How Students Can Save Money

Studying in college is an expensive undertaking. If you are one of those lucky students who has parents who will pay for the whole college thing, then good for you. But if you are like most college students then you have to worry about money when you are studying. You can always get a student loan, but everyone knows that it won’t last and it really isn’t a good idea to get in debt while you’re still in school. That’s why it would help if you were to learn how you can save the limited money resources that you have.

To help you get started in your aim to save money, we have listed here some effective tips that you can follow:

Save Money on Food

One of the major expenses that you have to deal with when you study in college would be the cost of your food. Students tend to eat out, to buy ready to eat meals or to take out food. But such eating habits can be expensive. While you should think about saving money on your food expenses that does not mean that you have to go hungry or that you need to eat less. There are smart ways that you can cut down on your food costs, without cutting down on the nutrition that you are getting.

You can use price comparison sites so you can check the prices of the different food products that you have to buy. You should also share the cost of the essential food items with your flatmates. When you have to eat out, you should find the most affordable place near your campus.

Use Student Travel Discounts

As a student you should learn how to use the public transport system. You might not like it, but it is the best way that you can get around. You should find out about the discounts that are offered to students by the public transport system that you are using. Never miss out on opportunities which allow you to save on your much needed cash. Instead of getting a car when you are in college, why not use a bike instead? Not only is it cheaper, it is also friendlier for the environment.

Have a Spending Syllabus

One effective way that you can be sure to save money while you are in college is to have plan on how you will be spending your funds. It does not matter how well-meaning you are in trying to save your funds, if you have no clear-cut steps on how you will be using your money you are going to waste some of it. Just write down how much money you have and then list down all of the essential things that you have to spend on. After you have allocated money for all the essentials and saved some amount, then you can decide what you can do with what’s left.

Student Offers When Socializing

It’s the same when you use public transport, when you want to go out and have fun, you should take advantage of being a student. There are many establishments that will offer discounts and even free entry to students. You should not pass up on the chance to use that. There are also restaurants, cinemas and other establishments that would offer freebies to students. Be sure to be on the lookout for those. It’s costly being a college student so there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of anything that can come for free.

Save on Textbooks

According to experts, a student spends an average of $1,000 every year on textbooks. That’s a great deal of money so if you can find ways to save money on your textbooks that would be a great help. First of all you should check your lecture outline and find out which books that you would really have to own and which books are the ones that you can just borrow. When it comes to those books that you have to buy, see if you can just split the cost with a course mate and share the book.

When you are going to buy a book, it is better if you do not get it from the school’s bookstore. The prices that they have are usually higher. Check the internet first because chances are that the book is available there. You also have the option of renting textbooks or buy used copies.

Get a Student Checking Account

Studying in college is also the best time for you to learn how to deal with your finances. Get a student checking account. This is a bank account that is offered to students which have less strict conditions when it comes to withdrawal limits and other common restrictions on bank accounts. You have to learn how to use a checking account and accept the responsibility that it entails. Make sure that the account that you will be getting has an online option to make things easier.

Get a Job

If you are always short in funds then you might want to think about getting a job while you are studying. There is nothing wrong when it comes to having a job while you are in college. You just need to make sure that your studies will not be affected by your work. The most common type of job that you can get would be to work in restaurants. Most restaurants in college towns are always looking for new people that they can hire. There are other types of work too that you engage in while you are still a student.

Get the Right Plan for Your Cell Phone

Having a cell phone is now a must these days, especially if you will be living away from your family for the first time. While there is no question that you need a cell phone to get by in college, you don’t have to overspend on a plan. You have to pick the right plan that would suit your needs. Don’t just go with what the cell phone companies are offering you. Most plans are overpriced with stuff that you don’t need. Pick the features that you really need so you don’t have to pay for anything that you would not be using. You should also consider getting a prepaid plan.

Living in Apartments

If you are not living in a dorm, then you should consider splitting the cost of an apartment with fellow students. You might not like the idea of living with other people, but that can save you a great deal of money. Every dollar that you save is a dollar that you can use for something else. You can also split the cost of the utilities which can eat up a great deal of your budget. You have to be smart about finding accommodations when you are in college. While your comfort is important, you should also factor the costs.

Studying in college is never going to be cheap, but it does not have to break the bank. You need to have some smart moves if you want to stay in college and finish your course. Treat your money with the respect that it deserves.

Categories: Monetary Issues

Common Financial Mistakes Families Make

Everything is simpler when it’s just you and your spouse. The moment that you start having children though, things begin to change. As your children become older, you have to worry about providing for all of their needs and those needs are bound to become more expensive. That’s why you have to be on top of things when it comes to the finances of your family.

One way that you can be in control of your family’s finances is by staying away from the common financial problems that family encounter. Here are some of those mistakes that you have to be on the lookout for:

Having Too Much Debt

One of the biggest financial mistakes that a family can make is to have too much debt. This can happen early on in a relationship. Partners may think that it is okay to owe a lot since they don’t have children to worry about yet. Being in debt is not really the problem and this is especially true when it is used towards getting a house or some other things that is of equal value and usefulness. But when all that you are acquiring is credit card debt then you are in trouble.

Your overall debt, and that should include all loans that you have, should not exceed 40% of your income. If it goes over that, then that means you owe more than what you can afford. There are even experts who suggest that it should not exceed 30%. When you are in debt trouble at the early stages of your relationship then you should go and seek the help of a professional so those issues would not get worse.

One kind of debt that might be hard to stay away from would be an auto loan. A car depreciates in value very quickly. You will end up owing more than the actual market value of your vehicle. But in some cases taking out a car loan is the only way that a family can afford a car. The most sensible thing to do is to keep the car long after you have paid off the loan so you can start saving for the next vehicle.

Not Having a Written Budget

Another all-too-common financial mistake made by young families is not having a written budget. Some young couples think that it is enough for them to figure out all of their expenses in their head and they need not write it down. But experts say that most young couples tend to underestimate their expenses by almost 20%. What many families do is they spend first and then they think about saving what’s left. In most cases, what’s left behind is not enough.

Write down all of your income and expenses. You should include all the goals that you have for savings and if there is anything left after that, then that can be spent. For most families however nothing would be left.

Not Thinking about Retirement

Many young families do not really think about their retirement. They feel that since it’s still a long way off that they do not have to consider it just yet. But this can be a serious mistake. You won’t be paying for the consequences of this mistake just yet but it’s sure to come.

It is never too early to plan for your retirement. Many young couples fail to take advantage of their 401K but that would be like saying no to free money. When the time comes the money represented by that retirement plan will come in handy when you finally retire. Saving for one’s retirement should start as early as when one is in his 20s. If a person waits until he/she is older that might mean that the person would have to work long after he has reached retirement age.

Wrong Ideas about Insurance

Having to worry about insurance might seem like an inconvenience that you can do without. There is just too much wrong information out there concerning insurance and many young couples are following those incorrect ideas. The rule to follow is that you should have a policy that is ten times your income in a year. As parents, you and your spouse should have a policy of $1million.

Another mistake when it comes to insurance is not getting enough disability coverage. Most people believe that the disability coverage provided by their employers is enough. But that is only a fraction of your income and if you really become disabled then that means you would have additional costs because of medication and other costs. You need more coverage than that.

Not Saving for College

Do you plan on helping your children to go to college? If that’s part of your long term plans then you need to save for it as early as possible. Less than 20 years from now a four year college education is projected to cost around $300,000. That’s a serious amount of money and if you want to help your child with that, then you have to start saving now.

Some families on the other hand, prioritize saving for college even if there is not enough money for the other important things. But the truth is that when there isn’t enough money to go around paying for many of the things that you should prioritize, don’t think about your children’s college education. Your children can always borrow for their college education, but you would not be able to do that for your retirement.

Not Having an Emergency Fund

You should have heard about it before. You need to set aside several months’ worth of your income so you can be ready just in case you lose your job or you lose your main source of income. But the problem is that it isn’t easy to save enough money. If you don’t have even a month’s worth of income set aside in a bank account then you’re in for trouble. It isn’t easy to save enough money for an emergency fund, or to save for anything, but that should not discourage you from trying.

Living Above Your Means

Young couple tend to have good credit scores and that means they are attractive to prospective lenders. If you find yourself in that situation then you should resist the temptation to give in. By giving in to the offers of those lenders you would start living beyond your means. That’s not a great way to get your family life started. You have to practice living with what you earn and when you can do that you will be on the right track financially .

Merging Finances

Many young couples struggle with this question. Should they merge their finances or should it be kept separate? If both of you have good credit standings, the answer is somewhere in the middle. You should keep some part of your finances autonomous, but you should start learning how to be a couple financially.

There are many mistakes that you can make as a family but if keep yourself informed then there is no reason why you cannot set your family’s finances in order. There are many things that you have to learn but none of those are really complicated.

Categories: Monetary Issues

The Truth About Military Debt Consolidation Loans

If you are serving in the army right now then your eye might have caught ads touting the virtues of military consolidation loans. These loans are being widely advertised today and are specifically aimed at members of the military. If you are thinking of using them to improve your financial situation, then there are a few things that you should know about.

Nothing Special for Military Members

If you are thinking seriously of using the loans that are supposedly meant for military personnel then think again. In reality there are no loans that are meant for members of the Armed Forces. They are just the same loans that civilians can use.

That doesn’t mean that lending companies are out there to scam people. They provide loans to servicemen as advertised, but if you take a look at those loans closely, there is no real difference between them and the ones that regular borrowers could get, except for the patriotic flavor.

Not Necessarily A Bad Option

This is not to say that using a debt consolidation loan is a bad choice. If used the right way, it could be beneficial. You can get the following benefits from it.

  • Improve your credit score.
  • Lower the interest on what you have to pay.
  • Reduce the monthly payments that you have to make.
  • Not worry about missing payments or late fees.

But again you have to use it the right way to gain those benefits. Thinking that there are special debt consolidation loans meant for people in the military could lead to false hopes for a solution to your financial problems that doesn’t exist.

Options Open for Service Members

While there are no military debt consolidation loans specifically for Army members only, there are some financial options that only they could benefit from. These options are open to those Army members who are still in active duty and those who have only recently left the service. In some cases even their families could use these options.

Loans from the Veterans Administration

While these options are not specifically meant to be used for debt consolidation, they can still be useful for the military personnel who are having difficulties with their finances. An example could be from The Veterans Administration. These are home loans that can be used by members of the military.

Military Personnel Relief Organizations

Good sources of aid for military personnel that are not available to civilians are military relief organizations. Non-profit and non-governmental organizations aim to provide help to the members of the Army. Here are the four major relief societies:

  • Army Emergency Relief
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • Air Force Aid Society
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

Apart from these organizations, the Red Cross is also offering some relief assistance to military personnel today.

Categories: Monetary Issues

Debt Consolidation Loans for Blacklisted Clients

Taking out a debt consolidation loan can be one of the best financial decisions that a person can make in a bad situation. While using another loan in order to pay off the old ones might be a questionable move, it is a legitimate way to put all of your debts in control. By combining all of your obligations under one loan you can achieve the following.

  • Reduce your total monthly payment.
  • Get a better rate.
  • Have an easier time keeping track of what has to be paid.
  • Stay away from late fees.
  • Improve the credit rating.

All of these are amazing benefits that could do a consumer a great deal of good. It is not surprising that people are choosing it as an option.

Borrowers Who Qualify for Debt Consolidation Loans

Who would be able to use a consolidation loan? This is a question bothering many potential borrowers. They are concerned about it because most of them are those with bad credit scores unable to use other financial products. They want to know if there are debt consolidation loans for blacklisted clients or those with really bad credit.

The good news is that there are options that people who have been blacklisted by lending companies can benefit from. They can still borrow money in order to consolidate their debts, but it would come at a price. In short, anyone can start consolidating their loans.

How To Borrow When Blacklisted

Getting blacklisted can be a great deal of a problem for a borrower. It means that lenders would not even consider you as a potential client. Don’t bother applying with banks because they would not even consider your application once they know that you have been blacklisted. Your best chance then is to go to the companies that directly offer debt consolidation loans as their main product. There are many companies offering something like that.

Staying Away from Scams

The important thing for you to keep in mind when you are looking for a source of money to get your debts consolidated is that you have to be careful. You do not want to end up being the victim of some scammer and there are a lot of those. Here are some ideas and tips that you can use in order to stay away from scammers:

  • Make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate company. You can check their background and look for information concerning the company.
  • Never provide detailed information about your finances. Debt consolidation companies would not need to have access to confidential information.
  • Don’t be attracted by extremely low fees. They should be in the same range as other companies. If a company is charging something lower, then it could mean they are hiding something.
  • In the same vein, you should be on the lookout for any hidden charges. You should read everything before you sign.

These are just some of the things you can do to stay away from scams while consolidating your debt.

Categories: Monetary Issues