Archive | May, 2012

May Top Ten Group Date Ideas

21 May

Julie Slagle

With the smell of summer in the air and graduations season upon us here is May’s Top Ten Group Date Ideas.

At number 10…

  • Take a canoe trip.  You can bring a lunch and picnic on the bank of the river.

At number 9…

  • On June 25th have a half way to Christmas party: set up an artificial tree, or find one in the woods to decorate, cocoa, bring cotton balls to have a snowball fight?

At number 8…

  • Play doubles tennis.

At number 7…

  • Mud football game: always messy, always fun.

At number 6…

  • I still own some golf balls from group dates where we snuck into golf courses and dove for them in the ponds. Not sure that’s legal………. but great memories.

At number 5…

  • Eat dinner with your hands tied to the person next to you.  Napkin anyone?

At number 4…

  • Buy little rubber ducks at the dollar store, have everyone write their name on one and race them down the river. Prizes for first and worst.

At number 3…

  • Smoothies bar! Assign everyone to bring a kind of fruit, ice cream, and yogurt to share.  Chop, blend, enjoy, and repeat.

At number 2…

  • Ice cream sculpting! It’s melting! Melting! Oh, what a world, what a world!

And the number one May Group Date Idea….

  • Wal-Mart Bingo: mullets, curlers in hair, NASCAR shirt, no shoes on kids…call BINGO you win. J

Red Box vs. Movie Theater

15 May

Kim Youngblood, Purdue Report Writer/ Data Support Specialist

Movie theater ticket

Movie theater ticket

I am an avid movie theater lover.

Going to the movie theater is no cheap ticket, but it has several valuable benefits.  For example, the built-in surround sound, a screen from ceiling to floor, and comfortable chairs.   For those feature films that have action, great sound effects, and intensity, the movie theater delivers.

The cost of going to a movie theater, outside of the Sunday matinée, is upwards of $9 after 6 p.m.  Yet my theater experience has left me curious about cost efficient ways available to see a featured film.

Beside the cost, another drawback I have experienced is when you watch a movie in a theater; you’re in it for the entire ride of the movie.  Once the film has started, the theater doesn’t give you an option of leaving the room and not missing parts of the movie.  There are no rewinds.

In the last twenty odd years before Red Box, the public was limited to movie theaters and video stores when wanting to see a new film.  We need to step back and find the difference between the two and what we are really paying for.

A person is no longer limited to visiting a video store to rent a movie.  One of the things I like to do is rent a movie from Red Box.  Red Box delivers a home based, come as you are experience.  With Red Box you can get some good releases at your convenience on your terms of a great price.  A price that is less than one admission to a movie theater!

Red Boxes are located at many convenient locations for easy pickup and drop off as standalone rental stations.  They are open 24 hours a day.  You can easily rent  a movie while shopping at the grocery store, buying gas, or even eating out.  The cost is $1.28 per movie if you reserve it online prior to picking it up and $1.00 if you select it without online reservations.  This is all at your fingertips at any Red Box station.  You can find the new releases online or to place reservations for movies at

bucket of popcorn

bucket of popcorn

By renting a movie through Red Box, you can use the money you are saving on a movie theater ticket on popcorn, candy, or an inexpensive dinner for one.  The main plus is dinner is usually during the movie.

Other pluses are having intermissions, being able to check the last scene, and more.  In a theater, there are many limitations where this is not possible.

When determining whether to go out for a movie or watch at home, consider both the cost and the experience.  The first thing is to determine the budget and all items involved that you would like to do.

Who is going with you?  Why are you going?  Is splitting the cost of dinner and a Red Box movie at home possible?

5 Tips for Debt Reduction after Graduation

7 May

Julie Huser, Research Analyst, Purdue University

swimming in a sea of debt

drowning cartoon

With graduation just around the corner and student debt ever on the rise, here are a few tips to keep your head above water once you get thrown in the deep end. In the 2010-2011 academic year, Purdue West Lafayette undergraduate students who borrowed, graduated with an average of $27,286 ($314 monthly payment*).That is an average of $24,056 ($277 monthly payment*) for Indiana residents and $36,760 ($423 monthly payment*) for nonresidents. Consider these tips wherever you are in the borrowing cycle.

1.     While you’re still in college, only borrow what you need. If you live like a king in college, borrowing the maximum amount of loans offered, you will pay for it dearly once you graduate. In order to avoid the sticker shock of your cumulative student loans, take the time to calculate your monthly payments each time you receive another aid disbursement. There is a simple calculator on the Federal Student Aid website. Live frugally while you are a student, get a part-time job and live like a king when you graduate—or live a little less frugally anyway.

2.     Set up automatic account withdrawal for your loan payments. Some loan servicers will actually cut your interest rate by one or two percentage points after you sign up for an auto-withdrawal service and continue to make on-time payments for a specified amount of time. Just make sure to watch your account’s cash flow to cover your loan payments, avoid insufficient fund fees, late fees and a lowered credit score. A lot of times, you can specify a date that your payment is withdrawn. If you make the auto withdrawal date after pay-day, you can make sure that your student loans are your first priority.

mountain of debt

mountain of credit card debt

3.     Pay off your student loans first. Even if your other loans have higher interest rates or more fees, it is actually a better idea to pay off student loans first because it is often unforgivable, meaning that even if you do hit hard times and need to file for bankruptcy, you will still have to pay back the amount you borrowed. Defaulting on your student loans will wreak havoc on your credit score. Your wages can be garnished. Your tax refunds will be withheld. Even your social security income could be taken from you if you haven’t paid off your loans by the time you retire. That being said, these loans should be your top priority to repay.

4.     Make at least one extra payment per year. Make more if you can. If you pay one extra payment per year directly toward the principal, you will cut the amount of interest paid and pay off your loans in less time, freeing up future income for other projects. Inquire if you can automatically set up extra payments just like your monthly payments.

people talking around a desk

Talking about debt

5.     Think about negotiating the monthly payment of your student loans into your first starting salary. If you don’t, you are allowing yourself to take an instant pay cut. If you have $345/month payment ($30,000 student loans at 6.8 percent), your salary will be instantly cut by $4,140! You will want to say something about this once salary negotiations are underway, not during your first interview.

*Payments are calculated on 6.8% interest over the standard repayment period of 10 years or 120 payments per the federal student loan calculator (

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