With another semester coming to an end I find myself reflecting on the things I wish I would have done differently. Luckily I am not graduating yet so there is still time to make changes. By no means am I an expert, but I want to offer a few recommendations for making the most out of college.
Schedule Early Classes. A great thing about course scheduling is that you can make your schedule whatever you want it to be. Most students choose to make their school days begin around noon, or 1pm, so that they can sleep in, and until recently, I looked at it from that perspective too. This semester, the only availability for a class I needed was at 8 in the morning every single day, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with it. Sure, getting up that early is still really tough, but its benefits outweigh anything that a 1pm schedule could get me. Waking up early lets you not only get all your work out of the way, it also allows you to explore any interests that would normally just be too time consuming. So if you ever wanted to try kickboxing, rock climbing, or maybe even salsa dancing, do yourself a favor, and actually give yourself the time to do all of that. Which brings me to my next point.
Try out new clubs and hobbies. There are a ton of them out there. Whether they’re related to the outdoors, or volunteer services, or even just fashion clubs, they get you out of your room, and into a crowd of people with similar interests to your own. On top of that, they can help you forget about school stress for a while and can get you into those industries you always wanted to work for or learn about.
Stay Fit. This is a really general statement, I know. But doing anything physical will help in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. Staying fit doesn’t necessarily mean going for long runs every day, or even working out at the gym. Doing anything that keeps your body active works for me, whether it’s playing football, rugby, or going on hiking trips, just make yourself sweat every once in awhile. Not only will it help you live longer, and feel more confident about yourself, staying active also helps you relax and think more clearly.
Take at least one class a semester that interests you. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. As an engineering major, I know that classes that you need to take can get pretty monotonous. But it’s always nice to have a class, any class, even one that doesn’t count towards your credits, that just lets you relax and learn about something that always seemed interesting to you.
Don’t just follow the crowd. I know the college cliche is to overwork yourself on weekdays and party on weekends. I know a decent amount of students in my dorm that follow that as a law, but honestly, making that your entire life is really boring. College is what you make of it, not what people tell you about it. People will tell you that college is a time to try new things, and meet new people, but that does not necessarily mean work and party. Do it your way, not the way of others.
Stay in touch with campus life. I went to a puppy parade last weekend. A puppy parade. That in itself should make you jump on your university’s website to see what’s being held this week. About a week ago, male students had a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, in which men actually walked a mile in high heels. From random things like that to cool community service events, a whole lot goes on around campus, so go check it out, you never know what you might find.
Remember how quickly high school flew by? Well, with more responsibility and opportunities, you can bet that college will come and go even faster. You don’t want to be walking across the stage on graduation day wishing you could do things differently. What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?
It’s no secret that college students have to stretch every penny. We have to worry about covering tuition, housing expenses and food, all while trying to have enough spending money to live it up during the best four years of our life. But with all of the loyalty programs and rewards cards that businesses offer, it is also very easy to cut corners and score a free meal every once in a while. I have narrowed down the top five programs that I feel give you the best bang for your buck. Check them out:
5. Kroger Plus Card
Do you buy groceries and gasoline? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely have a Kroger Plus card. It gets you great discounts on groceries, and actually allows you to go online before shopping and pre-load coupons straight to your card so that you save even more money. Even better, you don’t actually have to keep up with that pesky piece of plastic anymore. Just type in your “alternative ID,” (the phone number associated with the card), and start saving money! In addition to great savings on groceries, you also earn 1 point for every dollar spent, which goes towards gas savings. This card will do nothing but save you money on food and groceries, which seems like a pretty good deal to me!
4. CVS ExtraCare Rewards
Although drugstores are typically known for offering overpriced products, the CVS ExtraCare card mitigates that stereotype by offering customers great discounts and coupons on a variety of products. This card personalizes the coupons it offers you by utilizing your purchase history to offer you great deals on the products you actually want and need. Not only are you offered great coupons, but you automatically receive the weekly sale prices with just the swipe of your card. To top it all off, for every 10 prescriptions you have filled, you earn $5 in ExtraBucks Rewards! So stop paying so much for those vitamins.
3. Qdoba Rewards
Regardless of whether you are team Chipotle or team Qdoba, the Qdoba rewards card is what it says it is – all rewards. Just for signing up you receive your choice of either a free large drink, or free chips and salsa. After that, all you need to do is swipe your card every time you visit. After purchasing 10 meals, and collecting 1,000 points, you receive a meal for free! You have nothing to lose and only free meals to gain by signing up for Qdoba rewards! Anyone else addicted to their guac?
2. Speedway Speedy Rewards
Don’t let the Speedway name fool you; the Speedy Rewards Card isn’t limited to discounts on gas. In fact, you can actually redeem your Speedy Rewards points online for gift cards to your favorite restaurants, clothing stores and gaming websites. In addition to earning points for every dollar spent on gas, every time you purchase a food item that belongs to a “Speedy Rewards Club,” you will receive that item for free after so many purchases of that item. I always use this card to score a free coffee before studying.
1. eCampus.com eWards
Let’s face it, no one likes buying textbooks. They’re expensive, they’re heavy and they’re painfully boring. But if you want to know what’s going on in class, they’re necessary. Now that eCampus.com has introduced their eWards program you earn points every time you rent/buy/sell a textbook. The points add up quickly and turn into HUGE savings for the next time you need books (like a $25 gift card)! Additional points can be earned just from referring friends or tweeting about deals. Enrolling is super easy and it’s free, so there is really no reason not to. Join me and more than 20,000 other students and become an eWards member and start saving now!
(BONUS: Double Points Days are starting May 29! For one week only, eWards members earn double points for selling used textbooks.)
What are your favorite ways to save money?
We’ve done it again – thanks to you! We were voted Best Website for Buying College Textbooks in About.com’s Readers Choice Awards, for the second year in a row. This makes eCampus.com the only company to ever repeat in any of the College Life awards.
When asked about the award, this is what Matt Montgomery, President and CEO of eCampus.com, had to say, “It is such an honor to receive this award once again this year. We truly appreciate all the support and positive feedback our customers have given us. eCampus.com is the oldest textbook focused e-retailer in the country and we have saved students more than $80 million since we were founded in 1999. We work hard to bring great deals and service to our customers and it’s always gratifying to receive recognition.”
The About.com Readers Choice Awards are given annually and chose by the readers to announce the best of the best. With so many websites available it can be difficult for students to know which ones are reliable, but Readers Choice Awards like this one point them in the right direction.
Thanks again for your votes!
As March quickly approaches, students can officially begin the countdown to the much anticipated week that lies ahead-SPRING BREAK! However, before you start thinking about all that R&R, keep in mind the costs associated with spring break. For many students, this is a costly (but well worth it) adventure. Spring break definitely empties your wallet, so we have some great tips on how to save a few extra bucks for all you cash strapped students:
1. Sell old clothes. As the stores begin to introduce their Spring and Summer lines it’s hard to resist purchasing a cute new outfit or swim suite for your upcoming vacation. In order to keep your Spring Break budget intact, without sacrificing your style, consider selling your clothes at stores such as Plato’s Closet or Clothes Mentor. These stores give you cash for your used clothes up front. Or, consider taking your clothes to a local consignment shop where you can often exchange your last season items for store credit. In doing so you’re killing two birds with one stone, getting new clothes while clearing out the old ones!
2. Cut down on eating out. It’s often much easier to stop by the nearest convenience store on your way to and from class. However, that slice of pizza and bottle of soda that you buy every day for lunch can really add up quickly. Instead of going out for lunch and dinner, consider packing or making your food at home. If for some reason you must go out, pass the overpriced beverage and stick to the free ice water. Your wallet will be thanking you, and so will your body – just in time for the beach!
3. Make a budget and stick to it. When you aren’t committed to a budget, it’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked and wind up spending way more than you intended. When you have a specified budget, you can consciously track your spending and have a working knowledge of what you can and cannot spend. Setting up a budget in Excel, or using online tools such as Mint, will help you determine where to cut corners. I suggest getting out a limited amount of cash for the week rather than swiping your card all the time. This will force you to make smarter purchasing decisions.
4. Sell back your old textbooks to eCampus.com. As the snow melts we often find ourselves making great attempts to rid our lives of old junk. Texbooks from semesters passed usually account for a large majority of clutter, and can help you rack up some extra cash. Instead of letting your textbooks collect another years worth of dust, you should consider selling them back. It is really easy – just go to www.ecampus.com and type in the ISBN to find how much your book is worth. If you are satisfied with the amount (I always am!), just print off the prepaid shipping label and send it off to eCampus, and they take care of the rest! Within a couple of days you will receive a check in the mail, or you can get your check directly deposited to your account – it is that simple.
It can be very difficult to cut back on spending when there are so many temptations surrounding you, but when you consider a week of pure relaxation, free from financial and academic stress, it is well worth it. What other money saving or money making tricks have you used?
Good luck on midterms and safe travels to all!