Professional SpotlightSpotlight

The life of an entrepreneur can be stressful, overwhelming, and busy. It can wear you out, and it’s important to make time for your personal life. Abhay Jain, the co-founder of SoundScope, a mobile platform that allows people to choose their night out based on the music they love, knows how brutal the life of an entrepreneur can be. Earning a B.S. in Bio-Business and Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and later receiving his JD from Duke University School of Law and an MBA from Duke University (The Fuqua School of Business), Abhay is no stranger to academia, hard work, and constant learning.

With one more year left in grad school, Abhay came up with the idea for SoundScope and utilized his professors, classmates, and classes to further his business plan and hone his idea. Now he works on his startup full-time in New York City and works hard to make his idea a reality. We’re excited to introduce you to this smart and ambitious entrepreneur – read on to learn more about how he decided what to major in at Virginia Tech, how he managed to earn both a JD and MBA, and which books and resources he finds most useful.

Name: Abhay Jain
Education: B.S. in Bio-Business and Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech); JD from Duke University School of Law; MBA in Business Administration from Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business
Follow: SoundScope.com / @SoundScopeNYC / / @JainAbhayk

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

AJ:  “Seizing your youth” means taking the time to learn about yourself. For me it meant traveling, living in new cities, meeting interesting people, and taking every opportunity that came my way. If you don’t know what you want, try and figure out what you don’t want.

CJ: You majored in Bio-Business and minored in Psychology at Virginia Tech. How did you decide what to major and minor in?

AJ: I was an “undecided major” when I first got into Virginia Tech. When my dad and I went into the academic affairs office he said, “You are at a tech school.  Why don’t you go pre-med until you find something better?” In hindsight, it was a smart move from my dad to lure me into becoming a doctor because I was far too lazy to venture to the other side of campus to change my major. Instead, I just added things that interested me. I thought psychology and consumer behavior were interesting so I took the classes I liked.  Plus, this girl I was crushing on was a psych minor, so that was also a draw. Ha. Before I knew it, I had completed the prerequisites for a dual major and a minor.

In retrospect, I’d like to say I was super methodical in my course selection but I knew my learning style — I just couldn’t excel at coursework I didn’t enjoy.

CJ: You also received your JD / MBA from Duke University Law School and the Fuqua School of Business. What led you to your decision to go back to school to receive these two degrees?

AJ: A bit of serendipity, I suppose. I spent every summer of college traveling and experiencing potential careers. One summer, I worked at a few hospitals across Southeast Asia. No matter how much time I spent with the doctors, I was far more enthralled by the work of the hospital manager. Similarly, I spent a summer at the Department of Justice in D.C. and found the ability to impact organizational change exciting. As you can imagine, finding a legal or managerial job with a pre-med degree is not that easy. So, I leveraged my “pre-med knowledge” to get a job at a, then, fledgling pharmaceutical startup. A great learning experience — I got laid-off after 12 weeks. Fortunately, it was 2008, the markets were tanking and I had seen the warning signs. So, I spent my spare time studying for the LSAT and applying to schools. Within weeks of my forced vacation I had an acceptance letter in my hand, a bargaining chip for other job opportunities, and a modicum of respect from my parents.

CJ: A JD / MBA combination is an interesting way to learn about law and business. What was your experience doing a JD /MBA program like? What does the workload entail, what would a day in your life look like, and how did you manage the stress of earning those degrees?

AJ: The learning Duke provided me was truly life-changing! I went from multiple-choice tests to writing and arguing 50-page papers. The JD helped me sharpen my mind in terms of spotting issues, resolving conflicts, and persuading others of my point of view. The MBA restored my quant skills and brought a piece of practical applicability to my academic pursuits as well as strong Rolodex of Duke Alums.

That being said, the JD was a steel-toed boot to the face. Imagine: being surrounded by some of the smartest and most stressed people you know competing academically in an area you know nothing about, going from the world of black-and-white certainty to shades gray and uncertainty, and reading dense legal jargon for five hours a night and being harassed by former politicians and litigators in a room full of 100 peers yearning to outwit you. It was punishment for six months until I finally got the hang of it. Once I understood the system, however, I really enjoyed the thought and learning involved.

Business school on the other hand was dramatically different education. It was a mix of overzealous networking, excel, calculus, calendar invites, and theme parties. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit burnt out from academia at the time and couldn’t stand lots of my overeager peers for a couple months. However, my last year as it all came together I truly enjoyed both realms of the education and savored the life-long friendships I made at both schools.

Abhay 1

CJ: After graduation, you founded SoundScope, a mobile platform that allows people to choose their night out based on the music they love. How did this idea come about and what were your steps for making it a reality?

AJ: During my grad school experience, I had the opportunity to work in various roles in cities around the country. My favorite of which was New York. My summer in finance in New York meant I had very limited time to go out. I always had a passion for music and going out and wanted to make the right decision since my time was limited. I wondered why there were so many amazing things happening in NYC but no way for people to find them?!?

Luckily, I had one year left in grad school so I used my concept for every major class assignment. Thus, I got to use the skills and expertise of my peers and professors to better hone the idea, build a business plan, and connect to people that could help execute.

CJ: What have been the greatest lessons you’ve learned in starting your own business?

AJ:  People are the most important element of any business — I can’t emphasis this enough. Find people that are smarter than you that are reliable and hire them.

CJ: Every day in your life must look different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

AJ: Get up and try to make it into to the gym early. Make a list of all my objectives for the week and what we missed last week.  Get into the office at 9:30. Catch up on emails. Go through what the rest of the team is working on during lunch and then back-to-back meetings ranging from financials to sponsorships.

CJ: What should a young adult who wants to be an entrepreneur do now to set him or herself up for success?

AJ: Dive in and seek out mentors.  Experience is the best education for an entrepreneur — intern any and everywhere, test out ideas through an MVP, and talk to potential customers. In your spare time, seek out other entrepreneurs to learn from.

CJ: What are some books, resources, and websites that have influenced you – either personally or professionally (or both)?

AJ:  Finding mentors IRL is not always easy. Initially, the web was the best way for me to learn from “mentors.” I really love the Stanford e-corner. They have a weekly SoundCloud segment from successful entrepreneurs that helped me think through tough problems and figure out where I wanted to take SoundScope. Also, Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start” is a good crash course on the current state of startups.

CJ: When you’re not working on SoundScope, how do you like to spend your time?

AJ: Thanks to my iPhone I am technically always working. But whenever I unplug I love traveling, cooking, and listening to good music.

CJ: What are you working to improve upon – either personally or professionally – and how are you doing so?

AJ: I am trying very hard to build a stronger wall between my personal and professional life. Running a startup can be brutal.  It is an emotional roller-coaster that can really wear you out. I am working on keeping more of an even keel and not letting SoundScope pervade things I appreciate personally — whether it’s spending time with friends, going to the gym, or just sleeping.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

AJ:  Life and people around you have a way of convincing you that you need to follow a certain trajectory — as in you need to figure out your career by 25, get married by 27, buy a house by 30, and pop out 2.5 kids by 35. Life is short. Do what makes you happy. Everything else will fall in place.

Abhay Jain Qs

Images by Carpe Juvenis

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

The Girl Scouts is an incredible organization that turns young women into leaders. Deelyn Cheng is one of these amazing young women who became involved in the Girl Scouts when her best friends encouraged her to join. She earned her Gold Award by preparing the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. She took a multi-faceted approach to her project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Pretty great, if you ask us.

Now, Deelyn studies International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. She has spent time interning and living in Hong Kong, and she is passionate about learning about all things business. Deelyn shares with Carpe Juvenis what she thinks makes a good leader, the lessons she learned from being a part of the Girl Scouts, and that for her, success means “making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy.” With determined and caring young women such as Deelyn, the future definitely looks brighter.

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization. 

Name: Deelyn Cheng
Education: International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington, Class of 2018

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Deelyn Cheng: Be proactive and seize every opportunity that would develop and enhance one’s identity. It is important take opportunities that prompts you to try new things or to push you closer towards a goal.  There is this quote which I love by Milton Berle: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Time is valuable, so treat it preciously. Go out and find your passion, explore, and reach your full potential. Change the world for the better by turning your dreams and ideas into reality.

CJ: You’re studying International Business, Finance, and Marketing at the University of Washington. What led you to those academic passions and why are you choosing to study them in a formal setting?

DC: The world is becoming more dependent on globalized trade and investment, and worldwide financial institutions are prominent. I want to contribute and become involved with the international network and I’m very interested in cross-cultural business. A business degree would also provide a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that is applicable to a wide range of careers. From critical and creative thinking to personal development, I am passionate about learning all things business!

Dee 4

CJ: You are an Investment Assistant Intern at Rongtong Global Investment Limited in Hong Kong. That sounds very interesting. What do your duties entail as an intern?

DC: I assisted colleagues with a variety of tasks including organizing trade settlements in excel, managing an online banking system, reading paperwork, completing office tasks, and proofreading.

CJ: What have you learned from living in Hong Kong? What do you like to do there when you’re not interning?

DC: I learned to have patience, tolerance, and adaptability. The way of life in Hong Kong is extremely different to what I’m used to…a lot of people and very fast paced. However, I just went with the flow, immersed myself in the culture and it worked out just fine! The cuisine in Hong Kong is absolutely spectacular so I spent most of my time eating. If not that, I would be sightseeing.

CJ: Moving to another country for school or an internship can be intimidating and nerve-wracking for some. Did you feel this way? What advice do you have for those who are thinking about living abroad to work or study?

DC: I was a little nervous but was more excited! I would definitely advise them to take the opportunity. It is so valuable to see and experience different cultures, especially when you can stay in a place for longer periods of time. Have an open-mind and don’t be afraid to try new things. And take every event (positive or negative) as a learning experience!

Dee Cheng 2

CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

DC: My best friends were in a troop and encouraged me to join. I loved the opportunities it gave me! I had the chance to lead, learn, experience new things, and meet new people that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I also greatly enjoyed camping-nothing better than sitting around a campfire singing songs with your best friends!

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

DC: Have patience, be confident, and help others!

Dee 6

CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you set out to better prepare the City of Lakewood for emergency and disaster situations. You took a multi-faceted approach to your project, including educating residents, acquiring emergency kits for local schools, and even designing menus that can feed hundreds of residents for several days in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

DC: I believe people need to be prepared. They need to have the information and knowledge so they can be ready when an emergency happens. I feel that knowing about First Aid and how to help people is very important. My mom’s family is from Thailand, and when the tsunami hit, I thought it was interesting to watch the process of aid. Global issues interest me, and I wanted to share that locally.

Lots of meetings! I honestly enjoyed them though. I had the opportunity to interact and connect with people which I love to do. I focused on using my organization and time management skills to orderly conduct my project. This includes identifying who I would work with, steps I would take, and not having a delay to take action. Additionally, I communicated with my advisor, my troop, and others who helped me. I also prepared the teaching/presentation materials and activities I would use for the public and the students to educate them and raise awareness. I assigned tasks to my team, and was able to take action and lead a sustainable project.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

DC: I had to really focus and hone my time management skills. I’m a visual person so I kept a planner. I allotted specific amounts of time for different tasks. However, I would sometimes procrastinate or underestimate the time to complete a task, but this project was definitely a learning process!

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

DC: My mentors constantly change-they depend on the time and situation. I believe life puts you in a situation where you build relationships with the people around you and a mentor-mentee relationship will naturally form.

Dee 5

CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

DC: A good leader wants to serve and tries their hardest to make the best out of a situation for themselves and others. They make dreams and ideas become reality. And leaders follow their heart, but always do the right thing even when it is hard.

CJ: How do you define success?

DC: Overall, I believe happiness equates to success. Success is when we reach the point of living the life we truly want/desire, and found and fulfilled our purpose in life. Lastly, making a positive impact on the world and leaving a legacy should be part of someone’s success story!

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

DC: Be more diligent in learning and retaining a language. I wish I had focused on learning Mandarin.

Deelyn Cheng

Images by Deelyn Cheng

EducationFinanceSkills

Whether you are extremely cautious about how you spend your money or you only check your bank statement once in a blue moon, keeping on budget can be difficult when we least expect it. Maybe you grab dinner with a friend and it ends up costing more than you thought, or you need to make a last minute purchase that you can’t find at a discount. Whatever it may be, here are some ways to help keep you on budget no matter what hiccups come your way.

  1. Buy in “Bulk”. This tip may seem counter intuitive, but hear me out. Think carefully about the things you’re constantly re-purchasing, whether they’re razor blades, toilet paper, laundry detergent, rice, pasta, so on and so forth. If you know that you use certain things over and over without fail, consider buying in “bulk.” That doesn’t mean buying 1,000 units of toilet paper at a time, but instead of grabbing a pack of four rolls every week try buying a 16 or 24 pack online for less cost per roll. It may seem frustrating to spend more money than you’re used to at once, but in the long run you can be saving a lot more. Food can be a bit tricker – make sure you’re only buying non-perishable goods that you can store in a cool, dry space.
  2. Always Make a Shopping List. When you head to the grocery store or mall – or even a restaurant for that matter – without having thought through what you need, you’ll be more likely to throw unnecessary things in your cart that you want in that moment but regret later. Go through your refrigerator and pantry and sort out what you already have so that you don’t buy duplicates. When you go to the mall, park closest to the store you’re going to and make a beeline once you get inside. Don’t let your eyes wander or else your money might, too.
  3. Know What Your Necessities Cost. Sit down and plot out what you need to pay every month. This includes bills, groceries, transportation – the basics that you can’t go without. Add all those numbers up and subtract it from what you’re earning, and you’ll have a more realistic understanding of how much extra money you really have. Consider putting another 10-20% of that “extra” money away in a savings account. Without knowing your bottom line you’re sure to overspend.
  4. Set Aside Spending Money. It’s a great idea to build in spontaneity and fun into your life. Set aside a “fun” fund and keep that money separate from your necessities and savings. It might help to keep this extra spending money in cash form, so that you have a tangible idea of how much there really is to spend each week. Sometimes swiping a card allows us to dissociate from the fact that we are spending money, and we tend to over-do it.
  5. Create a Long Term Goal. Think about your financial goals. This doesn’t need to be super complicated. It can be as simple as “I want to save $100 in the next five months.” That means that you need to be putting aside $20 each month to hit that goal. Maybe there’s something you need to buy for work or school – figure out how much that will cost and set a goal to be able to afford it and in what amount of time. Long term goals can be as basic as you want them to be – the main point is that you’ll be learning how to save little by little and it won’t feel as overwhelming.

Good luck with staying on budget and let me know what your tips are!

Image: Flickr

EducationSkills

Being in college has taught me how to be smart financially. Instead of buying the pair of cute leather boots I see at the mall, I put aside the money I would use to buy them so that I can afford next semester’s textbooks. If you’re like me and are unemployed, then saving money is the key to surviving college.

There have been plenty of times when I have forgone buying something I really wanted so that I could afford the things that I needed. My biggest fear of buying something that I wanted is that the money spent would be needed at a later time, and since I don’t want to ever be in that situation I stop myself from buying a new book, nail polish, or whatever else it is that I’d want when I’m out shopping with my friends or online.

I’m not, in any way, saying that saving your money and making smart choices with how you spend it is bad. Because it’s not. It’s good to think about how you’re spending your finances, especially if you have don’t have a steady income and can’t always ask your parent(s) for money. But it isn’t good to stress yourself over spending money on things that you want, especially if you’re the kind of person who can refrain from going on a shopping spree.

You are a college student. You spend most of your time doing homework and studying and waking up early for class. That might not seem like much to people with full-time jobs, but college is hard and it takes up a good amount of your time. It is also, as many of you know from experience, very stressful at times, which is why I think that everyone deserves to treat themselves once in a while. It doesn’t – and shouldn’t necessarily – have to be every week. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve stuck strictly to cafeteria food. Why not purposefully save up for a nice dinner and take yourself out for a special treat once a month? Maybe you haven’t gotten a new pair of pants in a while or you really want some new jewelry for an upcoming interview – whatever it is that you want, save up specifically for that item or experience, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself to it!

You can still be smart about how much you spend. Maybe choose something from the clearance rack at the mall instead of something that is extremely expensive. If you have come this far without splurging and you put enough aside for a special treat, then buying one thing might not hurt you. Focus on getting something that you have been wanting for the longest time but you just didn’t let yourself buy it because you needed to do laundry or buy textbooks instead.

There will be a time when you’re going to have to choose necessities over what you want. But that time might not necessarily be right now, so treat yourself when you can and still be smart about the things that you buy. In my opinion, that is part of being financially smart. Again, don’t stress yourself out over saving money. I have done that many times and it’s not fun. So, I hope after you finish reading this, you’ll be inspired to go buy what you’ve always wanted (within reason, of course). You might not realize it until much later but occasionally purchasing things that are not college related is a necessity too.

Image: Flickr

Education

High school students are beginning to fill out their college applications, and part of that process includes deciding what major to pick. While you can always change your major once you get to school, oftentimes colleges encourage you to choose one so they can get an idea of your interests.

For those thinking about majoring in photography, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Costs add up.

It is impossible to imagine how much things cost. Film, darkroom paper, photo paper, book printing, photo books, mounting, business cards…the list goes on. As the four college years go by, it adds up. Some schools have amazing facilities (Parsons) but others do not. For those that don’t, it would be frustrating for you to have to buy all your own gear and pay for studio and scanning and developing chemistry.

2. Think outside the box.

Photography is no longer the black and white documentary 35mm it once was. From fashion to fine art, photo students are now expected to grasp, come up with, and execute concepts. Why did you take that picture? Why is it next to that other picture? Is it a series, a diptych, a stand alone? Digital, prints, or book form? Why? Be prepared to think critically.

3. Critiques will happen.

“Crits” are days when your work is hung up and people talk about it. Sometimes you can defend your work, sometimes you can’t. People will disagree or dislike your work. They will tell you what they honestly think. You can’t do anything about it. The best thing to do is to learn to take everything with a grain of salt, and to give good crits. That is the most productive thing to do. Explain what is working and what isn’t and why.

Being a photography major has its good and bad points. But as long as you love it, then it will all be worth it!

Image: Mia Domenico

SkillsTravel

There are a lot of ways to travel. For those of us who are perpetually short on cash, our travel usually won’t consist of beach resorts, luxury cruises, and designer shopping sprees. We won’t ever sit in first class and chances are we’ll get used to bunking in a hostel’s shared room.

For me, that’s part of the beauty of it all. Backpacker hostels or locals’ couches, public transportation and street food make for authentic experiences. Tiny obstacles, like bumpy night buses and confusing street signs, create challenges; they make you a little more vulnerable and open you up to asking for help. The opportunities that come with travel on a budget are so much more fulfilling than the ones that come with all-inclusive, first-class vacays.

I’ve certainly traveled on a budget. As a semester exchange student in Singapore, I survived on my savings, traveling about every other weekend. I had a few close calls, and by the time I arrived back on U.S. soil at the end of it all, I had $34 to my name. There were a lot of mistakes and lessons learned, along with some budgeting successes.

I recently shared many tips on traveling on a super low budget; aka, almost no money. Those involved a lot of working abroad. These tips, though, are all about spending every ounce of your free time soaking in your journey, and doing it on a dime.

Some of these tips are conventional, others you won’t exactly find in travel magazines. In the end, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. First of all, travel must be your priority.

If you want to travel but don’t have the money, it’s because you’re spending yours on other things. Every job I’ve ever held has paid me hourly, sometimes below minimum wage. But, I saved all of my money because I knew I wanted to do something sweet with it. I didn’t buy clothes, get my nails done, go out to eat nightly… I saved.

Take a page from my book – buy some wardrobe staples that you love, preferably from a thrift or consignment shop, and don’t spend on clothes for the rest of the year. Invest in some nail polish and remover and never get your nails done (or do it like me and have cavewoman nails year round). Invest in things that keep you from spending money long-term. It works, my friends.

2. Make every flight count.

Enroll in frequent flyers and rewards programs with an airline. You can end up redeeming your miles or points for free flights.

3. Night buses and trains are your friends.

Only fly regionally if you absolutely have to, and when you do, use Skyscanner.com to find the best budget fares. Chances are, though, you’ll be able to ride a bus or train from location to location, and night transportation doubles as transportation and lodging: score.

4. Similarly, public transportation is key.

For the love of money, don’t take cabs. Find a subway or public transportation map and get out there. It can be intimidating to step on a bus or train for the first time in a new city, so a few minutes of preliminary research can help – know the fares, which lines to take and which stops you want. If you’re going to be somewhere for a week or more, investing in a multi-day or -week pass is your best bet.

5. Rent bikes.

Many cities offer bike and motorcycle rentals. Depending on the length of your stay, this can pay off. You will save on cabs, bus fares and other transportation costs, besides gas if you go the motorized route. Plus, you aren’t at the mercy of a tour group or driver, and can go wherever.

6. Take a granola bar.

Or five. Plus a refillable water bottle (a simple way to save, unless your destination’s water is unsafe for you to drink out of tap, then you’ll have to splurge on bottled water). Pack small snacks that can double as meals. I’m a foodie – I really am, but eating bars for breakfast has never ruined any of my trips, and it’s freed up a lot of cash. Speaking of…

7. Buy groceries and use the local food markets.

Because you should be staying in hostels or locals’ apartments (more on that in a second), which almost always have kitchen areas. If they don’t, buy no-cook items, such as bread and lunch meat. Foodies, you can get creative with local ingredients, too, because local food markets have great deals on ingredients and staples that often aren’t available fresh or authentic in the U.S.

8. Make friends.

Local friends or friends who have been in your location for an extended stay (a couple weeks or so) can often recommend or take you to the best cheap restaurants, connect you with their cousins who can get you drink deals (or some similar scenario), even give you a place to stay or cook.

9. Speaking of drink deals. Facebook groups.

Join them. Facebook groups, such as Hazel’s Guestlist in Singapore, provides incredible deals, discounts and even VIP access for its members. It’s free to join these, and there are usually no strings attached. They just want foreigners checking out their nightlife and attractions.  Obviously use your best judgment; it’s pretty easy to tell if the group is a weird scam. And don’t post any of your personal information or whereabouts in these groups.

These groups are often promoted to exchange students because they’re easy to reach, so do a little stalking on Facebook. Find exchange student groups in your area; if they aren’t completely private, you may be able to see what discount websites and Facebook groups the students post between each other or that promoters post within the groups. Then, join them. Easy as pie, and it’s safe and allowed.

10. Stay in shared rooms in hostels.

This requires you to get comfortable with a little less privacy. It isn’t as invasive as it sounds, though. Most hostels offer the option for same-gender rooms and you will almost always receive a locker to stow your belongings. These rooms are usually very cheap, and in many regions and countries, cheap doesn’t mean dingy or unsafe. In fact, in most of Southeast Asia, we found sparkly clean, well-managed, very safe hostels for a few dollars a night.

The amenities are generally basic; you may have to bring your own towel and Wi-Fi is often non-existent. This is budget travel, we can’t have everything, and usually at good hostels you get way more than you expect for the price. Besides, friendly people, clean running water and a cozy roof over the head for a couple bucks a night is a true gift. Ask around, use Trip Advisor, or invest in a travel guidebook to point out the best hostels in your area.

11. Better yet, couch surf.

Couch surfing is free. I mentioned it in my previous article, and it really is a fantastic resource. Many of my friends have done this and spoken highly of their experiences.

12. Utilize hostel resources.

A good hostel won’t scam you. Obviously do your math when the front desk guy offers you a tour package, but excursions are often offered at discounts at backpacker hostels. Befriend the front desk people, too, because they can very easily get you some sweet deals and discounts. Just let them know what you’re into and get to know them. It’s fun anyways, because people who work in hostels are usually pretty interesting and magical.

13. Student IDs.

If you are a student, or still look young and have your student ID (pretend I didn’t say that), use it. There are student discounts and freebies everywhere. Be aware, though, that American student IDs may not be recognized in all the countries you visit; still harmless and worth a try.

14. International Student Identity Card.

You can register for these online and they come with discounts on travel and excursions.

15. Groupon.

It can be hit or miss, but if you find something you really want to do on Groupon’s site, it’s fantastic. Most countries have their own Groupon site. As a hint, read the fine print. I recommend not using Groupons for travel deals, because travel agencies and other involved parties usually hide the massive extra fees. Other stuff is fair game.

16. Set a budget.

Know what you want to do, and plan a little beforehand. You don’t need to map out a detailed itinerary, but know generally how much transportation costs within and to/from the places you want to go, where you can find cheap lodging, etc. Allocate the amount you want to spend per day, or per activity, and stick to it.

Generally, travel’s main expenses come in the form of lodging, transportation and food. Hopefully the tips above help minimize those expenses while allowing you to have an incredible journey.

Bon voyage!

Image: Buck Lewis, Flickr

SkillsTravel

Last week I talked about choosing a study abroad location. Choosing where in the world to go is exciting, but nothing can kill a study abroad dream quite like a look at the program price tag. Money doesn’t have to be your deciding factor, though. There are some things you can do to get funding and minimize – even eliminate – what you’ll have to spend on your program.

1. Scholarships

Study abroad scholarships are offered in a variety of capacities, including merit-based, student-specific (i.e. minority scholarships), destination-specific, program-specific (your home or destination school or program may offer scholarship options), and subject-specific (very common for language study, but also available for almost any area of study).

Studyabroad.com offers an extensive database of study abroad scholarships, and the Institute of International Education offers good search options for destination and subject-specific scholarships.

It’s important to pay attention to deadlines; many study abroad scholarships require early action. There are, of course, some that you can apply for on a rolling basis, with little time before you leave.

2. Study Abroad Loans

You can find a database of study abroad student loans here. The great thing about study abroad loans is that transportation and cultural excursions are eligible expenses.

3. Crowdfunding Websites

GoFundMe – This website is amazing. It allows you to quickly and easily set up a fundraising page with a goal, photo and description, and makes it easy for people to donate to the page. Another great crowdfunding website is GoGetFunding.com. Once you’ve created your page, share it via social media and email to all your family and friends, asking them to support you in your dream to study abroad.

In your email, it will help to lay out what exactly your expenses are, what their donations will be funding, and your study abroad goals/things you want to experience. Providing a suggested amount (keep it low so people aren’t deterred), and list what exactly that amount will cover (i.e. a week of groceries, an unlimited train pass, etc.) And of course, be sure to thank everyone and offer the option to pass on donating. You can even request that they share it with other friends.

You can select either a personal funding campaign or an all-or-nothing campaign. The all-or-nothing contains a goal and time limit, while the personal funding does not. With all-or-nothing, you only get donations if you reach your goal, whereas you get all donations from a personal funding campaign.

4. Find an exchange program

I did this, meaning my school exchanged me for a student from the school at which I studied. The reason this option rocked so much was that I had no added costs to my university tuition (besides my flight); my costs actually were lower because I didn’t have to pay my university’s housing or meal plan, plus all of my regular university scholarships still applied in addition to an extra study abroad one. Check with your university to see whether it has exchange programs, and how fees are allocated.

5. Holiday Gift Requests

Send out a mass email, e-card or letter to all family members and friends who typically give you birthday or Christmas gifts. Let them know that in lieu of gifts, you’re asking for funds to go abroad.

Like GoFundMe, list your expenses and goals, and why it’s so important to you to go abroad. You could even list interesting facts about your university and location; that gets people excited.

6. Local fundraising

This works well in smaller towns or suburbs. Ask local restaurants or businesses, particularly those that you spend time at often, to place a donation jar at the counter. While this won’t earn you outrageous amounts of cash, it is an effortless way to earn some extra spending money.

Be sure to leave an info sheet by the jar or can explaining what the fundraising is for and why it’s important to you.

7. Garage sale

Any type of sale is great, but I hosted a garage sale before my trip and made $600 from it. That paid for two months’ rent (my student housing was cheap) and it also helped me de-clutter, so it was a win-win. Hosting various sales, like art sales, bake sales, book sales etc. may, again, not earn you mass sums of money but can get you some good spending money.

If you really have a lot of stuff and your sales do well, you can even earn enough to cover your round-trip flight to and from your host country and more.

8. Odd jobs

Walk dogs, mow lawns, photograph events, babysit… anything you’re good at that can bring in some extra cash. All it takes is a little simple networking and some flyers.

So, between scholarships, loans and personal fundraising, you may be able to raise enough to study completely cost-free.

What tips do you have for funding a study abroad experience? Any creative ways to make money?

Image: Kristina Zuidema, Flickr

CollegeFinanceSkills

It’s time for college. It’s also time for budget crunching, piggy bank breaking, as well as money saving. Our wallets tend to go on a diet when we go to college, but here are some tips to keep your wallet saturated with healthy greens and to make yourself happy with those few extra bucks.

1. Price Comparisons for Textbooks

Unless you cannot find a book anywhere on the Internet, go to the student store on your university campus. Word on the street is that the student store charges more than the retailer themselves. Use websites like SlugBooks to buy cheaper priced books.

2. Go for Paperback Books

Paperback or hardcover, you’re still getting the same information, aren’t you? You don’t need the hardcover book. Find a paperback and use it whenever you can. Besides, paperbacks are much lighter on your back.

3. Renting Textbooks

Have a general education class such as Economics 101 that you’re taking to fulfill some requirement? Never going to open that book again once the class will have finished? Rent the book. Do not buy it. Though you cannot make too many marks (or any, depending on the rule), renting your textbook can save you over a hundred dollars. You can use it and access it at any point after it is delivered to you, and then you just have to ship it back on the due date, so make sure you take note of that!

4. Use Public Transportation or a Bike

Do not bring your car with you to campus, especially if you are a first-year. Paying for parking is quite a hassle, and can drain your wallet instantaneously. Use buses; they’re quite popular on college campuses, especially with universities that are small cities, such as Chapel Hill. Students usually ride for free, which is awesome because who doesn’t like free services and goods? Also, you’re doing the environment a huge favor by not emitting exhaustion gas into the atmosphere. Bikes are another good idea, as this investment can go very far, literally and metaphorically. Bikes are street safe and walk path safe, and you’ll be on-time to class almost every time.

5. Sell Your Old High School Stuff

I, for one, had a lot of old Advanced Placement (AP) guidebooks left over from high school. Though some are still useful references to me, a lot of them were not, especially for the classes that have nothing to do with my intended major and that I had placement credit for. I just sold it on Amazon and made almost a hundred dollars. Don’t limit yourself to just books—sell anything that you simply cannot use anymore (within reason of course).

6. Make a Budget

Try organizing your spending and income into a table such as this one:

Money Spent Item Bought Service Spent on Earnings
$3 2% Milk
$40 From Tutoring
$10 Getting Eyebrows Done
$100 Selling things
$50 Textbook

This is just a neat way to help you keep track of everything! You will never have to wonder where that one dollar went, and you’ll feel more in control of your money.

7. Work Study, Jobs, and Internships

This is perhaps the most obvious way grab ahold of fortunes during high school. However, it should also be remembered that jobs teach you the value of money. For some people, it’ll send the message of “Do I need to buy that Sephora lipstick? I have to use MY money.” You’ll rethink buying some of your coveted material objects, but in the end you will be glad you thought some of your monetary decisions and purchases through.

Money is all around us. We just have to know how to hold on to it. Learning how to be responsible with your money now can truly benefit you in the future. When there’s an economic crisis in the future, you’ll know how to handle it from your experiences during your youthful years. Best of luck to those of you going to college or are in college, and always have a positive mindset!

Image: 401kcalculator.org

Health

Many of us have started eating organic food because of the pesticides and herbicides used on fruits and vegetables. From Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” to the first U.S. organic standard, to the establishment of the first Whole Foods Market, the organic food industry has become an increasingly integral part of our lives – and our wallets.

Be it a difference of 10% or 200%, the price of an organic product compared to its conventional equivalent reveals its superior quality. Do price-makers take advantage of this? That’s your call, but that total number at the very bottom of your receipt speaks for itself. Many say that having a complete set of organic groceries is worth the purchase, but others can’t keep up because of the lack of access to organic products or the financial strain when living on a budget. It turns out that there are ways around this! There are some products that are worth buying organic, and others that just don’t make any difference.

“The Dirty Dozen” is a list that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) came up with that indicates exactly which fruits and vegetables are most pesticide-rich – in the order from most to least. The following 12 fruits and vegetables contain the highest percentage of pesticide residue in comparison to other produce.

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes (and raisins)
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (especially imported)
  12. Potatoes

On the other hand, EWG also created a list that makes picking conventional produce much more relieving. It’s called the “Clean Fifteen,” and this list provides the produce that is, in fact, a safe conventional pick in the order of least harmful to cautious. This is either because they did not require the application of as many synthetic chemicals or the skin is thick enough to block off most of the harmful substances and can be removed before eaten.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet peas (frozen)
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet potatoes

Be aware that this is a fairly specific suggestive list of what produce to buy organic and non-organic. You can always remember a simple rule of thumb: if the fruit or vegetable has a thick skin, buy it conventional, and if it has a thin skin, go for organic. If the product has a thick skin, or even better, if you remove it before you consume it (like a banana or an onion), the pesticides are trashed with it. However, thin or bare-skinned fruits and vegetables (like blueberries or broccoli) scream “organic!” as they do not provide sufficient protection from the pesticides. Passionate scrubbing can always help, but the truth is that when these chemicals are applied directly on the surface you will later eat, they seep into the fruit and become a part of it. In turn, your best bet would be to buy them organic.

Conscious buying is undeniably important, but so is being a knowledgeable consumer. Buying organic doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing deal. When regarding produce, fruits and vegetables vary in their amount of pesticide residue. The premise of buying organic is to avoid these synthetic chemicals at all costs. Keep this information in mind the next time you are at a grocery store – it will be beneficial for not only your health, but for your wallet!

ExploreFinanceSkillsTravel

Most of us want to travel the world, yet so few of us actually do it. We plan to save up, but somehow we just can’t stretch our dollars; we spend them on stuff before we can spend them on trips.

Having traveled through much of Southeast Asia (and a few other countries) on a very limited budget, I have met travel experts with lots of advice, and developed my own money saving tricks. Next week I will share my budget travel tips, but this article is about traveling with almost no money and either cutting out certain expenses (accommodations, food and transportation), or earning money while traveling.

I read a very accurate quote that went something like, “if you want to travel, you either have to spend time or money.” If you’re willing to sacrifice a little time so you can soak in unfamiliar cultures, see the world, meet new people and grow, these options could be for you.

1. Hostel Work Exchange

These jobs often offer free housing (and sometimes meals) in exchange for work, or they will simply pay you hourly. Hostel jobs are fairly competitive, so if possible, it is suggested to arrive in a location a bit before peak seasons for less stress. (i.e. before May or June in New York)

This site offers forums for job seekers and hostel employers to post opportunities. Hostel Management is another good hostel job search site.

2. Teach English Abroad

Teaching is quite a commitment, so this option is not for those who are iffy about that.

Most salaried positions last at least a year. Many schools will pay for housing among other amenities, and some (primarily in Asia) will even cover the flights to and from the host country. Some locations pay better than others. I have friends who have paid off student loans and traveled Asia with the salaries they made in South Korea.

Getting a certification to teach English (TEFL) is not always required but will both prepare you and bump up your salary. The following sites can get you certified and/or placed:

Oxford Seminars: Awesome. Pricey TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification, but it includes classroom instruction, a practicum, a massively extensive database of schools in hundreds of countries and three textbooks to help you along the way. Plus, awesome like-minded classmates that can become travel buddies. As a former Oxford Seminars student, I recommend this wholeheartedly.

CIEE: I haven’t used this, but it’s a very reputable and reliable program that many friends have used to both teach and study abroad. They provide training and an optional TEFL certification.

People Recruit: This sends people directly to South Korea. A friend’s brother used this and had a great experience with it. It does not include a TEFL certification as Korea doesn’t require it.

3. WWOOFing

WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It pairs travelers with hosts and allows them to work on a farm, co-op, garden, or related space in exchange for food and accommodation.

WWOOF website for more information.

4. Odd jobs

These include working as a server/bartender, laborer, au pair, tour guide, and more. When you arrive in a location, look for “hiring” signs. Hop into restaurants and offices, bring your resume and be prepared to spend a little time unemployed and searching. Business cards help, too, but be sure they’re simple and universally useable. Additionally, highlight language and professional skills, and ensure you’re easily reachable within your host country (local phone number, provide email, etc.). This option requires more spontaneity, but it’s very doable and will offer some pay to live off of and travel with.

5. Working Holiday Scheme

Several countries offer working holiday visas and the opportunity to take on low-wage, seasonal jobs. The visas are available for people under 35 and typically last up to a year.

6. Skill-based jobs

You can do more than wait tables or answer phones if you want. It may take more digging, but will pay better and utilize your skills and any education you’ve received.

Alliance Abroad offers work placements before departure and provides accommodations. I’ve never used it but have heard it recommended before. They provide placements for business, event planning, food preparation and other skilled positions, as well as internships and general service positions.

7. Couch Surf

Couchsurfing allows you to link up with hosts in any country in the world and stay with them for free. Be sure to check up on the local culture’s etiquette so you know whether to bring a gift, buy meals, etc. Couchsurfers and hosts are generally open-minded travel-lovers who enjoy making new friends and helping others enjoy their cities. The database offers extensive reviews on hosts and ways to connect with other surfers.

8. Home Exchange

Swap apartments or houses for a trip. This allows you to stay, rent-free, in someone else’s home in your travel destination. HomeExchange is a good option for this.

9. Yacht or Cruise Ship Jobs

These are paid positions that include free room and board, meals and other expenses. These opportunities often go overlooked. While not a piece of cake, it is easier than one would think to find a safe, reputable job on a yacht or cruise ship.

Some good sites for finding service jobs on yachts or cruise ships include Crew 4 Crew, Jobs on Yachts and Cruise Ship Jobs.

Traveling with little money requires the traveler to let go of hard plans and remain open to sudden changes. It means time spent. It also often means no frills: hostels, street food, homestays, and sometimes a lack of western amenities. Challenges are part of it, though, and the memories and growth that travel create are incredible!

Plus, who knows? You may find your passion is teaching, farming, boating, or something you never dreamed of!

(Aside from friends and personal experience, Nomadic Matt had some great tips that helped with this article. He’s a fantastic budget travel blogger.)

What are your tips and resources for traveling paid or without significant expenses?

Image: Garry Knight, Flickr

Health

With all the necessities that need to be purchased, it can be a headache to look at $40 dollar foundation. With college loans, unpaid internships, and the daily expenses of day-to-day life, the costs of beauty products can make it hard to pursue your love and passion, especially when you’re just starting a career. Though beauty is skin deep, makeup can be a fun way to express yourself. With all the different makeup products and brands available, figuring out what’s worth the splurge and what’s really a steal can be the trickiest game in the business.

Steal: Foundation

There are several noteworthy drugstore foundations that range from $10-13 dollars. They all provide full-coverage (but can be applied lightly if you don’t want an as-concealed face) without looking caked on, they can be applied with a brush or with your fingers, they have a slightly dewy finish allowing them to appear as natural as possible, and they have a good variety of shades available for drugstore foundations. My top three drugstore foundation finds and steals (in no particular order as to which is better) include:

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation: $9.79 at drugstore.com

Maybelline Superstay 24Hr Foundation: $10.39 at drugstore.com

L’Oreal Visible Lift Foundation: $12.63

Splurge: Bronzer

Though you can purchase an inexpensive bronzer, it can be hard to find one that looks natural on your skin tone. Benefit Cosmetic’s Hoola Bronzing Powder can be purchased on their website for $28, and I promise it’s worth every penny! This bronzer works beautifully on my beyond pale skin in the wintertime and on my glowing summer tan. I believe that this bronzer is worth the splurge because not only does it look stunning on all completions, but it also lasts forever, even when used generously!

Steal: Lips

There are an endless amount of lip products that can be purchased from lipgloss to lip stain to lipstick to lip liner. My recommendation when it comes to getting the most for your money is Jordana’s 5 ½” Lipliner Pencil which can be purchased on their website for an incredible price of $1.49! This lip liner lasts for hours and has an amazing pigmentation. It can be worn alone or topped with a gloss and look just as glamorous either way. With their beautiful twenty-four available shades you’ll easily be able to build up your collection of colors without breaking the bank!

Splurge: Self-Tanner

Whether you want to avoid the damage from the sun in the summer or keep from being pasty white in the winter, sunless tanner does wonders! With so many available on the market now, it can be hard to figure out which sunless tanner is going to keep you from looking orange. Sun Goddess’ Sunless Tanning Lotion only needs to be applied once a week to maintain an even, beautiful glow. It doesn’t have a strong, lasting smell like many self-tanners do and has a green base that allows the tan to look natural rather than that deadly fake tan orange. You can find it on their website for $39. Though the price tag seems hefty, the bottle goes a long way for the money!

Steal: Mascara

With L’Oreal Paris Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara, the name speaks for itself! This mascara gives you the appearance of having false lashes without them being too over dramatic, clumpy, or a hassle to put on! You can find this mascara for $7.16 on drugstore.com.

Image: Beauty is my Duty

EducationSkills

It’s almost that time of the year! In about a month or so, everyone will be lugging their boxes and suitcases  to their respective campuses. You more than likely have thought about the things you want to bring with you, and you probably have even made a list that is about ten pages long. When you realized you couldn’t move your whole house into your dorm room, you shortened that list to two pages. Either way, you’re all set to go to college. The only thing left to worry about are the textbooks you’re going to need for your courses.

Compared to finding a store that hasn’t yet sold out of Twin XL sheets, buying books might seem like the lesser of two evils. I mean, they’re just books, right? Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought when I waited until the last minute to buy the ones I needed for my classes freshman year. To make a long story short: I ended up blowing more than $600 on textbooks when I really didn’t have to spend that much.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. And don’t, I repeat DON’T, feel that the only place you can get your textbooks from is your campus bookstore. I’m not saying that you should avoid it like the plague because, though expensive, it may be your only option.

I am, however, here to tell you that you have quite a few options to consider before you resort to purchasing your books from the bookstore.

Here are alternative options for purchasing your college textbooks:

1. Chegg.com

Chegg is a website where you can rent and buy textbooks in both physical and digital format. Buying books off of this site will nine times out of ten save you a lot more money than buying from the bookstore. The same goes for renting, which is the option I highly recommend you consider. Chegg allows you to keep the book for the entire semester and they also provide you a prepaid shipping label to put on your box when you return your book, which means you don’t have to pay to ship your books back to Chegg. If you want to know more about Chegg, check out the website and see if it’s a site you’d feel comfortable buying from.

2. Amazon

One of the things I love most about Amazon is the fact that they give you a variety of price options for books. Don’t want to buy your textbook new because it’s about $200? No problem! Check out the used book prices. Whether it’s a hardcover or a paperback also factors into the price. Sift through the different prices, review each seller, compare ratings from their customers, and see which one has the best deal for you.  You might even find your $80  history book for a penny!

3. Campus Facebook Page

At the end of each semester or before the start of a new one, people will be trying to get some extra cash. One way people earn extra cash is by selling their textbooks. They may even post about it on Facebook, so check out any comments people leave on the college campus page to see if anyone is selling a book that you need. Better yet, post the list of books that you’re looking to buy and someone might be able to offer a good deal. You never know!

4. Book Loaning Program

If you can’t afford to buy textbooks, see if your campus has a book loaning program for students in great financial need. Find out what the process is to join and go about taking the necessary steps to getting involved with the program early. Programs like this may or may not have a limit to how many students they can accept, so don’t wait until the last minute to sign up!

5. Library

The campus library has a lot of books, including the ones you need for your classes. If you’re waiting for your books to arrive to your campus or if you can’t afford to buy books at that moment, check to see if the library has the books that you need. Chances are that the library will have them, but you have to be quick! The downside to relying on the library is that there may only be a few copies of a particular book and other students might be in the same bind as you are, which means they are more than likely going to be using library books to help them stay on top of their coursework as well.

There are a handful of sites like Chegg and Amazon that will allow you to save money on your textbooks. If you want to buy from them instead of using any of the options I’ve listed  above, make sure you do your research on the site before giving them your credit card information. See if you can find reviews about the site’s customer service because not all websites are legit or are reliable, so be careful.

Also, to be on the safe side, copy and paste the ISBN numbers of the books you need into the search bar of the site you decide to buy from instead of using the title. Textbooks tend to be offered in many editions because the companies who write them may update their books on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, each edition will more than likely have the same name. Using the ISBN number will guarantee that you’re buying the correct books for your classes.

I hope this article was of help to you! Remember, you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. Look for the deals that work for you. They’re out there, you just have to find them!

Image: mcconnors

EducationSkills

We all know (and fear) the mass of college loans that await us at the end of our four years, so why not save a little money when it comes to shopping for your dorm? What do you really need to survive your four years? It can be tricky to narrow it down when it feels like you need everything and anything for being on your own for the first time. Here’s a generic list of things I believe are worth having when staying on campus:

  1. Bed Products: Two words: Twin XL. Make sure your sheets fit the bed that your school is providing you with! You can get away with full sheets if you tuck them in or a twin comforter since they’re made longer in order to hang over the edge of your bed. I also recommend getting a mattress pad and bed bug protector. No matter where you go, those beds aren’t going to be as comfortable as the one in your room at home, and it’s always better to take precautions rather than not. Also, bed risers can be a life saver when it comes to under bed storage. Don’t forget to load your bed up with some comfy (and cute) pillows!
  1. Desk Products: Putting aside your standard school supplies, there are some items you’re going to need to have in and on your desk at school. One of the most important things is a lamp. You’re going to want to have proper lighting for all your studying and late night surfing the web endeavors! Which comes to my next necessity; a laptop. It’s an unavoidable need to have to get you through all you classes whether to help you with cramming for that big exam or writing that research paper due at the end of the term. Also, remember to have lots of containers and bins to organize your supplies in your desk draws! As for personalizing your desk, consider having a few nicely framed pictures and a mirror so that you can avoid trying to do your makeup in the bathroom in the morning; it’ll truly be a life saver!
  1. Medicine/First-Aid: I highly recommend having a homemade first aid kit handy somewhere in your dorm. You can keep Band-Aids, Neosporin, Advil, Tums, sterilizing wipes, and any other medical items you may need as the year goes on.
  1. Beauty Products: All things under the categories of makeup and hygiene come into play in this category!
  1. Bathroom Products: Whether you’re sharing a suite or using a communal bathroom, it’s always a smart idea to have a shower caddy. It makes bringing all your bathroom necessities from your room to the bathroom so much easier. Some other generic necessities include towels, shampoo and conditioner, and all your mouth hygiene needs!
  1. Miscellaneous: There is a list of items that I recommend that don’t necessarily fit under one particular category, but come in handy nonetheless:
  • Batteries: There’s always going to be something you have that needs batteries and having them hidden in a draw somewhere will save you lots of time when you do!
  • Full Length Mirror: You have to be able to check your outfit before going out in public, right?
  • Trash Can: Self-explanatory.
  • Laundry Bag: Save yourself the trouble of attempting to lug all your dirty clothes with the stereotypical overflowing pile in your arms.
  • Umbrella: Rain or shine, you’ll be stuck walking to class.
  • Tissues: Commonly forgotten and always needed whether it’s to fend off that common cold or clean up a quick spill!
  • Backpack: A life saver when it comes to lugging your books from class to class.
  • Paper Plates: Easily disposable and a great way to keep your room from being littered with crumbs!
  • Sewing Kit: Usually overlooked, but you really never know when a sewing kit can save the day!
  • Flashlight: If there’s a power outage, you’re not going to want to waste your cell phone battery to guide your way around.
  • Garbage Bags: These will make your life so much easier when it comes to emptying out your trash can!
  • Mini Fridge: There is going to be food that you’ll want to have that need to be refrigerated (or those leftovers from dinner last night).

Happy dorm shopping!

EducationSkills

Growing up means independence. However, there is also new responsibility. An easy way to simplify your life? Create a budget. It sounds boring, but honestly it requires almost no maintenance and very little time to actually do. Here’s a simple way of creating a budget:

Find Out How Much Money Is Coming In

This is the easiest thing to do. Total up your paychecks, or if you are receiving money from your family, total up how much they are giving you. It is worth knowing how much you have saved in case of an emergency.

Total Your Old Bills

This one is a little less fun. Go through your old bills. Look back every month or every three months at everything you have spent money on. You will notice trends and and can figure out the average or the most you spent in the span of a few months. This way you can determined how much money you need to save every month.

Think of Upcoming Expenses

If you have tuition or a trip coming up, that will use up a chunk of the money you are making. You don’t want to spend what you don’t have. Plan for the future so you do not overspend and get blindsided.

Find How You Can Save

If you are spending more than you are bringing in, you will be out of money before you know it. The bonus of looking at your old bills is to see if you are spending too much money, and if you are then you can cut back. It’s always good to see where you’re money is going. If you don’t like what you see, you can change how you spend. Also, you can figure out a percentage of your money to save for later.

Set A Goal For Your Money

Now that you know how much money you have and how much money you are spending, you know how much money you have left. This could be spent on going out to dinner or for a more ambitious goal like buying a car or going on a trip. Plus, it never hurts to have an amount set aside in case of an emergency. 

This will keep you out of trouble with overspending and ending up in debt. More importantly, you will know how much you can spend having fun. Once you have a budget, you don’t have to worry about it and you just adjust with the big changes in your life.

Image: Sumall

EducationSkills

Debt. And debt. And then some more debt. We all know it’s waiting for us at the end of our four years in college, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice a new college wardrobe, right? Though it may be hard to part with your over-flowing closet of endless outfit options, here’s what you really need for your college wardrobe to stay up-to-date without breaking the bank:

1. Leggings/Yoga Pants/Sweatpants

Every college student knows that life revolves around leggings, yoga pants, sweatpants, and the life of comfort that comes with them! There’s a simple way to break down these basics that you’ll likely be wearing 75% of the week:

  • Leggings: When you want to be comfortable but still want to look nice. When paired with the right shirt these can totally be dressed up!
  • Yoga Pants: More casual and perfect for when you’re on the run from class to class but still want to look somewhat put together.
  • Sweatpants: Typically worn on those roll-out-of-bed mornings, sweatpants are the ultimate comfort luxury for when all you want to do is curl up in your bed and sleep the day away.

2. Shorts

As much as leggings, yoga pants, and sweatpants are the staple of every college wardrobe, the long pants just aren’t going to cut it during the warm weather that comes around during the beginning and end of the year. Shorts, particularly jean shorts since they match virtually anything, are the go-to wardrobe fix for this problem.

3. Jeans

There will be days, most likely around once a month, wear you decide to break out the jeans and look a little nicer than usual. Jeans will also come in handy when you want to go out but don’t feel like getting completely decked-out in a skirt.

4. Plain Shirts

Another absolute staple, plain shirts – both long-sleeved and short-sleeved – are going to allow you to get the most out of your wardrobe and money. These can be paired with any variety of bottoms and layered with the right cardigan, scarf, or jewelry, and they can be worn on any occasion.

5. Crop Tops and Skirts

Whether or not the party scene is for you, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience at least one during your four years. Crop tops and skirts are items that are typically worn, so it can’t hurt to have one or two of these stolen away in your closet or dresser!

6. Scarves

In order to dress up those plain t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts and to keep warm, scarves are a necessity. They’ll allow you to get the most out of your basics by making an already worn outfit appear brand-new while also keeping you cozy as the weather cools down.

7. Cardigan/Jackets

Like scarves, these add-ons can be a life saver when it comes to getting the most out of your college wardrobe. They’ll also help big time with transitioning into fall and winter weather. You can get the most out of those summer tops without freezing and still look stylish.

8. Flip flops

Two words: flip flops. The ultimate necessity that every college student needs. There are three very important uses where flip flops come into play.

  • In the Shower: Whether you’re in a suite or in a communal bathroom, sharing a bathroom with any amount of people is tricky business. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a pair of cheap flip flops to solely wear in for your bathroom adventures.
  • At Parties/Social Gatherings: There will be drinks and there will be spilling of drinks. Do yourself a favor and wear a pair of (preferably black) flip flops so you don’t have to go through the heartbreak of having your favorite (or worse—brand new) shoes ruined.
  • Everyday Convenience: As mentioned earlier, you’ll definitely have your roll-out-of-bed mornings and those mornings require no-hassle shoes. Flip flops are the perfect solution!

9. Flat/Fall boots

As the weather gets colder, you’re no longer going to be able to wear your beloved flip flops going from class to class. The smart choice that every college student should make is to have at least one pair of flat boots for everyday use. No wedges, and definitely no heels, are needed when it comes to trudging your way across campus!

10. Undergarments

This may seem extremely obvious, but I felt like this was a necessity to put on the list either way. Pro tip: stock up. Being in college calls for a lot of hours to do the three S’s: study, socialize, and sleep. That leaves little time to do laundry and even when you do have the time, you’re really not going to want to do it. Also, don’t forget to have a surplus of socks (we all know we’re bound to have multiple lone socks in the drawer after a month or so)!

Overall, these 10 categories should save you a lot of hassle when it comes to deciding what you need for your college wardrobe! Happy shopping!