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Car Costs: 5 Frugal Tips to Make Your Vehicle More Cost-Effective in College

Posted on Feb 21, 2018 with No comments

The costs to keep your car up and running can be substantial. Like many consumers, you might wonder what options you have to decrease those costs. Fortunately, there are some options available to you. Use these five tips to make your vehicle more cost-effective.

Maintain the Car


Preventative maintenance will largely keep you from needing more expensive repairs in the future. Preventative maintenance includes getting your car in for regular oil changes and diagnostics to ensure everything is still running in tip-top shape.

If something is not, your mechanic will point this out to you and you can get the issue repaired before it becomes a costly, significant problem.

Shop for Cheaper Insurance


Car insurance is expensive. Unfortunately, it’s not worth it to cut corners in most coverage levels, because the minimum mandated coverage is not going to go very far in a serious accident where you have to cover medical bills.




However, there are ways to save. Shop around at different companies to see if you can find a better rate. See what coverage you could trim from your policy. If you have an older car, for example, collision insurance might not be a good buy because any damage will likely cost more to repair than what the car is worth.

Watch the Tires


You should check your tire pressure often. Under-inflated tires will wear out faster and waste gas. On the other hand, tires that are properly inflated will give you better gas mileage and work to reduce friction.

Always work with a professional like Evans Tire & Service Centers or someone similar to invest in quality tires. They might be a bit more expensive initially, but they will last longer and generally be safer. Keeping your tires in good condition can prevent costly accidents or needing an expensive tow truck to rescue you from the side of the road.

Increase Fuel Efficiency


Even if you don’t have a hybrid, there are still things you can do to increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Driving slower and accelerating more smoothly will use less gas. Changing your car’s various filters at regular intervals prevents dust and gunk buildup that can decrease fuel efficiency.

Swap for another Car


It is possible to get out of your contract and give the lease on your car to someone else. You can then pursue something more affordable or fuel-efficient. You may also decide now is the time to get rid of your old clunker and get a hybrid car. There will be a greater expense upfront to do this, but it will save you much more money over time in gas costs.

You can save money on vehicle-related costs in any number of ways. Try these suggestions and your pocketbook should soon notice the improvement.


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The Cost of College: 5 Frugal Tips for Students

Posted on Feb 6, 2018 with No comments
Unless you’re blessed with a scholarship, college costs can be quite stressful. Fortunately, there are many ways to plug financial drains. Here are a few aspects of student life where you can save money big time.

Textbooks


Textbooks are one of the most expensive parts of being a student. To cut back on this expense, start by ensuring that books mentioned in the course description are actually required. Some professors may not use them, announcing this the first day of class.

If you’d like to know in advance, email your instructors. Also, attend classes before buying books, in case you decide to drop any courses. After confirming necessary books, see if your school library has them on reserve.

Checking books out from a library saves you the cost of renting them, and you can usually check them out for a month or more at a time. Alternatively, the local public library may have some. If you can get your books from a library, you can scan the chapters you’ll be using onto a USB drive or your computer (just be sure not to share them with others to avoid breaking any copyright laws).

If you can’t find your books at a library then another possibility to consider is renting from online sources like Amazon. Most of these sites have set loan periods, but some let you specify.





If you can’t borrow or rent a book, you’ll have to buy them. Buying is almost always going to be more expensive than renting, but it doesn’t have to be. Look for used options, or electronic versions. Those are both likely to be cheaper than a hardcopy of a book. If you have to buy new and physical, then try to see if your school will repurchase them at the end of the semester.


Cell Phone Service


A cell phone is a bit of a must-have, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. The first step to savings is critiquing your current bill. Distinguish unnecessary bells and whistles from must-have services. Are you paying for unlimited data?

Many people think they need unlimited data, but don’t end up using much of it since they have WiFi at home, work, and school. Figure out what’s really essential, and cut out the rest.

Sometimes you can even save money by switching to a different cell phone service. If you’re using one of the big 4, consider switching to a non-traditional option like Flash Wireless or someone similar instead of a traditional carrier.

One non-traditional option is a prepaid service - also known as a month-to-month plan. With this type of plan you can switch carriers at any time, without the penalty fee of a contract plan. Most prepaid carriers don’t check credit, which can be advantageous if your credit history isn’t ideal (or doesn’t exist).

Determine the best talk, text, and data allotments for your needs, and pay in advance. Then, each month, recharge your account for the amount you wish to spend.

The alternative to a pay-as-you go plan is a contract plan. A contract requires you to guarantee to your provider that you will keep using their service for a set amount of time, and in exchange they give you benefits.

Sometimes these benefits mean free phones, or lower rates. Whatever they are, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of different contract plans with pay-as-you go plans before making a decision.

Food


No matter what your situation is in life, you’ve got to eat. When you’re at school you have a few different options for food. If you’re living in on campus housing, you may have the option to buy a meal plan.

While these meal plans aren’t designed to save you money, they can definitely save you time. For a college student, time can be money. If you don’t have to spend time cooking your own meals at home, you can spend that time working to earn a bit more money, or doing your homework. It makes them an option worth considering.

If you’re really strapped for cash though, you may want to skip the meal plan. You can spend less money by buying your own food at a grocery store and preparing your own meals. Be sure to look for coupons and discounts. Being smart when you shop for food will add up to significant savings.

Don’t cave in to the temptation to eat nothing but Ramen either. It might be cheap, but it won’t sustain you for long before your body begins to wear down from lack of nutrients. Don’t resort to fast food either – even if it seems cheap at the time you buy it, it will become expensive quickly.

If you’re a commuter, pack healthy meals, avoiding the high prices of food at your student union. Are you living in a dorm with a kitchen or off-campus with roommates? If so, consider splitting food expenses, and rotate cooking with your friends.

Stock fresh foods rather than processed meals. For discounted bulk foods and non-perishables, buy a warehouse club membership, such as Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJ’s. At Sam’s Club, get a collegiate membership. Online signup lowers your cost with a $25 e-gift card!

Money


The first rule of saving money is to think before you act. Before making purchases, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” The answer will help you curb expenses, by distinguishing necessities from mere desires. Pay all bills on time, sidestepping late fees and interest rates.

It can also help to compare financial institutions to see if you could save more money by banking somewhere else. Do an online comparison of banks offering free savings and checking accounts. Make sure that the bank you use provides:
  • Free checks 
  • Low administrative fees 
  • Free online banking services 
  • No minimum balances 
  • Convenient ATM locations 
  • Free, unlimited ATM use 

It’s also important to avoid any overdraft fees. If you can, don’t allow your bank to pull more out of your checking account than you have. It’s better for your finances to have your card declined than to pay extra in fees.

In the world today you will probably have a credit card as well. The best practice for living on a budget is to avoid using your credit cards at all, but that can be difficult if you’re paying bills or making purchases online.

 If you do use your credit cards, try to form the habit of not spending more than you have in your bank, and scheduling a payment to your credit card as soon as you use it. These practices will help you avoid overspending, which would lead to interest charges and monthly minimum payments. Two things that will hurt your budget.

College Jobs


As part of a financial aid package, a work-study program can offset some college expenses. You’ll earn at least minimum wage, and be able to study at the same time. To apply to a program like this, all you need to do is to fill out your FAFSA. On average, it takes just 30 minutes. Apply early, since funds are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Even if you don’t qualify for work-study, you can work while you’re at school. Try to keep your job to part-time if you can, so it doesn’t interfere with your studies. Look around for on-campus jobs as a TA or a janitor before going off-campus.

While they may not pay as well as some off-campus options, they’ll make it much easier to juggle work and school together. To find opportunities, visit your college Human Resources Department, Career Center, and campus job board. As with the work study, apply as early in the semester as you can – preferably before it starts.

Are you psyched to start saving money? Then put these skills to work! Every situation is different, so don’t worry if you can’t apply all of the tips presented here. The important thing is to find ways to limit your spending, while increasing your income. Remember, be savvy with spending and you’ll tame financial stress!


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Strapped for Cash? Try These Tricks to Lower Your Monthly Expenses

Posted on Jan 29, 2018 with No comments
It’s frustrating to see all your money go towards bills every month, and this is a bad habit to get into, as you won’t be able to save much or achieve financial stability. While increasing your income is great if you can manage it, you should also see if there’s any monthly expenses you have that you can lower or even eliminate entirely. If you’re ready to start cutting back, break out your latest record of your monthly expenses and check out these four cash-saving tips.

Choose One Service for TV and Movies


There’s nothing wrong with relaxing with a TV show or a movie that you like from time to time. But you don’t need four different services to do that. Figure out which service you’ll get the most use out of and drop the rest.

If you’re paying for cable, Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go or some similar collection of services every month, that adds up to quite a bit of money just for TV. Your most cost-effective option is to go the cord-cutter route and get rid of your cable package entirely, and then save even more by only choosing one streaming service.

Shop around for New Cell Service


Cell service is one of those things people often stay with for no particular reason. Maybe you got locked into a two-year contract when you bought a new phone, and then you just never bothered to check out what else was available when your contract was up. Whatever your reason, you may score a much better deal if you shop around.




Before you do this, figure out exactly how much data you need, as that’s the key factor in how much plans cost. See what different carriers are offering. Switching to a new carrier, or just switching your plan on your current carrier, could get you a much lower monthly rate.

If you want to save money, consider shopping around outside of traditional carriers and look into companies like Flash Wireless or Boost Mobile. Often alternatives like these can save you money relative to their competition.

Look for Inexpensive or Free Recreational Activities


When you look over your expenses, pay attention to how you’re spending your evenings and weekends. Those movies, happy hours, nights out and concerts can end up costing you hundreds of dollars every month.

It’s fine to have fun, but it’s also smart to switch out some of your pricier recreational activities with cheaper alternatives. Not only will you spend less, but you will also probably enjoy switching things up. For example, instead of going out to eat, you could invite friends for a dinner party.

You can also try going hiking or checking out any free museums or art galleries in your area. Look around and you’ll find that there’s plenty of fun things you can do at a low cost.

Check out Your City’s Public Transportation


Having a car is certainly convenient, but you’re paying for that convenience with your gas, insurance and maintenance costs. See what sort of public transportation your city has. Taking the bus or subway could be easier than you think.

Sure, it takes longer to get places via public transportation, but there’s no reason to consider this time a waste. You could read a book, listen to a podcast or do something else productive on your commute. Even taking public transportation a couple times per week will lower your gas costs.

Cutting your monthly expenses may initially seem like a tall order. But if you consider alternatives to your usual expenses and you’re willing to get rid of some unnecessary luxuries, you could end up with more money to put away every month.


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3 Reasons Your College Planning May Change Based on Your Major

Posted on Jan 6, 2018 with No comments
Many college students select a major early in their time at a university, but their experiences and changes in personal goals or interests may cause them to change majors at some point. While you need to choose a major that you are most interested in, you also need to know how this change can affect your college planning efforts.

You may think that a change in majors would not have a significant impact on your college plan, but your major selection can actually have far-reaching impacts on your educational career. These are some of the ways that your college plan could change if you select a new major.

Majors Have Different Educational Requirements


Each major has unique educational requirements. Depending on how far along you have progressed with your previous major, some of the courses that you have already taken may not apply to your new major.

Rather than counting as courses needed to satisfy degree requirements, they may only be used as extra electives with your new major. This could potentially push back your graduation date by a semester or by a much longer period of time.




If you are a business or economics major and change to a finance major, the impact may be minimal. However, if you change from an economics major to an English major, the impact may be much more significant. It’s also important to note the availability of classes at your university.

For example, if you’re at UW Whitewater College of Business & Economics and want to change programs, you can choose from what UWW offers, but you’d have to find another institution if you wanted to pursue a law degree. Changing schools is much more difficult than changing programs so you’ll likely want to get help with it.

You May Want to Take Advantage of an Internship Opportunity


With your new major, you may have different internship opportunities available. These opportunities may be essential for you to gain experience that can help you to land a great job after you graduate, and you may not want to miss out on them.

However, an internship can take up many hours of your time during the week, and you may want to take a lighter course load during the semesters when you are interning.

A New Major May Require More Challenging Courses


Each major has required courses that may be more or less challenging for some people. Each student has strengths in different subjects. Your ability to plan a reasonable work load for each semester will be based on how easy or difficult you anticipate a course to be.

If your new major has many required courses that you perceive to be challenging, you may opt to take fewer classes each semester until you graduate.

As you can see, there are many factors associated with your major that can impact your college plan. If you are thinking about changing majors, you should be aware of these impacts. However, ultimately, you should choose a major that you are most interested in and that you believe will open doors for you after graduation.


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Will the New Federal Tax Laws Effect College Education Loans?

Posted on Dec 23, 2017 with No comments
The other day, both Houses of Congress passed the brand-new tax costs, which is the very first significant modification to the tax code in 30 years. The brand-new Tax Cut and Job Act will have a substantial effect on education financing. The primary goal is to decrease taxes and streamline the procedure.

Over the past couple of months, various propositions were altered or contributed to the bill. All these modifications will impact different areas of student loan financing. Listed below are the actually details of the bill. A few of the items have a direct or indirect effect on college financing and student loan repayment.

College Funding Items


- 529 Plans-- They can now be utilized for K-12 education cost approximately $10,000 per kid. This could be extremely useful for individuals who reside in states that use a tax deduction for a contribution to a 529 Plan. It likewise consists of an arrangement for home schooling.

- American Opportunity Credit-- This tax credit stays at $2,500 per kid each year with certified college expenses. There are earnings limitations based upon the tax filing status.

- College Tuition Benefit will stay untaxed.-- Initial changes was to make it taxable. It is still thought about an outside resource for need-based financial assistance.




- Company Tuition Reimbursement will still be tax-free as much as $5,250. It was going to be revoked however was included back in.

- Coverdell Saving Plans-- Initially noted to be gotten rid of specifically after the 529 expansion. The Coverdell will stay the exact same.

- Graduate School Scholarships-- There is no change in the final bill.. This too was noted as a modification in the preliminary bill however it will stay in the law.

- Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credit-- The initial costs prepared to get rid of both of these income tax credits however they will stay the same. The objective was to have only one educational tax credit. This credit helps tax filers who were part-time students and graduate students.

- Student Loan Deduction-- This is still a permitted deduction in the bill. The original bill removed this deduction. There are limitations based upon how you file your taxes.

- Student Loan Discharge due to Death and Disability will be tax exempt-- Prior to this bill student loan forgiveness was taxable. This will stay in place however and will sunset in 2025. Other Income Drive Repayment Loan forgiveness such as IBR, PAYE, REPAY are still taxable forgiveness. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is tax-free. Modifications in these plans will be addressed in the Higher Education Act being examined now.

Indirect Tax Items Affect Educational Funding


- Elimination of Exemptions-- With the removal of the exemption reduction and a boost in the basic reduction, more analysis will be needed to optimize the American Opportunity Credit and other instructional tax credits.

- Home Equity Loan interest is not deductible. A typical borrowing scheme was to use the house equity credit lines or loans as a source for college financing. Under the brand-new bill, just your main home loan interest will be deductible.

- Kiddie Tax Rule Change-- Under the present law, unearned earnings over $2,100 for certain dependent kids are taxed at the moms and dad rates. Under the brand-new Kiddie Tax Rules, these earnings will be taxed at the trust level earnings tax rate, which are typically higher than theparents rates.

- Lower Tax Rates and Federal Income Tax paid might impact your Expected Family Contribution number.-- The brand-new tax bill has several modifications to the amount of federal tax paid. The quantity of federal tax paid belongs to the Expected Family Contribution or EFC computation.

- Minimum Tax (AMT) Remains-- A preliminary objective was to streamline the tax code and the AMT is a huge aspect of it. The earnings limitations were raised however is still part of the brand-new tax bill. The AMT is an issue particularly for couples who remain in Income Drive Loan Repayment methods.

- Other Varies Tax Changes might impact state educational financing and highly endowed colleges. These decreases might raise expenses at some schools.

Conclusion


In 2018, the college funding and student loan payment procedure will be changing. This short article addresses just the preliminary modifications in the tax code. Extra modifications are being attended to in the Higher Education Act, which is called Prosper Act. Once both are passed and signed, we will be able see the complete effect on college financing and student loan payment.


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Got A Car for College? Here Are 5 Tips on How to Save Money on Repairs

Posted on Nov 25, 2017 with No comments
As a student, you are fully aware of how much the studies and all that comes along with studying costs, especially if you are studying abroad. If you have a car, it is a great solution for you to have transportation to college and around the campus, but it can also be an expensive one if you know nothing about car repairs, and end up needing one. In this article, we are going to discuss 5 tips on how to save money on repairs.

Use the advantage of warranties


In the case that you didn’t know, most of the parts of your car have a warranty, be it limited or lifetime. This is something that you should get to know when buying the car, and it should be printed on the receipt.

Your auto store will also have this information stored in its system. So, start a file for this information and you will save greatly on car repairs. When an option for a one-time or a lifetime purchase offer is an option, you should spend money on the warranty. Someday you will be grateful that you did.

Ask for referrals


The same way that you certainly wouldn’t choose a doctor or a lawyer by browsing the Yellow Pages, you shouldn’t look for a car mechanic that way. The best solution to finding a great mechanic that you can afford is getting a referral.


Ask your friends about which car repair shop they prefer using. It’s one of the best ways to find a quality mechanic that you can put your trust in. It would also be smart to look for reviews of repair shops on a website such as Yelp. Otherwise, ask around on Facebook or Twitter.

Be prepared to do it yourself


Maybe running to the mechanic every time your car has issues isn’t necessary. Not every car repair needs a mechanic to do it, and there is a lot of simple repairs that you can do it yourself. Therefore, logically, one of the best ways to save money on repairs is to do some of the basic maintenance yourself.

It’s actually not at all hard to replace brake lights, change the car battery, replace wiper blades, change filters and oil, and so on. It may be a challenge at first, but it gets easier with practice. You can check YouTube and other websites for how do fix certain problems.

Get your own code reader


You have probably asked yourself countless times what the error code that is displayed in your car is trying to tell you. Well, if you get an error code reader of your own, you will know exactly what the cause behind your check engine light going on is.

When you take your car to the mechanic, and are already knowledgeable about what is wrong with your car, you can prevent any unnecessary repairs.


Build a relationship with a mechanic


People tend to trust their mechanics a bit too easily. The fact is that there is a number of them out there who don’t actually have your best interests in mind. You might be even ending up charged for services that you don’t even need.

According to Epping auto service, it is essential that you find the right mechanic and build a good relationship with them. That way you will know that you can trust them when you’re in trouble.

In summation


Studying today is expensive on its own. So, if you have a car for college, you should do your best so that you don’t spend more money on repairs than necessary. You can learn how to do some of the simpler repairs yourself. Otherwise, it is important that you find a good mechanic that you can trust, so that you don’t get ripped off.


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5 Savvy Ways to Save Money in College

Posted on Nov 22, 2017 with No comments
The high cost of tuition means you probably have less money left for the rest of your college expenses. Finding ways to save some money can make your life a little less stressful. Here are five savvy ways to save money in college.


Leave the Car Home


You will save a lot of money by not having your car on campus. You will not have the expense of parking, gas, insurance or unexpected car repairs if you are not driving. If you do need to take a trip off campus, check out the public transit system.

As a student, you may qualify for lower fares or even free transportation. If public transit is not an option, you can always rely on Lyft or Uber. Save even more by teaming up with a friend and sharing the cost.


Rent Textbooks


Most college bookstores sell used textbooks and might buy the books back at the end of the semester, for far less than what you paid. You may be able to slash your textbook expenses even further by renting your textbooks online.




An internet search will show you several options. All you need is the ISBN’s to be sure you are getting the books you need. Many textbooks are available in digital format.

Split the Cost of Storage


Having to haul all of your belongings back home at the end of the term, only to bring them back at the beginning of the next term is a lot of hauling. Save time and money by renting a month-to-month storage unit from a company like Wheaton World Wide Moving.

Moving back on campus will be much easier. Save money on your storage unit by splitting the cost with your roommate.

Resist Using Your Credit Card


Save money while you are in college by only buying what you can reasonably afford. While it may be necessary to have a credit card for unplanned expenses, you can save money by not racking up credit card debt and paying interest.

Not having a high monthly payment will leave more cash for necessities.

Socialize for Free


Keep your entertainment costs down by taking advantage of on-campus activities. Many campuses offer free movie nights, concerts and social activities that won’t break your budget. Get your friends together for a night out that won’t gouge your wallet.

Cutting your college expenses will leave a little more money for other necessities. Everything you don’t have to spend will add up over time. Try to give yourself a weekly budget and put away anything you don’t spend. Knowing how to save money can make college life more affordable.


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