What I Wish I Would Have Purchased

19 Jul

The fall semester is right around the corner, and we are excited to see the whole Boilermaker gang around campus. Whether you are new or returning, you probably have some sort of running packing list. Bedding, toiletries, kitchen supplies, clothes… Are you forgetting anything? We decided to ask some students what else they wish they would have brought to college had they known then what they know now. Read on to see if you need to remember or purchase any of these items.

Rain boots and a waterproof jacket. The consensus from just about all students we talked to is that an umbrella sometimes isn’t even enough. Definitely bring that umbrella, but think about even adding rain boots or a waterproof jacket to the mix. “I usually try to have some sort of bags somewhere in my backpack that I wrap my books in when it rains. I learned that one the hard way,” laughs Anna, a sophomore. You usually walk outside on campus in weather conditions you may have had to only drive in back home. Rain boots can be fashionable, and they are way better than the alternative of walking around with wet socks! Umbrellas, above all, will be your lifesaver. Not only should you have one in your backpack, but in your car and apartment or dorm. You may forget one in one location one day, but if you have them in multiple locations, hopefully you will never be caught wet in a surprise rain shower. The great thing about umbrellas is that many are free and handed about by apartment complexes, businesses, etc. Keep your eyes open for them!

Women's Original Refined Short Rain Boots | Official Hunter Boots Site

 

Comfortable shoes. “On my very first day of class, I was already nervous to begin with. I wore new Sperry’s on that day, and my feet were covered in blisters by the time classes were over. It was not the best first day,” says Robert, a senior. You may be excited about your new wardrobe, but remember to either buy shoes you know will be comfortable, or break them in well before your classes start.

Emergency supplies. Another first day horror story came from Deborah, who recounted receiving a gigantic paper cut as syllabi were being passed around the classroom. “I started bleeding and did not have a bandage. No one in the class did!” While it may seem like it was just always a silly reminder from your mother, remember to leave a few emergency items in bags you will be using often. You never know when you may need a bandage or when a stomachache will strike.

A coffee maker. Many students also explained their coffee struggles. It can surely be fun at first to pop into Starbucks daily, but it will quickly take a toll on your wallet. Instead, making an investment on a coffee maker to keep in your dorm or apartment can help offset those costs. Whether you prefer K-cups or plain, old-fashioned coffee, making it at home will save you a few bucks a day, as well as give you an appliance you can keep and use for years to come.

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Car items. Corrie chuckled as she recounted the day she broke down on the side of the road because she had no idea she had to get her oil changed. She said she wished she would have come prepared with more items for her car, and a plan if she needed service and repairs. While not something you necessarily have to purchase, check out where you may want to go if you need something for your car. Also, bring what you can do yourself. Windshield wiper fluid and coolant can be stored in your trunk or in a closet in your room, and you can grab it at a moment’s notice. Purchase (or bring from home) a flashlight, blanket, and non-perishable snacks to leave in your car in case of emergency.

A suitcase. Many of you will be travelling home at least a few times a year, so don’t forget a suitcase! Madi told us her fateful story of bringing everything so neatly packed in Rubbermaids to her dorm, sending them home with her parents and realizing later that she had to buy a suitcase in order to pack items to go back home for Thanksgiving. Bring your suitcase and a duffel bag from home so it is not an added expense later!

Delsey Hardside Chatlet Suitcase–The best carry-on you'll ever buy!

Layers. Remember, Purdue is in Indiana. Indiana weather is wildly unpredictable. While you may be coming in the summer and think all you will need is shorts and flip-flops before heading home for fall break, you should probably think again. Classrooms can be chilly and the weather can randomly be as well. There may be rain and cool temperatures in the morning, only to see an unbearably muggy afternoon. Layers will be your best friend. If you have a sweater or sweatshirt as well as basic items like jeans to change into or out of in the beginning of the year, you will be set. Remember to bring some close-toed shoes in addition to those flip-flops. The last thing you want to be is completely unprepared for the weather and having to spend all of your fun money on new clothes!

 

Some of these tips will help you remember what to bring so you do not need to spend money on it here, while others may help add to your shopping list or make you think of an investment to make that will benefit you in the long-run. Either way, we cannot wait for the return of some very bright and prepared Boilermakers!

What would make your list? Let us know your stories of what you wish you would have brought to college in the comments below!

How to Find a Job at Purdue

9 Jul

The beginning of the school year is approaching fast, and many of you are already moving in! Now that you have bought items for your new room and picked out your classes for the upcoming year, you may be starting to think about fitting a part-time job into your schedule. Read on for some answers to the questions that are most likely on your mind.

Will my grades suffer if I get a job? Good news! Research has shown that working 8-12 hours per week while in school actually leads to better academic achievement. While balancing school and a job, you are learning time-management skills, as well as other skills, that ultimately help you manage that workload. It is not recommended to work over 20 hours per week, as that it when grades can start to decline. As long as you keep it manageable, holding a job while in school is doable.

Will a part-time job benefit me besides just giving me a paycheck? Absolutely. Working while in school is about so much more than a paycheck. It is a great way to meet friends and professional contacts that may be able to help you later on in your career. You can always put your part-time job, as well as all the skills you gained while working (leadership, time-management, problem solving, etc.) on your resume. The experience will be appealing to future employers.

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I see Federal Work Study as part of my financial aid award. What is that? Federal Work Study (FWS) is one of the employment programs the Division of Financial Aid administers. This federally funded program helps students offset some of their education-related expenses with earnings from part-time employment. Federal Work Study is awarded based on demonstrated financial need and academic progress. Work Study jobs are mostly on campus, and there are also opportunities to work for local non-profits as part of FWS. Once students find and secure a FWS job, they will be paid biweekly based on their worked hours.

Can I still get a job even if I was not awarded Federal Work Study? Of course! The Division of Financial Aid also administers the Job Location and Development (JLD) program. This program locates employers and develops off-campus employment opportunities. Eligibility is not based on financial need or academic standing and is open to most students.

How do I find a job? Both Federal Work Study and non-FWS jobs are listed online at www.purdue.edu/dfa/employment. Simply peruse the listings (you can even filter for certain job types), and once you find one you like, follow the instructions to apply that are provided by the employer on the listing. You can also see a stream of job opportunities, as well as resume/interview tips, by following @HireABoiler on Twitter. If you ever have any questions about the process, do not hesitate to call Student Employment Services at 765-494-5056.

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Check often, as employers will be beginning to post openings that will start in the fall. Good luck on your search!

Maximizing Your Meal Plan

2 Jul

If you are not already on campus this summer, you have your sights set on arriving very soon. Time is flying by. Welcome to Purdue if you are a new student, and welcome back if you are returning! No matter who you are, you need to eat while you are on campus. What are your options and how can you maximize your meal plan? We can help you out with that!

What are the 18-19 Meal Plans and how much do they cost?

Boiler Flex-Unlimited 500: $5,398

-Boiler Flex-Unlimited 250: $5,172

-13-Meal Track: $4,554

-8-Meal Track: $2,998

-Boiler Block: $4,292

Costs are per academic year. You may increase your meal plan at any time, but cannot drop a plan while living in University Residences.

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What are the differences? Both of the Boiler Flex Plans are unlimited access plans, with 20+ meals per week, 16 guest meals, 8 Purdue Dining Quickly (PDQ) swipes per week, and a Dining Dollars allotment for the year (500 Flex: $500 Dining Dollars, 250 Flex: $250 Dining Dollars). These plans are for students who are likely to eat every meal in a dining hall or on campus and who may eat more frequent meals. There is no weekly limit with these plans.

The 13 and 8-Meal Track Plans give a certain allotment of swipes per week (13 and 8 swipes, respectively) that can be used as either dining hall swipes or PDQ swipes. The 13-Meal Track includes $450 Dining Dollars, while the 8-Meal Track does not include Dining Dollars. These plans are for students that know how often they will be eating in a dining hall each week, usually just for one or two meals per day.

The block plans are not weekly meal plans. The Boiler Block Plan gives students 246 meals per academic year to use when they wish, as well as $450 Dining Dollars. This is a plan for students whose weekly routines may change. One week the student may not eat at a dining hall at all, while the next he may eat there 10 times. It is all up to the student. There is also a Boiler Gold Plan available for residents of Hawkins Hall. It has no meal swipes since those units are equipped with kitchens, but $750 Dining Dollars per semester to compensate for grabbing something on campus while away for lunch, doing group projects, etc.

To read more about the meal plans, click here.

Utilize Purdue Dining Quickly swipes to mix it up and eat on-the-go. If you do not have time to sit down and eat, you do not have to sacrifice a meal swipe and buy from a gas station or fast food restaurant. Simply use a PDQ swipe! To recap, the Flex plans include eight PDQ swipes per week. For the other plans, PDQ is limited only to weekly meal allotments (8-Meal Track could use all eight swipes in that week for PDQ, but no more). There are locations in the Union that have specific combos ready for students using a PDQ swipe, dining courts with On-the-GO! locations (students grab one entrée and three sides), dining courts with take-out programs (fill a container to go) special restaurants in the residence halls, and a food truck where students can use their PDQ swipes. Sometimes there are even special pop up meal locations where students can use a PDQ swipe at a location they normally would not.

For specific PDQ locations, click here.

Spend your Dining Dollars. Dining Dollars can be used in dining courts and at retail operations throughout campus. Do not blow your cash to get your favorite hot Starbucks drink on a frigid day; simply use your Dining Dollars to buy it! Dining Dollars can also be used to pay for a meal at the dining hall if you have run out of swipes, or to pay for a guest at a dining hall. Present your Purdue ID card to use your dining dollars.

For more about Dining Dollars, click here.

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If you have saved some money of your own for retail restaurants, consider loading it onto BoilerExpress. Using money you have loaded onto your BoilerExpress account is the same as using Dining Dollars; just present your ID and you are good to go! The only difference is that with BoilerExpress, you will be loading your own money onto the account, as it is not built into a meal plan. While it is great to use all the perks of your plan, it is also wise to figure that sometimes you may be spending some of your own money on food. Putting that money from your debit or credit card to your BoilerExpress account can be a great budgeting tool if you have a certain threshold for personal money you would like to spend on food. It also eliminates figuring out which card you need to use, because your Purdue ID will be the ticket to all of your meals no matter how you decide to pay.

To load money onto a BoilerExpress account and see a list of locations, click here.

Swipe in your guests. If your parents are coming to visit and you plan on taking them to a dining hall, remember to use your guest swipes! If you do not have guest swipes, your guests can still eat at a discounted rate if you pay using Dining Dollars or BoilerExpress. For rate comparisons, click here.

 

There are many dining option on Purdue’s campus, so we know you will not go hungry this year, Boilermakers. Happy eating!

Responsible Credit Card Use

28 Jun

As you enter college, you are probably wondering how difficult managing your finances will be. You have thought of the basics like developing a budget, tracking your expenses, and saving money when you can. What else is important to note?

For many students, the college years are when they get their first credit card or start using credit cards more frequently. It is great to use your card(s) to build credit, as long as you do so responsibly! Here is what you should be doing to utilize your credit cards wisely:

Pay on time. Paying your bill on time is one of the best ways to build good credit; you are showing lenders that you are reliable. If you are worried about forgetting to make a payment, most cards now have auto pay as an option. You can select paying the balance, minimum, or a different specified amount on the due date or any day of the month (just remember to pay before it is due if not on the due date). You can set it, forget it, and never worry that your bill is not paid! Many cards also offer a choice for payment due dates. If you have most bills due on the same day or near payday, it will probably be easier for you to remember to make those payments.

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A $10 pizza could end up costing you a lot more if you do not pay it off! If a $10 pizza can end up costing you $26, imagine ordering 15 throughout the year and putting them on your credit card without paying it off. You are looking at $400 for pizza!

Pay off as much as you can. Highly responsible credit card users pay their balances in full each month. This avoids interest and fees, and again, demonstrates to lenders that you are reliable. If you cannot pay your statement in full, pay as much as you can afford to pay. When you shop, try to keep within your limits. Ask yourself if you could pay for this transaction in cash. If you do not have the money now, it is likely that you still will not have the money for it the next month, and your interest and overall balance will start to hike up. If you would like to build credit but do not want to get into debt, use your credit card for a common everyday expense already in your budget. For example, you can have a credit card you use to get gas for your car. At the end of the month, just pay off the balance. You are building credit and not losing money, since that is something that was built into your budget regardless.

Search for low fees and low interest rates. There are many cards out there with no annual fees. If you have to get a card with an annual fee, make sure the benefits of that specific card outweigh the cost of that fee. Also remember to compare interest rates on your cards, because the lower, the better. Some companies offer no interest for the first year, but do not let that encourage you to get yourself into debt, because interest will come into effect the next year. Be sure to read your cardholder agreement, as it will spell out possible fees and charges for you.

Look at your statement and log in online. The best way to be aware of your spending and check that everything is correct is to look at your statement each month or log in periodically online. In both places, you can see your transactions, available balance, etc. If you see a discrepancy, call the credit card company to discuss it. You may also be able to sign up for text or email alerts, payment reminders, etc. that can help you stay organized when it comes to your cards.

Check your credit score. Did a late payment affect your score? Is the percentage of your used credit too high? Many credit card companies let you view your credit score free, and even explain the components of your score. If you need to look beyond your credit card company to obtain your score, the easiest way is by visiting www.myFICO.com. From this site, you can request your FICO credit scores calculated by the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You can also visit each agency at www.equifax.com, www.experian.com, or www.transunion.com to request a copy of each report. For more information about factors affecting credit scores, click here.

Find a rewards card with perks you can use. Several credit cards offer cashback just for using the card! Some have a set percentage rate on all purchases, while others run monthly specials. For example, there is a card currently offering 2% cashback for any gas or restaurant purchases this month. Other themed cards may be beneficial to you as well. If you travel far to go home, take vacations often, or plan on studying abroad, you may like to look into travel rewards cards. You earn points as you spend with the card, and can later redeem those points for travel, or use them to cover a past travel-related purchase. Just remember to use those perks! For cashback cards, you can usually receive a check, gift card, or statement credit for all of the cashback you have earned.

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Building credit is important for your future. One day you may want to purchase a house or car, and do many other things that require a good credit score/credit history. Use those cards responsibly now, and your future self will thank you!

Hosting for the Fourth

26 Jun

Are you wanting to host a July Fourth celebration, but don’t want to break the bank? The great thing about the Fourth is that it is a holiday that is usually celebrated casually and outdoors, so it’s easy to make it affordable! Read on for some tips and ideas to make your Fourth fun:

Watch nearby displays instead of buying your own. When people think of the Fourth of July, the first thing that comes to mind is fireworks. Even though they are pretty, people that put on huge displays usually end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. Luckily, it seems like fireworks are going off in every direction on the Fourth. Check to see if nearby local parks or businesses are doing fireworks displays – you may be able to see them from your place. You also may be lucky and have neighbors setting some off; the great thing about fireworks is that if they’re visible from your house, you can enjoy them for free! To get information on local fireworks displays, click here.

Decorate with flags. This seems pretty common sense. Who doesn’t decorate with American flags for the Fourth? Party supply stores may have a bunch of fancy decorations available, but they are usually more expensive. Remember the classics! You can go to virtually any store and pick up a bundle of tiny American flags at minimal cost. Your yard will look patriotic dotted with the stars and stripes!

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Be creative with other decorations. Let’s face it, anything red, white, or blue can be made into a Fourth of July decoration. Grab a pack of balloons. Paint those mason jars you have been saving. This is a great time to re-purpose items! Instead of buying a tablecloth, napkins, and plates with flag pictures on them, go for plain red, white, and blue for a fraction of the cost. When put all together, it will still look just as festive!

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Make it a good, old-fashioned barbecue. Hot dogs and burgers go with the Fourth like peanut butter goes with jelly. For buns, patties, and dogs, buy in bulk and reap your savings. This affordable meal screams Fourth of July! When you are cooking for many people, it is also easy to keep throwing on meat and making sure everyone is full. For tips on maximizing money while barbecuing, as well as spicing up the classics, click here.

Dress up your specialty desserts. Do you make a mean brownie? Or do you love to whip up batches of cupcakes and Rice Krispie treats? If it’s something you know you are good at that fits in your budget, stick with it and add some patriotic sprinkles or frosting! For ideas on making your favorite desserts festive, click here.

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Remember that the company you keep is most important. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much money you spent or what you cooked. What matters is that you had a wonderful celebration with your friends and family!

Have a Happy Fourth!

Tracking Expenses

20 Jun

You’ve heard about the benefits of creating and sticking to a budget. But where in the world do you start? How can you actually develop a good budget that fits your life? The best source of guidance and direction in this process will come from tracking your expenses. If you are unsure of where to start, just follow our steps and you should be on your way to developing a budget that fits your lifestyle!

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Divide your expenses into categories. In order to track your expenses and start a budget, you should see where you need to spend money and where you do spend money. Make a list of categories to record where your money goes. Examples of categories are food, entertainment, utilities, rent, insurance, eating out, etc. Write whatever categories you have down so you can visually see where your money is going.

Start recording what you spend. The best way to see what changes you need to make is to record the details of your spending. Are you throwing more cash away eating out than you thought? Are you scrambling to gather money for your bills because you went to a lot of movies this month? It may seem like you know what you’re spending by just checking on your banking app, but categorizing your expenses really makes a difference. You can go the old-fashioned route and write it all out for yourself with pen and paper, or you can create a spreadsheet on Excel. Many people also use budgeting apps that will categorize your spending for you.

Don’t do anything differently during your first month. To get an idea of what type of monthly budget you need, you’ll have to record your expenses for a whole month. It may be tempting to already try to cut spending down since writing and categorizing it makes you so much more aware of bad habits, but you really need to get an accurate snapshot of your current situation. Give yourself a chance to truly analyze your natural spending habits.

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Decide how much money should actually go into each of your categories. How much do you need for your monthly bills? Have you seen any trends in your spending? It’s so easy to swipe a card and forget about a purchase when you do not track your expenses, but writing down every single transaction and what it went to may make you think twice about how often you buy a coffee or burger. Still enjoy yourself, but just do it in moderation if you are uncomfortable with how much you have been spending. If you need tips on where to cut costs, you can find some here. Once you decide how much money goes where, think about what you may do if you have anything left over. Is there something you want to save for, or do you just want to build your savings in general?

Tracking expenses can seem daunting at first, but will help reveal some trends that you may not have seen by just glancing at your account statements. You’ll feel organized with your budget, and in charge of your finances.

Happy budgeting!

Saving When You Drive

1 Jun

During the past couple of weeks, we have shared much on our transportation theme. You now know how to save when flying, great forms of alternative transportation, etc. But what about when you have to use your car? Gas prices are rising and it may seem like the most expensive way to get around, even if it is the most convenient. There are still plenty of ways you can save when driving your car! Here’s how:

Clear the clutter. If there is excess weight in your vehicle, you may not think it makes much of a difference. However, excess pounds can greatly reduce fuel economy. Have you been lugging something around in your trunk because you haven’t felt like putting it away? An excess of just 100 pounds can lower fuel economy by 2 percent.

Pamper your car. Just like human beings need haircuts and teeth cleaning, cars need some TLC too! Getting a tune-up, inflating tires to the proper pressure, and getting regular oil changes can increase fuel economy by 4 percent!

Slow down. Are you regularly driving on the highway at 75 mph or faster, complete with acceleration, lane changing, and hard braking? These behaviors dramatically decrease fuel economy. By slowing down to a comfortable cruise at 65 mph and calming down with accelerations and brakes, your fuel economy will increase by a whopping 35 percent.

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Windows, anyone? Many people think that if you are driving fast, the A/C needs to be on. Surely riding with the windows down and wind blowing everywhere cannot be good for your efficiency. The opposite is actually true! Edmunds’ road testers got to work and figured out that fuel economy actually increases up to 9 percent with the windows rolled down.

Search for gas savings. Sometimes it may not be worth it to drive out of your way for savings of a couple cents, but it still pays off to glance at local gas prices. If you pass 3 gas stations on the way to work, go to the cheapest one! Websites like GasBuddy.com will compare gas prices in your area. Another tip: Seek out the places that give you discounts. Many grocery stores either have savings associated with their discount cards (like the Kroger/PayLess card) or their credit cards. If you can save beyond the price that is advertised, it can really add up.

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Research insurance discounts. You’ve seen the commercials! Most insurance providers have now put safe driving incentives in place. All it takes is installing a device in your car that tracks your miles, speed, and amount of brakes. You can receive a discount on insurance if you have a short commute, or drive safely. There is no penalty for driving many miles or having to do a hard brake. You can only save in this scenario.

Calculate costs before a trip. With tolls climbing up to $4 in some areas of the country, it can actually cost a significant chunk of money to travel on toll roads. Before embarking on a trip, calculate your route with and without tolls. If you have to go out of your way, do gas prices make it worth avoiding the toll? It all depends on the distance and associated costs.

 

To research more about fuel economy, you can play around on fueleconomy.gov. Here, you can simulate scenarios with your car type and see what might make a difference for you.

Happy savings!

Saving on Transportation: Alternative Modes

25 May

Last week we let you in on secrets to maximize your savings while flying. But what about other ways we can save on transportation?

Most of us cannot imagine living life without constantly driving our cars. In less you live in a big city, it sometimes seems impossible to find any other way to get around. Luckily, transportation solutions are popping up everywhere, and many of them are campus-friendly! Whether you are on campus this summer or returning in the fall, read on for some transportation tips. You will probably find that you can apply these in your hometown or any other place you may visit.

Take apartment shuttles. It can be rough living off-campus when you have to commute every day. If you find yourself wanting to spend less on gas, consider taking advantage of the shuttle that your apartment complex offers. Most apartment complexes in West Lafayette have them, and they usually run hourly, so you can be dropped off and picked up during times that work for your classes. Apartment shuttles usually take you somewhere central on campus, like Stewart Center. It might beat the drive and walk from wherever you park! You don’t need to request the shuttle; simply head to the designated pick-up location at your apartment or on campus, and you should be all set. It is a benefit that comes with your apartment, so don’t be afraid to use it!

Utilize CityBus. Did you know CityBus is a contracted partner with Purdue? That means that students, faculty, and staff ride free! CityBus spans all Campus Loop routes and also has nine regular routes throughout Greater Lafayette. All you need is your Purdue ID to hop on. CityBus runs by many apartments and by all of the residence halls. With all of the routes offered, you can even take it to the mall! All routes, as well as real-time bus information, are available online and at the front of every residence hall.

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Ride your bike. Purdue and the surrounding area is very bike-friendly. There are specified bike lanes on campus, and many parks that are perfect for bike riding. It is a common occurrence in the area, so most pedestrians and vehicles know to be aware of bike riders. Just remember to wear a helmet and be safe! Not only will riding a bike save you gas money, but it will also help our environment and be a great way to get some exercise! Don’t have a bike? No problem. Keep your eyes peeled for the teal bikes on campus (they are everywhere, so hard to miss!). These are VeoRide bikes. All you have to do is download the app, scan the code to unlock the bike, and you’ll be enjoying a nice ride! Simply return it to any bike rack when you are finished. For more information on VeoRide, click here.

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Carpool. Do your roommates and friends all drive to campus or to the store just like you? If you really want to take a car but still want to save, think about carpooling! If you take turns being the driver to class or the grocery store, you will all be spending less on gas and giving less wear and tear to your vehicles. Plus, you’ll have company!

Take up a new hobby related to transportation. Have you been dying to get back on rollerblades? Want to try longboarding? Give it a go! You may not go long distances with options like these, but it might get you to class quicker or allow you to make a short trip that you otherwise would have had to move your car for. Purdue has a club for everything it seems, so it can be quite easy for you to find friends that share a love for the hobby you’d like to take up. They can teach you a thing or two about it!

Research airport shuttles. Many of you fly home for breaks instead of driving the long distance to maximize your time with family. It can take quite a bit of gas to get to the airport, not to mention the costs associated with leaving your car at the airport. If you can’t find someone to take you to the airport, taking an airport shuttle may be a better option. Lafayette Limo regularly runs to the Indianapolis Airport, and may be a cheaper option in the long run.

 

Whether by bus, bike, or longboard, we wish you happy travels!

How to Save on Air Travel

18 May

Summer is here, and that means many of you are traveling! Whether you are taking vacations, moving to a new place for a summer internship, or still on campus and need to travel home here and there, chances are you are thinking of ways to save on your travel expenses. We have got you covered!

This blog series will focus on saving money with a variety of modes of transportation. On today’s agenda: Air travel.

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Flights can be expensive. Here is how to save.

Shop for flights during the week. After airlines have processed flight demands over the weekend, Mondays and Tuesdays will generally have you saving the most money. Just as there are slow days at retail stores during the week, there are slow days for flight shopping as well, so getting booked at the beginning of the week can be advantageous. While the absolute best day to book a flight used to be Tuesday, many are arguing that it is now Thursday. While we can’t provide you with a perfect formula, we do suggest fitting in your flight searching during the week. You may be busy with work or school, but taking the time to search flights will pay off when you are boarding with some extra spending money in tow!

Book your ticket (about) 47 days before your trip. If you know in advance that you need to fly, this magic number of days before your trip usually results in the greatest possible savings. The online search engine, CheapAir, crunched the numbers on about 5 million flights to arrive at the 47-day rule. Remember, this is an average. In general, booking around this time window will be good for your wallet.

Clear your browser’s cookies. Have you had your eye on a couple of different flights for a while now? Do you keep refreshing the tab you’ve kept open in the hopes that prices have dropped? Well, stop! This could actually make the flights you are looking at more expensive, because airline websites track what people are searching for. You may see a price hike, think it is never coming down again, and book a way more expensive flight than you should have. Remember, prices change based on demand. Clear your cookies.

Consider what days of the week you are flying. While not true for every single route, generally the cheapest days to fly domestic are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The cheapest days to fly international are usually any weekdays; try to avoid flying on the weekend whenever possible. Many people do not like to take extra vacation days, making those certain weekdays unpopular for flights. Airlines cannot afford to have open seats on planes, though, so they will make these flights affordable to get more people on.

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Fly off-peak hours. You may have to rise early, or wait all day for your trip to start, but you will see significant savings if you fly during off-peak hours. Generally, this means you should aim for flights between 5 am and 7 am, or after 8 pm. Rates will be highest during the popular flight times between 11 am and 4 pm, so avoid these times if you are looking for savings!

Embrace the layovers. Direct flights are wonderful, but generally come at a greater cost. If you find a flight that fits within your time constraints and has a layover, it will probably be cheaper than the direct flight. Most people view it as a pain, but as long as you are prepared with what you need, layovers usually run a lot smoother than anticipated. The secret? Make it fun! Make it a goal to see as many airports as possible, and compare and contrast which ones have the best restaurants, layouts, etc. Even if you do not set foot outside but get a layover in a state or country you have never been, you can at least say you have been there!

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Fly different airlines. It used to be unheard of that two one-way tickets could cost less than a round-trip ticket, but not so much anymore. Finding two different flights for your trip can be nice if you have certain departure times you need to keep, or arrive and leave from different airports. There are many booking websites that can already do this for you, but they may not be able to display all possible combinations, so be sure to check airline websites as well to create your perfect combo.

Get a ride to the airport. Sometimes all of the costs we did not think of add up the most. Paying for parking at the airport is an expense you can avoid if you arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up!

 

We wish you safe flights this summer and many good savings!

The Habits of Successful Borrowers

17 May

Attending Purdue is a large educational investment, and many students borrow educational loans at some point during their college careers. With graduation ceremonies coming to a close this past weekend, most of you graduates are looking toward the future and might be starting to panic about repaying educational loans.

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Good news: Purdue students are successfully repaying loans and not many are defaulting. The education you receive and the careers you are starting are preparing you to tackle these loans just fine. However, it is always a good idea to have some tips under your belt when starting an unfamiliar process. Here are 5 things you can do to be a successful borrower:

Don’t put it off. While deferment and forbearance are options if your life circumstances make it necessary to put repayment on hold, it is recommended to keep these at a minimum. It’s the same as with anything in life. Often, the more we put things off, the worse it feels when we finally do them. Start getting it over with little by little, and you can reduce the total cost of your loan and shorten the time you end up repaying it! A little bit of work now will make you feel a whole lot better later. Borrowers who use less than six months of forbearance are almost twice more likely to successfully repay than those who take longer postponements. If you need it, use it! Just remember that the loan will still be there when the forbearance ends.

Stay connected. Borrowers who track their progress tend to be more successful in repaying their loans. It doesn’t take much. Simply check in regularly online to stay aware of your balance and other payment plans if you feel like you might need a change. This can be done when you are sitting down to pay bills once a month. If you stay in the habit of checking in, you will be aware of what is happening with your loans. It’ll also ensure that you have contact information updated, or receive important messages if you did miss something in the mail!

Graduate. Many of you have already done this! And for those of you reading this with graduation on the horizon in the next few years, just work hard and stick with it. Nothing is more important to getting a return on your educational investment than graduating! Even if someone didn’t graduate, successful repayment is always within reach. If college is still in the future, it is important to stick to a plan so extra time and money does not have to go into getting that degree. When you are working and using your skills you developed at Purdue, you will definitely recognize the worth of the initial investment.

Stick with repayment. The longer you can make payments, the more successfully you can repay your loans. Even when times are tough, small payments can make a huge difference later on and keep you in the habit of making payments. Income-driven plans are available and can certainly be utilized if you are not sure what you can afford to pay. Just make payments. Missed payments will damage your credit and cost you more over the life of the loan. For more loan repayment information, click here.

Talk to your servicer. At Purdue, you learned to be a good communicator (it’s why COM 114 is required, right?), so put those skills to use! Your loan servicer can answer your questions and help you avoid missing payments and defaulting. They will work with you if you are forthcoming with your concerns, so engage with your servicer!

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Whether you just graduated (Congratulations, Class of 2018!), or are looking to graduate in the future, remember these pointers for quicker, smoother repayment.

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