Food: The Perfect Gift to Give…and Receive!

15 Dec

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Yay for the Holidays! There is all the delicious food, the holiday cheer, the break from classes, and of course presents! While it’s always awesome getting presents, giving presents can sometimes be a little more challenging; no one said finding the perfect gift was easy! There are always cheap ideas on Pinterest. Goodwill and the Salvation Army always have really neat things too. On a more personal level though, one staple gift I always give is good food and a good time! We are college kids so money can be super tight. Personally, I never turn down free food. And you can always be sure it’s a gift people will actually use and enjoy.

Are you the most popular person on campus? While it’s wonderful having all of those friends, buying gifts for all of them could potentially put a strain on your budget. While some people choose to select only a few people to buy gifts for, others may want to be more inclusive. Cookies to the rescue! Cookies are great for several reasons. There are lots of different varieties, but most have the same basic ingredients, so making a bunch of different types isn’t too difficult. You can make very large batches fairly quickly. Personally, I couldn’t shop for 10 people in 2 hours, but I can make enough cookies in that time frame. Depending on the recipe, you can make even more than that! Getting a lot done in a short amount of time is always a great thing.

2 cupcakes on a plate: text overlay  Food: the perfect gift to give...and receive!

Another option: Host a Christmas dinner party. A well-cooked ham or turkey can feed several people. While there is a little more involved, a delicious entrée is just an oven and a couple hours away! People can get homesick and nothing quite compares to a well home cooked meal. You can also choose to have a potluck so others can get involved!  Plus, left overs are an added side bonus. So not only are you giving a great gift and having a good time with friends, now you have dinner or lunch made for a while.

Are you looking for something a little more personal and one-on-one? There is an old saying that a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Perhaps you can make a pie to start a conversation with that cute somebody, or a cake to go with that coffee date. Romantic dinner for two anyone? One of the great things about food is it’s versatile for large groups, or just a special someone.

If you’re still not sold, nothing quite gives parents the warm fuzzies like having a break. Offer to help with that big Christmas dinner, or even cook some dinners for them. There are several crock-pot recipes and dishes you can prepare the night before so that on Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been unwrapped, there is a hot delicious breakfast waiting. After all that excitement, who wouldn’t be famished?

Not all of us are fantastic cooks ( guilty, but I can follow a recipe). And for people out there who need some guidance, Pinterest, Google, and Food Network are great, free places to get recipes and ideas. So who knows, maybe you’ll even surprise yourself with a hidden gem. It could be a favorite family recipe that is about to be passed on to one more generation. Food is a great gift to give on the holidays. And nothing quite compares to seeing the happiness on another’s face when giving a gift.

Dorm Decor for the Holidays

8 Dec

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

one unlit christmas light

Photo by: Juliancolton

Homesickness really does get the best of us sometimes. And as we get closer and closer to the holidays, sometimes it can feel a little, well, lonely. And even if we aren’t getting home sick, sometimes we just want more holiday cheer! Decorating your dorm room can be a great way to feel more festive and lift your spirits. It can also help relieve some of that homesickness. Decorations don’t need to leave you broke though, there are several ideas out there to decorate cheaply.

The residence halls don’t allow candles. But, scented things without a heating element like wall plug-ins are okay. Sometimes you can get really nice ones at places like Bath and Body Works, and then all you would need is refills. They last a really long time as well. Walking into a room that smells like fresh cinnamon apples in the fall or a sweet tropical smell near spring break really makes a person feel at home.

snowman door decoration

Photo via: solountip manualidades

You, or maybe your roommate, might have a mini fridge that could be decorated. Magnets are a fun and colorful way to create a cheerful environment. Magnets are just about everywhere! They go on sale in the bookstores, sometimes they are in the dollar section at Target, so just be on the lookout. You could be surprised with all the locations you can find magnets.

You know that loft bed that some of us in the dorms have? It’s pretty easy to hang decorations from under the bed. Ask your mom if she has a couple of extra ornaments she wouldn’t mind sparing and start hanging! Cut out some paper hearts and hang them under the bed for Valentine’s Day, or four leaf clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, really whatever you would like.

As a general rule, most dorms (and other places) won’t let you hang things from the ceiling as it can be a fire hazard, but if you don’t have a loft bed don’t fret. Command Strips to the rescue! Hanging things on the wall is also a great way to add visual appeal. Cut out any design you want and put it on display. Hanging items on the wall also means less clutter on your desk and more space to do other things. A pack of construction paper is not too expensive either so let your creativity show.

paper snowflakes on window

Photo by: littlerayovsun

Lights are always a plus! Nothing is quite as magical as those twinkling lights. If you have a roommate, it would be a good idea to ask their opinion, but who doesn’t like lights? Just get some of the indoor, or tree decorating kind, and use command strips to safely hang them on your walls. Sometimes people have extra lights in the house, so feel free to ask around before you buy. Even if you have to end up buying them, decorative/strand lighting is pretty inexpensive. For those of you who are really savvy, you can actually change out the bulbs on some the strands for different holidays and occasions. Most strands require just a pair of pliers to switch the bulbs.

When decorating for the holidays, it doesn’t need to break the bank. There are lots of options out there. Decorating for the holidays is fun, easy, and can be a great way to help with homesickness. And, what’s nice is that as the seasons and holidays change, so can the decorations. Besides, a change of pace can help you feel refreshed and spread the holiday cheer!

The Co$t of Having a Pet in College

1 Dec

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

Tabby cat laying in front of door

Photo by: Raysha Duncan

I have always had pets in my life. And I didn’t realize how much having a pet in the house meant to me until I moved out and didn’t have a pet of my own. Two weeks into living away from my parents and all of their pets (none of them could be separated to come with me) I started craving a furry companion. I started thinking I wanted a dog, but then after considering (some) of the financial costs, I opted for a cat. Now, my cat turned to be an expensive little guy because of unexpected health issues (just my luck!) and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t financially savvy when picking out a pet. But, I’m going to share with you expenses you should take into consideration before impulsively getting a pet that will hopefully help you make the wisest financial choice.

dog laying on pink quilt

Photo by: Raysha Duncan

Initial Start-up Costs

Chances are you don’t have a spare kennel, litter box, litter, food, food bowls, toys, nail clippers, etc. just lying around. But, good for you if you do! Depending on what type of pet you get and what its living conditions will be (can it just roam freely or does it need to be kenneled/in a cage because it’s a rat or amphibian), your immediate expenses will vary drastically. Also, some apartment complexes and landlords have you put down an extra pet deposit (typically anywhere from $150-$300) and add additional charges to your rent each month per pet in your house. And you do have to report any pets you have since not doing so would be a violation of your lease and could potentially get you evicted.

Getting Your Pet

If you decide to a purebred Pomeranian, you’re going to be spending a LOT of money. It may be your dream doggie, but is that really how you should be spending your money during college? There are a few local shelters in our area and they have adorable, adoptable dogs. Other shelters have both cats and dogs that are available for adoption. There are many benefits to adopting a pet rather than buying a pet, but for the sake of this article we are going to talk about expense. Adopting a dog from Natalie’s Second Chance costs $125 for adult dogs and $150 for puppies, this fee includes spaying/neutering, up-to-date vaccines (except rabies), and a microchip. Getting all of these things done on your own (like I did) can cost upwards of $200 and that’s not even including an adoption fee! Almost Home Humane Society did not have prices for their adoptions listed on their website, but they also have an “adoption package” that provides things like spaying/neutering and up-to-date vaccines.

cat hiding under chair

Photo by: Raysha Duncan

Medical Expenses

Kittens and puppies are baby animals; and like baby humans they require vaccines. All pets need to be vaccinated young and then have yearly booster shots, this is essential to them staying healthy. Sometimes pets get sick, and unfortunately that comes with expenses as well. Emergency trips to the vet aren’t cheap, and you should remember that when deciding if you’re really going to be able to care for that adorable kitten at Pet Smart. And don’t forget treating them for fleas! It may seem expensive to buy their flea treatment every month, but flea prevention is much less expensive than flea extermination.

Time

No matter what type of pet you choose, taking care of that pet will require a lot of time and patience. Dogs need to be walked, potty trained, bathed, taken to the vet, crate trained, fed, and played with. Cats need trips to the vet, cleaned, litter boxes cleaned, and lots of attention. You can’t simply get an animal and expect it to take care of itself. And in college, do you really have the time you need to take care of a pet? To cover the expenses of a pet, you may need to pick up additional hours at work, but then when will you walk Fido? Getting a pet means you will have to work your schedule to include both your needs and theirs, while also having the funds to take care of both.  Maybe you have a roommate or significant other who would be willing to lend a hand in more stressful or urgent situations; but, the pet will become your responsibility, so you should make sure you have the proper time to care for it. (And if you’re going in with a friend or significant other for the pet, make sure you understand what’s expected from each of you before you bring your new friend home.)

2 cats sitting on stairs

Photo by: Madison Duncan

These are just a few tips to get you thinking about your choice in getting a pet. Having a pet is great and it teaches responsibility… But, it also costs money and you have to think about if you’ll be able to afford giving this pet the home it really deserves. If you’ve decided you really can’t afford a pet while you’re in college, one thing you can do is volunteer at either of the shelters listed above. This is a really good way to get the furry friend experience and you’ll be giving back to the community. Be sure and visit their websites for more information!

Thank$giving Weekend

24 Nov

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

people desperately entering store on Black Friday

Photo by: geek.com

Let’s talk about the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Black Friday. This day was originally known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season and has now become the biggest event of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend…after Thanksgiving, of course.

While the turkey is in the oven and Mom is madly mixing mashed potatoes and Dad and Uncle Joe are watching football, the ads for Black Friday sit on the table…waiting. There’s something in them for everyone! The annual Toys’R’Us ultimate wish list, the Macy’s blow-out sale and the Kohl’s early bird specials. And, best of all, in the past couple years these sales are now starting Thanksgiving Day! So now, right after Thanksgiving dinner you can change into your comfy pants and load everyone into your aunt’s minivan to go hit the sales, leaving the young and uninterested ones behind to fend for themselves on leftovers. And for those who aren’t interested in heading out Thanksgiving night, the 4AM sales still exist! Don’t feel like leaving the house? That’s fine! Cyber Monday now extends from Black Friday to the “traditional” Cyber Monday (aka the Monday after Thanksgiving)!

Regardless of how you’ll be spending your Thanksgiving weekend, here are some things to keep in mind in relation to your holiday shopping:

Everybody’s After the Same Deals

man waiting in line with giant TV

Photo by: msn.com

Don’t be that person who makes it on the news by tackling someone’s grandma (…or worse, really people?) for a slow cooker. It’s not worth it. Check out all the deals in your ads before heading out because chances are that more than one superstore in town has slow cookers on sale. Accept that you may not get what you want at the first store and move on. And, don’t forget you can always go back home and look for one online if you really can’t find it. Make a plan for when you go out shopping and have a goal for what you absolutely must have, then go for the wants. Split up to maximize your shopping potential.

Dedication for Sales

man waiting in line with giant TV

Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Every year in Lafayette there is a line that starts outside the local Best Buy at least 12 hours before the sale is going to start. These people will park themselves outside, regardless of rain/snow/sun, and wait because they really want to get that big screen/gaming system/laptop/tablet. Unless you are willing to be one of these people for one of the big ticket items, you can almost count on not getting that big ticket item. Only the dedicated will succeed (or the ones who find a similar deal online in the days after).

Thanksgiving is Not About the Sales

It’s about family and giving thanks for another great year. It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting good deals on presents for yourself and the ones you love, but it’s also about spending time with loved ones, not just buying them things. And sometimes these two things really do go hand-in-hand! I loved Black Friday shopping in my tweens because it was a family thing. My mom would wake up extra early to warm up the van, my sister slept in her clothes to maximize sleep time, and I barely slept out of excitement. We’d get to the local superstore and meet my mom’s best friend and her daughter, hit those sales and then travel down to Lafayette for the BIG shopping event: Toys’R’Us and the mall. And it was the first day that holiday music played on the radio.

shopping mall on Black Friday

Photo by: Vytis1

I love the excitement and family time that comes with the Thanksgiving weekend, and that includes Black Friday! But, I think it’s important to keep family first still because the things that you buy don’t really matter as much as the memories you make with your family during the holidays.

So by all means, go get some deals this Thursday-Sunday, but don’t make it your absolute number one priority of the holiday.

 

Does your family have any fun traditions around Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Share below!

Graduation Bucket List

17 Nov

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

graduation cap

Whether you’re starting your first day at Purdue or finishing up your last semester, these are some traditions you should take part in before you walk across the stage in your cap and gown.

  1. Boiler Traditions

It is said if you walk under the bell tower you will not graduate in 4 years so be sure you wait until after you have your diploma in hand. Some also say if you kiss your true love at midnight then you will get married or when a couple walks under the bell tower after graduation they will get engaged.

Fun Fact: If you look closely you will notice the “4” on the clock face is actually“IIII” instead of the Roman number “IV”. This is because the Roman numeral “IV” resembles Indiana State University’s abbreviation “IU” and Purdue does not want anything on their campus to represent their rival.students running through fountain

Whether you’re celebrating your first week of college, the end of finals week, or graduation a fountain run is always a good way to do it (might be difficult for you December grads). A fountain run involves running around in Loeb Fountain, which is located next to Beering Hall, and then running across campus to the Engineering Fountain. It is a great way to cool off and celebrate with friends!

  1. Grand Prix Race

Grand Prix is a week-long event filled with parties, activities, costumes, and more. It all ends with the annual Grand Prix race where several people compete in a Go-Kart race in cars they built themselves. This is a week everyone talks about for years to come and many alumni will come back just to celebrate and partake in this tradition.

  1. Football! Boiler Up, Hammer Down!

football

Whether it’s at Ross-Ade or Mackey Arena you need to attend at least one rivalry game during your time at Purdue. IU is Purdue’s biggest rivalry so these games are sure to always be exciting. Within the first quarter you will learn there are many traditions within sports itself.  Quietly watch your peers and join in once you get the hang of it, participation just increases your comradery and the entertainment value exponentially.

The football game is known as the Old Oaken Bucket because Purdue and IU compete for the trophy (which is literally an old oaken bucket) with this name each year. No matter which type of game you attend, a Purdue vs. IU game will be memorable. Spirits are high those days and it is a great day to show your Boilermaker pride and help show that we are better than Hoosiers.

Once you are of age, you will want to make sure you participate in Breakfast Club at least once before graduation.  Imagine walking down State Street early one Saturday morning and seeing Mario and Luigi, some Disney Princesses, and Superman. But it’s not even October yet. No, it’s Breakfast Club! Every Saturday morning of a home football game and the Saturday of Grand Prix students of age partake in this crazy tradition. Students dress up in creative costumes and line up outside the bars starting at about 5 or 6 in the morning and keep partying until the game, or race on Grand Prix, starts.

  1. Go Sledding at Slayter Hill

Winter takes up a huge chunk of the time while students are in classes at Purdue. A great way to celebrate the first snow, finals being done, or just a weekend with friends is sledding down Slayter Hill. Don’t have a sled? No problem! You can use a laundry basket, mattress, pool toys, or even a tray from the dining courts (although it is not encouraged to steal the trays, some are usually laying around the bottom of the hill during the winter). Get creative with your sledding device and slide down Slayter Hill.

  1. students filling up fountain pops

    Photo By: Purdue Marketing & Media

    Have a Den Pop

If you have 60 cents you can do this one now! Den Pops are sodas that are as big as your head. You get them from the Discount Den and on the wall is a list of creatively named recipes for different Den Pop flavors to create. Or, if the creative juices are flowing, you can create a unique drink and your own recipe. These are a great way to cool down during those last few weeks of class, a refreshing drink after a hard exam, or really anytime!

These are just a few of the many traditions Purdue has. Look around for more to add to your bucket list or create your own with your friends. Boiler Up!

Dinner Party 101

10 Nov

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Person filling plate from buffet

Photo by: Jules Morgan

So you want to host a dinner party. Perhaps it’s your turn to do Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe you’re just wanting a good time. Don’t stress out! Dinner parties can be a lot of fun, and they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg to have a good time! Below are some tips and ideas on how to stretch a budget and have a fantastic party.

Do you need an appetizer? Depending on the meal, you most likely don’t. But, this is a great way to get others involved! They can bring chips and other snack items for after the meal when you’re playing games or watching a movie. Asking your guests to bring the drinks isn’t always a bad thing, and you can make sure everyone gets something they like. They could want to bring more than chips or a drink though, like a side dish. No one said this couldn’t be a potluck! Never turn down someone bringing free food to a party.sliced bread

If you are having a dinner party, of course there will be dinner. Don’t order take-out! There are recipes on the internet that are just a mouse click away. Cooking at home is always more cost-effective than ordering something. Of course, frozen pizza is always an option, but there are other delicious entrées to try as well. Although pizza is great, certain foods stretch and feed more, while costing less. Some people find it to be more delicious and filling. Pasta is always a cheap food that feeds a lot of people. Somehow, there are always more noodles than there are people. And even if you do happen to run out, it’s a quick 8 minute boil to more noodles.

Looking to host a more formal party? Or, maybe you just want something besides noodles; ramen does get old. Cooking a turkey or ham can feed a lot of people and it’s very filling. It’s usually just some preparation and a quick shove in the oven. Bonuses: Heating up an oven can often heat up an apartment potentially saving you on your heating bill. You also get leftovers which could feed you for a week!

scrabble board

So the food has been eaten, everyone’s happy…. now what? How are you going to entertain those people? There are several options rather than going out and spending money on an activity. Do you have any board games? My personal favorites are Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Munchkin. Card games are also great because several people can play at once. Do you own an Xbox Kinect? Nothing gets the group going like Kinect Sports or other Kinect Games! Your whole body is involved, and dancing games are usually a good time and laugh for everyone. For the more restful people, there are always movies: Netflix, YouTube, Red Box, and Hulu are great, cheap options to find videos and movies for entertainment.

Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of fun so don’t stress out; if you can handle finals, you can totally handle this. Just a little bit of planning, and you and your guests can have an awesome time.

Off-Campus Life: The Good, the Bad, and the Happy Medium

3 Nov

Leah Steppe- Public Relations and Advertising, Peer Counselor

For Rent Sign

Deciding where to live while you’re in college is a big decision for most. It’s your home away from home. There are hundreds of different living options while you are in college house, apartment, duplex, or dorm. One way to narrow down your search is to answer one simple question… Do you want to live on or off campus?.

To help ease the decision let’s discuss pros and cons to living off campus.

Distance

Pro: Many housing options (house, apartment, duplex) are considered off campus but are actually within walking distance to campus.  Living within walking distance can be great for students who want to live close (especially students who don’t have a car) but do not want to live in the dorms.

Con: Living off campus can mean living OFF campus, be careful what you look for. Although, many residency options are close to campus, there are just as many that are not within walking distance and require additional transportation… Most places around Purdue University are less than 10 miles or closer to campus so the drive really isn’t bad. Check out our article “Is It Worth It to Own a Car In College?” to see if you can afford the cost of transportation or for ideas on other means of transportation, some apartment complexes even have their own shuttle service.

Cost

The cost of living off campus can be significantly cheaper than living on campus, but it’s all about how and where you live.

Pro: Living off campus can be cheaper if you live in the right place. Typically, living further off campus can save you money on rent but your transportation costs may increase.

Photo By DrJunge

Photo By DrJunge

Typically, the nicer the apartment (i.e more amenities) the more expensive it is so you have to be careful. Living in a smaller place with more roommates can also save money by spreading the costs of living with more people (not just rent, but utilities, transportation, and food too). You also have the ability to buy and make your own food which means you can save a lot of money if you shop wisely. If it is your first time on your own or you just want to learn how to cook for less check out “Suiting Up Your Kitchen” or “When Raman Just Isn’t Enough, Why you Should Cook!”to learn quick tips on setting up your kitchen and cooking more than out of a box.

Con: Living closer to campus can be more expensive because you have the luxury of living close to classes, food, and entertainment. Living in a nicer, larger apartment with many amenities can be more expensive as well. The cost is greater because the demand for those apartments will be higher and real estate is all about location location location.

Space

Zami student housingPro: Moving out of the dorms means having a lot more space. When you live in an apartment or a house you usually have your own bedroom which means no more sharing a bedroom. You also could have your own bathroom or one you share with 1 or 2 other people, which is better than a whole floor of people. Almost all apartments or houses are going to offer more space than a dorm, just be sure to do your research.

Con: You may end up paying more for that space though if you choose to live in an apartment complex with lots of amenities. The fewer roommates you have, the more space you have, but you typically end up paying more for a 2-bedroom apartment versus a 4-bedroom apartment. Also, it costs money to heat and cool all that extra space too, something you didn’t have to account for when living in the dorms and the heating bill can really add up in the chilly Indiana winters.

Lease

Signing a lease means you are locked into living in that space for as long as the lease says, unless you sublease your place. Most leases around Purdue University are for a full year which means you are responsible for paying rent even when school is not in session.

FDR signing paperPro: This can be a good thing for those students taking summer courses, working on or around campus for the summer, or if you just want to get away from home for a while.

Con: It can be a hassle though as a lot of students will go home during the summer which means paying rent for a place you are not even living at.

Deciding where to live while you are away at college is a big decision. Make sure you do some research before choosing a place because once you sign that lease it is difficult to get out. Here are some resources to check out for help in finding the right place for you:

  • Boiler Apartments
  • Purdue Housing Fair: Takes places once a semester on campus. Several apartment complexes hand out information about their apartments and free stuff! Dates will be announced at beginning of each semesters.
  • Purdue Off Campus Housing

The right place is out there for everyone whether it’s on campus, off campus, right next to campus, or somewhere in between. Just be sure to find the right fit for you and remember there are pros and cons to living on and off campus. When you find the right place it will not be a dorm, apartment, house, or duplex it will be your home.

DIY Costume Ideas

27 Oct

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

zombies on the street

Photo by: rampant

As fall winds down and Halloween approaches, so does the need for costumes! (But if you’ve been participating in Breakfast Club, you probably have at least one good outfit tucked back somewhere.) There are several different kinds of costume parties from come as whatever (including yourself) to themed parties (like hillbilly or dress as your favorite Star Wars character) to wear whatever you can make at home (human lamp, anyone?). No one wants to shell out a bunch of money on an outfit that’s going to be worn once. Below are a couple cheap staples to have on hand (and that you probably already own) that can work to make a cool (and cheap!) costume.

90s doodle bear

Photo via Pinterest

Bleach Pen

Bleach pens are great because you have pin-point precision to draw with. If you have an all-black outfit, draw stars on it and you can be a galaxy. All-pink? You can be one of those doodle bears from the 90s that you washed and doodled on again and again. Fabric markers work very similar to the bleach pens. Draw whatever you want! One of the nice things about fabric markers is there are different colors. They are also great for ironic/sarcastic tee-shirts. Tee shirt costumes are pretty simple, and tee shirts are really cheap! Besides, it can ripped up for more bloodied looks too.

Cardboard Boxes

Most of us living in apartments have these lying around just from the moving process. Youcan be a Rubic’s Cube, a robot, a Lego, or any other creation you can dream up. Need a pair of wings? Just trace the outline on the box and cut it out.

cardboard robot

Photo by: fanime.com

An Old Sheet

And I emphasis an old one because who wants to sleep on a sheet with an old spill stain on it? You can be cheesy and go as a ghost, or it can be a cape for an impromptu super hero (waffle man, anyone?), It could even be your next toga.

Thick Black Eyeliner

While girls probably have this on hand, guys may not. It’s the perfect tool to draw an animal mask on your face. For a more masculine approach, draw tire treads on your face and have someone run over a tee shirt and you can be road kill.

Plaid Shirt

Maybe you want to be a lumberjack. Maybe you want to be a hipster Disney princess. Maybe you’re a picnic blanket. Your plaid shirt never looked so versatile.

Green Tights

Oddly specific, but a costume essential. You can be so many things: Peter Pan, a woodland faerie, Link (from The Legend of Zelda), mother nature (or something nature-esque) Robin Hood… Green is everywhere!!

Footie Pajamas

Footie pajamas are warm. Most people think of “adult child”, but itcan be far more than that. Wantto be an animal? You have a neck to toe covering! It also works for mythical creatures. Maybe you’re a person hunter and that’s your “kill”.

Flo & Mayhem insurance costumes

Photo by: costume-works.com

Suits

Now if you’re going to the party of the century, maybe your best dress clothes are not a good idea. Do you have dress pants that are just a little too short, a shirt with a hole in it, something that just isn’t quite doing the trick anymore? That would work! You can also go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Suits are great for historical figures, for costume pairs like a runaway groom and a controlling bride, “monkey suits”, and Mayhem costumes.

 

And if none of these work for you, Goodwill and other thrift stores are always awesome places to find costume goodies. Grandpa/granny clothes, 80s prom dresses, scrubs, mom jeans, Daisy Dukes (in the men’s section)… I mean the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination (or your Pinterest searching abilities). So regardless of how many parties there are to attend and no matter how over-the-top your idea, you don’t need to break the bank to create an awesome costume.

What Are You Doing After Graduation?

20 Oct

Amanda Locker, Majoring in Environmental Science at Purdue University

girl gazing at mountains

One of the scariest questions you can ask a college student is, “What are your plans after graduation?”  I mean come on some of us just figured out what to major in! There are many different paths that students decide to go down after graduation. The most common paths that students take would be working full-time or heading off to graduate school.

I’ve started thinking ahead (and laying out my 5- and 10-year plans) and discovered another option students have that many do not know about: volunteering with a service program. There are so many options with service programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. These programs aren’t for everyone, but there are many personal and educational benefits that volunteers get from these experiences.

I’m studying abroad next semester to get an intro to living abroad, so I’ll see how that goes and I may adjust my path from there. But right now, I am considering participating in the Master’s International program with the Peace Corps after graduation (Class of 2016!) because of my love for the environment and my passion for helping people. This program gives participants two incredible opportunities by studying for 1-2 years at a partnering college and then serving for two-years at a field project with the Peace Corps using the knowledge I just learned in my Master’s program. A field project is assigned to volunteers based upon the needs and requests of the countries that need help from Peace Corps volunteers. By the time volunteers are done completing their field project, they will have a master’s degree AND two years of international work experience!

Not only do volunteers get a degree and work experience but they also get lots of other benefits that could potentially help save some cash. In many cases, Peace Corps volunteers can qualify for reductions or cancellations on different governmental loans. The most common of these loans are the Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and the Federal Perkins Loan. My loans would qualify for deferment while I would be working overseas. Plus, there’s also the opportunity for participants to receive an education award that can be used to pay back part of their loans.

…but then again, I still have a couple more years to decide. What are your plans for after graduation? Let us know in the comments below!

Student Loan Repayment in the News This Week

16 Oct

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator and Purdue Alumna

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Student loans are all over the news right now. Why? May 2014 grads are rapidly approaching repayment for their student loans! How up-to-date on your loan information are you? (I only have 25 days left in my grace period for my loans! Eek!) Check out www.purdue.edu/loans for basic loan information. You should also log into your account on www.nslds.ed.gov for detailed information on your personal federal student loans.

Once you’ve been contacted by your loan servicer, make sure to create your online account so you can keep up with your loan balance and figure out when your first payment is due. Some servicers offer a reduced interest rate for qualifying borrowers if you set up automatic debit to make your monthly loan payments.

If you have private student loans, you’ll need to check in with your lender about your repayment schedule.

From the web this week:

The Washington Post, A guide to paying off your student loans

Look here for a quick breakdown of the basics. And be sure to check out the short video at the top of the article for a simplified explanation of the different payment plans.

Forbes, What the Sallie Mae Company Split Means for Student Loan Borrowers

Have you gotten an email from Navient recently? (I have!) Sallie Mae created this company to handle their portion of the federal student loan accounts and some of their private loan accounts. In this article, Reyna Gobel explains how this split affects borrowers.

U.S. News, Know When it Makes Sense to Consolidate Student Loans

Considering loan consolidation? Read this first to see if that’s the best strategy for you.

 

MyMoney Powered by Purdue Articles on Student Loans:

Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans by Reyna Gobel

25% Fed Student Loan Borrowers Qualify for Loan Forgiveness – Do You? by Reyna Gobel

The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn – A Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan by Reyna Gobel

College Seniors Week 2: Paying Your Loans by Raysha Duncan

Downside of Student Loan Default by Brandon Endsley

Five Tips for Debt Reduction After Graduation by Julie Huser

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