Archive | October, 2015

DIY Costume Ideas

26 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.

Your Federal Loan Repayment

19 Oct

Honest businessman

photo by: Debt.org

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Debt.org, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College. Join our Debt.org Google+ Community

 

As you fill out your intent to graduate forms and begin looking into the post-college future, your stomach might start to turn. You might start to panic and it may become difficult to breathe as you start imagining your monthly student loan payments. Stop, take a step back, BREATH, and let’s think about the situation.

But guess what? There’s good news!

Not only do you have a six month grace period after you leave school or drop below half-time attendance for your federal student loans, you also have numerous options for repayment plans. A grace period is a period of time after borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment where they are not required to make payments on certain federal student loans. Some federal student loans will accrue interest during the grace period, and if the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan when the repayment period begins. Repayment plans are designed to accommodate the needs of graduates entering the job market and receiving introductory salaries, while carrying the responsibility of handling additional bills, like rent, insurance, gas and groceries.

You do have options. If the standard ten-year plan with fixed payments is too much for you to handle, contact your lender to negotiate payments that match your budget. Not sure who your lender is?  You can view all your federal loans and their lenders online from the National Student Loan Database.

Which Plan Meets Your Needs?

Cartoon Family Portrait

photo by Yesenia603

Federal student loans come with a variety of repayments plans that are offering based on requirements such as income, family size, or loan type. Examples of federal loans include Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans, which could be Subsidized Stafford loans, Unsubsidized Stafford loans, or PLUS loans. There are three main categories of repayment plans for you to consider.

First, the Graduated Repayment plan will allow you to begin making lower payments. Although, like the Standard plan, this plan must be completed in ten years, the lower payments gives you time to increase your salary. Every two years, your monthly payments will increase.

Second, if the Graduated plan is still more than you can afford, the Extended Plan allows you to take up to 25 years to repay loans. There is more flexibility with this option, as you can choose between a fixed or graduated payment.

Finally, there are four different repayment plans that consider your income as a factor. Some of these plans also consider factors like family size, spouse’s income, and total amount of loans. Although these have similar-sounding names, each has specific requirements and formulas which influence the monthly amount you will owe.

Four plans with income factors:

Federal Loan Consolidation

While you are researching different payment cycles and methods, you should consider a Federal Loan Consolidation.  A Federal Loan Consolidation allows you to merge all your Federal Student Loans into one loan.  This can include your Subsidized Stafford Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Perkins loans.  Once all your Federal Student Loans are merged into one loan, you will only have one monthly payment and one interest rate attributed to the loans.  As you can see, a Federal Consolidated Loan allows for an easier way to manage monthly repayment.

How Can You Prepare Now?

cartoon roadmapGet in the habit of putting a portion of your paycheck in savings now, before you start paying back your loans. This will force you to make a budget and spend less every month, so when the time for repayment comes, it will be easier to part with this percentage of your paycheck.

The money you save up during your grace period can also be used as an emergency fund of accessible cash for unexpected situations. This cushion can enable you to afford your loan payments even when you have unexpected expenses such as a flat tire, broken arm or speeding ticket. Preparing yourself for the future can protect your loan debt from growing any larger.

Make sure your loan servicer has updated information, including your phone number and email. Your servicer will need this information in order to communicate any new information on your loans, including when your next bill is due.

Choosing a plan and taking a proactive approach with your finances can help you smoothly adjust into your repayment period.

Frugal Date Ideas for Fall

12 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!

Should I Buy These Shoes?

5 Oct

Amy Ledman, Financial Aid Administrator and Purdue Alumni
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

A common statement you hear people say is “live like a college student.”   To most, this means live cheaply or live within your means.  Trying to live within your means might be difficult when it’s your first time living on your own.  When you’re out with friends and shopping here are a few questions to ask yourself.

Do I need this or do I want this?  Keep in mind that it’s insanely easy to convince yourself a want is a need if your want is strong enough.  If you need something it means you cannot survive without it.  That means water, food, and preferably shoes without holes.  So if you’re on the fence of buying your 5th pair of sandals it’s time to step back and think if you really need a rainbow choice.  Or just maybe you should save this money for a weeks worth of groceries.

Will this be practical?  A good way to save money is by spending it wisely.  Say your professor states you need to dress up for a day and you only own flip-flops.  Clearly nice pair of shoes is needed.   This would be classified as something you should own, but be practical.  Look for a pair that is versatile enough that they can be used for different situations.  While the jazzy hot pink shoes might look fun a less expensive black pair would work and be more useful in the end…which will also cause you to not have to go buy another pair later.

sparkly high heeled shoe

sparkly high heeled shoe

Is this crazy or a good buy?  Even while you are being a cheap college student you also need to be not overly crazy cheap…or frugal if that sounds nicer.  There will be times when being cheap won’t pay off in the long run.  An example would be buying shoes that are $15 but end up giving you 20 blisters.  Finding something that’s low in price doesn’t always make you thrifty.  This comes back to being practical.  If you get 20 blisters you’re going to need to go buy another pair of shoes causing that $15 to sit in your closet.

These are just some quick questions to consider the next time you are out spending your hard-earned money.  If these questions don’t help solve your shoe dilemma then you should go walk around.  Leave your possible purchase behind and around the mall.  If the wish to buy your new shoes is gone then clearly the purchase wasn’t meant to be.

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