Archive | October, 2014

DIY Costume Ideas

27 Oct

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

zombies on the street

Photo by: rampant

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

90s doodle bear

Photo via Pinterest

Bleach Pen

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

Cardboard Boxes

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

cardboard robot

Photo by: fanime.com

An Old Sheet

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

Thick Black Eyeliner

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

Plaid Shirt

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

Green Tights

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

Footie Pajamas

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

Flo & Mayhem insurance costumes

Photo by: costume-works.com

Suits

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

 

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

What Are You Doing After Graduation?

20 Oct

Amanda Locker, Majoring in Environmental Science at Purdue University
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

girl gazing at mountains

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

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

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

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

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

Student Loan Repayment in the News This Week

16 Oct

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

b-w keyboard hand on mouse

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

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

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

From the web this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MyMoney Powered by Purdue Articles on Student Loans:

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

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

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

College Seniors Week 2: Paying Your Loans by Raysha Duncan

Downside of Student Loan Default by Brandon Endsley

Five Tips for Debt Reduction After Graduation by Julie Huser

Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans

13 Oct

From WiseBread New Graduate Help Center: Reyna Gobel, Student Loans Expert

girl surprised by letter

**Note from MyMoney Purdue**This article was posted previously (and semi-recently), but with May graduates grace periods quickly ending, we thought it would be helpful to post again!**

 

Dear Not-Yet-In-Trouble Federal Student Loan Borrower,

You might have heard that the Department of Education will be sending out letters to millions of student loans borrowers. The letters target borrowers whose grace periods are ending, as well as borrowers who exhibit signs of trouble that could lead to defaulting on their loans. If you haven’t started repayment yet but are fretting about how you’re going to possibly repay all that money — stop worrying.

I’m writing you this letter to not only give you important details about student loan repayment, but also to help you be aware of potential issues well before trouble starts.

I Defaulted — Here’s How to Avoid My Mistakes

I defaulted on a federal student loan simply because I didn’t know it existed. I had over a dozen student loans from different lenders; I forgot about one loan and went into default. It’s easy to do, but it’s also easy to avoid. Just log in to theNational Student Loan Data System. You’ll see all your federal student loans on this site, along with contact information. Either arrange to pay each individually, or consolidate them into one loan. This is also a great time to get a free credit report – it can alert you to any problems you might have, like having missed a loan or bill payment.

Then, know yourself. If you can’t keep track of each individual loan, you really need to consolidate them into one loan to streamline payments (ask your loan servicer about consolidation options). Once consolidated, you can still choose a plan where payments are based on income, such as Pay as You Earn. And if you’re interested in the public service loan forgiveness program, know that it’s only available through loans originated by or consolidated with Federal Direct Loans.

Realize That Even With the Pay as You Earn Plan, You Might Have Payment Problems

The income-based Pay as You Earn repayment plan bases payments on your income and family size, but it doesn’t fully consider your expenses if your circumstances change. For example, at some point, you may have to help support a sick parent or child. You could also have bought a home when your income was higher. After a pay cut, a majority of your income could go towards your mortgage.

If you experience a financial setback, you have three options:

  • Call your servicer and see if your Pay as You Earn payment amount can be adjusted. You have to supply your income annually, and you may have forgotten to do so this year, causing your payments to set based a higher income level.
  • Ask for a deferment or forbearance, which are temporary payment breaks. Taking a break should only be done if the situation isn’t permanent. Always take a deferment when possible over a forbearance when any of your student loans are subsidized. The government pays the interest on subsidized student loans during periods of deferment.
  • If your income is lower because you took family leave for six months, you may not want to change your plan. However, for long-term pay cuts where your income-based repayment is too high for your budget, you should ask your servicer to also calculate payment options and see which payment option offers the lowest monthly payment.

Don’t Feel Embarrassed If You Don’t Know Something About Student Loans

I wrote two editions of a 240-page book on student loans, and I still don’t know everything about them. I read articles and play with the student loan repayment calculators every day. There’s always something new to learn. For instance, the public service loan forgiveness employer verification form wasn’t created until after the first edition was released. Now, thanks to that form, you can find out if you qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program right away and register for it right after you start working or after you’ve already started repayment — the choice is up to you. Never be afraid to ask your servicer questions about any of these programs.

Talk to Your Friends Who Are or Will Be in Repayment Soon

I’m not the only person who has experience with and advice about student loans. Talking to your friends can help you figure out repayment options and possibly pick better ones based on their choices and experiences. Just remember, they might have different circumstances than you, such as income level, children, or other debt that impacted their choices. Therefore, you shouldn’t copy their decisions. But you’ll be more informed and learn questions to ask your servicer. Plus, they may have missed payments, recovered, and now have advice about that. Learn from others’ student loan mistakes and victories.

The Most Important Part of This Letter?

The help you get doesn’t end here. You can tweet me anytime — @ReynaGobel— and ask questions. My articles will be posted here every week. You can ask me questions in my CollegeWeekLive web chats or get more helpful advice in my book CliffsNotes Graduation Debt.

Finally, remember you never want to receive a “dear troubled borrower” letter. The second you think you might miss a payment, talk to your servicer about options for a payment break or new repayment plan. With federal student loans, that one call will likely save your credit.

 

Reyna Gobel is a writer, author, public speaker, and student loans expert.  Her financial advice appears on Wise Bread’s New Graduates Help Center, in her video course How to Repay Federal Student Loans, in CollegeWeekLive newsletters and keynotes speeches, and in her audiobook How Smart Students Pay for School, now in its second edition. Be sure to check out her website for more helpful information on repaying your student loans.

Frugal Date Ideas for Fall

7 Oct

Dayna Jones, Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

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.

allen leaves on dirt path  text overlay: Frugal Date Ideas for Fall

 

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, 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!

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