What part of your life do you spend the most time working on?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

College Students Need To Read This!

Why do you go to college? To learn, live life and to get a job right? The truth is that most students will have a very tough time finding a job within their field when they are done with school. And for this reason it is important to be very smart with your money during school. Here are some hard facts....

  • 64% of consumers ages 18 to 24 don’t even know the interest rates they pay on their credit cards.
  • 83% of college students have at least one credit card.
  • 21% of undergrads with cards have high level balances between $3,000 and $7,000.
  • Students double their average credit card debt – and triple the number of credit cards in their wallets – from the time they arrive on campus until graduation.
  • Graduating students have an average of $20,402 in combined education loan and credit card balances.
  • The fastest growing group declaring bankruptcy is young adults age 20 to 24.

These Facts are scary! Here is a list of 5 things you can do as a college student to help cut costs and to help you get ahead instead of way behind....

  1. Share Meals - There is nothing wrong about getting with your roommates and planning who will cook what meal. In fact, It is a very smart thing to do. You can save hundreds of dollars by just planning out who will cook and pay for one meal a day. If you have an apartment with five roommates(yourself included) than you will only have to pay for one meal during the week. Yes, you do have to cook for more people but you will save a lot of money in the long run. You will still have to pay for your weekend dinners but you are saving money on the other four days of the week.
  2. Carpool - Ride together! Most people want company while they drive anyway so you might as well hitch a ride with them. Work it out to where an equal amount of driving is done by each person and boom, you are saving money on gas. Its an easy solution but a smart one.
  3. Group Discounts - Lets be honest... if you are a college student you are most likely there to have fun and get some education while you are at it. You can use this to your advantage. Most entertainment places have group discounts. Get a bunch of people together before you go bowling or to the movies. It will save you cash and you will have more fun.
  4. Cheap Dates - Here is another "Lets be honest" statement... Most of the people that you date are not going to end up being your husband or wife. So don't go spending tons of money on someone else's spouse! Find fun and inexpensive things to do. Get creative. I guarantee that a girl (or guy) will appreciate a creative date more than an expensive one.
  5.  You Don't Have To Live Large - Find inexpensive housing. Sure it is nice to live in the best place in town but you have your whole life to live in nice places. And think about this... Save your money now and you can live in a way nicer place later in life. Live in a luxury apartment now and pay off debt for years.... You choose.
College is supposed to be fun. You should have fun. But make sure that you are thinking and planning for the future. Saving dozens of dollars now will help you to be earning tens of thousands in the future.

Financial Tips For Newlyweds

So you are newly married and life is amazing! You now get to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your spouse. There are now two of you making money, so it is easy to make rent, buy food and pay for those car payments right? Unfortunately that is not right for the majority of newlyweds. Money is scarce, time is limited and payments may be getting bigger and not smaller. This doesn't have to be you! There are some newlyweds out there that are doing it right and they have come together to let us know their secrets about how you can live an easier life, save more money and get ahead.

1. Just because you can doesn't mean you should
It is very temping to go out and buy that new car that you have wanted for so long. Once you get married you have more credibility when it comes to getting a loan and you can cosign with your spouse. New cars are constantly coming out and you will want one. This is very natural, but don't give in!
Monthly payments are not the way to go when your first start out. Even though $200 does not sound like much to pay every month, it is. Monthly payments add up and eventually enslave you to work more and more. Just stay strong and drive the older car until you can pay for what you want or find a creative way to get something better.

2. Live on less than you earn
This point is not only for newlyweds but for every person that lives on the earth. It is so important to live on less than you earn. 43% of Americans live on more than they earn! That means that 43% of Americans are going farther and farther into debt each year. Using more money than you earn will force you into getting credit cards that will suck the life right out of you. You will end up working day in and day out to over pay for things that you have bought. Some credit cards have interest rates upwards of 25%! That means that 25% of what you spend  each month is going to making the Credit Card companies rich while you are getting poor.
Find ways to live on less. Eat at home, turn the heat off when you leave, find high paying savings accounts and just drive one car if possible.

3. Don't just make a budget, Practice using it.
It is easy to make a budget. You have probably thought about making one or maybe you already made one. Are you using it? Some people will say, "But its my money and I will spend it how I like. I don't need to be limited by a budget." Not only are budgets a good way to manage your money, they also empower you make more money and use it to make more.
There are a myriad of books about budgeting and for that reason this post will not go in to detail on how to make a budget. Most of the budgeting books are good if you just stick to the plan set out in them.
Just a few budgeting books that you might want to take a look at are....

-The Budget Kit by Judy Lawrence
-10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by The Writers of Wise Bread
-The Complete Idiots Guide to Managing Your Money by Robert K. Heady

4. Invest: Even if it is just a few dollars
When you can invest your money and let it earn more money, you are heading in the right direction. You might say, "Well I'm not rich. How can I invest money that I don't have?" It doesn't matter if you are investing a thousand dollars a month or ten dollars a month. Right now, all that matters is that you are investing. There are several ways that you can do this. Just to list a couple...

- Buy one share of stock at a time. There are thousands of companies that you can invest your money in right now. Some will make money and some will loose money so it is important that you invest your extra cash in something that is not very high risk. Invest it in something like Ford or GE. Once you have more income you can play around a little more with higher yielding/higher risk stocks. The important part is that your money is making you more money right now. Go to www.scottrade.com, www.tdameritrade.com or www.fidelity.com to start an account and start buying shares.

- Invest in your local "Cash Now" store. Most of those "cash now" loans stores are looking for investors to give them cash to loan to other people. Save your money for a few months and go talk to them. Some are paying out as high as 15% on small loans they take from inverters like you.

5. Microwave Noodles Taste Good with Frozen Vegetables Mixed In
This last one makes a good point. You can get creative. In fact, you should get creative. There people who have gotten creative and have gotten free rent for three months. There are people who drive brand new cars that they drive for free because they have gotten creative. You are a creative person. Think about what you want and where you want to be and start thinking of creative ways to get it.
You can create a great life. Life is amazing if you think about it, so now it is time that you start living that way!