Healthy Eating on a College Budget

29 Sep

Heather Kessler, Purdue University Student & Peer Counselor

coffee mug filled with raspberries

Photo via

Is it really possible to eat healthy while on a small college budget? There are many guides on the internet offering advice on this topic. I’ve gone ahead and broken down a few of the most common suggestions.

1)      Always have low-budget healthy staples on hand.  This is just a small list of what can be helpful to have in the pantry or fridge at all times.

2)      Have a plan before you shop.

  • Check to see what is on sale that week at local grocery stores, and what coupons are available
  • Make a menu for the next week (or two)
  • See what you already have in stock in your kitchen
  • Make a list of the other items you need
  • Stick to that list while shopping for items
  • Try to stay around the perimeter of the grocery store as this is where the healthy produce tends to be.  The aisles usually contain items that have been processed and are not very healthy.
grocery store producs

Photo by: Francinegirvan

3)      If you struggle with buying more when you have a card, plan how much you are willing to spend ahead of time and get just that amount in cash.  This will help you keep to your pre-determined budget and be less likely to overspend.

4)      For fruits and vegetables try to stick with what is in season and on sale, as it will keep the prices down.  Frozen vegetables are also good to use and will keep longer (and can usually be found at lower prices than fresh vegetables).  Canned is okay, but they tend to use more preservatives in the canning process. .

5)      For lean protein on a budget, try to stay with white meats.  Chicken and turkey are both great options.  If you are willing to spend a little more money, salmon or tilapia offer wonderful health benefits.

6)      Whole grains offer the most nutrition for the dollar with items such as bread or pasta.  Try to avoid white bread and pasta since they are processed and most of their nutrients have been taken out.

Try not to waste any of the food you have, you invested good money into those items and they should be used.  If you need ideas on different entrees to make with the same ingredients Pinterest or The Food Network have many different ideas and they are easy to navigate through.  Here’s to healthy eating and more money in your bank account!

Saving Money While Having Fun on Campus

22 Sep

Leah Steppe, Purdue Student – Public Relations and Advertising, Peer Counselor

Purdue Bell Tower in fall

Looking for something to do on the weekend but running out of money? Try some of these fun activities available on Purdue’s campus to keep you entertained while saving money.


Purdue Student Union Board Events

The Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB) is a student run organization that provides students with different activities throughout the year. Most of the time the events they put on are free and involve getting free food! These events are a great way to meet new people, have fun, and save money. For a list of events take a look at their website as events change from semester to semester.


girl walking on Purdue campusExplore

This is always an interesting way to spend a few hours. You can either walk around campus and visit places you have never been or take a walk across the bridge and see what downtown Lafayette has to offer. Or get in your car and see where the road takes you. You never know what you might find while exploring. Have you ever been to Purdue’s Horticulture Park? Definitely worth the short drive (or walk if you live in McCutcheon or Harrison hall).

Having a hard time deciding where to go on your adventure? Every time you come to an intersection while walking or driving, take out a coin and flip it. If it lands on heads take a right and if it lands on tails go left. Let fate decide your adventure!


Flicks at Fowler

Every few weeks PSUB will show a movie in Fowler Hall located in the Stewart Center (or on Slayter Hill when the weather is nice). Students can get in for free when they show their Purdue ID and general admission is $4. Not only do you get to see movies for free but they are fairly recent movies. Visit the PSUB website for dates and movie titles.


Trivia Night

Another event PSUB puts on for students is a trivia night which takes place in the Union Commons or Pappy’s Sweet Shop. Your Purdue ID is usually required to participate. They even give away prizes to the top team!  So grab your friends and test your knowledge on 90s, sports, television, and more!


girls on rowing machinesCoRec

Looking for something a little more active? Try going to the CoREC. You get in free with your Purdue ID and they have everything from weights and treadmills to a pool and rock climbing wall. You can even join an intramural team if you are willing to pay a small fee. You then get to compete in your favorite sport with different teams.


These are just a few of the options for free things to do on Purdue’s campus. There’s always lots being offered so be sure to keep your eyes open and try something new!

Industrial Roundtable Part 2

15 Sep

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Industrial Roundtable Logo

Okay, so you’ve done all the prepping. You’ve done your homework and you know which companies you want to meet. The big day is finally here and here are some tips to make it a successful venture.

example of male and female business suit

Photo by: Lagacyweb-aid-edu

If I haven’t stressed it enough, dress professionally. The dress code is business professional. Yes it is very hot, yes those shoes are not the most comfortable and yes you have classes. But, it is just one day and wearing a suit is worth it if you can land an internship/job. You can do it, you amazing person! And if you’re desperate to get out of your business clothes, you can always bring clothes to change into afterwards, just please dress it up. If you don’t have dress clothes, Goodwill to the rescue! There are plenty of cheap options and thrift store gems to suit your needs.

Look at your schedule of companies you plan on seeing today, and I mean really look at it. Is it realistic? If you picked only top companies, you should note that the lines are way too long to speak with every company. So go to your top two, preferably when the lines are short, and go down your list from there. Be sure to visit multiple recruiters as well. There are lots of recruiters there and you could find something else that you end up loving.

Take each interview as a fresh start. So you didn’t do as well on the last one. That’s okay! Don’t let it psych you out. Each interview is an opportunity to impress and an opportunity to improve your skills for the next employer. The next employer will have no idea how you performed previously. It’s all about selling yourself and be sure to not sell yourself short.

Don’t get your hopes up. I know you love love love that company and it would be a dream to get the job. But there are other opportunities and maybe it’s just not the right time. Consider other offers and don’t limit yourself. It’s a big wide world out there and it’s good to consider other opportunities.

Make sure you get contact information from recruiters. You’ll want a place to send a follow-up letter and a contact to have for the future. It’s always a good idea

ways to contact

Photo by: adikhebat

to take a card, write down an email address or something.

Seriously consider all the options. If you do get multiple job offers that’s wonderful! But how are you going to choose which one? Here are some basic things to consider.

  • How is the pay?
  • Where are you going to be living while you’re working?
  • Have you consider cost of living vs. pay?
  • How long is this position and how will it affect your schooling?
  • Which companies are you most excited about?

There are a lot of things to consider, so don’t make a hasty decision. Be sure to review all of your offers before jumping into one blindly.

Finally remember to breath. Regardless of the outcome, it’s all about the experience. Just take it in stride. As long as you’re prepared and do your best, it’s going to be a good outcome.

Best of luck out there! I know you will do great, your a Boilermaker!

If you have any tips you would like to share please comment below.

Industrial Roundtable Part 1

8 Sep

Hannah Stewart Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Industrial Roundtable Logo

Industrial Roundtable is coming soon to Purdue starting with seminars on September 15th, the Job Fair on the 16th and 17th, and ending with interviews September 18th through the 20th. This is a huge opportunity for students and employers come to campus looking to connect highly qualified students with internships, co-ops, and jobs. Industrial Roundtable is not just for graduating seniors; anyone can participate and benefit from the events held. And for those of us who aren’t engineers, I would recommend going anyway as sometimes there is an overlap, most companies have positions besides engineers. Every company needs HR, accounting, or management positions. It’s also a fabulous way to network. So, maybe they aren’t looking for your position now, but if you network, they could contact you when a position opens.

However, this isn’t your high school job fair, this is the real deal. As such, there is definitely some major prepping to do.

Stack of homework

Photo by: Loty

  1. Do your homework. Yes, these companies are coming to us. But these are major companies, some don’t even need to go looking for people, people flock to them. It’s a little bit of a treat and a huge compliment that they are coming to Purdue University. So return the favor. Look them up! See what they are doing, what their motto is, what breaking discoveries or products they have come out with, are they particularly proud of something, etc. Make sure you go into the Industrial Roundtable knowing the company and their representatives. Someone who is excited about what the company is doing will stand out over someone just looking for a job. The Industrial Roundtable website has a list of all the employers coming.
  2. Prep your résumé. Recruiters are not your best friends or family so they don’t know you that well. And they will be conversing with hundreds of other students, sometimes all within the same day. Now is the time to stand out and make a statement. Our campus has the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO), housed with trained employees, who are more than happy to help you with your résumé in order to stand out from the crowd. They can also help you with two other often forgotten aspects: a cover letter, and a follow up letter. It’s up to your discretion if you would need a cover letter, but you should always do a follow-up letter.
  3. Have letters of recommendation prepared because some employers will want them on the spot. Contact old employers, advisors, professors, anyone who can speak highly of you. The more professional the contact, the more it stands out. And double-check that they will write a good letter about you!
  4. Prepare your two minute speech. You have two minutes or less to make a lasting impression of yourself. And you need to sell yourself. Now is not the time to be humble, if you got it, own it and flaunt it. Make sure to check both the CCO website and the Industrial Roundtable website as often times, they list tips on whichquestionsyoushould beprepared to answer.

    business professional examples

    Photo by: Kristian Bjornard

  5. Dress to impress. This is the real deal and its business professional. Be prepared for suits and blazers. If at possible, don’t take your back pack as it can ruin the look and can make an awkward two-minute speech. Recruiters are looking for professionals, so make it easy to see you as one. Many employers won’t even consider someone who can’t look the part. Also, a good outfit is just one more way to stand out.
  6. Make a schedule. Industrial Roundtable tends to have loads of recruiters, representing tons of companies, and typically a pretty sizeable amount of the student population will also attend. It would be impossible to meet with every company and don’t forget you also have classes that you may not be able to/should not skip. So make a list of top ten companies that your experience and background will most likely align with. Be sure to not pick all huge companies or all really popular ones as these will be the busiest and you may only get to two. Be prepared to stand in lines as well.

The biggest thing you should take away from this is that you need to prep and get ready. This is a tremendous opportunity that you don’t want to miss. Even if you don’t feel like you would get a position, go anyways! Practice your communication skills, networking, and preparing your résumé. Just make sure you get ready for it because the companies will be ready for you.

Freshman Boot Camp Week 5: Going Greek

1 Sep

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

girls entering sorority house

Purdue University has a massive Greek community (roughly 18% of the student population joins a fraternity or sorority). Greek life can be great! There are activities, parties, socials, philanthropies, and the brotherhood/sisterhood bonds, activities that create lifetime memories. Many students rush houses (i.e. they join houses after going through the ‘rush’ process) but, there are costs to keep in mind. When rushing this fall do not just consider how big the house is, or how cool the members are, but also keep in mind the finances.

The Division of Financial Aid creates a Cost of Attendance each year for students. Sometimes it is easier to think of this as a system of budgets. Housing is one of the budgets listed. All students receive a budget for housing whether they are living on campus or off campus. Your financial aid will be processed by the university and sent to the university billing office (the Bursar office here at Purdue) based off the Cost of Attendance. Once at the billing office your financial aid will pay towards your university bill, tuition and fees first and housing next if you live on campus.

club fair

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

If you do not have a housing bill with the university and have financial aid remaining after tuition and fees are paid you or your (depending on what type of financial aid you have) parents will receive a refund check for the remaining funds. It is then up to the student to use that refund to pay all of their expenses to their fraternity or sorority. Note that since students are billed on a semester basis, refunds are sent on a semester basis. If you are using the Cost of Attendance as a budget, you will want to split it in half for the yearly amounts.

There are certain questions you need to consider when it comes to going Greek:


Does the Greek organization you’re looking at have a house? Are you required to live there? How do they bill you? If they have a house and you are required to live there, what are the costs? Is the rent monthly, on a semester basis, or all at once in the fall? Is the house willing to work with you on when the payment is due? It’s important to keep these things in mind as financial aid will always be sent once each semester in a lump sum.

students filling up fountain pops

Photo by: Purdue Marketing & Media


Does the house provide food? Do they cater 3 meals a day 7 days a week? Do they have a cook? Is this in the housing fee or is it separate? Although some houses have cooks and provide food, others do not. Some houses have the student provide their groceries. If the student does need to get groceries, how are they going to get them? Do you have a car to drive to and from the supermarket? Do you plan on taking the bus?


Does the organization have a membership fee or dues? Some Greek organizations have membership fees, on top of the housing. Often times there are fees such as a national fee, and a chapter fee. Are these billed monthly, a lump sum or on a semester basis? Do you only pay this once when you enter the house, or every year?

Social Fees:

So they won’t be called social fees, but you know what I’m talking about. Buying t-shirts as a group? Who’s paying for the weekend social activities? What about the balloons, confetti, and other party supplies? Every time your house has a function, social, or party there are costs. And every time you hang out with your brothers/sisters there’s probably some purchases involved (pizza, clothes at the mall, Den pops). Who’s footing those bills?


Is there a fee for going through the rush process? What about a last minute road trip to the fraternity/sorority at your neighboring college? Are you prepared for your home town friends to visit? There are many unexpected expenses one can face in or out of a Greek organization. This is one reason why an emergency fund is key for any financial plan.

students dancing in costumes

Photo by: Purdue Marketing & Media

Non-monetary Fees: Not all fees cost money. What about your time? You are here first and foremost to be a student. It takes time to study and prepare. Do you have time to keep up your Greek social life and maintain a high GPA? Some houses even require you to maintain a specific GPA in order to stay a member.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There could be more expenses, there could be less, and it’s just a something to keep in mind when deciding to join a house. Joining a house can be a great experience, and you can meet lots of people, see new sites, and make memories that will last a lifetime! Just do what works best for you, and consider all angles when deciding.


Congratulations, you have just completed the MyMoney Freshman Boot Camp.  You are now ready to have an excellent freshman year!

Are there topics we have not covered that you would like discussed?  Please share you ideas below.

Boiler UP!

Freshman Boot Camp Week 4: Syllabus Week

25 Aug

Recent Purdue Graduate Words of wisdom to the class of 2017

I’ll be honest.  When you think of that girl in class who has her entire week planned out, even down to what meal she is going to cook on what night, that’s me.

My favorite two days every semester occur during syllabus week, a time when I can write every assignment from every professor for the entire semester.  For all new Boilermakers, syllabus week happens the first week of classes every semester and you review the syllabus in class … for most classes.  Take advance of this time while you are reviewing the semester’s assignments and due dates by completing your planner.

I love planning and I love schedules.  I like to think of my planning addiction as a type of goal setting exercise.  I write what I want to accomplish every week, and it’s not complete until I actually mark the line through it.  That’s actually another one of my greatest joys—crossing off tasks that I want to do after they are finished.  I honestly believe that without weekly goals, I would never get anything accomplished.

Calendar with text overlay: Syllabus Week

Writing things down is a motivation for me because I hate seeing things in my planner that I didn’t get to cross off.  The feeling is comparable to my grandparents saying they are disappointed in me; it’s that serious!  This technique can also be used for long-term goals too, which is basically a glorified way of me saying I want to plan my work outs so I can get my high school body back by the end of summer.

It’s still the same concept, though.  I plan out what I want to do, week by week, to get to my end result.  It worked well for me during college, so I am more than optimistic that it will also work after college.

The things I’ve mentioned for goal-setting are fairly juvenile. I mean, it’s not like I am setting goals for my ten-year plan or anything, even though now that I think about it, I probably should start that soon.

The key aspects of goal setting I have learned through college and personal life are to be realistic with yourself. Don’t tell anyone how much you love to plan things.  Make sure your goals are attainable for you, or else you will get discouraged.  It doesn’t make sense to say you are going to work out for three hours after you get home from work and then cook a five course meal.  That doesn’t even sound enjoyable!  And I’m really stressing here, keep your planning addiction to yourself because people love to mess with you.  They will start inviting you to things, like the bars when they know you have an exam tomorrow morning, just because they know that it will torment you and ruin your chances of getting your goals accomplished for the day.  Just do what I do, think to yourself: “what would my grandparents want me to do”… and you will usually make the right decision.

15 to Finish Indiana

19 Aug

Tuition. Books. Supplies. Parking. Housing.

Every year of college is expensive.

But on average, if you take 15 credits each semester, you’ll have an associate degree in 2 years or a bachelor’s degree in 4. And then, instead of letting the expenses of college drag on for years, you’ll be out in the world using your degree to jumpstart your career, get a better job, and earn more money.


Indiana’s 15 to Finish campaign is sponsored by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in partnership with the state’s colleges and universities.

Freshman Boot Camp Week 3: Purdue ID

18 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

example Purdue student ID

What is your Purdue ID good for? It’s a student’s personal identification number. It’s how you get into your residence hall, it’s your meal ticket if you have a meal plan, it’s your verification when turning in an exam, it’s verification for offices and require it to see your student account information, and it’s how you ride the bus for free. Not to be dramatic, but you cannot LIVE without your Purdue ID!! Although memorizing the number is highly recommended, there are other reasons to carry around the card with you.

Housing: If you live in the residence halls, this is how you swipe into your building, and potentially even the wing you live on.

dining courtMeal Plan: If you have a meal plan, this is how you swipe into the dining courts. Each swipe counts as a meal. Some dining courts offer meals, like steak, which are called a “double swipe”. Double swipe meals count as two MEALS, so be careful how often you partake! On-the-Go! uses swipes in a similar fashion. On-the-GO! is your carry-out option for dining. Located adjacent to Earhart, Ford and Windsor Dining Courts, On-the-GO! provides a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads and snack items. Signs are posted in the On-the-Go! locations stating much each item is worth. You add up all the items until it totals one meal swipe.

Dining Dollars: Dining Dollars are additional meal swipes on top of the meal plan that can be used. These are used more for eating out or in the mini marts around campus. Cary Knight Spot and Harrison Grillé are restaurants on campus that accept student’s Dining Dollars. Restaurants in the Union also accept Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can purchase other items besides food though. Mini marts also accept Dining Dollars, and while they have food items, school supplies, shampoo, etc. It’s similar to a small convenience store.cary knight spot

Boiler Express: Boiler Express is like a pre-paid debit card. Please note: Boiler Express must be set up separately, I repeat Boiler Express is separate and your refund does not automatically go into a Boiler Express Card. Boiler Express can be used at the same places as Dining Dollars. It can also be used in the laundry facilities. Each residence hall has a laundry room and you can swipe your Purdue ID to use your Boiler Express funds instead of quarters. They do offer a discounted price if you use Boiler Express instead of quarters! Click here, for more information regarding this program.

Discounts and Freebies: You can ride the bus for free with your Purdue ID card. Did you also know that many places offer discounts to students? You never know, flashing your Purdue ID might give you the unexpected, but oh-so coveted discount. Also, many Purdue-sponsored functions (Convocations, Union activities, sporting events, or even resident hall activities) often offer discounts to students which is a good reason to keep your ID on you to verify that you are a student.

The Muggle Bus System

14 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Lafayette CitBus

Have you misplaced your Nimbus 2000? Still recovering from a battle with a grindylow? …or is it just too cold to walk? Say hello to the City Bus, the Greater Lafayette area bus system. This bus system is free for all Purdue students. All you need is your Purdue ID and you’re off and running.

The buses have different colored names with a sign at the top of the bus and a colored route on the bus map matching the name to help you determine if that’s the bus you want. Even though you’ll mainly just use the campus and regular loops in West Lafayette, this is not the limit of your map! You can take the bus to Lafayette as well. And if you’re out late at night without your invisibility cloak, there’s no need to fear, there are actually two campus loops that run really late at night (like the Knight Bus for wizards) so you can take the bus home (or back to your car) when it gets dark.

students catching the bus

By: Purdue Student Life

Catching the bus is easy. Just figure out which stop you need to get you where you want to go, stand at the sign, and when you see your bus approaching stick out your wand arm. The bus will stop for you.

Not all of us have a Time Turner and there’s a chance that at some point you’ll be running a little late. There are several ways to see when your bus is coming and when to be at the stop:

Text: There is a bus stop ID on the signs. You just need to text RT4 followed by the bus stop ID and Route to 41411. They will send you the next three departure times via text.

Double Map: Like the Marauder’s Map, double map lets you see a bus’s location in real time. You can use this through the CityBus website or download the Double Map app on your smartphone.

MyRide: This smartphone friendly search allows you to enter in the bus stop number or street names to access information on your bus’s arrival time.

My Bus: This is a little more involved, but it’s a great one to access if you’re in your apartment and don’t have the bus stop number in front of you. Dropdown menus allow you to choose which route you are on and then two additional dropdown menus allow you to choose the direction you’re traveling and which stop you need information for.

There are some stops where pulling the ‘stop’ wire just isn’t needed. So you don’t have to hear that annoying ring, the Ross-Ade bus always stops at the top of the hill for the parking lot. The Silver Loop bus almost always stops at Class of 1950. It’s like magic! All buses will stop at the transfer station across the bridge in Lafayette too.

So the next time you’re in for an adventure and don’t have a hippogriff handy, try out City Bus. It’s much easier to use than you’d think!

Freshman Boot Camp Week 2: Dorm Decor

11 Aug

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Purdue Dorm Room

Moving to college is a big adjustment! Out on your own, on your own schedule, it’s a massive change, and one often accompanied by homesickness. Decorating your dorm room is a great way to get that “home away from home” feeling and help reduce your home town blues. You can achieve decorating greatness without breaking the bank! Here are some tips on decorating your room.

Talk to your roommate(s):

Who’s bringing what? Do you really need two microwaves, and two fridges, and two futons? Deciding who brings what can really help save on costs and space.

Photo by: Kelli Mullins

Photo by Kelli Mullins


Honestly, dorm rooms are not suite-sized. There is only a finite amount of space within your room or within your space if you are sharing a room. Finding items that double as storage and decoration are often a good bet. For example, decorative jars to store small things on your desk or dresser top.  Not only are you saving money by not buying two separate items, but you also don’t need to buy/rent storage space for any extras.

Added advice: Command Strips are a life saver! Seriously, these things can be used for anything. Add a hook to one for a towel rack, or a necklace hanger. You can also hang wall art without damaging the walls. You would be amazed at all of the things that can be engineered with these things.

Furniture pieces:

Each residence hall comes with a bed, a desk, and a dresser. Do you need a futon and two chairs?  Probably not. Decide early with your roommate who’s bringing what and you can save space, confusion, time, and money. As a personal preference, one futon is awesome instead of two chairs. It’s a space saver and great to nap in…; can you say the same about two chairs?


Believe it or not, all dorm floors at Purdue are tile. In the summer that’s fine, but it can get a little chilly in the winter. While

Photo by:  Debbie Saenz

Photo by: Debbie Saenz

you can purchase a rug from any superstore, one of the best things I did for my dorm room was taking a trip to a carpet store. Left over pieces of carpet rolls are often discounted and buying the “scrap” is a cheap way to get a lot of floor covering and keep your feet warm! When I lived in Windsor, I got padded carpet that was left over from a carpet roll really cheap and it covered my floor completely. It’s definitely something to think about when pricing rugs.

Still lacking decoration inspiration? Check out some of these boards on Pinterest for some ‘pinspiration’ for your dorm this fall: this college’s dorm décor & DIY board, this girl’s dorm DIY board, and this blogger’s dorm décor board. Be sure to share any of your finds or advice below for other readers!


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