In addition, text messages and phone calls may be quite expensive.

Only use your phone if you absolutely must.

Otherwise, check with your provider to see if there an international plan that you can purchase.

When traveling, especially internationally, it’s important to be as prepared as possible to ensure no financial surprises. Hopefully, this list of 10 hidden expenses will help you anticipate any additional costs you may incur whilst on a vacation.

There are many ways to maximize your budget and save money while traveling that can seriously offset any unexpected expenses you may have. Traveling cheaply became a skill of mine when I was studying abroad.

(No job meant my bank account only went down, never up.)

I made the most of what little spending money I had by using these awesome tools.

1) Couch Surfing

Couch surfing is an awesome lodging alternative. It’s almost always ridiculously cheap – and you get to stay with locals, which gives you a completely unique experience. And, don’t worry, it’s not always literal. People will rent out their spare bedrooms or apartments (not just their couches). So just plug in where you want to go and pick one!

From the website, “Couchsurfing is a global community of 9 million people in more than 120,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.”

2) Airbnb

Similar to couch surfing, this lodging option allows you to find apartments, homes, rooms, villas, or even castles to stay in. Locations are hosted by their owners and all bookings and payments are facilitated by Airbnb’s secure service. With over 800,000 listings worldwide in 190 countries, you’re bound to find something wherever you plan to travel.

3) Ride Share/Carpooling

Need to get somewhere cheap? There are tons of resources out there for ride sharing. It’s much cheaper than trains, planes or buses, and you may even make a few new friends! Here are just a few:

  • Carpooling Europe

Available in: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Greece, UK.

Available in the US.

Available in the US. Mobile app available.

  • Road Sharing

(I don’t know as much about this one, so if anyone has any experience let me know.)

4) Book a Travel Package

Booking your trip in a package can end up saving you lots of money… and headaches! Oftentimes, these packages will have all your accommodations, transportation and activities planned for you, so you can fully relax and enjoy your trip. No worrying about getting from one place to another or finding something to do.

If you’re under the age of 26, EF College Break has tons of really affordable trip packages for you.

I recently went on The Yacht Week, and I highly, highly recommend it for anyone who can stand being on a boat for 7 days.

There is a relatively new program called Camp No Counselors, which is basically an all-inclusive adult summer camp in a few cities in the states.

Also, be sure to check Groupon for any travel packages. (See this post for details).

5) Use Skyscanner

My favorite website for searching flights is Skyscanner. It compares prices and times from different airlines, allowing you to specify what you’re looking for to find the most cost-effective option. Plus, it allows you to be flexible with your dates to find out if flights on different days are cheaper. No matter where you’re flying, Skyscanner is a great tool.

These are only a few of the many resources out there to maximize your travel. I’m always looking for others! Have you used any other tools not named here? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally posted 2014-10-15 06:00:00.

Categories
Budgeting & Saving

Millennials & Money: Who does Gen Y Trust?

Picture this: you’re 26 years old and have just received the first significant bonus of your blossoming career. You’re trying to figure out how you might spend the money: should you travel or go on a shopping spree? Take in a weekend music festival with friends? On the other hand, you may be thinking about making a dent in the debt you’ve accumulated—or even considering putting a portion away to benefit your financial future. So, who can you turn to for solid financial advice?

According to Fidelity Investments’ first-ever Millennial Money Study, far too many Millennials (aka Gen Y, born 1980-1989) struggle to answer that question. When asked who they trust most for information on money matters, one third (33 percent) of Gen Y-ers identify their parents as the top choice, but almost one in four (23 percent) indicate they trust “no one” when it comes to advice about money, making it the second most common response. (Note: Watch a video of Millennials sharing their fears and tips on handling their finances.)

Looking for more information on managing your finances? After checking out the posts, videos, and resources offered here at YoungFinances.com, check out Fidelity’s MyMoney website. The web site has tools, videos and a wealth of resources targeted to people at the early stages of their investing lives, helping them tackle financial challenges and build plans for the future.

Millennials, do you really trust no one? Or are you just looking for a trustworthy institution?

Originally posted 2014-10-13 16:27:46.