Young Finances

10 Crock Pot Recipes for College Students

Between juggling classes, work, homework and extracurricular activities and groups on campus, it’s safe to say the average college student is extremely busy. Busy college students don’t have much time to cook nor the budget to drop $250 at the grocery store for food. (That’s why you need these Crock pot recipes!)

CrockPot Girls Recipe Collection

While most universities offer convenient meal plans, they average about $2,000 or more per semester. Students who don’t want to rack up more student loans are often subject to eating cheap and low quality meals with little nutritional value.

If you don’t have the time or money to cook healthy and satisfying meals for yourself, I’d highly suggest investing in a crock pot and cooking your meals in batches to save time and money. Crock pot meals can be nutritious and delicious as well.

Want more? Get 500+ Crock pot Recipies here.

Crock pots Are Great for Busy College Students Because

  • Small to medium-sized crock pots are very affordable, ranging from $15-$30 at stores like Walmart and Target.
  • Meals cook slow in crock pots so you won’t have to worry about burning or overcooking your food when you try new recipes.
  • On top of that, you can multi-task while your meals are cooking on low heat. You can study, run to class, clean or relax. Most meals take hours to cook in a slow cooker. You can do a lot during that time.
  • Once you gather and prepare all the ingredients, you simply toss them in the crock pot, turn it on your desired heat setting and walk away. There’s no turning or stirring required.
  • Cooking meals in a crock pot for one or two people almost guarantees leftovers so you won’t have to cook every night.

Here are 10 simple and affordable crock pot recipes anyone can make:

1. Beef Stew

beef stew

Beef stew is delicious, hearty and filling; perfect for a brisk fall evening. It’s also super easy to make in a crock pot. Generally, all you need is white potatoes, carrots, beef broth and beef stew meat cut into small 1-inch chunks. You can find beef stew meat at most grocery stores already cut up and ready to cook for just a few dollars. You’ll season your stew to taste. I recommend using salt, pepper, garlic salt and dried herbs like parsley and rosemary. Check out the full crock pot recipe for beef stew here.

2. Rice and Beans

beans and rice

Pinto beans are healthy and dirt cheap. It takes several hours to cook fully in a slow cooker, making this a perfect meal to cook on low while you are at class. Season the beans with salt, pepper and dried oregano and add smoked turkey or ham hocks to liven up this southern meal. It’s best served over rice with a side of sweet cornbread (only $0.50 per box!) This meal is perfect for leftovers and lunch the following day. Check out Paula Deen’s crock pot recipe.

3. Pulled Porkpulled pork

Tailgating or having friends over? This tasty pulled pork crock pot recipe requires only 3 ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 (12 ounce) can of root beer
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle of barbecue sauce
  • And hamburger buns, of course!


4. Mac and Cheesemac and cheese

With slow cooked mac and cheese, you can definitely taste the difference. It’s cheesier, richer and creamier than store bought instant mac and cheese. Not to mention, you get a healthier meal by using fresh ingredients as opposed to powdered cheese and preservatives. This mac and cheese crock pot recipe takes about 3 hours and 25 minutes to prepare in a slow cooker. It’s definitely worth the wait.


5. Sesame Chickensesame chicken

Spice up plain boneless skinless chicken breasts with this tangy sesame chicken recipe. This recipe will rival any sesame chicken you can get at a restaurant.

Avoid going to an expensive bar and grill when you start craving this delicious meal. This crock pot recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients and cooks in about 2 hours. Super easy. Super delicious.


6. Meatball Slidersmeatball sliders

This is one of my favorite crock pot recipes and a perfect option for newbies who are just getting the feel for cooking with a slow cooker. Who doesn’t love a meatball sandwich with a delectable sauce? Corey from Family Fresh Meals has created a fantastic honey garlic meatball crock pot recipe.

After your meatballs are done cooking, cut soft rolls in half to create sliders. Serve with a salad or coleslaw on the side.

Want more? Get 500+ Crockpot Recipies here.

7. Beef and Bean Chilibeef and bean chili

You don’t have to go home for delicious homemade chili. With a slow cooker, it’s super easy to make flavorful chili to satisfy your taste buds and fill you up quickly. Cut this crock pot recipe if half if you are just cooking for yourself. Or you can use the full recipe to allow plenty of leftovers.


8. BBQ Chicken Wings

bbq chicken wings

Chicken wings are the ultimate comfort food and a great appetizer. This barbecue chicken wing crock pot recipe requires only 5 ingredients, making it super easy to get restaurant quality wings for lunch or dinner.


9. Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

This simple yet flavorful vegetarian dish includes black beans, spinach, corn, radishes, grape tomatoes, fresh lime juice and some other goodies. They combine to create a filling and nutritious meal that doesn’t require any side dishes. If you have 20-30 minutes to spare to prepare this meal, check out the full crock pot recipe here.


10. Lasagna

crock pot lasagna

Lasagna takes a lot of time and patience to prepare when you cook it in the oven and assemble all the layers for this yummy dish. On the flip side, cooking lasagna in a crock pot is convenient and easier than ever thanks to no-cook lasagna noodles. You can cook this recipe with or without meat, on a weekday or the weekend and it still won’t be a hassle. In the end, you’ll always get a mouthwatering pasta dish. You can pair with garlic bread or cheese toast and a fresh salad. Click here for the complete crock pot recipe.

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal? Which crock pot recipes will you try?

CrockPot Girls Recipe Collection

Want more? Get 500+ Crock pot Recipies here.

Originally posted 2016-09-07 10:00:42.

Young Finances

How Much Sleep Does a College Student Need?

College can be a busy time in your life. On top of attending class and doing homework, many college students get a job – leaving them with very limited free time. This also leaves very little time to sleep. Which brings us to a popular question: How much sleep do college students need?

According to experts at Stanford University’s Department for the Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleep Disorders, college students should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

This article goes on to describe how college students who end up getting less than 8 hours of sleep endure something called sleep debt.

Getting the proper amount of sleep is important and allows your body to have enough time to rest and recharge so you can be at your best focus and energy level for the following day.

Thus, as you can probably tell, pulling an all-nighter every week is not the healthiest habit for your body. Here are some simple ways college students can get more sleep time in to receive at least 8 hours each night.

Schedule a Nap

Naps can do wonders. Even if your schedule is busy, you may still have time for a nap if you schedule it for between classes. Some students like to use breaks within the day to catch up on homework and run errands. I used to use some of my free time in between classes to take a quick nap. Those naps helped me power through the rest of the day.

Most college classes start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. If you go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake up at 6:00 a.m., that will leave you with enough time to get ready for class, go over homework and run an errand all before class. If you are less of a morning person, you can always stay up until 11 p.m. and sleep until 7. There are ways to get 8 hours.

Change your Sleep Environment

If you find it hard to get to sleep at night and you tend to lay awake in bed for some time, you might want to try changing your sleep environment.

Sometimes noise and activity can deter your body from being able to rest and relax so you can sleep. Make sure you turn the television and computer off at least 30 minutes before bed and get in a quiet environment.

If you notice anything about your bed that’s irritating you (like a squeaky or rough mattress or pillows that make your neck hurt) consider replacing said item(s).

Develop a Sleep Routine You Can Stick To

If you prefer not to take a nap during the day and get all your sleep in at night, develop a realistic sleep routine that will allow you to get 8 hours or more of rest each night.

As a college student, it’s nice that you have the power to create your own schedule. Decide whether you like to get more done in the morning or in the late afternoon and evening. Then choose your classes based on that preference.

If you work, most jobs will ask your availability. A lot of students try to get the bulk of their work hours done during the weekend but it’s not uncommon to work before, after or in between classes.

If you have a job that requires you to work late, make sure your classes do not start early the next day so you can get the proper rest.

Stay away from caffeine and coffee before bed. Take 10 minutes to prep for the next day before you lie down. If your routine is new, sticking to it each day might be a bit of a challenge at first, but it will become second nature soon enough.

Getting enough sleep as a college student is crucial to your success. It can help improve your academic performance, give you enough energy to make it throughout the day, and prevent sleep debt habits like drowsiness and oversleeping.


If the average college student needs 8 or more hours of sleep each night, how do you compare?

Originally posted 2016-01-20 10:00:33.

Young Finances

45+ Must Read Blogs for College Students

The Internet is filled with tons and tons of great content for college students. It can seem daunting to sift through it all to find what’s really valuable. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite blogs that provide everything from entertainment to inspiration to advice and more.

General & Lifestyle

Lifehacker: If efficiency is of interest to you, then you have to read Lifehacker. Even the “About” description is efficient: Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done. Descriptions don’t get more concise than that. Lifehacker gives you ways to, well, hack life. And those tips can help college students save time, money, and prevent stress.

Kineda: Dubbed “Your Premier Online Lifestyle Magazine,” this website is chock-full of content from a range of topics – culture, style, footwear, tech, entertainment, automotive, and design, to be exact. The website’s simplistic layout makes for an excellent user experience and, quite frankly, no matter what you’re interested in you can find something here for you.

everything i did: The writers here are all about helping others build a better life. Through sharing stories of the mistakes and lessons from their own lives, you can glean insights on how to live a better life yourself.

Forever Twenty Somethings: If you’re needing a mental break, and enjoy lists, this is the place to go. Find fun articles, helpful tips, and a lot of entertainment on this lifestyle, Buzzfeed style blog.

The Positivity Blog: This blog is exactly what it sounds like… a place for positivity. It offers “practical personal development advice and step-by-step strategies that work in real life to produce positive results.” Find tips for living a happier life, increasing confidence, becoming more productive, and improving relationships.

GenYize: Become a “Solutionist” with GenYize, a blog dedicated to millennials helping other millennials navigate life and plan for the future. Solutionists challenge the status quo and work to advance their generation. Sound like you?

Treehugger: Taking better care of our planet is an incredibly important charge, and one that we may not quite know how to do. Enter Treehugger. This “media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream” strives to be “a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.” If you have a passion to protect our environment, definitely subscribe to this blog.

Life After College: Okay, so you might still be in college, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing for what happens after graduation. Life After College helps people wake up, live big and love the journey.

When I Grow Up: No, this isn’t the start of a Pussycat Dolls song. (Not sure why that song jumped into my head.) Michelle Ward is the founder of this blog which focuses on career success, change, and encouragement.

Advice from a 20 Something: Need advice? Ask Amanda! This advice column for the modern age covers everything from blogging to fashion to health and beyond. Any question you could have is likely covered on this blog… and if it’s not, you can submit a question yourself!

The Minimalists: At age 30, the two authors of this blog left their cushy corporate jobs to embark on a 21-day journey to minimalism. Their blog teaches you not how to have less, but make room for more time, passion, experiences, and growth.

Zen Habits: Life is chaotic and we often get lost in things that, when we really think about it, aren’t that important. Zen Habits helps you find simplicity and mindfulness amidst the chaos, and focus on what’s important.

Apartment Therapy: A sister blog of The Kitchn (linked in the below ‘Health & Fitness’ category), Apartment Therapy is a collection of resources and ideas to create a beautiful home while maximizing your budget and space.

Instructables: This blog takes how-to’s to a whole new level. Instructables gives people a platform to share what they make, so that you can embark on whatever DIY project tickles your fancy.

Sploid: Stimulate your brain on Sploid, a blog subset of Gizmodo, that shares intriguing and just plain interesting content that will probably blow your mind.


Chegg Blog: You’ve probably heard about Chegg as a resource for college students, but did you know they have a blog? There’s even a post about the 5 things you didn’t know your microwave could do. I’m definitely reading that one!

TED Blog: If you’re familiar with TED Talks, then you know the power of these information-packed presentations. For more great content, check out the blog.


InternQueen: Chances are at some point in college you’re going to have an internship. Let the Intern Queen answer all your questions and prepare you for success in your endeavors! You can even find available internship opportunities on the site.

Ms. Career Girl: Ms. Career Girl is the ambitious, powerful woman in all of us, just waiting to break free. This group blog contains valuable information on everything from job search to travel, relationships to personal finance, fashion to professionalism and more.

Study Hacks: How do people reach the upper echelon in their careers? And of equal importance, how do they do so while keeping their work a meaningful and sustainable part of their life? These are the questions that Cal Newport, computer science professor at Georgetown University, aims to answer. Curious? Check out his blog.

Health & Fitness

Hello Healthy: As far as health blogs go, Hello Healthy is a favorite of mine. It is the official blog of My Fitness Pal that’s chock-full of recipes, exercise tips, and health advice. Its simple layout and easy to read content makes healthy living easy, fun and delicious.

The Kitchn: Recipes. Cooking lessons. Product reviews. Kitchen design. And more. The Kitchn is a daily food magazine helping people live happier, healthier lives.

Daily Cup of Yoga: Do you define yourself as a “yogi”? Then you have to check out this blog. Not only does it document a man’s journey with yoga, but also delivers inspiring content for simple living.

Eat + Run: U.S. News & World Report is a thought leader in many areas – best hospitals, best universities, etc. Did you know they also have a health blog? Their suite of experts provide food and fitness articles that are worth checking out.


The Blonde Abroad: Kiersten is a California native who left her stuffy corporate finance job to travel the world… and blog about it. Follow along on her adventures and, like me, be a little jealous.

Nomadic Matt: Travel more while spending less – $50 a day, to be exact. Nomadic Matt has been traveling the world since 2006 and now he uses his experiences to help others travel cheaper and take their dream vacation.

The Savvy Backpacker: Say hello to James and Susan, the experts on backpacking through Europe. Be careful jumping on this blog though, it’s going to make you want to walk out of college and never look back.

Science, Technology & Gadgets

Gizmodo: Do you love technology, gadgets, science, and all kinds of toys big and small? What about beautiful and smart design? Aircraft that fly at three times the speed of sound? Spaceships that reach every corner of the solar system? Geek culture? Science fiction? Then you have to check out Gizmodo.

Boing Boing: As a college student, you’ll definitely want to keep up with this “Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things.” Common themes include technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, intellectual property, and more. You’ll find some provocative thoughts, interesting discoveries, and a whole lot of weird.

Science of Us: Curious why we mishear song lyrics – or why we “happy cry?” Science of Us is a subset of New York Magazine that delivers quick, witty articles on a variety of subjects you didn’t even know were of interest to you.

News, Current Events, & Pop Culture

AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth. Wouldn’t you agree? AMERICAblog agrees. For college students looking to keep up with US politics, both domestic and foreign, this is a great venue for keeping abreast of current political events.

The Skimm: Okay, so not exactly a blog, but definitely worth mentioning. The Skimm is a daily email newsletter that gives you updates on news and current events in easy to consume and understand ways. I recommend signing up ASAP!

Socialite Heights: Keeping up with pop culture can be challenging for a college student. Enter Socialite Heights, your quick delivery source for the latest on fashion, music, fine arts, and leisure.

Vox: Yet another news source, but one that helps you understand the news, not just hear what’s going on.

Mic: Mic approaches news from a different perspective by tailoring its coverage to young people and millennials. For a college student looking to keep up with current events, Mic speaks to you and in a way that helps you make sense of the world.

For Women

CollegeFashion: Skewed towards women, College Fashion is great for keeping up with the latest fashion trends (and finding affordable options). On the CF blog, you’ll find fashion tips, trends, beauty tips, online sale updates, décor ideas, student street style, and style advice.

Refinery29: Are you a smart, creative, and stylish woman? Find everything you need on Refinery29! This fast-growing blog is quickly becoming a one stop shop for everything trendy for young women.

The Everygirl: The ultimate inspiration for the creative, career driven woman, aka The Everygirl. This blog shares content related to travel, current events, food & drink, finance, and more.

For Men

Primer: Finally! Something for men! Primer Magazine is all about career success and personal wellness – how men can better themselves and walk confidently through the gate of adulthood.

Por Homme: The name alone should tell you everything you need to know – Por Homme means “for men” in French. Categories include style, leisure, toys, startups, industry, people, and society catered to men.

Mantelligence: How to order a martini like a man? Yep, that sounds like useful advice. For all the manly intelligence you could ever need, head over to Mantelligence to be the best man you can be!



Hardcore History: Even if you’re not a history buff, Dan Carlin does an excellent job of using storytelling to chronicle historical events. Someone who makes learning fun? Sign me up!

WTF with Marc Maron: For that dose of comedic relief in your day, check out Marc Maron’s podcast where he interviews various celebrities in the entertainment business.

Criminal/Serial: We couldn’t do a podcast category without mention these hugely popular ones. Criminal does one story per episode in a similar style. Serial, a spin-off of This American Life, features one story throughout a season.

Plz Advise: Hosted by Molly McAleer, former writer for 2 Broke Girls, this podcast answers all your burning questions frankly and honestly. This one is not for the easily offended.

All Work, All Play: Familiarize yourself with the millennial outlook with this podcast which is half dedicated to work topics and half dedicated to the lighter stuff.

What are some of your favorite blogs? Share them in the comments below!

Originally posted 2016-01-13 10:00:01.

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


  • 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.

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.

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 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.