Archive | January, 2013

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr … Indiana Weather

28 Jan

2007 Blizzard at Purdue University

2007 Blizzard at Purdue University

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Whether we like it or not the weather is getting COLDER! This is nothing new for Hoosiers, as the weather changes constantly. Pretty soon, there will be snow on the ground, ice will sneak in, the roads will be hard to drive on and everyone will miss the good ole days of high school when we had two hour delays and snow days. With bad weather comes the temptation of skipping class. I mean, who Family of Snuggies around a firewouldn’t love just sitting at home, snuggled in a blanket (or a Snuggie thank you QVC) with hot chocolate? Here are a couple reasons why this is a bad idea.

First and foremost we are here to be students. Part of being a student is going to class and doing well. This can be hard to do if you keep missing lectures. I know that there are online notes, a class book and of course Google but that doesn’t mean you can use them as a crutch.  Professors often mention valuable things in class that are not cover in online notes, the book, or could be found with a Google search. This is important to note because if your grades start to slip it could cost you more than just that ‘A’. In the end, if your grades fall far enough they can affect your financial aid and even a job opportunity. Part of financial aid is

Professor Morrison Purdue University

making sure you’re participating in class, which some professors do by attendance. Financial aid is also dependent on making Satisfactory Academic Progress towards your degree. So make sure you’re successfully participating.

Unfortunately, in the real world, there are not snow days and two hour delays. Although it stinks, college really is preparing for life after graduation. Excuses like “the weather stunk so I didn’t come in” will not impress your boss and some businesses might not even understand the reason of the roads being bad. A lot of employers think that you should have the foresight and planning to handle this so it doesn’t become a problem. So, although staying at home is much more inviting, we do need to get up and get going even when it is FROZEN outside.Frozen Campus Missouri

Then there is the issue of clothing. You spent how much on those snow boots, winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf? Are you really just going to let that be a waste? And what about that scarf grandma knitted with all her love for you? Don’t let them be in vain, use them! Now it’s okay to miss a day or two. I mean everyone gets sick (your peers will thank you for staying home) and there are definitely times we just cannot go in. We just can’t make a habit of it. So as much as it stinks, it’s time to put on a jacket and brace for the cold as we head out.

Students and Credit Cards: How to Know if a Lender is Safe

9 Jan

There are so many things to be afraid of when it comes to getting a credit card as a student. Creditors are known to prey on incoming college freshmen by mailing pre-approved cards. Unsuspecting students may assume that these cards provide the regular benefits of typical credit cards. Others have never taken out a line of credit and don’t yet understand the ins and outs of paying the money back in a timely manner.

There is no problem with college students taking out lines of credit. Expenses that come up during college are sometimes unexpected. It’s good to have a credit card around in case you need access to money in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to start building up a good credit score early-on and taking out a student credit card is a great way to do that.

Pen signing a paper

Pen signing a paper

The overwhelming problem with student credit cards often has to do with the lender. Many ‘deals’ proposed to student borrowers are shady and designed to mislead students into signing up for cards and making purchases that they are not prepared to handle.

These cards often come with easy spending deals that look great on the surface but quickly change to extremely high interest rates, where the students end up paying much more than they originally borrowed for the purchase. Or worse, they end up not being able to pay the sum back altogether, ruining their credit, and possibly getting the bill sent to collections. If this happens, the credit card companies simply write the cost off in their taxes, while the students deal with a huge scar on their credit report for up to seven years.

That’s why it’s important to make sure to sign up for a credit card that has the student’s best interests in mind.

The card should have no hidden fees and a reasonable interest rate. It should also have a very low credit limit, so students cannot continue to borrow into the thousands of dollars.

An example of this type of card is the SAFE Credit Union Student VISA Card. Here are some of the benefits, which are great things to look for in any student card:

This card offers a maximum $500 credit limit, which is very modest and an appropriate amount for a first card.

There is no annual fee.

A parent or guardian can be required to co-sign for the card, offering the student further protection.

Students can still apply and become approved, even without a credit history.

There is a 25-day grace period after all purchases.

There is no fee for cash withdrawals if done through SAFE online banking or ATMs.

You can bank with the program and use the credit card as a form of overdraft protection.

There are built in safeguards against unauthorized transactions, in case a card gets stolen or hacked.

You can compare credit cards online here.

Stella Walker is a writer for creditscore.net and an avid researcher of credit and insurance news. She is especially passionate about protecting consumers from credit card scams and helping students protect good credit standing.

Financial Resolutions for the New Year

7 Jan

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

Last year the 8th most common New Year’s resolution in America was to get out of debt. However, if you were to poll Purdue’s student population on how realistic getting out of debt was for current students, the student’s response would be laughable. Every year students rack up more and more debt in student loans to pay for their college education.  It’s impossible to expect any student to pay off all of their debt by working part-time jobs and studying for class all night long. Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s financial resolution for college students would be to start setting money aside every once in a while.

Climbing Out of Debt

Climbing Out of Debt

This sounds like a pretty hefty task when it’s not explained. If students stop depending on their credit cards so much and only borrow what they need in student loans, they could save themselves a little pain in the long run by minimizing their debt today. Cutting back on expenses doesn’t have to be painful, especially once you’ve had time to adjust. For instance, I love drinking coffee and I really love the delicious coffees sold in coffee shops, but I know it’s expensive, upwards of $5 per coffee. So, recently I started opting for buying my favorite brand of coffee and brewing it at home. A bag of my favorite brand costs around $10 a month. If I only have one cup of coffee every day for a month, I’ve already saved myself $140 for that month. Now, I do crack and have to buy a delicious coffee once in a while, but for the most part, I’ve become satisfied with a good cup of joe at home.

Coffee being brewed

coffee

If instead of buying a coffee every day, I put $5 in my savings account instead, I would be able to save $1825 in one year. Even if I bought myself a coffee just once a week to have a little treat, I could still save $1565. That sounds easy enough right? Just by cutting out one seemingly small, but regular expense in my life, I could save a lot in one year. Here’s the catch, in order to save the money, I actually have to put it into my savings account or somewhere else where I won’t touch it, which I haven’t been doing; but, I think I’ve found my New Year’s resolution.

New Year’s resolutions are meant to help better lives and reach goals. They’re not meant to be impossible to reach. Taking baby steps towards become more financially stable in college could definitely help everyone in their future. It’s harder to make drastic cuts in finances when they are already so small, but by cutting corners in expensive and bad habits, we could all definitely save a lot.

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