Understanding Financial Aid Terms

26 Apr

what is financial aid - open road

Financial Aid can be a tough concept to understand: financial = money, aid = help… So it’s free money that colleges give you to pay for your school, right? Well, kind of. Some forms of financial aid can be free money other forms of financial aid you will have to pay back.

The first step in getting financial aid is to file a FAFSA, and filing it on time. Filing your FAFSA on time is especially important so you are eligible for more types of financial aid, meaning state aid (if you’re a resident of the state where you attend college) and university aid. Once the universities you have been accepted to receive your FAFSA, they will be able to put together a financial aid award for you and calculate your estimated financial aid awards.

Financial aid consists of two main types of financial aid: gift aid and self-help aid.

Gift Aid

This refers to all scholarships and grants, or, to put it more simply, all the types of aid that you don’t have to pay back. Scholarships can be need or merit-based and students can get them from various sources. Typically, students receive scholarships either from their university or from a private donor. There are websites such as www.scholarships.com and www.fastweb.net to help students find all kinds of private scholarships. There are some pretty obscure scholarshipsout there, so if you look hard enough, you may even find one that fits youreccentric hobbies.

For information on grants and scholarships available to Purdue students, please visit our website.

Self-Help Aid

This type of aid consists of loans and Federal Work Study. Loans are the most common type of self-help aid; they’re also the only type of financial aid that reallymakes it on the news. Students are expected to pay back their student loans once they have graduated and depending on what type of loan you take, there may be interest accruing on it while you’re in school. Federal Student Loans consist ofPerkins Loans and Stafford Loans. Parents may also have the option of taking out a Parent PLUS Loan to help cover any remaining costs that the student has; Parent PLUS loans are taken out in the parent’s name, so the parent is the one who is expected to pay them back. Students also have the option of taking outprivate student loans, which are loans they apply for through a third-party lender and are then sent to their college.

It’s important to remember that ALL LOANS HAVE TO BE PAID BACK, so always try to borrow as little as possible so you aren’t burdened with huge loan payments once you graduate college.

This may seem like a bit of a dry topic, but it is so important. Take some time and learn all you can so you’re well-informed on the financial aid you’re receiving and make sure you know what’s expected of you in order to keep the aid you get.  If this article did not answer all your burning questions make sure you do not assume an answer… give your college’s financial aid office a call.

Lifestyle Inflation: Avoiding Making More but Having Less

20 Apr

www.purdue.edu/mymoney

hot air balloon; text overlay: Beware Lifestyle Inflation

You’ve graduated. Hooray!

You’ve landed a dream job. Hooray!

And best of all…that dream job comes with more money than you’ve ever had before and now you get to plot out how you’re going to spend all of your riches. You can finally get that car you’ve been eyeing (and ditch your old beater car). You can update your ENTIRE wardrobe because you can’t wear sweats/yoga pants to a real job every day. You can finally buy all name brand food and eat out at great restaurants more often. You can get a great apartment with an extra bedroom…because why not? You’ve got money now!

But wait…If you do all of these things, then you’re quickly going to run out of money. And what’s the point of having a regular, decent income if you don’t actually have any money at the end of the month?

It’s important to remember that just because you can afford all of these things doesn’t mean you should actually buy all of them. You want to avoid the deathly trap of lifestyle inflation. Lifestyle inflation occurs when you’re making more than you were before and you spend accordingly (i.e. more money earned equals more money spent). But wait…that doesn’t sound too bad, right? Again though, it isn’t bad (and it may even be fun) until you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck just like you did in college.

If you’re making bank right out of college, invest some of it! Save for a big goal! Don’t starting spending like crazy because now you can buy all the stuff you ever wanted and didn’t even know you wanted. You’ll run out of money fast if you’re not careful.

So…how do you avoid spending every last dime of your new income?

Set a BIG Savings Goal

Now that you’ve graduated college you have more freedom to decide what to do with your time and since you’ve scored your dream job, you have money to play with. What’s something big you want to spend your money on? Some common things would include a house, a wedding, a vacation overseas, your dream car. Some uncommon options could include retiring early or starting your own business. Whatever your goal, own it! Save for it.

Spend Below Your Means

Don’t blow your money on pointless purchases. You don’t have to eat like a college student anymore, but you also don’t need to eat like a King. Maybe you can just have one roommate instead of three. Keep your spending low so that you have room to save your big goal.

Budget

This is what it all comes back to. You need to have a plan for spending your money. If you don’t have a plan for where your money is going every month then you’ll quickly run out of money before the month is up.

Do you have any tips for avoiding lifestyle inflation? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Great Elective Filler Classes at Purdue

6 Apr

Recommended by Purdue students, compiled by Raysha Duncan, Purdue Alum
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

stack of books

Scheduling classes for the upcoming semester can be stressful whether you’re brand new to the process or if this is the millionth time (exaggerating just a little bit here) you’ve scheduled classes. And if you’re struggling to find one class to fill a scheduling space, that class can make all the difference and reduce class scheduling stress. We polled our peer counselors here at the Division of Financial Aid for suggestions on fun classes. Take a look below! Maybe you will find the class that completes your schedule and reduces your pre-semester stress.

Art and Design (AD) 255: Art Appreciation

One of our peer counselors took this class not only to fulfill a humanities requirement, but because she’s also “really interested in art fields.” It’s a great base for learning about art and while it has “zero to little homework, it’s really important to keep up” to get the most out of the class. The professor was clear and really easy to listen to, so she never felt unprepared. If you’re interested in art at all and need a humanities course, she HIGHLY recommends this course.

Course Objectives:

In this course, you will:

  • gain basic knowledge of art concerning media, vocabulary, themes, and history
  • patronize art establishments, such as galleries and museums (we’ll go as a class once or more)
  • describe and analyze works of art (current chances to see art will be announced in the classroom)
  • increase your aesthetic perception

English (ENGL) 227: Elements of Linguistics

This class is being recommended by an English major.  She just found this class “super interesting” because it pertained to her major and allowed her to learn a new field in the English realm.

William_Shakespeare_1609Subjects Covered:

  • Language: General Features
  • Phonetics/Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
  • Language and Languages

Art and Design (AD) 113: Basic Drawing

“A great, but tough class to take”, stated another Purdue Peer Counselor. There are some really great professors and the class provides you with an opportunity to learn some fundamental drawing skills. (It’s also a requirement if you want to move up in any 2-D art courses).

Course Objectives:

  • To develop and strengthen your observational , perceptual skills and creative
  • drawing skills
  • To challenge those skills by providing opportunities to explore a variety of media,
  • practices and concepts.
  • To sharpen your abilities to communicate visually and verbally when making and

analyzing art.

Physical Education Skills (PES) 114: Exercise & Music

This class has been recommended as a fun (one credit hour) course for anyone to take. “You get to do new exercises each week and that makes it really fun.” There are students who help out and teach the course some weeks and that also adds some diversity to this class – you get something new each week!”Sweatin_to_the_oldies Richard Simons

Course Description:

Instruction and practice in various types of exercise programs. Students select from the activities listed in the current schedule of classes. Following is a partial list of activities: body conditioning; exercise and fitness; exercise to music; jogging and running; swimnastics; relaxation techniques; weight training; exercise and principles of weight control. Typically offered Fall Spring.

Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAS) 138: Thunderstorms & Tornadoes

An interesting course! This class provided one peer counselor the opportunity to learn about practical subjects. In this course, he learned to read weather maps and radars and “actually look at the different weather patterns” in ways that you don’t get to when you see the radar just on TV or online.

Course Description:

An elementary treatment of the physical structure of the atmosphere and the dynamical conditions that lead to the development of convective clouds, thunderstorms, and severe weather (including tornadoes, hail, wind, rain, lightning, and flash floods). This course will also focus on storm climatology, the socioeconomic impact of severe weather, as well as prediction, detection, warnings, and safety procedures. Analysis of severe weather events will include tornado movies and case studies of ground/aerial surveys of storm damage

 

Have you had a great class you’ve enjoyed at Purdue? Let us know below!

Frugal Dates Ideas in West Lafayette

17 Mar

So, you’ve met the boy or girl of your dreams here at Purdue and you’ve finally struck up the courage to ask them out. The only problem is that you’re a college student and money is tight! Fortunately, there are plenty of low to no-cost date options that won’t make you look like a cheapskate. And they’ll probably be flattered by your creativity.

Have a picnic

A picnic is a great alternative to having dinner at an expensive restaurant. You can purchase food on campus (at Fresh City Market, perhaps?) or take the bus to Meijer or Wal-Mart for your picnic needs. Get creative! If you have food lying around your dorm or apartment, make a meal out of it! Don’t let it go to waste. Then, all you need is a cozy blanket and a shady spot to share a meal.

Take a walk or bike ride together

The campus is beautiful this time of year and there are plenty of grounds to explore. You may also want to branch out. Happy Hollow Park in West Lafayette has plenty of trails. Taking a walk together is a great way to spark up a wealth of conversation. If you both have bicycles, you may consider riding your bikes together.

frugal date ideas west lafayette-sq.jpg

Exercise together

This option may not be everyone’s cup of tea; however, the Co-Rec has plenty of fun options. You don’t have to lift weights or run on the treadmill if you’re not up for it. Explore the rock climbing wall together or go for a swim. You don’t have to break a sweat if you don’t want to!

Share a group date

Pizza, anyone? Group dates are a great way to cut costs because you can split the bill. This is also a good way to get to know one another without the awkward silences, as you will have friends there to help you out!

Plan a study date

If you met your dream guy or girl in a shared class, perhaps you could schedule a study date. Not only is it free, it’s beneficial to your academic career! You could find a nice spot outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, or hit up a library together.

Volunteer together

Who could say no to cuddling with cute animals on a first date? Volunteering together is a great way to give back to the community and get to know one another. It also looks great on a resume. Almost Home Humane Society and Natalie’s Second Chance are great places to volunteer, because who can resist the little fluff balls? But maybe puppies and kitties aren’t your thing. That’s okay! There are plenty of ways to get involved in your community and give back. You may want to contact the Lafayette Urban Ministry, as they are always looking for willing volunteers!

You don’t have to break the bank to win over your soul mate. Asking someone out is nerve-wracking enough without worrying about how you’re supposed to afford a five star meal. Being a college student will pay off eventually, but right now, we all understand the struggle. Do you have any foolproof frugal date ideas? Let us know below!

Grocery Shopping in College

16 Mar

Jo Marshall, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Now that winter has faded away, there’s one less reason to avoid grocery shopping and get delivery instead. Even if you’ve somehow avoided grocery shopping until now, this is the perfect time to do it!

You have decided to take the leap—the leap from childhood to adulthood. You are going to try to make your own food! …but first you have to buy ingredients. Grocery shopping can be an adventure in and of itself. Just finding the correct items in the grocery store and maintaining your budget can be a challenge.

The first time I decided to buy groceries, I chose to go to Walmart. I didn’t have a car and I knew that the bus route would take me directly to the store and back to campus. Even so, I was terrified that I was somehow going to end up stranded. I boarded the correct bus, but once the bus reached Lafayette, the driver announced that we were changing routes. Purdue’s campus was far off in the distance and I didn’t know what to do. Surely I could find another bus, but what if it also changed routes? I had to think fast. I found another bus that was heading to Walmart and decided to take my chances. Luckily, this bus stayed on route.

It wouldn’t have been that stressful, had I taken the time to look around on http://www.gocitybus.com/ to see which routes could get me there. Go City Bus even has a smartphone app that allows you to see where the bus is at any time. Because I hadn’t prepared myself for the trip, going to the store took longer than normal, and I was hungry upon arrival.

bus floor and seats; text overlay: Grocery Shopping in College

When I reached Walmart, I grabbed a cart and very slowly walked around the store. It’s not that I wanted to be lackadaisical, but rather that I wanted to find the items and I had no idea where they would be. I arrived in the aisle for my first item and was bombarded by the immense array of colorful advertisements and choices. I had never realized how many different kinds of cereal there were! Not only are there lots of different kinds of cereal, there are also lots of different brands of every single kind.

The thing about having a lot of choices available is that you are frequently faced with the choice of buying a cheaper and potentially lesser quality item, or spending more and getting an item that may not be better than the cheaper option. On this particular shopping trip, I made some poor choices when it came to which brand to buy. I spent more money than I had planned and came home with things that I didn’t need because I had been hungry. I also forgot several of the items that I needed the first few times that I went to the store.

As I learned after a few shopping trips, it’s best if I follow a few rules when I go. First and foremost, I no longer go grocery shopping if I’m hungry. If I go shopping when I’m hungry, I buy way too much junk food. It’s better if I take the time to eat beforehand. Secondly, I have learned that it’s best if I carry a grocery list. This helps me not to forget anything and prevents me from buying items I don’t need. It also enables me to estimate how much money I will be spending so that I know whether or not I am going to stay within my budget. Finally, I have learned from experience which items are okay to buy cheaply and which items areworth spending more money on. This is my personal preference but it’s definitely worth trying different brands to find the best and cheapest option for you.

I hope that you can learn from my mistakes in order to stay within your budget and experience less frustration than I did the first time you go grocery shopping. Shop away!

Spring Break Is Here! … Now What !?!

15 Mar

 

Splash park

Spring Break is here and I am excited! Are you? Even though it has felt like spring for most of the winter, finally time off from classes is here.  Are you looking to save money on activities, spend time outdoors, or find indoor activities when the weather isn’t stunning? The Greater Lafayette Area is brimming with outdoor activities during the summer from parks to trails to outdoor performances. You can visit the Lafayette-West Lafayette website hereto get more information on all the outdoor activities this summer.  I’ve gone ahead and summarized some of the activities below.

Lafayette/West Lafayette/Tippecanoe County Parks

West Lafaeytte ParksLafayette alone boasts 17 parks. Some of these parks have trails, some parks have pools, most of them have picnic shelters, and some of them are just soccer fields with a concession stand. Not to mention there are 12 more parks just across the river in West Lafayette! There are 3 sizeable parks with hiking trails in West Lafayette (the Celery Bog Nature Area only is 195 acres!) for hikers and casual nature lovers to enjoy. But in my opinion, the most diverse parks lie outside of city limits in Tippecanoe County. The Tippecanoe Battlefield in Battle Ground, Indiana, features a lot of history, including a monument in honor of the Battle of Tippecanoe; it’s also the start of the Wabash Heritage Trail.

Wolf Park

Located in Battle Ground, this park is a sanctuary for, you guessed it, wolves. It’s also home to coyotes, foxes, and bison. They have limited Photographer taking pictures of a wolfhours (1PM – 5PM Tuesday through Sunday) but it only costs $8.00 for an adult, $6.00 for children 6-13, and free for children under 5 to get into the park. There’s a BUNCH of fascinating events happening over the summer also, including Howl Nights every Friday and Saturday where guests have the opportunity to see the wolves in the evening and hear them howl, something you can’t experience during normal business hours.

Outdoor Art Trail

If you’re into 3-D art, this is the walking tour for you. Scattered across both Lafayette and West Lafayette are dozens of outdoor art pieces that you can walk around and see. There’s even a handy online map for routing out your own personal trail for the day. More information on the art pieces (like Candy Change’s “Before I Die” murals here in West Lafayette) can be found online to give you some background on what you’re going to go see.

Prophetstown State Park

Not only is this one of Indiana’s newest state parks, it’s also full of fun activities to do this summer. You can hike, ride your bike down the bike trails, camp, or even swim for a small fee in the Family Aquatic Center. Also close nearby is the Farm at Prophetstown, where you can take a tour of a horse-powered farm and learn about agriculture.

…but what if it’s raining?

Raining on WindowThere’s still plenty to do around the Lafayette area indoors too!

-Visit some of the area’s art galleries or take an art class (glass working, anyone?)

-Check out the area’s nightlife. Whether you’re a pub or a coffeehouse kind of person there’s something for you. Most places offer live entertainment on Friday or Saturday nights too.

– Love all things vintage? Head to downtown Lafayette and check out all the antique stores on the “Antique Trail”. (Or pop over to the Tippecanoe Mall to completely avoid the rain and shop both vintage and major retailers – the vintage store Hot House Market!)

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Greater Lafayette Area during the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Getting to Chicago during Spring Break

14 Mar

Raysha Duncan, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

There comes a time in every Purdue student’s life when they just want to escape from campus (or Indiana in general) for a few days, and Spring Break is an ideal time to do this. They want to go somewhere where there are fewer cornfields, more of a night life, and various food options. One of the biggest cities near Purdue is Chicago, so it’s a common place for students to go for a short or long weekend. If you’re ready for your weekend getaway but don’t know your cheapest transportation options, I’ve gone ahead and listed a few of your options. Some of the numbers I’ve listed below are for a specific weekend, which I’ve noted, so you’ll want to double-check your travel dates to verify the prices.

Lafayette to Chicago (Friday August 2nd to Saturday August 3rd)

Amtrak 

Amtrak Station

3/16: Departs from Lafayette at 7:36 AM, arrives in Chicago at 10:05 AM ($36)

3/20: Departs from Chicago at 5:45PM, arrives in Lafayette at 9:57PM ($36)

Total Cost: $72 and up

Total Time: 8 hours, 9 minutes

Don’t forget about how you’ll be getting around once you get there. If you just plan on walking around town, plan to be tired Chicago is a BIG place with LOTS to see. This way, you will not spend extra funds on your travel expenses. If, however, you plan to use the bus or subway, you will definitely be spending extra on that and should budget accordingly.

Driving

2 hours from West Lafayette to Chicago (122.5 miles)

2 hours from Chicago to West Lafayette (122.5 miles)

Gas: National Average at $1.93/gallon

Total Cost: $24 and up

Total Time: 4 hours

If you’re averaging 20 miles/gallon, it will take about $24 in gas to get you to and from Chicago. However, this does not include paying for parking or any driving you may do around the city. Parking runs anywhere from $3-$15/hour depending on the time and place you go. There are some parking lots in the heart of the city that offer flat rates for the entire day on the weekends, but you really have to search for these good deals and (as an effect of this) which could use up even more gas and money. There are several apps that you can download on your phone which can help you compare parking prices. Sometimes the difference in a block is as much as $20!

MegaBus

MegaBus 

3/16: Departs from Indianapolis at 12:35 PM, arrives in Chicago at 3:05 PM ($23)

3/20: Depart from Chicago at 3:30 PM, arrives in Indianapolis at 8:15 PM ($23)

Total Cost: $46 and up

Now, this seems like a middle-of-the-road choice, right? But, if you are a student leaving from the Purdue campus, you have to pay for both parking and gas to get down to Indianapolis. This company is fairly new to the Midwest, so Indianapolis is currently the only pickup/drop-off location in Indiana. If you have relatives in the Indianapolis area though, you could always spend time with them before setting off for Chicago or if yourself live in the Indianapolis area, this is probably the cheapest option for you. Much like the Amtrak option, though, don’t forget to take into account your transportation costs once you get there.

Lafayette Limo

Leave Purdue Memorial Union Follett’s Purdue West Arrive at O’Hare Airport Leave Chicago Arrive Lafayette
4:30 AM 4:40 AM 6:40 AM CST 8:00 AM CST  12:00 PM
10:30 AM 10:40 AM 12:40 PM CST 2:00 PM CST  6:00 PM
3:30 PM 3:40 PM 5:40 PM CST 7:00 PM CST  11 PM

Lafayette Limo

Lafayette Limo cost $60 for a one-way ticket to O’Hare Airport and $110 for a round trip back to Lafayette.

There are some considerations to keep in mind when travelling with Lafayette Limo.  Once you are in Chicago you will need to consider other transportation options from the airport to the city, if you are planning on staying in Chicago.  Lafayette Limo has strict pick-up and drop off times.  This could keep your Chicago visit to a tight schedule.  Lafayette Limo is mainly used as a transportation method for Purdue University students traveling to home during peak times (before and after each semester) which creates limited space during peak times.   On top of battling students trying to return home, the Limo may be full of luggage. A pact ride to and from Chicago has the potential to put a damper on one’s trip. Though, during these peak times you can rent Lafayette Limo and have a safe ride for your group.  You can find more details about renting Lafayette Limo through their website online.

Of the four options above, which do you think you would be most likely to use? Is your choice completely based on the prices? Or do you have another method of travel you like to use for traveling to Chicago? Let us know if you do!

Top Ten Places to Eat Lunch Under Ten Dollars – Spring Break Edition

13 Mar

Raysha Duncan Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
Updated 3/11/2016 by Casey Doten – Financial Aid Administrator
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

With Spring Break having arrived, we wanted to bring back some popular blogs with awesome information for the Purdue area for those who are staying. Purdue Dining Courts will be CLOSED during break, so here is our Top 10 list of ways to feed yourself if you are eating your lunch out. Look for any green text for updated information! 

I love having other people make me food, but I hate the price that comes with it. When I go out to eat I want good food and a lot of it, but I like to keep the price as low as possible. I’m sure all of you college students can relate to not wanting to pay a lot for food but still getting to enjoy your food.  My Top Ten restaurants in the West Lafayette area list is focused on what I enjoy: massive quantities of delicious food for cheap.

1-4: Giant Burrito Distributors

Big Bean Burrito

Here in West Lafayette alone we have 4 burrito restaurants (ranked in order of my personal favorites) Qdoba, Moe’s, Chipotle, and La Fiesta Burrito. The best thing about a burrito restaurant is that you get A LOT of food for a pretty good price. The big bonus at Moe’s and La Fiesta Burrito is the unlimited free chips and salsa with your purchase. Qdoba and Chipotle offer chips and salsa as separate side items, but will give you a free small drink with your student ID.

5&6: Sub Shops

There are a lot of sub shops in the area, but I only really like two of them: Subway and Jimmy John’s.

Both have great aspects about them:

subway sub

Subway: $5 foot-long months, huge variety of sandwich combinations, and unlimited topping choices. Be sure to get 10% off your sandwich with your student ID!

Jimmy John’s: that SMELL, delicious giant pickles, classic sandwiches, and their freaky fast service.

Subs are a pretty generic food option; but, there are lots of sub choices, lots of flavor, and lots of food. As college students, we are focused on getting the most bang for our buck, and you definitely get this at either of these delicious sub shops.

7: The Oasis

calzoneThis little shop in the Union has odd hours (they close at 3 on Fridays and aren’t open on weekends). But it is SO good and you get a lot of food. Each sandwich/wrap comes with a pickle and either a bag of chips or a piece of fruit. Now that’s a well-balanced meal! They have a lot of options for wraps/sandwiches as well. They are even kind enough to offer vegetarian options and *star* them on the menu. This year, they’ve started offering gluten-free wraps for a small charge, which is really nice for those with gluten allergies. Dining Services will be closed, so The Oasis will not be an option! 

7: Two Alternatives – Dairy Queen & Panda Express

DQ – Right in the Chauncey Mall and great for more than just ice cream. My personal favorite is their $5 Buck Lunch with a burger, fries, drink and, of course, ice cream sundae. It’s not a $5 deal but the Flamethrower Burger is huge and incredibly delicious. 

Panda – Something I never tried until I went to college (true story). Now I can’t get enough of their orange chicken. If you’ve never had it, do yourself a favor and stop by this week. 

8: Von’s Dough Shack

Located right next to Von’s Book Store, this tiny shack serves up HUGE calzones. They have 40 different options listed on their menu and a variety of sides to choose from. The last time I ate lunch there, I was so full I didn’t eat supper that night. Now, that’s a restaurant that’s worth paying for.

9: Packing Your Lunch

paper packed lunch

It’s not very cool, but it is economical, and it’s what I do almost every day. Packing your lunch costs you what you would usually pay in groceries, a few extra minutes in the kitchen, and possibly the price of a lunch box and/or portable food containers. The start-off cost is more than ten dollars, sometimes, but if you divide it over every day that you pack your lunch, you are saving a TON of money. This is even easier if you have leftovers from dinner the night before. Just reheat the next day and you just made the effort/ cost of one meal into two. 

10: KFC Buffet

The lunch buffet on Mondays is even cheaper than the rest of the week! Plus, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet; you can literally eat until you are completely stuffed. The Colonel’s chicken really is the best too. One sneaky student even pointed out that you could potentially sit there all day and eat while studying…  Just an option to keep in mind…

kfc chicken

50 Free Activities You Can Do This Spring Break

12 Mar

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

two people hiking

Spring break is upon us! You have so much time! You can do so many things! You’re so excited! You’re so….bored.  You’ve got a full week ahead of you. We’ve gone ahead and compiled 50 things you can do for free when you’re looking for something to do this week.

  • Go for a walk
  • Shoot some hoops
  • Visit a local park
  • Learn to do a cartwheel
  • Try to a handstand for a full minute (or longer!)
  • Clean out your freezer
  • Clean out your refrigerator
  • Clean out your pantry
  • Put together a donation bag for the food pantry
  • Volunteer at the food pantry
  • Bake some cookies
  • Take those cookies to your neighbor
  • Bake a cake
  • Learn how to ice a cake
  • Celebrate a celebrity’s birthday
  • Fill your ice trays!
  • Make lemonade
  • Go on a picnic
  • Use your apartment complex’s pool
  • Swim 20 laps
  • Finally learn (or re-learn) how to a flip in the pool
  • Scrub your bathtub
  • Clean the toilet (you know you need to)
  • Sweep the floors
  • Feng shui your bedroom
  • Fluff your pillows
  • Wash your sheets
  • Re-arrange your furniture
  • Clean out your closet
  • Throw away all your almost empty toiletries
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Volunteer at the animal shelter
  • Invite friends over to play board games
  • Learn how to play a new card game
  • Build a huge domino chain
  • Try not to knock it down
  • Give in and knock it down
  • Read a book
  • Visit your library
  • Read the magazines at your library
  • Take a walk downtown
  • Window shop
  • Go to a grocery store just for the free samples
  • Read The Exponent
  • Read a new blog
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Read the news
  • Watch your favorite childhood movies
  • Build a blanket and pillow fort to watch said childhood movies in
  • Sit outside and enjoy a (hopefully) sunny day

Smart Money Moves for your Internship Paycheck Pt. 2

11 Mar

Part 2: Post College Tips

Nathan Carmany, a Purdue Alumnus, is a Certified Financial Planner for Watermark Wealth Management

See Numbers 1-3 in Part 1: While You’re In School by clicking here.

  1. PREFUND YOUR LIVING EXPENSES

Seniors, set aside as much as you can.  When you find your first apartment or home, somewhere the move will create an unplanned expense.  Inevitably it happens, an extra day rental on the moving truck, needing kitchen utensils, towels, or boxes.  The money will help cushion for the unplanned expense.  Do not forget about the extra cost of hooking up utilities, cable, or the internet.

  1. BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUNDgraph spending plan final.jpg

Traditional financial planning calls for 3-6 months of living expenses set aside for an emergency fund.  Most people will experience at least one significant financial emergency in a three to five year period. It can be difficult for college students to save a full 6 months of living expenses, but setting aside a modest amount may prevent you from making a call to your parents when something comes up.  Like my grandmother taught me, place the money in a zip lock bag and freeze it in a container of water, then see how easy it is to impulse spend!

  1. CONTRIBUTE TO A ROTH

The sooner retirement savings start; the less you have to save over the rest of your life. The compounding of gains and interest early on are difficult to make up if you delay contributing until later in life. By saving it in a Roth IRA, the earnings are tax free after age 59.5, as long a Roth account was opened 5 years ago or longer.  That 5 year clock begins with the first contribution to your Roth.  If you need access to the money, contributions are removed first without any penalty.

  1. PAY DOWN STUDENT LOANS

Hopefully, you have been informed about the inability for most borrowers to ever declare this type of debt in bankruptcy and that prolonged periods of missed payments will lead to wage garnishment, a much larger loan balance, and the destruction of your credit score. The grace period on most student loans expires 6 months after graduation. Interest is capitalized (meaning that it is added to the loan balance) at that point unless you qualify under a different exemption. Paying down unsubsidized loans (make sure your loan servicer allocate it properly) with your earnings before the end of the grace period is a great way to cut the overall cost of the loan.

Wrap Up

Think about your upcoming needs for the summer, school year, or beyond graduation. Pick one of the ideas to best suit your needs and work on an implementation plan. No matter which idea you execute, a well thought out plan will serve you well.

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