Even when the unthinkable happens, the clouds clear and you finally land the internship of your dreams, money can hold you back. Many of the top companies in big cities offer unpaid internships only. This can be a problem when it costs $50 a day just to commute. Here are some things to think about when shooting for that big company name internship:
How are you going to commute? Trains can be expensive, especially when you consider parking. Plus, the train may get you into the city you are commuting to, but what about going from there? You may need a bus, subway, or cab all of which can get expensive (or confusing) if you cannot walk. Another way to go is taking the bus from the start. Again, you will need transportation from there. All of these alternatives are generally cheaper than straight driving your commute due to gas prices, traffic, and parking. If you take another form of transportation, you can also take that time to nap, read a book, or just relax with some music.
Where will you take your lunch break? Will you be bringing it or eating out? Food is the second biggest concern after transportation. Bringing your lunch and some snacks for the train or bus ride is definitely cheaper, although more time consuming.
What will you need to wear? Chances are, you cannot go to your internship in the same clothes you have been going to class in. Updating the wardrobe from comfortable college student to professional work attire can cost some dough. If on a budget, check out stores like Marshals where you need to dig, but can find some great pieces discounted. Also, search for consignment shops in your area.
Aside from toning down your expenses, there are working options you can take when you aren’t interning that won’t burn you out and leave you feeling too overwhelmed.
Babysitting is one of the best ways to make some extra cash. Although there is a major risk factor as the kids’ behavior can range from angelic to rude and bouncing off the walls, babysitting has a good time to money ratio. Chances are you will be getting paid in cash too! If you’re not sure where to find families to babysit, check out Sittercity.com or other websites of the sort that match you up with families. All you need to do is add a profile.
If kids aren’t your thing, check out surveying or participating in research studies. Since there are so many scams out there, you may need to know someone who knows someone to find one of these. The good news is that all you need to do is drive somewhere and give your opinion on shampoo or sneakers or some product, and you will leave with a day’s pay. This can range from $50 to $150. The only catch is that you can only participate once every so many months.
Although it may take an arm and a leg to pull this off, that internship on your resume is worth it!
The following is a guest post from Margaret Mannix the Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report’s best-selling higher education reference books, including Best Graduate Schools 2013 and Best Colleges 2012.
Given today’s economic turmoil, corporate belt-tightening, and abysmal unemployment rate, a second degree could mean a higher salary, a big career boost if you’re already out there in the working world, or an exciting new direction if you’re still floundering around with that part-time job at the mall. It’s a pricey proposition—you’re talking tuition and fees of $9,000 at public universities and more than $20,000 at private schools—but the payoff could be tremendous: People with master’s degrees earn more over their lifetimes than those with baccalaureate degrees.
For many of you 20-somethings, the decision might be a no-brainer. Coming out of grad school in your 20s or early 30s means you’ll have decades of high-earning power. And just think what that fatter paycheck will help with—rent, clothes, a car, and those student loan payments that seem to have no end. But—and this is a huge caveat—pulling in the big bucks in this day and age depends on your chosen field. The median salary for someone with a master’s in engineering is $107,600, according to a recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. That’s more than twice what someone with a master’s in English will earn.
Here are some things to think about if grad school is on your horizon (and you’ll find much more advice in our just-published Best Graduate Schools 2013 book!):
*Do your homework—and not just in choosing a program. Grill the career service people at all the schools you’re researching: Ask how many grads got jobs, what kind, and how long it took to get them. Ask about the long-term career path. Ask about the starting salaries for the jobs—and when you can expect a bump up in pay. Ask where all the good jobs are.
*For aspiring B-school grads, while the boom times aren’t back yet, there are definitely some bright spots. The tech sector is hiring more M.B.A.s, and international firms are seeking talented grads to help them take advantage of emerging markets like China.
*Prospects for newly minted engineers are excellent, with robust demand across the board—especially in electrical, biomedical, aerospace, computer, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, to name a few.
*Med school applicants will find that primary care practitioners are enjoying a seller’s market. Openings for nurse practitioners and physician assistants abound, too, and get this: One expert told U.S. News that more than 90 percent of people with a master’s in nursing nab a job within six months of graduating.
*Would-be J.D.’s might want to consider healthcare and intellectual property law, which are showing signs of rejuvenation thanks to recent legislation on healthcare, patents, and financial services.
Now that winter’s over, what are you going to wear? Do you need to update your wardrobe pronto before you sweat your way to class but don’t have a lot of money to spend? Don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one. There are lots of stores and online shopping where you can find mix and match spring and summer pieces without spending like a celebrity.
One online store brimming with deals for college students is aSociete. Once you create a free account (you don’t even have to be on the listserv to get daily emails if you don’t want to), go to town on clothes, accessories and shoes that are always on sale—and even name brand! Though some designer duds from Betsey Johnson tend to remain in the mostly more expensive domain (generally around $45 or more), there are lots of other trendy, adorable clothes for under $20! It’s definitely worth scouring through the pages upon pages of clothes for these special deals designed specifically for college kids like us.
Modocat is another online bargain outlet. Shoes, bags, clothes, accessories are all at the click of a button—so be careful! To make your outfit planning that much easier, the site also features a daily lookbook to help you find the perfect outfit for you. Even better, there are always items for sale to keep an eye on. Though like aSociete, some items get quite pricey, this site is full of the cute, quirky, fun and flirty for any price range if you just take the time to look around.
The average mall stores, like H&M and Forever 21, are also great to hit when shopping on the cheap—whether you cruise through their websites or spend time in the actual stores. Online and in physical locations, both offer new arrivals and sale items quite frequently. Some more elaborate pieces, like decked out lace dresses, will run higher, but basic tank tops, shorts, knit tops and other mix and match essentials can always be found on the cheap! And if you find something you like that’s a little too pricey for you now, stay on top of that piece online and in the store—both have sales often, and you never know when it might dip down to your price point.
Don’t forget about the bulls eye either! Target, though sometimes picked on for being like Wal-Mart (but it’s so much classier and nicer) is full of great bargains. Not only do they have a new celebrity designer, like Jason Wu, design special lower price collections for them every few months, but they get great new styles in regularly. At the very least, hit up the bathing suit racks packed full of adorable suits at a reasonable price. And while you clothes shop, you can also get some snacks, DVDs and other home goods for your dorm or apartment—all of which can be found at decent price points.
Wet Seal, online and in some malls, offers affordability and variety. You can find a ruffly, feminine top or the punk rock skull t-shirt you always wanted. Make sure to check out the sale section, full of great steals for around $20 or less. For that price, you can fill your closet with new spring and summer shirts and have money to spare.
If you need some snazzy footwear instead of the mundane cheap flip flops meant for the beach, check out DSW (where you often pay less than Payless). They’ve got everything from fancy to casual, comfortable to beauty-is-pain. You can shop luxury designs, like Prada or Gucci, or just keep it simple with Clarks. Whether you need sandals or professional and comfortable shoes for an internship consisting of running around all day, you’ll have no problem finding multiple pairs in one quick visit.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to look at fashion and women’s magazines for ways to build a well planned out outfit inspired by a stylish celebrity for less. Sometimes they’ll even offer you special discounts just because you bought that issue. Inspirations, discounts, pretty pictures of your favorite celebs, and other beauty ideas all in one? It can’t get any easier than this.
So get out there and put some spring into your step while you shop. Good style doesn’t have to cost a fortune, if you know where to look. You don’t even have to become an extreme couponer. Happy savings!
I’m reading Physics: Principles with Applications
In college you’ll most likely find yourself lower on money than ever before. Typical dinner and a movie dates might be out of your newfound budget. There are many ways that you can still be entertained and have a great time on a date for FREE.
Most schools allow their students to attend their sporting events either free or on a discounted price. Going to a game together is a fun environment if you’re a sports fan. It’s easy to talk and be yourself while bonding over school spirit. Many universities also allow their students to attend their schools theater productions either free or on a discounted price. This environment is cool because it’s different and theater is often romantic as well.
If you find yourself with a really nice day ask your date to take a walk with you. A walk through a park on a nice day is free and leaves you with a lot of time to talk. If you’re hungry pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine. If you find yourself with a nice night, take your date to lay out and watch the stars. Nothing is more romantic and this is always free as well.
If the weather is not so nice, create a date at home! Rent a movie from a local Redbox, it only cost $1.00. If there are no Redboxs in your town, just pop in a DVD you already own. Put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and cozy up to a movie away from the nasty weather. Movies at home are sometimes better than the theater because it’s just the two of you. If you have a kitchen, you could cook a meal together, or you can cook one for your date. My boyfriend and I have made cookies together before when it’s snowy and we’re stuck inside. If you want to create a dinner for your date, a good idea is Chinese food. Homemade fortune cookies are fairly easy to make and you can put your own personal messages inside!
Another thing you can do is keep your eyes open in the community. There are always art shows, farmer’s markets, musical performances (in coffee shops, bars, or even on the streets) that are free and open to the public. If money has been holding you back from taking your honey on a sweet date, now you have no excuse! Get out there and have a wonderful time, it’s priceless.
I’m reading Invitation to Health: Choosing to Change
I’m all for going away. I love getting a break from campus life, and a little room to breathe. But what if that’s not possible? It’s not always practical to leave your school stomping grounds, and for whatever the reason—cost, distance, timing, you can still make the best of your time at school. Why not try relaxing and taking a little “staycation” right on your very own campus?
So how do you staycation? What does that even mean? It’s means taking a break, and having fun right where you are—no beach or resorts necessary—and all without ever leaving your college campus!
The options are endless when trying to plan a mini getaway for you and your friends all without really going anywhere. Try to spice up your regular routine and add a little fun.
It’s Friday night, everyone is out and you and the roommates are staying in. This would be the perfect opportunity for a movie marathon! What are your favorites? Chick flicks? Scary Sagas? Action Adventures? Warm up your Netflix account, dust off your pile of DVDs and grab your snuggie! To really get the night going, dare I suggest picking a pint or two of your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? This can be a girl’s night, guy’s night, bring your friend and your neighbor night, whoever, wherever, bring out the inner film critic in you and settle in for a night of movie madness.
Another great option to spice up your school stay? Have a themed night in your living room or closest dorm lounge. Why not try a pizza party, a Mexican fiesta, heck why not throw a friendly luau and hula with your friends? When you’re cramped on campus it’s all about stretching your imagination and getting the best of situations you may already be in—i.e. home on a Friday, studying in a lounge, roaming around the quad! Look up fun recipes, have an arts and crafts party to make “decorations”, go all out! It’s not like there are hundreds of your college peers watching from afar—they aren’t even on campus. This is your time to get creative.
So you’re not into costumes and umbrella drinks? No Problem! You can always get up and go out! Your school probably offers a variety of late night programming or activities. Check the schedule, find their website, or visit your programming office to get more information. If none of those work, become a local tourist in your neighborhood or city! Have you seen all the sites? Tried a few different dining favorites, or local gems? Look up the city’s visitor center—often times there will be tons of free or discounted coupons for entry into city attractions, museums, shows, etc. Another great resource if you’re looking to be surprised and to try something new is UrbanSpoon. Using this app you can find hidden restaurants and yummy places to try all just by shaking your phone! Go out on a whim and let your phone, budget or mood pick a place for you! Grab some friends and pretend you are on a real vacation trying the cuisine for the first time!
The thrill of vacations is often centered on the feeling of adventure, and trying something new. While that is all fine and dandy, sometimes the best vacations can be focused instead on “catching up” and rejuvenating. College students need sleep and time to rest. Definitely do a few, fun, and “out of the box” type of activities but also remember to take time for yourself and catch up on things that are important to you. Sleep is a big one for most students, but what about reading? When is the last time you sat down with a good book and actually read the words instead of just pretending to highlight them? Take this break time to unwind and prepare for the rest of the semester. Spring Break is here, but that means finals and the end of the semester are just around the corner. Try a few low maintenance activities like baking, or a little service in your community (walks, cleanups, soup kitchens, etc.).
The thrill of vacations can be about whatever you choose, but the joys of a “staycation” are endless! Think big and small and cater your break to fit your needs and fill any voids! Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt, your friends may be away—maybe on a beach—but they have to come home eventually and catch up on reality, you on the other hand can be snuggled up with a good book, a cupcake, watching reruns and relaxing.