Categories
Young Finances

75+ Back to College Items to Include on Your College Packing List

Photo Cred: HGTV

No one likes to think about back to school shopping this time of the year… because that usually signals the end of summer. (And no one ever wants summer to end!) But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and it’s time to head back to school. That means making sure you’ve got everything you need before you make the trek, however long, back to college.

Fortunately, we’ve got the ultimate back-to-college shopping list already put together for you! And, for those who are too busy or love to procrastinate, don’t forget to take advantage of Amazon Student. Amazon Student offers free two-day shipping on millions of items, plus exclusive deals and promotions, unlimited instant streaming of 40,000 movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, more than a million songs and hundreds of playlists with Prime Music, and free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. Students can sign up for a 6-month free trial, after that it’s a 50% discount off Amazon Prime.

For Your Dorm/Apartment

  • Bedding: Comforter & linens, mattress pad, pillows & pillowcases, bed risers (Walmart for $24)

bed risers

  • Area rug
  • Curtains & curtain rods (if needed)
  • Plastic shoe hangers
  • Shoe rack
  • Posters/Picture frames
  • Pop-up hamper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Clorox wipes
  • Glass cleaner
  • Plunger/toilet brush
  • Mini vacuum/Swiffer/Broom & dustpan
  • Mini fridge (if moving into a dorm)
  • Microwave (if permitted)
  • Cooking & kitchen utensils
  • Paper towels & plastic utensils, plates, & cups
  • Full-length mirror
  • Desk/floor lamp
  • Storage bins Stor-n-Slide Underbed Boxes (The Container Store: $13-17)

storage bin

  • Hangers
  • Bulletin board/dry-erase board
  • Coffeemaker
  • Blender (if permitted)
  • Toaster (if permitted)
  • Trash can
  • Iron & small ironing board
  • Tool kit with hammer, nails, screwdriver, etc.
  • Air freshener
  • Garbage bags
  • Jewelry organizer
  • 3M tape or adhesive strips

Personal Items

  • Toiletries: Shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, body wash, face wash, hair products (including hair ties, bobby pins, clips, etc.), hair tools (straightener, curling iron, etc.), makeup & remover, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss & mouthwash, shaving cream, sunscreen, cotton balls
  • Bathrobe

men's robe

  • Medication & First Aid Kit
  • Bathing suit
  • Overnight bag for short trips
  • Umbrella
  • Shower shoes
  • Towels & wash rags
  • Shower caddy
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach & stain remover
  • Sewing kit
  • All pertinent documents (insurance card, ID, passport, copy of birth certificate, etc.)
  • Food & snacks

School Supplies

  • Notebooks
  • Binders & dividers
  • Pens, pencils, permanent markers, highlighters, etc.
  • Post-its
  • Flash drive
  • Dictionary & thesaurus
  • Planner (Office Depot: $18)

college planner

  • Calculator
  • Backpack
  • Computer paper
  • Tape
  • Stapler & staples
  • Index cards
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors

Electronics

  • Extension cord
  • Speakers (including portable speaker)
  • Power strip
  • Ethernet cable
  • TV (with HDMI cord to hook up your laptop)
  • DVD player
  • Computer
  • Printer & ink
  • CameraNikon COOLPIX camera (Best Buy: $110)

nikon coolpix camera

  • Chargers (phone, camera, computer, etc.)
  • iPod & Headphones
  • Kindle/Nook

As daunting as packing can be, no one likes forgetting anything. Be sure to check off this list as you’re getting ready to go back to college.

Back-to-school shopping can be an expensive endeavor, too, so you may need to get creative to find the best deals. As I said before, Amazon Student is really convenient. Also, check the Internet and your local newspaper for coupons and sales. Every little bit counts! Dollar stores and places like Five Below tend to have kitchen, cleaning, and dorm necessities for really cheap, which makes them a great place to start. (I just bought an over-the-door shoe hanger from Five Below for <$5!) Just remember to hunt for the sales and not get carried away with the back-to-school shopping.

Anything else you would include on this college packing list?

Originally posted 2015-09-14 10:00:00.

Categories
Young Finances

6 Free (and Fun) Ideas for Family Activities

Sometimes keeping kids entertained is easier said than done. When you’re looking to bond with your family and have a great time together, expensive outings like vacations and trips to amusement parks may come to mind. However, these expensive trips aren’t necessary.

You don’t need to spend a Space Mountain-sized pile of cash to entertain the family. In some cases, you don’t need any money. Here are 6 easy ways to have free family fun this year:

Family Activity 1: Have a Game Night

If you want to have a fun night in the house, without spending money, try to have the occasional old school game night. Classic games like Monopoly, Candyland, Sorry! and Guess Who are extremely affordable when found at garage sales and thrift shops like Goodwill.

Pop some popcorn, bake something sweet and turn on Pandora as you split up into teams and begin game play. Enjoy the comforts of being at home. It will be a be a special bonding experience for your family.

[Tweet “Families who play together, stay together.”]

Family Activity 2: Go on a Nature Walk

Don’t let the summer season pass without going on a family nature walk. If you have any walking trails near your house, it would be a great idea to take advantage of them. Getting outside is great for everyone’s health – no matter the age. You can even get on bikes if you don’t feel like walking. Consider visiting a national or state park for more scenic views and some light hiking. State parks are usually free to enter, but the guided tours cost money so be mindful of that. Some state parks are huge. There’s so much to see. You could still have plenty of fun doing a self-guided tour. Consider taking along a library book about the park. Books often contain more information than any human guide could remember, anyway.

Family Activity 3: Check out Museum Free Days

Every city has museums that offer a few free admission days. Take advantage of these free admission days and plan a family outing. In my area, the art institute, aquarium, natural history museum, the children’s museum and the zoo all have free admission days. I try to make most of them. What’s important is to plan these money-saving days in advance. Consult your city’s Chamber of Commerce to find free event days.

Pack a lunch and head out early to beat the crowd when visiting your local museum on free admission day. Sometimes the lines can be longer than normal as more people will be visiting. But the key is to get out early and beat the rush. You can still have a great time, even with a few extra strangers around.

Family Activity 4: Have a Picnic at the Beach

Have any beaches near you? Man-made beaches often cost money to visit but natural beaches like the ones along lakes or the ocean are always free. The best part about these is they have long hours. A beach picnic can even turn into an all-day event. Pack a meal or two, bring your sunscreen and let you kids bring their buckets and shovels for a fun filled day at the beach.

When I visit the beach with my family, we always pack a cooler with drinks, sandwiches and snacks so we don’t have to purchase any of the expensive(!) food from the vendors. My son can play in sand for hours, so it’s always a relaxing outing that helps keep him entertained. I’d rather he dig in the sand than dig in my yard.

Family Activity 5: Visit the Library

The library is one of the best free resources in a community. It’s also a great free place to go hang out when it’s hot outside and you need to get cool. The library can be just as fun as a paid entertainment center would be for kids.

There are books and movies to rent. There are toys in the children’s area, computer games to play, story time events to attend and craft stations. Did I mention that all of this is free? It’s free. At your local library, you can always walk away without having to spend a dime.

Some libraries host events not just for kids, but ones that the whole family can enjoy. Grab a calendar from your local library and make sure you don’t miss any free events. Again, planning is important for taking advantage of free resources.

Family Activity 6: Go to the Fire Station

Your kids don’t have to wait for a school field trip to see a fire station! Visiting your neighborhood fire station tops the list of fun and free family activities. It can be a great learning experience for your kids and yourself as well. Give the fire station a call ahead of time and ask if you can have a brief tour of the station, look at the trucks and meet the firefighters. Sometimes fire stations offer group tours and other times you may get your very own private tour.

There are tons of free ways to enjoy family time!

What’s your favorite way to have free fun with your family?

Originally posted 2015-08-03 10:00:28.

Categories
Young Finances

Parents! Know This Before Borrowing Students Loans for Your Child

It’s almost time for the back to school discussions and families are gearing up to chat about one of the most important topics, money. As students get ready to enter college for the first time, the cost of tuition, books, and room and board is a concern for many parents and students. As a parent of a new college student, here are the top 4 things you should know about paying for college.

1. Discover the Options Available

When I graduated high school I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, but I knew that I wanted to go to college. My parents agreed. According to a recent study by Discover Student Loans 81% of adults with college age children feel that college is very important to their children’s future. The concrete data supports this emotion. The overall employment rate for those with a college education (72.5%) is higher than for those with only a high school diploma (54.6%). (Source)

Researching the available options is the first step to helping your child fund a college education. According to the Discover Student Loans survey, only 9% of parents say they can afford all of their child’s education. To cover the costs, you may need to look into financial aid and other borrowing options.

2. Understand Co-Sign versus Parent Loan

While it may be tempting to borrow the full cost of your child’s college education on your own, it’s important to understand the difference between co-signing a loan and borrowing a federal Parent PLUS loan.

An option from financial aid is a federal Parent PLUS loan. However, many people don’t realize there are limits to federal student loans. The limit to what you can borrow is determined by the school and factors in any other financial aid your child may receive.

To help your child with expenses, you can also co-sign a private student loan for your child. When you co-sign a loan, you agree to joint liability for the loan. While your child will be responsible for payments, you are guaranteeing that those payments will continue. Be sure that you are ready to take on full responsibility for the loan if your child cannot make payments. It is important to look for the right loan for your situation. In addition, search for loans that offer rewards for good grades, on-time payments, and zero fees.

3. Encourage Alternative Funding Options

Before you immediately reach for a student loan to cover all expenses, take the time to maximize grants, scholarships, and other free financial aid. I applied for scholarships and used those funds to offset the cost of college. There are also work-study programs to help with college costs. If your child is not eligible for work-study programs, consider suggesting a part time job to help with costs.

4. Help Your Child Research Majors

Choosing a major is just as important if not more important than choosing what college to attend. A study from CareerBuilder.com shows that one-third of college-educated workers do not work in occupations related to their degree. In order to make sure your child does not leave school with a degree they won’t use and will likely not appreciate, it’s important to research majors to find one that fits passions with desired lifestyle.

Watch this video to discover what college majors yield high paying salaries.

The decision to attend college is a large one and it comes with a subsequent conversation about how to pay for college. There are many options and it is important to research them fully. Check into financial aid, grants, scholarships, and finally look into private student loan options to help cover the costs. Making the decision is not easy but there is no doubt that a college degree is worth it. See more from the Discover Student Loan study by clicking here.

This post was created as a part of the Discover partnership program.

Originally posted 2015-07-30 10:00:05.

Categories
Young Finances

Why Getting the Latte Makes You Richer

Do you have a guilty pleasure that always seems to steal attention from your financial goals?

For many people, purchasing coffee each morning is becomes their ‘expensive’ habit. Coffee is more of a want than a need so it’s often looked down upon in the world of personal finance. Financial goals such as saving money, paying down debt, and investing should take precedence over morning coffee distractions. Or so most financial ‘gurus’ would have you believe.

But coffee only costs $2-$5, depending on where you get it and the size of your cup.

In his book, The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach writes about an idea called, The Latte Factor.

It’s based on the notion that small expenses, like purchasing a morning coffee, can add up over the course of a year. Let’s say you get a coffee each day before work. Most people work 280 days per year. Let’s round up and say your coffee costs $5 per cup. This will cover those ancillary purchases such as adding the occasional fresh scone to your order. Don’t forget to include tips as well. This daily coffee run is looking expensive, isn’t it? It is. At the end of the year, this one small habit would end up costing you $1,400 annually!

While most people don’t order a latte every work day, The Latte Factor suggests that the money you spend on coffee can be saved or put toward a financial goal to help you get ahead quicker.

At the surface, this sounds like a very insightful concept. However, I don’t buy it. The personal finance community teeters between those who agree that saving money by cutting small expenses is worth it and others who believe the real savings come from big wins. I call them the Money Makers and the Money Savers.

If coffee is your thing, I don’t think it’s realistic to just stop dead in your tracks and do away with it. I’m here to tell you to buy the darn latte if it makes you happy; it just might make you richer too.

Making Coffee at Home Doesn’t Save Much

Contrary to popular belief, making your own coffee at home each morning isn’t as cheap as it sounds. You have to purchase ground coffee or coffee beans, cream and sugar, a coffee maker (if you don’t have one already) and you also have to factor in the time it takes you to alter your morning routine. You must add ‘be a barista’ to your list of morning responsibilities.

Depending on the brand you buy, a cup of coffee costs $0.70 to $1.80 a cup to make at home. Saving just a few bucks on coffee is hardly worth the hassle, in my opinion.

You May Pick up Other Habits

If you force yourself to stop buying a morning coffee, odds are you will hunt for other ways to spend that extra coin. You may do so by swinging by McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich. Or you may grab store bought drinks as a morning pick-me-up. There’s a good chance you will still find a way to spend the money.

If made for you coffee helps with your productivity, it might not be the best decision to give it up. In order to get the most work done throughout the day, you need to be focused and work efficiently. I’m not saying go out and purchase a $10 espresso shot Mocha Cookie Frappuccino each morning, but if you feel you need or would perform better with a coffee, then by all means don’t beat yourself up about it!

[Tweet “Buying expensive coffee is worth it if it makes you more productive.”]

You can always pick up a drink during happy hour, use seasonal coupons or earn gift cards through Swagbucks to cut costs. When it comes to saving money and meeting your goals, there are bigger fish to fry.

Go after Big Wins

While the math behind The Latte Factor is sound, the concept is a little silly. Instead of focusing only on small details of your budget, try going after big wins. Cutting larger expenses will have a more profound impact on your budget.

Let’s touch on earning money for a moment. Getting a raise at work or increasing your income are big, life-changing wins. It’s important to balance out saving money with earning more and establishing new side hustles to improve your financial situation. Remember, the amount of money you earn can be limitless. Getting the made for you coffee can wake you up to those big financial wins.

Has cutting out lattes ever made a profound impact on your life?

 

Originally posted 2015-07-01 10:00:51.

Categories
Young Finances

The Ultimate Guide to Eliminate Your Student Loans, Without Paying!

Let’s be honest, paying back your student loans can be a stressful situation. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how or for what reason you’ve accumulated your massive student loan debts, you just know that you have a student loan balance that remains which you are reluctant to pay, especially if you’re caught in the student loan hoax.

The Student Loan Hoax

As soon as you left undergraduate school, you should have quickly found that the entire system of accruing “good debt” (i.e. student loans) in order to pay for a college degree that would allow you to find your dream job was a giant hoax. And now you’re stuck. According to an article written for the Washington Post, “only 27% of college graduates have jobs relating to their major.”

After leaving college, it seemed as though your student loan payments sneaked up on you. And it seemed as though your student loan payments became due even before accepting the HR department’s low-paying offer in your first job that was in no way related to your degree…if you were even lucky to find employment. There was no way that you were prepared to begin paying off your student loans under the standard student loan repayment plan.

But, hopefully by this point in your career you’ve cracked the code of this hoax. At the expense of having a massive load of student loan debt you have now learned that the only guarantee that comes from earning a college degree is the transfer of a piece of bond paper, from the University to you, that represents the culmination of what you should have received while at college—only an education. Contrary to popular belief, the job that you were told would be on the other side of the graduation stage was not there.

Now you’re angry, with good reason.

Instead of following your high school dreams of landing the job you’d love in a career field you’d enjoy, you’re now working as a barista in the local coffee shop waiting until the economy gets better so someone can recognize your valued knowledge for which you paid tens of thousands of dollars to receive. Though, the truth of the matter is no one but yourself is going to rescue you from paying off your student loans. So why not tack action and do it, but with a twist. Hack your way out of your student loans!

How to Hack out of your Student Loans

Even though you are angry, for the most part, your student loans are here to stay. However, the good news is that you don’t have to struggle your entire life paying them. In fact, I suggest you retaliate and pay the least amount you can on your student loan debt until you are eligible to have them forgiven. Rise up and fight against the student loan hoax by hacking your way out of repaying the full amount of your student loans!

If the system allows for it, why not take advantage of it? There will be people who suggest you take the “moral high ground” by paying every cent that you borrowed but I challenge you to ask those folks, “are you going to pay my loans for me?” If their answer is no, you can immediately ignore any and all future suggestions from them.

STEP 1: Know what type of Loan(s) You Have

Before you can employ any of the tactics below, you must know which of your loans, if any, are eligible for a student loan hack. To find out, go over to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLD) website, which is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid.

This information is important to know because some of the following programs cannot be implemented if your student loans are not federally funded.

Private student loans you may have received are not federal loans and are not included in the NSLDS.

STEP 2: Get Your Student Loan Payments Manageable and as Low As Possible

Deferment or Forbearance

If you’re having trouble seeking employment, consider Deferment or Forbearance. Or, if you have the opportunity to build a business while living with your parents or some friends, do it, since you’d be technically unemployed.

A deferment is a period during which repayment of the principal and interest of your loan is temporarily delayed. Depending on the type of loan you have, the federal government may pay the interest on your loan during this period.

If you can’t make your scheduled student loan payments, but don’t qualify for deferment, a forbearance may allow you to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months.

There is no sense of stressing out to find a job just so you can pay your student loans if you trying to create a business. While your student loans are in either deferment or forbearance, next consider changing your repayment plans even before your full student loan payments kick it.

Check out the Student Aid’s summary page on deferments and forbearance.

Change Your Repayment Plan

If your student loan debt is just “too damn high,” consider a student loan repayment plan that is other than the standard repayment plan. For example, if you have Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans, you can possibly use an income-based repayment plan to lower your payments. Monthly payments are capped at 10% of monthly discretionary income. And after 25 years of reduced payments, the remaining balance on the loan is forgiven.

There are also payment plans such as:

Graduated Repayment Plan

Extended Repayment Plan

Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, or

Income Sensitive Repayment Plan.

Check out the Student Aid’s summary table of the different payment plans for your student loans.

Student Loan Consolidation

If you have multiple student loans that have different interest rates and you want one lower fixed payment, consider a student loan consolidation into a federal Direct Loan.

The advantage of a student loan consolidation into a federal Direct Loan is that you can possibly stretch out your payments for up to thirty years, which means that the amount of your monthly payments lowers and your take-home pay increases.

In order to take advantage of any possible student loan forgiveness programs, be sure to use either the Direct Consolidation Loans Website or the StudentLoans.gov website, depending on your applicability.

Check out the details and how to apply for a direct consolidation loan on the Student Aid website.

STEP 3: Get Your Student Loans cancelled, discharged, or forgiven after 10 Years by choosing the right career!

As long as you have Direct, FFEL Program, or Federal Perkins Loans, there are plenty of options that you can use to have your student loans forgiven.

You will likely not be eligible for some of the student loan discharge conditions, such as total and permanent disability, death, or bankruptcy, even though these cases discharges 100 percent, but that’s okay.

The money discharge is in your career choice!

Since you are already employed in a career that you likely do not like, consider switching to a career that will allow you to have your massive debts discharged, reduced, or forgiven.

For example, a full-time teacher for five consecutive years in a designated elementary or secondary school or education service agency servicing students from low-income families can have up to $17, 500 discharged.

Or, an eligible public service employee can have up to 100 percent of their balance forgiven after 120 eligible monthly payments (10 years).

What type of public service jobs will qualify a borrower for loan forgiveness?

You must be employed full time (annual average of 30 hours per week) by a public service organization, or must be serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position.

Organizations that meet the definition of “public service organization” for purposes of the PSLF Program are listed below.

  1. A government organization (including a federal, state, local, or tribal organization, agency, or entity; a public child or family service agency; or a tribal college or university).
  2. A not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  3. A private, not-for-profit organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides one or more of the following public services:
  • Emergency management
  • Military service
  • Public safety
  • Law enforcement
  • Public interest law services
  • Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated health care, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten)
  • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly
  • Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations)
  • Public education
  • Public library services
  • School library or other school-based services

STEP 4: Choose a Career that has a Student Loan Pay Back Program

If you don’t want to stick around in a public service career for 10 years just to have your loans repaid, consider a career where you received your repayment award and then transition earlier.

Nurse:

The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program, “helps alleviate the critical shortage of nurses by offering loan repayment assistance,” and offers loan assistance for nurses. However, you will be required to work at either a “health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or at an eligible school of nursing in the case of nurse faculty.”

U.S. Military:

Most branches of the military have student loan repayment programs with the added benefit of receiving a very healthy unmatched pension, if after serving you required obligation you later determine you want to continue serving 20 years of active duty service.

The Navy’s Loan Repayment Program can provide you with up to $65,000 to use toward paying off qualifying loans. The Army, which includes the Army National Guard, also has a College Loan Repayment Program that provides up to $65,000 (Army) or $50,000 (National Guard) in assistance. Check with local recruiters to learn specifics for each branch of service.

Veterinarian:

Qualified applicants under The Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program may receive up to $75,000 in loan forgiveness — $25,000 per year for up to three years.

Medical Worker:

The National Institutes of Health will repay up to $35,000 per year in loans for qualified clinical researchers, and many hospitals will help repay loans for doctors who agree to work in physical therapy, among other career tracks.

Other Government Employee:

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, Department of State, and plenty other government agencies have student loan repayment programs. Consider seeking employment with a government agency and receive up to $10,000 per year for each year that you work.

Conclusion

You should know what type of student loans you carry because only federal student loans are eligible for many of the previous listed programs. These programs may allow you to lower your student loan payments, consolidate your loans, or have a public service entity assist with your payback.

If you choose a public service career that you’d enjoy, such as the military, not only will you gain the satisfaction of serving the public, you’ll also have a decent salary, an opportunity for world-wide travel, and a healthy pension after twenty years of active duty service.

Instead of stressing over student loan payments, choose any of the methods above to hack your way out of paying the full amount. You don’t have to pay the tens of thousands of dollars that you’re worried about, find a way to take advantage of one of the programs above. You owe it to yourself to hack your way out of the student loan hoax.

Rise up and fight back! If you think this post would be beneficial to someone you know—perhaps someone you are tired of hearing complain about paying their student loan debts—be sure to share this post with them.

Originally posted 2015-04-27 10:00:11.

Categories
Young Finances

Avoid Lifestyle Inflation By Living Like a Broke College Student

Lifestyle Inflation is this almost irresistible phenomenon that we all encounter whenever we obtain a better position at work, more income, a new home or any other financial or lifestyle increase. If you’re trying to get out of debt, save for a home or retirement, or just improve your financial situation, lifestyle inflation can be a serious hindrance on the road to financial success.

Lifestyle inflation can affect anyone regardless of your income. According to a Federal Reserve Report, less than half of Americans earning between $75,000 and $99,000 saved any money whatsoever- and as many as 16% of those within that income bracket actually went into debt. So much for living below your means.

Initially it might be tough to stop feeling entitled to anything and everything but it can be done. By knowing firmly that lifestyle inflation can happen to anyone I combat lifestyle inflation by simply living like a broke college student.

I don’t just model the lifestyle of any broke college student however. Certainly not the ones who sleep in until noon, blow all their money on thirsty Thursday or try to ball out in Florida over spring break. I try to take tips from the hardworking college students who are so dedicated and focused on their future goals that they don’t have the time or energy to feel entitled for more. Most college students live a simple, frugal lifestyle which is perfect for avoiding lifestyle inflation. Here are a few ways to follow their example.

Follow the Free Food

In college there were so many opportunities for free food between the campus organizations and the departments that promoted participation in several events. I remember my university had an organization that served breakfast during specific times and I often participated in the academic department’s workshops for free lunch.

There are plenty of ways to eat for free outside of college as well; they just need to be discovered. From church potlucks to community events, free food is all around. If you have kids there are plenty of restaurants that offer “kids eat free” promotions weekly. I recently found out a non-profit organization offers free dinner to anyone in the community every Wednesday. Scoring a few free meals throughout the month can help lower your grocery bill.

Keep Expenses Low

College students often have small simple budgets so it’s easier to keep monthly expenses low. In order to cut your expenses you can walk or take the bus to places that are nearby to save money on gas, split utilities and bills with others in your household, share and borrow items with friends, find a cheaper gym or skip the membership altogether, and share a family phone plan with others just to name a few. The simpler you live, the better.

Find Creative Ways to Entertain Yourself

If it’s one thing college students know how to do, it’s have fun. Between stressing over projects and finals there is always something fun and interesting going on in a college town. When I lived in a college town for 2 years I not only immersed myself in the university culture but I also got involved with actual community itself outside of campus. I learned a lot of about frugal entertainment and how to find free and unique events.

Between doing free or cheap things like kayaking and biking, going to festivals, attending plays and movie screens, listening to live music, and taking cooking classes, I really didn’t need to keep up with the Joneses and spend a ton on entertainment. If you’re looking to find creative ways to entertain yourself I’d suggest getting engaged in your community and searching for fun and frugal events that don’t cost much.

Stay Busy to Avoid Shopping

In college I was so busy between going to class and doing homework, working, doing an internship, participating in my organization, and trying to get the proper rest that I didn’t even think much about going shopping, upgrading my car or ordering more things. Not only did I not have the money to do so, but it’s important to emphasize that I didn’t have the time to even desire things like that. Staying busy with your career, family and professional and personal goals is a great way to escape consumeristic desires to obtain more and more.

Don’t Be Afraid to Invest in Yourself

I love that college students are not afraid to invest in themselves. Not in terms of racking up too much student loan debt of course, but by realizing their potential and joining groups and attending workshops and networking events. Being in college is all about learning, growing and soaking up the whole experience like a sponge.

After we graduate and land our first job, I feel like people plateau and get too comfortable without realizing that life is a journey and we should be growing and learning every day. Improving your professional skills and expanding your network is a must even if you have the perfect career and make great money. When we stop reading, learning, and investing time in growing our skills and building relationships with others it’s easy to stop being humble as well. Then that entitlement sneaks in.

If you could learn anything from your former, broker college self, it might as well be how to combat lifestyle inflation by living simply and realizing that your overall long term goals are more important that rushing into living ‘the good life’. Avoiding lifestyle inflation is the key to achieving your goals and ridding yourself from having to live paycheck to paycheck.

How do you avoid lifestyle inflation?

Originally posted 2015-03-11 10:00:23.