Posts published in May, 2018
BY MELISSA BURNS
College is a time for meeting new people, going through new experiences and generally having a hell of a good time. However, it is not all fun and games, as endless health risks constantly surround students: disease, stress, unhealthy habits that can have long-term effects on your well-being, you name it. In this article, we will go over some of the most common health problems you are likely to face.
1. Infectious Diseases
College involves working and living with groups of numerous other people in closed environments, which is a natural breeding ground for all kinds of infections, starting with a common cold and flu and ending with meningitis and antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus. Some are just unpleasant, and others pose serious health and life risks (meningitis, for example, can lead to permanent brain damage and disability).
What to do about it? Get vaccinated. Some colleges outright require it before you can move into the dorm, but even if your college doesn’t, you owe it to yourself and your health to take care of it on your own.
2. Freshman 15
Freshman 15 refers to quick and catastrophic weight gain often experienced by college students during their first year. It doesn’t have to be exactly 15 pounds, but facts are facts: after starting to live independently from their parents, most people immediately have their eating habits slide. Fast food, carbohydrate-rich dishes usually available in cafeterias and, of course, copious amounts of booze all make their contribution.
Ways of dealing with it are obvious: try eating something besides pizzas and French fries, say no to carbonated drinks and don’t try to drink all the beer in the world. Learning a few healthy lifestyle habits won’t hurt either.
3. Poor Sleep
With all the partying and catching up on studies at the last moment, you are likely to pull all-nighters now and then, and there is nothing particularly life-threatening in it – as long as it happens only occasionally and doesn’t turn into a habit. However, if you spend most of your night up and about and catch up on sleep during lectures, you are not just going to annoy your professors but risk ruining your sleep for years to come. All habits acquired at this period of life are extremely difficult to get rid of later on, so try to develop sleeping habits that are going to help you in future: have enough sleep, maintain regular sleeping and waking schedule (including weekends), don’t eat before bedtime and so on.
4. Lack of Exercise
Even if you exercised regularly throughout high school, when you get started in a college you are likely to have all your routines and habits disrupted. Although most colleges provide excellent opportunities for exercise, many students feel too busy to bother with it. However, having at the very least 90 minutes of physical exercise a week can do wonders to increase your general alertness and mental acuity, making you all the more capable of dealing with stresses of student life. Decreased risk of obesity and heart disease go without saying.
5. Alcohol-Related Injuries
Although binge drinking is indeed not the healthiest habit out there, alcohol itself isn’t as dangerous as poor judgment it entails. About 1,800 American students die every year from alcohol-related injuries – that is, in accidents where inebriation played or could have played some role.
The only way to prevent it, apparently, is to drink responsibly – and to avoid people who cannot or don’t want to follow this rule.
Take measures to protect yourself from these risks, and your time in college is much more likely to be mostly good memories!
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Follow her @melissaaburns or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
BY LORRAINE McKINNEY
You don’t have to wait until you graduate from college to start your own business. Today, many college students are successfully juggling entrepreneurship and coursework, enabling them to pay off college debts and start building a post-grad nest egg.
Of course, building a business while still in school isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you’re feeling that entrepreneurial itch, take these factors into consideration before starting.
- Know Your Priorities – How organized, ambitious and practical are you? To run a successful business while still in school, you’ll need to be all three. It’s critical to carefully prioritize your academic and business responsibilities so nothing falls through the cracks. Always keep the bigger picture in focus.
- Pick Appropriate Courses – If you plan on continuing your business after graduation, choose courses that are related to your business goals. Select classes based on subject matter, expert professors, and others who share similar objectives. Pick what will give you the best business foundation and help you meet like-minded individuals.
- Use School Resources – Colleges have all kinds of free resources that you can use when starting a business. These services include school-sponsored entrepreneurship events, free wifi, online assistance, and school libraries, just to name a few. Of course, you should also take advantage of networking with your business department professors, who have a wealth of savvy business information to share, from launching a startup to formalizing a business continuity plan.
- Connect with Students – In addition to picking your professors’ brains, be sure to network with your fellow students. Who knows, you may even meet that perfect business partner for your start-up. And, likely, you’ll need to hire a few students to help with tasks ranging from printing/distributing fliers to designing a custom website.
- Ask the Right Questions – When you are in class, you have an ideal opportunity to poll fellow students to get information you need for your business. For example, ask them if they would use the service you offer, what they like about your business idea, and what they would do to improve on your ideas. This is a great way to get the information you need to be successful in your new business venture.
- Look into Funding – Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need some sort of start-up funding. Fortunately, students are often well-positioned to get help not available to others. Check with the counseling and financial offices at your college for assistance with finding and securing loans, federal grants, fellowships, scholarships, etc. Don’t forget to explore crowdsourcing and other innovative sources for your startup.
- Set Your Schedule – You know that old saying about one’s eyes being bigger than one’s stomach? This can also apply to starting a business while still in school. In that entrepreneurial adrenaline rush, everything may look exciting and doable. But be careful not to overextend yourself. If you do, you may end up with a failed business and failing grades. Create a schedule that includes detailed checklists and deadlines, and stick to those.
- Don’t be Afraid to Say “No” – Being a student is already a full-time job. Adding a new business on top of that can feel like too much. So it’s critical that you learn what to cut out of your schedule and get in the habit of saying no. There isn’t always going to be time to go down to the pub with friends for a beer, no matter how much they bug you to go. On the other hand, don’t become a total hermit either. For successful student entrepreneurs, it’s all about balance.
Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.
BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
Learning how to prepare a presentation that will wow your audience takes a lot of practice, and there are no shortcuts that will replace actual experience; however, we can offer you a few tips that will prevent you from making beginner’s mistakes and give you a head start.
1. Do Your Homework
In both senses of the word. Whatever you may think of it, making a presentation is the easiest part of your task – doing the preliminary research and getting to know what you are supposed to talk about is much more difficult. Don’t be in a hurry to start compiling the presentation until you learn everything there is to learn about your topic – otherwise you may find out later that you’ve got some things wrong and have to start over.
2. Keep It Simple
One of the most common mistakes comes from misunderstanding the nature of your task. PowerPoint slides are just a part of what constitutes a presentation, and not the most important part. They are meant to simply complement the message you deliver personally. You, your voice, your gestures are going to be at the center of attention, and slides should only be used to illustrate your points. Don’t overload them with information forcing the audience to fully concentrate on them, leave a lot of negative (white) space, limit each slide to just a couple of sentences and pictures. If the audience cannot understand a slide in in a couple of seconds, you are doing something wrong.
3. Use a Template
If you aren’t particularly good at visual design (or if you simply don’t want to waste time doing mechanical work) you may both speed up your work and improve overall results by using editable PowerPoint templates. You may find templates in many different styles covering any topics and approaches you are likely to need for a classroom presentation.
4. Don’t Use Too Many Slides
The more slides you use, the more difficult it is going to be for you to navigate them, especially if you have a strict time limit. If there are too many slides, it will be difficult for you to adjust your delivery to incorporate them: you will either be in a hurry to cover them all or too slow. Make a few crucial points on your slides, decide how much time you should dedicate to each of them and make sure you can remember it all.
5. Minimize Animation
Many amateurs are childishly enthusiastic about using as many different animation effects as possible. Don’t do it – it looks silly and distracts the audience. Don’t use many different effects – keep them consistent throughout your presentation, and if you use them at all keep to the simplest and subtlest variants. Effects like “Move” or “Fly” not just look out of place in a serious presentation but are also slow enough to eat up your limited time.
6. Avoid Pretentious Fonts
Even if you have a really beautiful font, don’t use it. Choose something simple, well-known and easily readable, like Times New Roman or Helvetica. Never use more than two fonts (one for headers and one for the rest of the text). Make sure no slides have so much text that you would be forced to use a font smaller than 18 pt (or, even better 24 pt). Remember – fonts are just tools, they shouldn’t divert the audience’s attention from the content.
Following these tips will probably not turn you into a professional presentation designer, but using them certainly beats messing around and finding out all these truths through your own mistakes.
David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.
BY FREDDIE TUBBS
While learning English is still a popular choice for students and professionals, it is not easy. Writing is particularly difficult for most ESL students as there’s less natural flow to hide mistakes like there is while speaking. If you are listening to someone, you simply have to understand the words. Writing means that you language level can really be scrutinized, and you’re aware of every single grammatical choice you make. It’s also incredibly hard to edit your own work, as spotting mistakes in a language that’s not your mother tongue is always tricky. Fortunately the following online tips can help you write and edit your work effectively, and you’ll see the level of your written English improve massively.
Identify Your Common Mistakes
Pull out all of your old essays and assignments and check through them for any repeated mistakes. You can then clearly see the areas that you need to improve on, and avoid making the same mistakes over and over. Learn from what you’ve already done.
Figure Out Definite Articles
One of the main differences between English and other European languages is the fact that English does not use ‘the’ as often when referring to nouns in sentences. You can really sound more fluent by learning this one aspect of language.
Utilize Online Editing and Writing Resources
When you’re in doubt, there are literally hundreds of online programs that can help you with your work, and provide guidance and assistance with both writing and editing. These are some of the best ones:
- Mywritingway – when you write in another language, you may be able to say what you mean, but it won’t necessarily be the best way to make that point. This tool helps review your sentence structure, adverbs, and weaker vocabulary so you can submit strong work
- Grammarix – as you’re writing, this tool will make suggestions, so you can be confident in the work you’re producing the whole way through the process, rather than spend time making changes when you’re all done
- Oxessays – if you want an expert opinion, you can find a qualified and experienced editor here
- Simplegrad – this is a really awesome tool to measure the level of language you’re using. If you’re an adult looking to use business English, then you can make sure you aren’t writing at a third grade level. It’s a great way to check your writing is appropriate.
- Essayroo – If you really can’t see any mistakes or room for improvement in your own work, then you might want to ask a professional editor or proof reader to have a look at it
- Letsgoandlearn – you may need to monitor your progress on a specific ESL assignment, or you may just need to work on hitting a daily word count as you practice, either way this is a useful tool
- Writingpopulist – without doubt, grammar is the hardest part of learning every language, so having a comprehensive grammar checker such as this one can be super helpful
- Revieweal – this is amazing as it actually has features specifically for ESL students and is equipped to improve your English, rephrase your sentences, and even provides a dictionary
- Ukservicesreviews – if you have an important ESL assignment, it’s far better to not leave anything to chance, and instead ask for feedback or advice from a professional editor here
- Viawriting – there are forums full of professional and experienced writers who are happy to offer advice and support and explain any grammar or structural issues you experience
Find an Editing Process
Whether you decide to check your work line by line, or use a list of common mistakes and check your work thematically, find a routine that works for you.
Use Nouns Instead of Pronouns
While you may want to sound more natural by referring to ‘it’ or ‘them’ or ‘his’ this can actually over complicate your work and make it a lot more confusing that necessary. Instead, just use the noun you’re talking about – you may repeat yourself, but you’ll be understandable.
Ask Friends for Help
Whether you ask native speakers or other learners, a second pair of eyes can always help you pick up on sneaky mistakes and improve the quality of your work.
Practice Makes Perfect
The only real way to improve both your writing and editing is with regular practice. “For some this could mean a couple of hours every day, for some it’s 30 minutes every few days, but however much you can manage will prove to be a huge help, as writing becomes more natural” – explains Robert Carroll, an Educator at Huffingtonpost.
Writing in another language is tough – but hopefully the above tips make it a little easier.
Freddie Tubbs is an academic consultant at Assignment help service. He is running Academadvisor blog for international students.
Georgetown Researchers: Majors Matter in Higher-Ed Decisions
The Georgetown Center came up with information and guidelines from its research to help prospective college students and their families select programs that will best fulfill their educational and financial goals. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, May 17)
BY MIKKI MILLS
If you’re a college student, you might think that saving money during those years is near impossible – college is designed to make you throw all your money away, right? If you do it right, and do it smart, you can actually save a lot of your money in big ways. How? Read these six tips to learn how to save money during the best years of your life.
- Go to a cheaper school
This tip may not be something that many students want to hear. As a high school student, you may have had your heart set on a selective private university with the pristine quad and the active Greek life.
However, you will end up saving a ton of money by going to your state university. Public colleges and universities cost a lot less than their private counterparts. Plus, when you go to your state university, you can pay in-state tuition, which is significantly less expensive. Your state college or university will save you from having to pay tens of thousands of dollars back in student loan debt.
- Consider attending a community college
If the cost of college stresses you out, consider attending your local community college for two years before transferring to a four-year school. If you plan on attending a four-year institution, you can still use your local community college to gain credits towards graduation. When you come home for the summer, see if you can take classes at the two-year school and take the credits and put them towards your four-year degree. Many colleges and universities in the United States allow their students this option.
- Work and go to school
The idea of taking 4-5 classes, doing an internship, and doing well in all of them is enough to stress the average college student out. On top of that, you have to worry about getting cheap car insurance, clothing yourself, and eating something other than Ramen noodles once in a while.
By holding down a part-time job, you can take care of most, if not all, of your expenses without depending on Mom and Dad. Think of holding down a job now as practice for adulthood.
- Try not to eat out at restaurants a lot
We all know the sad saga of eating at the college dining hall night after night after night. While no one will begrudge you a pizza from the local parlor once in a while, don’t make eating out while you’re in college a habit. For one thing, you have a meal plan so you might as well use it while you have it. Secondly, those meat lover pizzas will add up over time. Make a budget, include a category for dining out, and stick to it.
- Never buy your textbooks new
Any experienced college student will find this tip to be a no-brainer. But even upperclassmen don’t often know that they can look for required textbooks beyond Amazon and their college bookstore. You can often find the textbooks that you need for free at either your local library or even your college library. When you’re done using them, simply return the books to the library of origin.
- Don’t study abroad
When students first enter college, they will often look at the different study abroad options that they may pursue their junior year. However, taking college classes in a foreign country is only a good idea if you can afford it. One reason why many students can’t afford the study abroad experience is that they may have to pay for classes at the international university, airfare, and accommodations if the hosting school doesn’t cover them. All of these costs don’t even take your necessities into account. You will have to pay for those yourself.
If you absolutely must study abroad, ask your school’s study abroad advisor for inexpensive locations you can study in during your junior year. See if your financial aid package will cover a portion of your educational expenses while you’re abroad.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She has a passion for advanced learning, reading, and health and fitness. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on education, learning, health, fitness and yoga. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found at the local climbing gym or doing yoga.
BY JANE HURST
Are you a student athlete? If so, this is your job. Not only must you excel academically, you also need to excel in your sport, and that means that you need to put all of your concentration and effort into these two things. Your days of having “me time” are over with, at least for now. You need to be completely dedicated to your sport and your education just like you would a full-time job. But, once you learn how to manage your time properly, you can start squeezing in a bit of time for yourself, once the important things are done for the day. Here are some more things to consider when you are a college athlete.
- Schedule Your Absences in Advance – Obviously, there are going to be times when you have to be absent, and you can’t plan for that in advance. But, there are other times when you know you are going to have to be absent, and you can plan for those and let your professors know what is going on. “Let them know the dates that you will not be in classes, and then remind your professors prior to the absence that you will not be in class. Always make sure that you make up any work that is missed, and that your work is always handed in on time,” suggests an expert from Sports Injury & Pain Management Clinic.
- Don’t Let Yourself be Labeled – Just because you are an athlete, it doesn’t mean that you have to be labeled as a “jock”. Don’t think that you don’t belong in your regular classes simply because you are an athlete. You worked hard to get where you are, both in sports and academically, and you should have the confidence to feel like you belong. Take steps to make new friends outside of your regular circle. You bring your own value to any group, institution, etc., and there is more to you than just sports.
- Don’t be the Team Joke – Every team has one, that person who is a total pain in the “you-know-what”. Don’t be that player who is the joke of the team, or who causes grief to your teammates. Be on time for everything, from practices to meetings to actual games. Be reliable, and always be prepared. Be helpful to your teammates and coaches. If you do have to be late or if you have made a mistake, explain things, and apologize. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to make an effort to be a part of the team.
- Manage Your Brand – As soon as you become a college athlete, you are going to be put into the spotlight, so you want to make sure that you are always putting your best foot forward. You are now one of the faces of the school, and the team, and you need to act appropriately. Now is the time to begin managing your brand. Make the right decisions for you, your family, your team, and the entire athletic department. Going out and getting wasted with your friends is not what you want your brand to be seen as.
- Learn from Your Failures – You are not going to be perfect all of the time, and you are going to have your own failures from time to time. The trick is to learn from these failures. Don’t expect perfection in everything you do, and be prepared for setbacks. If you get a low grade on a test, learn from that, and make a higher grade the next time. If you feel overwhelmed in your new surroundings, find someone who you can talk to. Look at your mistakes, assess them, and figure out how you can learn from them and move on.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.
BY SYLVIA KOHL
Even if you’ve managed to find your way into a college of your choice, it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to receive the education you need. More and more often students find that traditional college programs don’t cover all the areas of knowledge they need to succeed in the hectic modern world; however, there is a way to get this knowledge alongside your basic course without taking up more work than you can realistically deal with. Online courses take a fraction of the time you need to take similar courses in college, concentrate on a single subject and have proven their efficiency. So which one should you take in 2018?
1. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python via Coursera
Programming jobs unfailingly show up in all lists of the best-paid vocational choices for the last couple of decades, and there are no signs that they intend to leave them. And even if your primary area of knowledge has nothing to do with them, having at least basic experience in coding improves your chances of landing a high-class job. Python is widely believed to be the best programming language to learn first, and this course is ideal for students with little to no prior knowledge of coding.
2. Digital Marketing Course via SimpliLearn
SEO and digital marketing are, undoubtedly, among the most promising and lucrative careers currently available. Continually developing and changing search engine mechanisms mean that demands on effective website promotion are altering at breakneck speeds and specialists who understand how the world of SEO works are never going to be out of work. Digital marketing certification training at SimpliLearn will be either an excellent foundation for a future career in this area or a supplement for a typical business or marketing course.
3. Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists via Kadenze
As new and new aspects of our lives become digitalized, many areas that previously hardly could have been associated with programming start benefitting from it and acquiring new possibilities. Music and sound design is one such area. This course teaches the basics of programming as related to music and sound computation, providing actionable and practical skills for musicians willing to take a high-tech approach to their work.
4. Machine Learning via Coursera
Machine learning has been rapidly developing for at least a decade and became increasingly visible over the last few years. To put in a nutshell, it deals with the task of teaching computers to change their behavior and act without being directly programmed to do so. This course deals with the most promising machine learning methods and provides the knowledge necessary to effectively apply them to solve the most common problems in this area. Machine learning expertise is likely to explode in demand over the next few years, so starting to move in this direction will quickly pay off.
5. The Science of Everyday Thinking
There are many courses aimed to teach you specific disciplines and set of skills, but this one is going to improve the very toolset you use to learn these things: you mind, thinking and psychology. The course deals with many issues influencing our everyday thinking, why people tend to believe unreasonable things and make stupid decisions. After completing it, you will be better equipped to think independently and make more informed choices.
While you’ve probably already decided what you are going to do in your life, broadening your horizons and acquiring new skills and abilities can never harm you. We hope these courses will help you just as much as the main course you are taking.
Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.
BY LINDA ANDERSON
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school,” said Albert Einstein once. Truer words haven’t been spoken. Because after all, it is the act of constantly learning new things and encouraging flexibility and innovation of brain that brings the ultimate joy. And gone are the days when education was only confined to four walls of the houses. Today, the education of real world happens at our fingertips, i.e. on the internet. Promoting self-education as a concept, if you are always up for learning something new, then this read is meant for you!
- Coursera – Literally take classes from world-renowned universities, such as Stanford, Yale, Penn and Duke. And that too without paying the heavy price tag. Coursera is popular for delivering 1,500 courses from over 150+ university partners. Not just online videos, it also provides quizzes and one-on-one lectures that can availed based on your topic or university. From positive psychology to becoming a more effective manager to securing digital democracy and learning about the Making of the U.S. President: A short history in five elections; all courses on Coursera shed light on uplifting your education goals and adding new skills to your career assets from time to time.
- Open Courseware – Available for absolutely free, Open Courseware does an excellent job of making college and university level courses available worldwide. Available in more than 20 global languages, Open Courseware Consortium has more than 5,000 classes in English alone. Some of its courses that deserve a special shout-out are statistical thermodynamics (Middle East Technical University), Creole Language and Culture (University of Notre Dame), and Epidemics in South African History (University of Cape Town).
- Alison – If you are an entrepreneur with a global mindset, then this UK-based learning hub should you go-to choose for online education. The best part about the course is that after every course you get a British degree, Right from having classes in German, French and English, it has a range of courses, such as Creating Business Start-ups the Kawasaki Way(where Guy Kawasaki teaches the audience himself) and Introduction to Venture Capital, Understanding Currency Exchange, and Understanding the American Financial Credit Crisis. Apart from this, they also have a range of courses of non-profit fundraising and American copyright laws.
- Khan Academy – If by looking at videos and working on courses in snippets because of the paucity of time is how you would like to roll, then Khan Academy is your place to learn. Every course here is made into snippet videos so that everything fits into your schedule and pace. You can use this application to study handy courses on SAT prep, calculus, cosmology and art history. Another star quality of the course app is that you can always leave your doubts and queries below every video if something isn’t clear and course heads will get back to you on them.
- 99U – Resonating strong with its tagline – “Empowering the Creative Community,” 99U more like a TED Talk exclusively for entrepreneurs. Yes, it is that good! It resides heavily on business development, inspiration, creativity and uniqueness of your job. Here are some of its most loved sample of lectures:
- Why Unrest Is Gold for Creatives: “In an era of upheaval and crisis, creative expression takes on new urgency…. For those creatives feeling discontent in these fractious times, it’s a reminder that the simmering feeling of anger can be best used to issue a call to action and serve as a tool for change.”
- How to Beat the Imposter Syndrome Feeling: “Approximately 70 percent of us will experience a period of self-doubt at least once in our lives. Rebuild your confidence using these five strategies.”
- Paola Antonelli: Rejection Is a Sign You’re onto Something New: “Your creative work can make the world a better place. But only if you allow yourself to shock, disgust, and–yes–even fail.”
There you have it some of the most well-recognised online education platforms you can go and visit. In the end, we would like to say that gone are the days when internet was only used to watch movies, Netflix your heart out or eagerly watch Pinoy Channel TV Ako – HD quality channel where you can watch latest Filipino Tv series. Today, with the advancement of technology, a deep quest for learning and just with some spare time in hand, one can learn new skills or add to their education arsenal by selecting an online course.
Bio:- Linda is a writer and musician residing in Boise, Idaho in the United States. She graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s Degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014. My work has been featured and mentioned in a wide range of publication, including Elite Daily, Your Tango, Pucker Mob, CEO World, Energy Central, The Next Web, Movie Pilot and more.
BY ELAINE THOMPSON
As a college student, you have a lot of freedom—and a lot of responsibility, especially when it comes to finances. Living paycheck to paycheck can be stressful, but by creating a financial plan and a monthly budget, you can reduce your financial stress and develop valuable skills for the future.
However, a budget is not nearly as useful if you only consider tuition costs, school expenses, and rent. You also have to account for the true cost of living so that you don’t become a “starving student,” accumulate credit card debt, or end up not being able to pay for gas. Read on for a list of tips to avoid the “living gap” in your college budget.
- Plan for Apartment Fees and Furnishings
You probably included rent in your initial college budget, but you may not have thought to include apartment fees, such as application fees, garbage fees, and parking passes. These fees may vary between apartment complexes, so plan a nice buffer for these items.
In addition to apartment fees, remember that you may need to buy or rent furnishings (tables, couches, mattresses, etc.) if they are not included in your apartment. Although these are not regular monthly expenses, you should still take them into consideration for your start-of-year budget.
- Be Smart about Groceries
You may end up spending more on groceries than you do on rent, so this is one item you definitely want to prioritize in your budget. Keep in mind that you will also need to buy garbage bags, toilet paper, and other household items at the grocery store in addition to food. Stocking a pantry with food staples and buying kitchenware for the first time can also be expensive, so be sure to budget for those items as well when you begin college.
Because grocery costs will regularly be a major part of your personal budget, here are some ways to save money on groceries:
- Make a thorough shopping list using an app like Wunderlist.
- Plan meals for the week, add any needed ingredients for those meals to your shopping list, and steer clear of impulse buys that aren’t on that list.
- Buy generic label items—they’re usually just as good as the name brand products and can save you a significant amount of money.
- Keep track of your running total as you shop; if you need to put some items back when you are over budget, you can do so before you get to the checkout line.
- Review Your Subscriptions
We live in a world of countless subscription-based products and services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Apple Music, just to name a few. Ten dollars may seem like a small price to pay for a single service, but the costs of your subscriptions can easily add up if you don’t have an established budget for all of them. If you’re on a tight budget, examine which of your subscriptions are needs and which are wants, then cancel or put certain ones on hold if they’re less important.
As a college student, you can also save money with access to numerous student discounts for subscription services. Many of these student discounts can save you up to 50% off the normal subscription price, so be sure to look for those discounts when you sign up for subscriptions.
- Evaluate Utility Costs
Remember to take the cost of utilities into account when estimating living expenses. Utility costs include bills for water, electricity, gas, and garbage services.
In order to accurately budget for the cost of utilities, you will need to know what factors influence your monthly utility bills. The average cost of electricity alone in the US is $114.03 per month, so plan around that (factoring in whether you’ll split those costs with your roommates). Plus, utility usage may vary throughout the year, so keep that in mind as you figure out how much to set aside.
- Get Practical about Internet and TV
Because nearly all classwork will require internet, you will likely need to have internet in your apartment. Internet costs can vary widely, so make sure to choose an internet plan that balances your budget with the internet speed that you will need for streaming and homework.
If you want to pay for TV, consider up-and-coming streaming services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV NOW. These services provide a cheaper alternative to cable, and most of these services provide greater flexibility for where and how you watch TV.
- Pay Attention to Car and Transportation Costs
If you own a car or need to take public transportation to school or work, you will also need to plan for the associated costs of transportation. For a car, include everything from auto insurance to oil changes to parking fees in your budget; for public transit, look into costs for monthly city transit passes, as they may be cheaper than paying a daily fare.
- Set Money Aside for Healthcare Costs
While you may be able to stay on your parents’ insurance plan—assuming you’re under 26—it’s still wise to set aside money for unforeseen medical expenses. Doctor visit copays, medication, dental cleanings, and other healthcare costs can add up quickly, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Keeping a buffer of a few hundred dollars will ensure you can take care of yourself should the need arise.
- Allow for Discretionary Spending
College and work can be stressful, so make sure you set aside time (and money) to relax, unwind, and have some fun. Depending on your income, your budget for discretionary spending may not be very large, but that’s okay. Whether you use this money for going on dates, shopping, or buying video games, just enjoy what you are doing and be content knowing that you budgeted for it in advance.
- Keep Expenses Together
A budget won’t work well if you can’t keep it logged consistently. Consider using a tool like the Mint app to track your discretionary spending. Mint easily synchronizes with your bank, credit, and loan accounts so that you can track all of your spending in one place. Using budgeting tools like Mint will help you to identify patterns in your spending that will allow you to create a more accurate budget.
Budgeting is a valuable skill. Including the above items in your budget will help you to be well prepared financially for college and your future. ‘
Elaine Thompson is a graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City where she got her BA in Communication. Alongside a fulltime job, Elaine enjoys the hustle and writes for multiple online publications.