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5 Fun Summer Activities That Won’t Break the Bank

It’s summer time! This is my favorite time of the year because…drum roll please… there aren’t any classes! That’s right; school is out and you have three glorious months to do whatever you please. Isn’t it fantastic?

It’s absolutely wonderful until about three weeks into it, when you’ve slept in late every morning, lounged around in your pajamas all day, and caught up on all of your favorite television shows. Then, summer time can become a little boring.

Luckily, we’ve come up with a list of fun things you can do this summer to keep yourself entertained without breaking the bank. Here’s our list of the top five summer activities to make your summer as much fun as it possibly can be.

1. Start a book club with your friends. There are other books out there besides just textbooks.

Why it’s fun: You get to pick a few fun books to read with your friends, instead of slaving over a textbook and comparing notes over those readings. You’ll get to see your friends on a weekly basis and have something more interesting to talk about than which Kardashian sister has the best clothes.

How to keep it budget-friendly: Borrow books from your local library. You can also check out garage sales and second-hand book stores, which often sell books for as low as $0.50. Read the rest of this entry »



How to Ask Your Parents for Money

Whether your college job isn’t cutting it, or you spent a little too much here and there, it’s time to ask your parents for money. You’re probably dreading that uncomfortable experience.

Unless you plan to go to a bank or a money shop, you will eventually have to discuss your finances with your parents. Read below, and find out ways to better handle that conversation.

Decide if you’re asking for a loan or a gift first, and be sure you know what you’re asking for before you meet with your parents. If you are indeed asking for a gift, make sure you say so.  Don’t ask for a loan if  you have know intention of paying them back.

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Is Grad School a Waste of Money?

I hear it all the time: “A graduate degree is the new bachelor’s degree.” Meaning, to get ahead in your chosen career path, you not only need four years of schooling, but six. However, recent studies show that even grad school won’t benefit everybody.

“I expected to get out of grad school and find a job fairly easily, even in the down economy,” said Eric Peters, who earned a master’s degree in 2009 from Radford University. “What I found after applying to more than 150 jobs was that experience weighs far more than education. And I’m talking paid full-time experience, because I had four internships under my belt when I graduated that didn’t seem to matter very much.”

Peters, who got his degree in corporate and professional communications, learned after some extensive job-hunting that experience out ways education in the communications field. In the end, he settled for an entry-level position, which are generally reserved for young, inexperienced workers.

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Resources That Make College Life Cheaper

Going to college is considered a rite of passage for most people. Students often can’t wait to leave home and enjoy living on their own as adults. While college is all about education, there are some life skills that are needed to make your college life bearable.

College students are known for having to live on very little funds due to their class load and being away from home. Many students don’t work so there is very little disposable income to go around. Below are some tips to make college life much more affordable. Minimizing your expenses can go a long way in having a good college experience. It will also help you avoid the temptation of borrowing money through student loans for necessities. Try out some or all of these ideas to maximize your dollar.

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College Grads: 3 Ways You Can Better Budget Your Paycheck

June is the the time of year that newly-minted graduates are headed off into a world of resumes, interviews and call-backs, all of which will hopefully lead to a job  and that much-needed paycheck. While most young adults don’t like to be told how to spend their money, planning for your first month’s income isn’t an easy task.

Instead of learning the hard way, I urge college grads to put some thought into their budgets before they even receive their first paycheck. Take the guess work out of your personal finances, and read these tips on how to properly spend and save your money.

Plan for taxes: Depending on which state you live in and your household situation, taxes can take a huge chunk out of your paycheck. To better estimate that amount, use a free paycheck calculator online. Also, start thinking of withholding as a means of saving. More withholding means a larger refund, which could be used to pay off student loans faster, or it could go towards a down payment on a car.

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Easy Ways To Fatten Your Wallet

Everyone wants more money, so give yourself some. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to saving money. Two dollars here, three dollars there; it all adds up at the end of the year and you would be surprised to see how much money you waste. Most of us are guilty of the bad everyday spending habits that clear out our wallets. Here are some tips to get you back on track to seeing your savings account surge:

Make coffee at home:
In the morning rush the extra five minutes it takes to brew a pot of drip coffee at home seems like an eternity, but the savings make it worth it. Skipping the double tall-vanilla-soy latte at the coffee stand will save you around three dollars a day. That’s a total savings of $1,095 per year!

Bottle your own water:
Walking all over campus makes you thirsty, and it’s easy to pop into a convenience store to grab a bottle of water, but at two dollars a day, it’s an expensive habit. Fill a reusable water bottle to take with you five days a week and you’ll pocket $520 per year!

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Former California Secretary of Education to Be Keynote Speaker at Biola Education Symposium

Biola University LogoFormer California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas will return to his alma mater to give the keynote address at a symposium hosted by the Biola University’s School of Education. Biola University is a private Christian college, whose mission is “to equip a generation of influential educators, focused on God’s calling, devoting their strengths, gifts and scholarship, to meet the needs of diverse students and to advance the Kingdom of God.”

The topic of the symposium is the future of education in California, particularly in light of the budget deficit and recent cuts made to education funding. The panel will also discuss the role for Christian education in promoting ethics, and upcoming legislation.

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Proposed Budget to Cut Pell Grant Funding

With recent spikes in college tuition, students are in need of federal aid more than ever, but they may not get the amount they need. If the U.S. Senate passes a bill proposed recently by the U.S. House, the federal grant budget will be cut by 15 percent.

Education activists and many college students are incensed by the proposed budget cuts. They say that lawmakers need to get their priorities in order. They also say representatives in D.C. should do away with tax loopholes and subsidies for multimillionaires and corporations, instead of trying to balance the federal budget by cutting back college aid.

“The Pell Grants are the federal government’s cornerstone financial aid program that 9.4 million college students rely on each year to pay for the college courses that are fueling our recovering workforce and economy,” Rich Williams said, a higher education advocate with Illinois Public Interest Research Group. “Tough choices are supposed to come only after the easy ones. It’s difficult to imagine how cuts to Pell Grants happen before cuts to BP and Goldman Sachs. And yet that’s exactly what the House resolution does.”

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Is the AT&T or Verizon iPhone Better for Students?

If you are a Verizon cell phone user, then you are probably celebrating a new piece of information the company recently released: iPhone is coming to Verizon! Currently, AT&T is the only cell phone provider who offers the Apple iPhone. However, on February 10, 2011, all of that will change.

Verizon will be offering the iPhone 4 to all users who are eligible for an upgrade for $199.99 for the 16GB model or $299.99 for the 32GB model with a new two-year agreement. Users can also purchase the phone at full price without a contract agreement for $649.99 for the 16GB model or $749.99 for the 32GB model.

The phones will require a data plan, which start at $15 for 150MB or $29.99 for unlimited data for current Verizon phones; however, Verizon has not yet announced their new data plans for iPhones.

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Where to Get the Most Money For Your Used Textbooks

textbooksAlthough nobody likes the financial strain of buying textbooks, I think it is fair to say that most of us like selling our books at the end of the semester, especially when you have a book that sells back for a good price.

However, it can be hard to know which bookstore or website will give you the best price for your textbooks. There are many options available for your selling pleasures, but here are the best places to score the highest buy-back price.

1.    Half.com. This website specializes in selling many forms of media, including books, music, movies, and games. They also specialize in helping you sell your textbooks. Half.com does not buy your textbooks directly, but they do enable you to sell your textbooks to more than 100 million viewers. This is awesome because you are very likely to find someone, somewhere who will want to buy your used textbooks.

2.    Amazon.com. Like Half.com, Amazon allows you to place your textbook in their marketplace and sell to millions of people around the world. Another benefit of Amazon.com is that this website will even buy your books from you.

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