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3 details you should know while preparing for tax season 2017

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Tax season can be an exciting time for savers. This year, more Americans are opting out of a tax time splurge and focusing on getting ahead with their tax refunds.

Early filers can still file as they normally would, but we’ve got a couple tips in mind for how your household can use this information to make the most of your tax time preparations:prep-for-tax-season

  1. File a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file.You can’t get the EITC unless you file a return. End of story. Since the IRS estimates that about 25 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, this is a vital first step in determining your eligibility.Bonus? If this is the first year that you are claiming the credit, you can use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2015, 2014 and 2013. You can file any time during the year to claim the EITC. Something to know: A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. Learn more here.
  2. Decide where and how you will file your taxes and know your free options.Unless you know your return is going to be complicated this year, paying someone to file a tax return should always be a last resort. Decide whether you’d rather file online or in person, and then check out these free filing options:
    • Use Free File on IRS.gov– This free software walks you through a Q&A format to help prepare your return and claim every credit and deduction for which you may be eligible.
    • Try the Free File Fillable Forms– If you’re comfortable preparing your own returns, this option is for you! It allows you to file electronically using online versions of IRS paper forms.
    • Visit a free tax preparation site– If your total household income is less than $54,000 a year, you can seek free tax prep at one of thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (M-VITA), and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites. To locate the nearest site, you can search online or call the IRS at 800-906-9887.
  3. Make a plan for your tax refund that accounts for the EITC/ACTC delay.We know it can be hard to come up with alternative funds if you already had plans for your refund early in the year, but don’t be suckered by refund anticipation products provided by many commercial tax return preparers. The loan fees will have you seeing red.If you start your planning by dedicating your refund, or at least part of it, to savings, you can get ahead of your savings goals. Enter  the SaveYourRefund promotion with $35,000 in cash prizes and 101 chances to win simply for saving a portion of your refund. For more information and how to commit to saving prior to filing your return , visit saveyourrefund.com.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

4 Financial Goals You Can Actually Achieve in 2017

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Did you know that January 17th is known as “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day?” Most people start the new year with big, lofty goals and they quickly come to realize they bit off more than they can chew. According to the University of Scranton, around 40% of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions. Of that 40%, only 8% say they actually meet their goals.

The key to having successful resolutions is to make sure they are simple and achievable. Rather than setting a goal, such as “lose 10 pounds”, try to set a smaller resolution that you can control like, “go to the gym at least 3 days a week”.
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In 2016, over 30% of Americans had a resolution to save more and spend less. In order to move closer to that goal, it’s important to set simple, achievable resolutions that will improve your finances. If you’re unsure where to start, try making any of these attainable goals your resolutions for 2017.

Saving Your Coffee Money
Coffee is a morning staple for so many people. However, those daily visits to your favorite shop can add up quickly. An average transaction at Starbucks this past year was nearly $9, that adds up to a whopping $2,340 a year! In 2017, set a goal to make your coffee at home. A new automatic coffee maker can be a great investment to ensure you get your coffee without having to spend the extra time and money every morning.

Cut One Service You Don’t Use
That $20 charge for a music-streaming service may not seem that expensive, but if you’re not using it, then you’re just wasting money you could actually be saving. Try laying out all of the expenses you have for services like these, in order of most used to least. For next year, cancel the service you least used this past year. Even if it’s only $20, it can lead up to $240 per year in savings! With technology improving more and more for streaming TV shows and movies, it may be time to finally cancel that cable subscription.

Understand Your Debt
Nearly every American will deal with debt at some point in their lives. From student loan debt to mortgages, it’s important to understand not only how much debt you have, but where it is and how it’s affecting your life. With the rising student loan debt each year, it’s important for graduates to understand each loan and how much their payments will be. To get ready for 2017, make a spreadsheet with all of the loan payments you have (education, car, home, etc.) and how much you can contribute each month to pay them off as quickly as possible. The sooner you pay them off, the more money you will save over the life of the loan. Also, the faster those loans are paid off, the quicker you can spend that money on something like retirement or that vacation you’ve always wanted. There are now even more services for graduates that allow to you refinance your loans, for a lower rate and even the ability to adjust or skip your monthly payment.

Brown Bag It
Grabbing that delicious salad from your favorite cafe may seem like a great idea in the moment, but doing that throughout the week can lead to a big chunk taken out of your bank account. The average lunch in the United States is around $10, so if you eat out every day of the week, excluding weekends, you will be spending around $2,600 a year just on lunch. For 2017, start bringing your lunch to work or school, rather than eating out, and watch just how much you save. Also, by making your lunch at home, you have the ability to control the portions and health benefits of your food.

Ultimately, whatever goals you hope to meet in 2017, just be sure that you make simple resolutions that you can actually achieve. Just like the fable The Tortoise and the Hare says, “slow and steady wins the race!”

Black Friday Shopping (without hating yourself)

22 Nov black-friday

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Black Friday is one of the strangest times of the year. Steep discounts on electronics and other items have people lining up and camping out for these “doorbuster” deals for hours before opening. So, how do you take fullest advantage of the Black Friday savings without regretting the missed hours of sleep? Depending on what you’re looking for, you may be able to save money without all the hassle.

If after scouring the various Black Friday ads, you have found a doorbuster deal that you can’t miss out on you’ll want to be prepared. Find out what time the stores you’re interested in open and plan to be in line well before that depending on the location. At places like Target or Wal-Mart expect people to be setting up shop well ahead of time. Some stores are also open on Thanksgiving for those of you who are willing to forsake their second helping of turkey. In the event you’re going to be part of a (hopefully civilized) mob storming a store, knowing where your desired item is beforehand will probably be the difference in getting it or not.

Remember to keep your receipts from your Black Friday deals that you buy for yourself and to get gift receipts if you’re getting a gift for someone else. It’s an easy details that you can lose in the chaos, but extremely important in the event you need to return it.

The doorbuster deals and people lining up for hours may get all of the attention but there are much easier ways to get those great deals without wasting your Thanksgiving evening or sleep. Aside from a few deals, almost everything will be available online for the same prices. A nice kicker? Many places offer free shipping with their deals as well. You can do this all from the comfort of your own home without waiting in the cold for hours. Additionally, you can wait a few days to check out the Cyber Monday deals as well as comparing with other stores online to see who has the best offers! Overall, you are likely going to get just as great of a deal by shopping online and comparing prices as you are with joining the crazies.

An often overlooked, yet easy, method to get great discounts is by giving into the store’s attempts to connect with you. Follow them on social media, download their apps, register an account on their website, etc. These are all great ways to get exclusive coupons that can add up quickly helping you save big without wading through the crowds.

The experience of joining the pack for the crazy openings may appeal to some, but to many others it is a hassle not even worth contemplating. If you’ve tried it and never want to see that craziness again, or just don’t even want to see it, don’t feel like you can’t get great deals too. Just like any time you are shopping for big-ticket items you just need to compare prices, amass coupons and other discounts and you can come out hundreds of dollars ahead. The work you put in to shop intelligently is well worth the minimal effort it takes.

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

17 Oct

www.purdue.edu/mymoney

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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

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

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

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.

Frugal Date Ideas for the Fall

13 Oct

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!

21 Ways to Save Money in Everyday Life

6 Oct 21-ways-to-save-leader

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Financial wellness results from making decisions that support financial goals or priorities. If you spend money on a video game, you are unable to use those funds towards a goal you have, such as purchasing a vehicle or taking a vacation. Lower your miscellaneous expenses by using any combination of the following money-saving strategies:

  1. Reduce the cost of utilities.
    a. Disconnect your cable TV service.
    b. Turn off the lights when not in use. 
  2. Stop spending for things you don’t really need.
  3. Stop paying for purchases with your credit card. If you can’t pay for it this month, don’t push it to next month!
  4. Put all your loose change in a jar. Keep it for laundry, or save it for unexpected expenses.
  5. Reduce your food expenditures:
    a. Buy in bulk.
    b. Don’t shop more than once a week.
    c. Buy only what you have on your list, no impulse purchases!
    d. Compare prices.
    e. Don’t buy more than you can use. 
  6. Eat out less frequently and less expensively.
    a. Treat eating out as a luxury.
    b. Eat less expensive foods.
    c. Use restaurant coupons.
    d. Take advantage of early-bird specials.
    e. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re upset.
    f. Order entrees only, not expensive desserts or appetizers.
    g. Split or share meals with a friend.
    h. Pack your lunch and take it with you to school.
    i. Save half for leftover lunch the next day.
     
  7. Learn to cook for yourself.
  8. Find an alternative to driving your car. Rely on public transportation, friends, bikes, and your feet.
  9. If you MUST have a car, try the following tips:
    a. Wash your car yourself.
    b. Purchase regular, unleaded gas.
    c. Look for coupons for oil changes.
    d. To avoid long-term expenses, keep your car in shape.
    e. Use cash or debit cards to pay for gas.
    f. Carpool with friends. 
  10. Find free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself:
    a. Matinee, discount movies.
    b. Local museums and parks.
    c. Ask about student discounts.
    d. Participate in sports.
    e. Join school clubs.
    f. Read books & borrow them from libraries.
    g. Hike a trail.
    h. Rent videos rather than buying DVDs.
    i. Buy season passes/book of tickets for activities you engage in frequently. 
  11. Take care of yourself, but look for deals.
    a. Avoid membership in trendy health clubs – use the schools’ facilities or the YMCA.
    b. Rely on coupons or specials for hairdressers/barbers.
    c. Don’t waste money on expensive cosmetics sold at department stores.
    d. Look for free-sample cosmetics, or purchase them at discount stores.
    e. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure instead of paying someone else to do it; have a manicure/pedicure party with your friends.
    f. Shop around; look for sales/specials. 
  12. Utilize cell phone plans that match your actual usage. No need for unlimited data if you’re in WiFi range 90% of the time.
  13. Stay away from the shopping mall and out of the stores (particularly when you’re upset or depressed).
  14. Avoid or reduce expensive luxury habits.
  15. Buy only products, clothes and food that you really need.
  16. Check out the costs of banking and negotiate what works best for you (e.g. avoid ATM fees, checking fees, designer checks, etc.)
  17. Don’t be influenced to spend by friends who have more money than you.
  18. Shop for clothes wisely.
    a. Shop at discount outlet stores, consignment stores, and campus thrift shops.
    b. Look for generic labels; avoid expensive name-brand clothing.
    c. Avoid buying and wearing clothes that must be dry-cleaned. 
  19. Select and purchase gifts only when they are on sale.
  20. Live at home or with a relative. Get a roommate.
  21. If you want or think you need something, wait a full 24 hours before you buy it.

Information based on USA Funds® Life Skills®. © 2002 United Student Aid Funds, Inc. Used with permission.

Choosing a Meal Plan at Purdue

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For the 2016-2017 school year, Purdue Dining & Catering will be offering six different meal plans. If you are an incoming freshman, four of these six possibilities will be open to you.

Boiler Flex Unlimited 500 Plan: For the Famously Hungry Student
If you plan to eat at a dining court three times a day, seven days a week, this is the plan for you, as you will have unlimited meal swipes. The Flex 500 plan is also most favorable for students who prefer to eat in retail operations, as it provides the student with $500 dining dollars (more than any other plan). Dining dollars allow students to pay using their ID rather than cash/credit at retail operations. The Boiler Flex Unlimited 500 Plan comes with an additional 8 meal swipes per week in one of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations. Students on this plan also get 8 free guest meals per semester, adding up to 16 total guest meals per school year. This allows students to bring in friends and family without sacrificing dining dollars or Boiler Express totals. This plan costs $5,398.Meal_Plan_Purdue_tall2.jpg

Boiler Flex Unlimited 250 Plan: Unlimited on a Budget
Students on this plan also receive the yearly 16 guest meals, unlimited access to the dining courts, and 8 meal swipes per week in one of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations. However, they get half the dining dollars of the previous plan ($250 as opposed to $500). The Flex 250 plan is more suitable for a student who does not plan to eat in retail operations frequently, but would still like to get in their three full meals a day. This plan costs $5,172.

13-Meal Track: For the Less Voracious Eater
This plan gives the student a finite number of meals per week. This plan is suited well to students who will likely skip breakfast in favor of sleeping in. With this meal plan, a student can purchase lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, as well as lunch on Sunday. As this plan has a finite number of swipes, the student is free to spend as many of his or her 13 swipes in any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. They also receive $450 dining dollars, allowing them to eat at retail operations or pay for friends at their discretion. This plan costs $4,554.

8-Meal Track: A Meal Plan on a Budget
This option is the cheapest, but it does not offer dining dollars to students, meaning they will have to pay with BoilerExpress or cash/credit at any retail operations. Similarly, they would have to use BoilerExpress or cash/credit to pay for friends or family. A student on this meal plan might have classes scheduled throughout the day and find his or herself only able to eat in the evenings and weekends. These students are also welcome to use as many of their meal swipes at any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. This plan costs $2,998.

If you will be a Purdue student at sophomore status or above, two more options are available to you:

Boiler Block Plan: A Plan Off-Campus Students Might Be Particularly Interested In
This option provides students with a total 246 meals at the dining halls throughout an entire academic year. This plan is also unique in that these students are allowed to use their swipes on their friends or other guests. If you choose this plan, be sure to stay on top of how many swipes you have remaining! This plan also comes with $450 in dining dollars so students can take advantage of restaurants in the Union or other retail operations. These students are also welcome to use as many of their meal swipes at any of our On-the-Go! or Take Out locations as they would like. This plan costs $4,292.

Boiler Gold Plan: Available For Hawkins Hall Residents
It consists of $1500 dining dollars and no meal swipes. As Hawkins Hall residents have kitchens on each floor, students using this meal plan might cook the majority of their meals in the hall and occasionally get a meal or two per week at a dining operation. The Boiler Gold Plan is a good backup to have handy when working on group projects on campus or if you need a quick Starbucks pick-me-up during finals week! This plan costs $1500 for the academic year ($750 per semester).

When choosing your meal plan, you should take into account the amount of meals you eat regularly, as well as your class schedule and previous habits. You can upgrade your meal plan to add more meals at any time, so if you start out on the 13-Meal Track and find yourself wishing you could eat more often, you can change your meal plan mid-semester. Purdue will then bill you the difference. However, you cannot downgrade your meal plan mid-semester; you will have to wait until winter break to change it. While the financial costs should play a role in deciding which plan is right for you, always make sure you are getting enough to eat!

On-the-GO!

On-the-GO! is your carry-out option for dining. Located adjacent to Earhart, Ford and Windsor Dining Courts, On-the-GO! provides a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and snack items. Beverages are free when you swipe your PUID and use the refillable cup that is provided to each student during move-in. You may use multiple swipes per visit in On-the-GO! On-the-GO! offers convenience for students who don’t have time to stop and sit down for a meal. The service is quick and the choices are many.

One meal swipe = 1 entree & 3 side items + a free refill in your reusable mug

What You Will Find At On-the-GO!

Cereal bowls, milk, muffins, bagels, yogurt parfaits, Little Debbie snacks, granola, cookies, Pop Tarts, Smucker’s Uncrustables, snack mixes, cottage cheese, apple slices, whole fresh fruit, pita bread & hummus, entrée and house salads, wraps, sandwiches, veggie combos, Coke, coffee and more.

All On-the-GO! locations are open to all Purdue students using meal swipes. You can use multiple swipes if you’d like. On-the-GO! only accepts meal swipes that accompany your meal plan.

Looking for options other than the dining courts? 7 Extra Ways to Use Your Meal Swipes

10 Steps to Financial Success

9 Aug 10 financial tips lscape

  1. Assess your station in life

    Taking an honest look at your wants and needs can help you prioritize what is most important to you right now. Do you feel good about your current station in life? Are you headed in the right direction?

  2. Plan for life changes

    Almost without exception, your needs are going to be different in five years than they are now. Whether you will be graduating, getting married, having children, or switching careers, there will be changes to account for. The best thing you can do is to be prepared for them.

  3. Invest in yourself10 financial tips portrait.jpg

    The one person you have to live with your entire life is you. Taking care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically on a consistent basis will reap lifelong benefits. In addition, challenge yourself to improve and try new things because a good investment should focus on growth, not staying the same.

  4. Write down your goals

    Having goals gives you something to work toward. Writing these goals down makes your plans concrete and more likely to materialize.

  5. Keep adequate records

    In addition to keeping track of tax and other documents for an appropriate length of time, you also want to keep records of your spending habits. You might feel like you’re spending too much on something, like eating out, but being able to track your spending will help you find out for sure.

  6. Pay yourself first

    Saving money can be simple or nearly impossible. If you take money from your paycheck and immediately deposit it into a savings account, it’s easy (completely effortless if via direct deposit). If you try to scrape together what’s left at the end of a pay period and deposit it to savings, or keep it sitting in your checking account, it’s almost impossible. Be sure your bills are paid, but consider setting aside a certain amount for savings each pay period.

  7. Cut expenses

    Even the most frugal among us have places where we can afford to cut costs in some capacity. For the average person, things like reducing bills, food costs, or under-used entertainment and gym memberships can make a significant financial impact in the short term.

  8. Spend much less than you earn

    Spending just a little less than you earn is a good way to perpetually live paycheck to paycheck. However, if you can reshape your

  9. Pay down your debt

    Debt can be an enormous stressor and it doesn’t get better by itself. Every dollar that you can pay back ahead of time is a dollar that doesn’t collect interest. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

  10. Create a budget and stick to it

    After you’ve gone through the first nine steps, this one is easy. Once you have an honest assessment of where you are and where you’re hoping to go, you can begin creating your budget. Design your budget so that you can pay for your needs, as well as the wants you have prioritized. The key is following through on your budget! Remember that the budget is simply a spending plan of where you want your funds to go. If you fail to follow through, you will hurt yourself, both now and in the future.

Finding Good Deals Without Being an Extreme Couponer

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By Lexie M. Porter, Purdue University student and Peer Counselor for the Division of Financial Aidfinal 2 - coupon - photo-1464374288807-174911d4adb9

Between your classes and extracurricular activities, there is just no time to become an extreme couponer. You would have to set aside countless hours of your day to search for coupons to cover the cost of your entire grocery list. This might sound feasible for some, but if the lifestyle of an extreme couponer isn’t for you, keep reading.

Below, you will find a few tips on how to take advantage of coupons and deals without wasting too much time.

Check websites for coupons

As a college student, you must be quite familiar with the internet. Many of you probably spend your entire day in front of a computer or smartphone. While you’re there, why not set aside some time to coupon browse? If you check a store’s website, you can generally find printable coupons that can be used  in store. This is a great tool to use if you plan on going to a specific location; however, if you know that you want a specific item, Retailmenot.com offers coupons that can be used at multiple stores. Just search an item and you will find a variety of coupons and promo codes..

Go to a store and pick up a weekly ad.

It’s okay if you didn’t have time to print off coupons at home. As soon as you walk into a store, pick up a weekly ad. While you’re pushing that cart up and down the aisles, browse through the ad. You’ll be able to find various coupons for the items you need. If an item happens to be out of stock, many stores can give you a rain check. With a rain check, you will be able to come back to the store at a later date and receive that item for its originally discounted price. Rain checks are great for items that you don’t need right away, but still want. Remember that items generally take about a week to be restocked.

Browse your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for deals.

It’s no secret that you browse through your social media at least once a day. So why not browse your social media for deals? On any social media website, you have the option to follow anyone or anything you choose. Try following your favorite stores and checking for deals on their accounts. If you follow a store on a social media website, you will be able to see deals in your feed. Since browsing social media is a part of your everyday routine, take advantage of this opportunity to find deals and save money.

Last, but not least, GO TO CLASS.

Did you know that if you go to class, you can save money? It sounds like a strange concept, but it is completely legitimate. Have you heard of the app Pocket Points? Pocket Points is an app that rewards you with deals if you go to class. Once you get to class, turn the app on and don’t touch your phone until class is finished. While in class, the longer you go without touching your phone, the more points you will earn. These points can get you deals from your favorite clothing stores or free cookies from Insomnia Cookies. So why not download a free app for free cookies?

Keep in mind that these are only a few ways in which you can save money while shopping. If you want to try something else, go for it! Do whatever you can do to save money in college and remember that saving money now will save you later

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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