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Money-Saving Tips & Tricks for College Students

Posted on Jun 20, 2016 with No comments
It is no secret that students often live on a shoestring budget. When you are trying to balance the costs of living with the costs of studying and all that with a limited amount of money at your disposal, every cent counts. In this situation it is difficult to balance your budget, and let alone put some cash aside for yourself. Still, believe it or not, there are ways to save some money while studying, without compromising on your lifestyle.

Put It on Paper

Have you ever looked at your wallet in the end of the month, and wondered where all the money went? Do not worry – it happens to everyone. To avoid it in the future, put your budget on a paper. Write down how much money you have, and what all of your major costs (bills, rent, etc.) will be. Take notes of every cost you make during the week (groceries, night out, impulse purchases and so on). There are many apps that can help you organize your budget efficiently, but a simple notebook will also do the trick. 

Find Affordable Accommodation

Accommodation usually takes the biggest part of your monthly budget. First, choose to live in some more affordable neighborhood, even if it is not close to your college. In many cities you can get student discounts for public transport, so you do not have to worry about the costs of commuting. Also, finding a roommate is always a good way to share the costs.

Save on Utility Bills

Another huge chunk of your budget, utility bills are not written in stone, and you can significantly reduce them with some simple steps. For example, make sure you keep all your electric devices off when you are not using them. Also, you can replace your regular incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. Check the bathroom and the kitchen for possible water leaks and use a toilet tank to save about half gallon per flush, advise us at a Hazlet-based plumbing service.

Cut Costs on Your Groceries

Your groceries bills might not seem as much at the first glance, but if you consider them on a weekly basis, you can see how easily the costs can pile up. Try to save some money by buying in bulks, visiting local markets, and purchasing discounted items. Always opt for seasonal produce, not only because it is cheaper, but also because it is healthier.

Learn to Cook

Forget all about ordering pizza, eating takeaways and instant oatmeal and noodles. Cooking is not that hard as you think, and it is much cheaper and healthier than buying prepared dishes. Learn some basic recipes for pasta, smash potatoes, omelets, rice dishes, and other easy to make student meals.

Buy Used Items

Not everything that is new is necessarily better than something pre-loved. In fact, secondhand shops are gaining more popularity each day, as many celebrities decide to buy clothes there and speak about it in public. There is no shame in buying used text books or furniture. Many of the electrical devices you use on a daily basis (e.g. TV) can be bought for a bargain, even though they were used for a short time.

Use Student Discounts

Cities that are home to one or more universities usually have great student deals that might seem insignificant when looked apart, but when joined together, they can make a huge difference in your monthly costs. Your student ID card is the key for discounts for transport, museum entrance, restaurants and shops.

Pay Upfront

Paying upfront will serve the similar purpose as planning your budget. You will get rid of all the major costs at the beginning of the month, so the money that remains on your disposal is the real sum you can spend. Also, if you make your student debt payment upfront, you can avoid interest charges.

As you see, it is possible to save some money during your college days. All it takes is a bit of planning and cleaver spending, but the results (having some money aside) are very rewarding.


The Importance of Proper Hydration for Students

Posted on Jun 15, 2016 with No comments
Water is undoubtedly an essential element that enables normal functioning of our organism, and it’s no surprise since around 70% of our body is basically water content. 

Although most of us tend to stay hydrated, we often don’t have all the details. To satisfy your inner curious cat and provide you with the answers to the extra questions, we researched what benefits water brings to students.

Banish the toxins

Every single one of today’s cleansing diets prescribes a significant consumption of water. This extraordinary liquid helps us get properly detoxified by ousting the toxins out of our system. 

The actual process is carried out via sweat and urine. For example, a clear, pale yellow urine is a good sing. Considering the pesticides we may find in our food, it’s advisable to drink plenty of water to oust these nasty chemicals.

Energy boost

Students are most commonly very active throughout the day, which means they need loads of energy. When we skip on water and get dehydrated, our motoric abilities and energy levels are at minimum values. 

This consequently results in lethargy and exhaustion, which is exactly why you shoule drink water frequently for your organs and muscles to work at full capacity.

Immune system

A weakened immune system is a real nightmare, but thankfully, water can help us recuperate. The studies have shown that low water input makes us more susceptible to numerous illnesses. 

Doctors advise we should drink at least 500ml of water a day, while around 2l would be optimal.

Burn the extra weight

More and more students today are afflicted by the obesity and excessive weight epidemics, and we’d like to pinpoint water’s weightloss potential too. 

The takeover of the sedentary lifestyle at the expense of good old outside activities is taking its toll. On top of it, unhealthy meals available in educational facilities and everywhere around them are not helping them. Simple water or unsweetened lemonade can flush the fat derivatives and rev up their metabolism.

Improved musculature

As more and more students are taken up by the inside pastimes, their muscles are getting somewhat weaker. 

This means they will be less prepared for sports and other more demanding physical activities. Water excels in this too since it reportedly enhances our stamina and overall performance. 

This is rooted in the fact that 75% of the cartilage and muscle is actual water. In other words, less water means more muscle pain.

Brain power-up

You’re not doing so well at the university lately? You fail to study due to poor focus and intermittent headaches? You may want to look for the cause of the problem in the amount of water you drink on a daily basis. 

Chase away the awful side-effects of dehydration (dizziness, impaired cognitive abilities) and sip on water throughout the day.

Positive mindset

Linked to our previous note, the precious life-giving liquid is also inducing a better mood in general. 

The lousy physical state gets replicated in our mind as a grumpy and melancholic disposition. To evade the sullen and edgy behaviour, make water consumption an obligatory task.

Perfect digestion

It’s well known that students tend to munch their food hastily and that can lead to disturbed bowel-work. 

Our digestive tract is demanding ample amounts of water to simply get started. Now, with all this water consumed, how we do to ensure its quality? 

The installation of a top notch tap-water purifier will not only efficiently capture bacteria and all the other potentially harmful elements, claim Sydney-based online retailers of water filters, but also represent a more affordable, eco-friendly alternative to buying bottled water.

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons for proper hydration during your academic years, so ensuring regular water intake will results in the overall well-being in prepare you for even the most demanding tasks.


School Gardening for Increased Academic Performance

Posted on Jun 10, 2016 with No comments
Every teacher should consider organizing a few lessons in the school garden. This allows students to gain sense of responsibility, take part in hands-on learning and engage in teamwork-based activities thus improving their respect for nature, themselves and others. Having your students spend time outdoors will increase their productivity and at the same time encourage them to learn, grow, and understand true values in life.

Gardening and academic achievement

There are numerous benefits of garden-based learning. Every student can experiment and apply the things learned in a real-world situation. Engaging in hands-on lessons improves their attitude towards the lesson and usually helps them to end up with better grades, as well as more knowledge. It is much easier to learn while you have the opportunity to immediately test the newly adopted information. Thanks to school gardening methods, many students end up achieving academic success.

Think outside the garden

While working as a member of a group, each student will have to contribute with creative ideas and ways of finishing the presented tasks. In order to complete certain tasks, they will have to get out of their comfort zone and seek new solutions to the problem at hand. Their way of thinking and problem-solving abilities will be put to the test. The skills they are able to learn in garden oriented classes will come handy in other life situations as well.

Becoming a part-time gardener

By embarking on this adventure, students get the chance to become part-time gardeners and to take care of the tasks which were previously awarded to them. Taking care of living things like plants and animals helps children develop a higher level of responsibility and a sense of obligation. There are many activities that students need to perform in the garden, from crop protection to reseeding. Some tasks involve planting completely new seeds, others using backpack or knapsack sprayer to get rid of invasive weeds and pests. Growing and planting seeds teaches students to be organized as well as providing them with basic gardening skills that might come useful for some of them in the future.

Improved cognitive function

By simply being in the garden, students will be able to observe nature and spend some time in the fresh air. Studies have shown that being outdoors helps you improve both concentration and focus. Students are not restrained by the walls of their classroom, and as a result their cognitive function will improve. They will be able to do things on their own terms thus becoming more independent and relaying on their own ideas and choices. Another benefit from garden classes is the fact that in order to finish the tasks more quickly and efficiently they will have to improve their communication skills. This will prepare them for a lot of challenges life has yet to offer.

Unlock their potential

Since there is no limit to how far the students are able to go with their self-improvement, by challenging themselves they are able to fully understand their potential and the things they are able to achieve. By analyzing and comparing shapes, students practice math without even realizing it. By observing the basic physical characteristics of the plants and their response to stimuli and growing conditions, they are actually learning about biology. They can release their inner artists by drawing something from the garden or memorizing a certain color pattern. And each and every action that happens is part of a bigger, more important learning process.

The results are outstanding, almost every student has achieved better final grades. School gardening is a great way of bringing students closer to nature, and separating them from the digital world that they have become so immersed in. It is connected to all spheres of learning, adapting and evolving. In the end, encouraging a discussion with your students about how school gardening affected them might surprise you more than it surprised them.


Several Space-Saving Hacks for a Dorm Room

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 with No comments

If there was one space in this world that could use extra space at all times it would certainly be a dorm room. The books, the notes, the clothes, the footwear, the music collection, the magazines, the drinks, food and sports apparel are just some of the things that need their place at an ordinary dorm room and sooner or later every inch begins to matter. Luckily, there are several space saving hacks that will help you keep things under control and at the same time preserve full functionality and comfort.

Use the under-the-bed space

Unlike usual purpose at home where the space under the bed is used to store the things that are unused, when it comes to dorm rooms this area can provide an ample storage place for the things that are occasionally used, such as your football boots or notes and books from the last year’s courses that you get back to from time to time. Store them in plastic bins or tubs that can be stacked on top of each other to maximize the storage space and label them according to the content.

On-the-door storage

The space that is rarely deemed as having a significant storage potential is a door surface. This includes all the doors, such as entrance and bathroom, as well all the closets and cabinets. When looked from such a perspective, it becomes clearer that there is a lot of storage opportunity there. The back of the door can be used for storage in a great number of ways, particularly in a hanging fashion for items such as jewelry, bags and pans, as well as various small kitchen and bathroom accessories and cleaning aids.

On the wall

Just like in any other setting, walls have a great storage potential in dorm rooms. You can use the walls to hang a series of small shelves and use them as designated places for different types of things. For example, one for regularly used books, other for magazines, cups, and so on. If you need larger shelves, there are highly practical and versatile examples, such as Dexion NZ shelving solutions.

Use the corner space

Another great addition to expanding the storage capacity of the room is making the best use of the corner space. Their multi-functionality and practicality has been recognized by all major and small manufacturers and you can find them at every furniture store. On the other hand, you can easily build them yourself. You can use them to store practically anything, from your shoes to your books and keys, as well as stands for decorative flowers or speakers, for that matter.

Declutter and organize your space

No space saving hacks will be able to help you unless you thoroughly declutter your room and keep it clearly organized at all times. Start by getting rid of all the items you rarely or do not use at all. And keep repeating this at least every season, particularly at the end of each semester. Next, keep all the items that remained clearly organized and always stored at their designated places. This may seem burdening, but it makes perfect sense. What good are all your storage capacities if you do not use them properly and solely for the items they are meant for?

With knowing your true needs, careful planning and implementation of these hacks and routine decluttering, any dorm room, no matter how big or small can provide a well-organized and ample enough storage space. Naturally, all these actions will demand equal attention and effort both from you and your roommate(s) in order to have a long term positive effect.


Fiske Guide to Colleges 2016 - Review

Posted on May 29, 2016 with No comments
The "Fiske Guide to Colleges" Is a good place to start when embarking on your journey in finding a good college. Fiske books have a long tradition of putting out comprehensive guides for helping up and coming college students and their parents select and prepare for college. With over 2,000 colleges to pick from in the U.S. ti's hard to sort through them all. Fiske has solved this problem and narrowed the search down to the 320 most important colleges in the nation.

This comprehensive 848 page book describes 320 colleges in detail with 1,000 to 2,500 word detailed descriptions of each school. You will find an interesting in length discussion of the college campus and list of all the courses and degrees the college specializes in. Background information about acceptance rates, enrollment, and retention rates. A rating system for academics, social scene and quality of life is given.

I like the "Fiske Guide to Colleges". Each college has a well written easy to read listing with much detail included like SAT score data, religious affiliations, sports, and college specializations. It's organized and clear layout lends itself to scanning quickly or more purposeful reading.

Organization of information is one of Fiske's strong points. The 320 colleges are listed by state and country, price range, and private-public.

Each college has a complete essay that includes descriptions of academics, campus setting, student body, financial aid, housing, food, social life, and extracurricular activities.

There also is a listing where Fiske organizes each college by its strength in Architecture, business, art, journalism, engineering, dance, television, drama etc.

You'll find both the good and bad about a school. The result is not just a fact filled dry book but through the text you will get the feel of the college your reading about. Picking a college isn't just about the numbers, it is also about the human touch. Fiske specializes in describing the personality of a college.

With so many colleges Fiske takes a lot of criticism for not including more colleges in this book. You will find the shortcoming of just finding a lot of East and West coast colleges with many Midwest colleges missing.

The "Fiske Guide to Colleges" is not as comprehensive as some other college guides in the number of colleges it covers, but it does cover many things other books don't. Is the Fiske book worth the money? It is if you need a book that gets down into the details and important things any college student needs to know about perspective colleges.

Here are some reviews from Amazon.


529 Day 2016 - Are You Investing for Your Child's College Education

Posted on with No comments
Today is 529 College Savings Day (similarly called 529 Day) it's designed to raise awareness about the advantages of saving for college and the various advantages of 529 programs. Whether you're saving for your exclusive schooling or the schooling of a loved one, 529 plans can assist you and make your dreams a certainty.

Currently offered by all FIFTY states, 529 plans get their title from Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, which established federal tax advantages for qualified college savings plans. These programs help you plan and save for qualified higher education costs at eligible universities. There are 2 basic 529 plan choices -- pre-paid tuition plans and a 529 Savings Plan, which enable households to prepay for college tuition, necessary costs, and savings programs. The tax benefits of 529 plans are similar to those for 401K retirement savings, however upon withdrawal, earnings are tax free when employed for qualified college costs. Furthermore, some states, offer income tax benefits for those who contribute to that state's 529 program.

The person who opens the 529 account, not the real beneficiary, maintains full control of their 529 money. Funds in 529 accounts may be rolled over to another state's plan-- and can be taken out at any time for any purpose. Withdrawals not designated for qualified college costs carry a 10% federal penalty on earnings unless the student receives a complete scholarship, ends up being disabled, or dies. Unlike other college savings programs, 529 plans do not have earnings restrictions. The maximum savings amount is substantial-- in Virginia, for instance, presently as much as $350,000 can be invested for each individual.

How to Create a Study Environment in College that Fosters Productivity

Posted on May 26, 2016 with No comments
You shouldn’t feel bad if you cannot get focused in your dormitory or at home. The truth is, it takes a lot of adjustments to turn a room into a highly efficient studying environment. Since this space is playing a great part in the learning process and information retention, it’s high time you take things into your own hands and create an optimal knowledge-acquiring nook.

Beloved music

Many of us listen to some music as we tend to our study notes. Now, does this really help or hinder our learning process? The answer may differ with different people, and I remember I just had to listen to the music when I did my vocabulary drilling to eliminate the surrounding distractions.

Interestingly, the scientists have discovered that keeping our headphones on during the studying process lowers the retention rates. However, the gentle low volume background music is a welcomed study aid.

Dealing with background sounds

I was a true textbook example of a student who gets distracted by pretty much everything, and I actually had to stop mid this sentence to watch an educational cartoon version of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda (true story!). Students like me are struggling to stay concentrated with an abundance of indoor and outdoor sounds of varied intensity disrupting the silence.

To improve your studying fort, go by Socrates’s words and get to know thyself. Do you need the light background buzz or total silence to thrive? Test out both library and some coffee shop to figure what is your ideal setting. Additionally, consider installing a dependable noise reduction feature in your home.


As I’m writing this, I’m pretending the overhead incandescent bulbs (booo!) are not blinding me at all. Thankfully, it’s only temporary, since these conditions can cause serious eye strain and could lead to dry eyes syndrome. During study sessions, it’s downright impossible to soldier on in the overly bright or dimmed ambiance, and it may cause a series of side-effects, from headaches to eye damage.

What to do? Assess the lighting circumstances of your study spot. Get rid of the glare and shadows. Lastly, opt for fluorescent fixtures and quality task lighting.

You’re hot and you’re cold

My fingers don’t seem to get any blood supply as they’re cold all year round in remotely cold conditions. This means that chilly rooms are out of question if I hate to write or type. Fellow individuals may experience this during their learning process, and the cold feel may shift their attention. It works in the opposite side of the spectrum, with hot and humid areas.

The solution: adjust the thermostat at an acceptable level. Otherwise, equip yourself with extra clothes or refreshing beverages.

Clock obsessed

I present to you one of my self-sabotaging habits: checking the time. This has decidedly brought me more harm than good. It works to speed some people up, or get them thinking how new episode of Game of Thrones airs in 4h and they simply have to see what happens to the Mother of Dragons plotline.

How to use the time-keeper to you advantage? Set out a schedule, but don’t get too comfortable and challenge yourself occasionally.

Roommates and other people

I can’t even read a book for longer than 2 min when there’s someone in the room. Ugh! Adapting to other people’s rhythm can be a trouble and a nuisance as well. Sometimes even the littlest discordant sounds and interruptions can drive you crazy. It’s best to get some privacy and let your family or roommates know you need plenty of silent treatment. Employ some noise-cancelling headphones, find a quiet spot and devote your attention to books.

Feng Shui

This is a legitimate method that provides you with a healthy and productive studying environment.

  • Get enough sunlight with a desk moved near the window, as sunlight improves our mood
  • Remove the clutter and clean up (swap the restricted feel and lost notes for an unburdened and relaxed state of mind).

I have dug up some productivity hacks from my studying routine many students will undoubtedly recognise as their own. Master the environment optimisation prior to actual learning to achieve the best results.


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