4 Ways to Save Over Your Holiday Break

dollar help-smallAt this point in the semester, we’re all counting down the minutes until break gets here. With break comes a lot of free time, which is great! However, all that free time often means more time to spend your money. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid over-spending during your holiday break.  
  1. Avoid Eating Out
If you’re going home for the holidays, you don’t have much of a reason to need to be eating out all the time. Your friends may want to go out to eat since you’ll all finally be together, but try to avoid his as much as possible. You’ll save a lot of money by deciding to stay in and eat a home cooked meal.
  1. Don’t Drive Everywhere
If you have friends at home who have cars, trying carpooling with each other. Not having to drive everywhere you go when you’re home can save you some serious money on gas. It’s a simple step you can take to ensure you have a little extra money in your pocket.
  1. Avoid Shopping
With the holidays happening, you shouldn’t need to go shopping for yourself. While home for the holidays, avoid going to the mall and spending money, especially since you just got nice gifts from your friends and family. This is the perfect time to save your money instead of going out and spending it on clothes, shoes, or video games.
  1. Spend Time with Family
Enjoy spending some time at home with your family during the holiday break. You don’t have to constantly be going out and doing something. Staying at home with family is free and gives you an opportunity to catch up and spend that valuable time together.

The holidays should be a stress free time spent enjoying the company of family and friends. Don’t worry about saving enough money to go out to fancy dinners or constantly be entertaining. Take this time to hang out at home and really just enjoy being together. Not only will you get that valuable time with the ones you love, but you’ll return to school without having drained your bank account.

5 Easy Ways to Win College Scholarships

financial aidAs students, we all know that college is NOT cheap. The price of tuition is often daunting. I know for myself, I cringe a little each time I see that bill released. It seems almost impossible to imagine getting through school without ending up in some sort of debt. The good news is, it IS POSSIBLE. With the amount of scholarships there are out there, you can absolutely find a way to get yourself through college without drowning yourself in debt.

The scholarship applications for CU have now opened! Make sure to start your application as soon as possible. While you're in the process of applying, here are 5 simple and easy steps you can take to win some serious scholarship money!  
  1. Start Looking NOW
I know most of you reading this are already in college, but it’s essential to know that it is never too late to look for scholarships. Whether you’re a freshman or a junior, the time to start looking for scholarships is now! Every little bit helps. If you’re on top of the scholarship game you’re much more likely to win some awards. Stop by the Financial Aid office today and ask them to help you look for scholarships!
  1. Take Advantage of Technology
The world is at our fingertips. From smartphones to laptops, and everything in between, we are surrounded by technology and the ability to access and search the Internet from just about anywhere. Take advantage of this and use the Internet to find the best scholarships. You can look for scholarships while sitting on the bus, waiting for class to start, or when you’re just lounging around. Some awesome scholarship-finding sites are, Scholly, ScholarshipOwl, FastWeb, and Zinch. Be proactive and find that money!
  1. Know and Understand Your Personal Interests and Family Ties
What makes you unique? Do you have an interesting hobby? You’d be surprised what types of scholarships are out there! You could get a scholarship simply for being left-handed. If you have a certain skill or interesting ability, look up if there are scholarships offered for it. Another important thing to note is that you can earn scholarships from other aspects of your life. For example, your gender, ethnic, racial or religious background can earn you a scholarship. As well as your decided major, extracurricular activates, or future career path.
  1. Be Persistent
Applying for scholarships can definitely be tedious, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Apply for as many scholarships as you can find and don’t get discouraged if you get denied. Just because you didn’t win one scholarship, doesn’t mean there aren’t 100 more out there you could win! I had a roommate who applied for so many scholarships, she not only got her full tuition covered, but her cost of living off campus is paid for as well! You can make it happen!
  1. Submit the Best Application You Can
It’s important you give your scholarship applications your all. Don’t halfway do it. A winning scholarship application is one that is clean and neat, the directions are thoroughly read through, the essays are well composed and show time, effort, and thought, and all deadlines are met. If you submit an unpolished application, the ones awarding the scholarships are going to assume you don’t take the process seriously; and if you don’t take the process seriously, why should they pick you? Often times you wont meet face to face with those choosing who wins the scholarship, so your application is your one and only shot to make a really good impression. If you appear motivated, diligent, hard working, and serious about the scholarship you re applying for, you’re much more likely to get the award!

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Scholarships are a college student’s lifesaver. There are thousands of dollars worth of scholarships that go unused every year! Don’t count yourself out. Take advantage of what is out there and apply for as may scholarships as you can. You never know what you could end up getting. Even if you only win a couple hundred dollars, every bit helps! Good luck and happy applying!

6 Steps to Avoid Holiday Overspending

cropped santa-banksyOverspending during the holiday season is something all of us have probably experienced. Buying gifts, throwing parties, traveling to see family members, and all the other expenses that come with the holidays make it easy to lose track of your budget goals and finances. Don’t let the holiday season put you in debt! Here are 6 easy steps to follow to make sure you aren’t over-spending this season.

  1. Have Set Limits
Going into the holiday season, make sure you already have set spending limits. Know how much you can afford to spend on each person and find gifts that fit into that budget. Having these limits set ahead of time will help you avoid over-spending while you’re out shopping.
  1. Focus on what’s important
Don’t attempt to do it all. The holidays aren’t a competition. They are a time to be with friends and family, enjoy each other’s company. Don’t get caught up in “who gives the best gift” or “who throws the best holiday party.” Know what is important and what isn’t and don’t get distracted by the things that don’t really matter.
  1. Have a potluck
If you’re planning on throwing any sort of holiday party, opt for a potluck. Suggest everyone bring their favorite holiday dish, that way, you don’t have to go broke trying to buy enough food for everyone and you get to try an assortment of different foods.
  1. Plan your travels in advance
If you know you’re going to be traveling for the holidays make sure to buy your plane ticket well in advance. Last minute ticket prices around the holidays can be outrageous. If you and your family aren’t opposed to the idea, try flying on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. Flying on the actual holiday is usually much more affordable.
  1. Look for shopping deals
A popular time to shop for the holidays is Black Friday. Although there are often many great deals you can find with Black Friday shopping, there are plenty of other deals to be found throughout the holiday season. Keep an eye on some of your favorite store’s ads or websites to be in the loop with all of the deals they offer. Bargain shopping is always a great money saver, especially around the holidays.
  1. Make your own gifts
Making your own gifts is always a really personal touch that anyone would appreciate. Not only is a homemade gift more personal and sentimental, it’s often much cheaper to make your own gifts instead of buying them. Time to let your creativity flow! Design a bookmark, knit a scarf, or bake some cookies. All of these are nice ways to show someone you care during the holiday season.

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The holidays can be rough on your wallet. Don’t let them! Take time to appreciate what the holiday season is all about. Don’t get lost in the glamor of consumerism. It isn’t all about the gifts and parties, but rather, spending time with the ones you love. Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a wonderful holiday season without going broke in the process.

8 Ways to Eat Right on a Budget

8 Ways to Eat Right on a Budget  Eating right isn't always easy, especially on a college budget. As a student, you're most likely not in the position to be able to afford to buy all of your groceries at Whole foods. Your schedule is busy, making it hard to go 'all out" when preparing a meal. Usually, something quick and easy is preferred. This can make eating healthy seem really difficult. However, that isn't the case. Here are 8 easy tips to eating healthy and not going broke in the process.
  1. Make a list: Making a list before grocery shopping can help you stay on track and only get the things you need, instead of wandering through the aisles being tempted by all the junk food. Make your list and stick to it! It'll make the whole grocery shopping process go much smoother.
  2. Don't buy junk food: Junk food can be really tempting. It's usually cheap and easy to prepare, making it tempting for students on a budget. Don't give in! If you don't buy it, you can't eat it. Try to stay out of those aisles at the grocery store; it'll make buying junk food less tempting.
  3. Dairy: Dairy is cheap and filling while also giving you the calcium you need. I suggest getting some yogurt and adding some fresh fruit or granola to it. Not only is this a healthy meal option, but it tastes good too and stays within your budget.
  4. Buy plain foods: When you buy things like plain chicken or tofu it's cheap and you can add any seasonings you want. You can choose how you want to cook it too! There's baking, broiling, searing, and so on. Just avoid frying your food, that's never healthy. Chicken is the best quality meat that also won't break the bank, so it's usually always a good option. Buying plain foods can be a cheap way to eat healthy and add your own flavor.
  5. Fruits and veggies: Fresh fruit can definitely be expensive. In my experience, I've found that Sprouts is a great option for cheap produce. Go for things like apples, oranges, and bananas. they tend to be cheaper than other fruits and can be used in dishes as well as eaten on their own. Veggies are always pretty cheap. Things like celery and peanut butter or cucumber slices with a little bit of pepper can be a really yummy snack that's easy and cheap. Carrots, green bell peppers, spinach, green beans, and broccoli are all cheap vegetables that are really good to add to your dishes or eat on their own.
  6. Water, water, water: Try avoiding sugary drinks like soda or juice. These has loads of unnecessary calories that you could easily avoid by just drinking water. Water is free and there's nothing better you could put in your body. Thankfully, living in Colorado we are lucky to have some of the best tap water available. If you still feel weird about drinking water from the sink, invest in a water filter. You can usually find them for less than $20 and they'll last you a long time.
  7. Get a recipe book: You can usually find recipe books for pretty cheap. Check out a second-hand bookstore or Goodwill! Having a cookbook can be really helpful when you can't figure out what to make. There are tons of healthy recipes you can try out and see what you like.
  8. NEVER go shopping hungry: One of the worst things you could do when trying to stay on a food budget is to go shopping when you're hungry. When you go shopping hungry you often end up buying things you don't even want or won't end up eating, and you end up buying way more than you actually need.5. Fruits and Veggies
You can make healthy eating on a budget happen! It may seem daunting, but following these 8 steps will show you just how easy it can be.

5 Reasons Why Time Is Money

5 Reasons Why Time Is MoneyAs you are setting your clocks back an hour this Sunday, remember that time is always money, although you may not realize it. The way you spend your time directly affects your money and spending habits. If you spend your time the right way you could increase your wealth! But if you are wasteful of your time you may also be wasting your money. Here are five simple reasons why your time is your money, and what you can do to make both of those go further.
  1. Productive Time vs. Unproductive Time: If you have goals to pay off debt or save for the future, it’s worth assessing if you’re spending your time in the most productive way. Unproductive time definitely isn’t making you money, and depending on what you’re doing, could be costing you. When you spend time wisely and productively, it grants you the opportunity to further your income and more strategically budget and spend your money.
  2. The Beauty of Compound Interest: Compound interest is one of the best ways to develop a long-term savings. It can be thought of as “interest on interest.” This type of interest makes your deposit grow at a faster rate than simple interest. The power of compound interest is that you are investing earnings on an investment back into that investment. This clearly shows that you don't need to be rich to invest and make money. You just need to be persistent about saving and have the patience to let it grow. Start a savings account that gains a compound interest today! Several years down the road when you see how much money you’ve earned just from compound interest, you’ll be happy you did.
  3. Time Catches Up with You: Before you know it, you’ll be graduating college and it’ll be time to start paying off those loans and support yourself. If you aren’t prepared for the real world and how to successfully manage your money you could be in real trouble. Time keeps moving and it’s important to keep yourself prepared for what’s coming next so you can always make the most of your money.
  4. Fees, fees, and more fees!: Late fees are everywhere. If you don’t pay your phone bill, car insurance, tuition, etc. you’ll be charged a late fee. These fees add up and if you’re frequently late on payments you could end up putting a significant amount of your money into paying all of those late fees. Avoid paying any of your bills late. Be on time with your payments because the more time you wait, the more money you’ll owe.
  5. Spending Your Time vs. Spending Your Money: Begin looking at your time as a commodity. Each hour of your day can be given a monetary value. When doing this, you realize just how much money is wasted through wasting time. For example, housework. Is it more practical for you to spend the entire day cleaning your apartment or house when you could instead, pay someone to do it and spend the day working on a job or homework? It’s important to know your availability and evaluate your time.
    When you’re falling back an hour this Sunday, make sure you aren’t falling off the budgeting wagon. Make the most of your time and your money! In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Start managing your money more wisely today. Develop a budget, start saving, and prepare yourself for the future. It’ll pay off!