Ask the Expert, Budget-Friendly Ideas, Student Life

ASK THE EXPERT: Money Management for College Students

One of the most important responsibilities students will have to take on when they go off to college is managing their own finances.  While some students may have already begun to take on this type of responsibility, many others have not.  This is why we think it is important for students (and their families) to know what they should be considering as students go off to college and become more independent.  To find out more, we spoke with Paul Golden, spokesperson for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).

What are the biggest problems students face when they first begin managing their own money?

NEFE research finds that 7 in 10 college students will engage in risky financial behaviors that could lead to serious financial trouble. These behaviors include not paying bills on time, not making full payments on credit cards, maxing out credit cards, borrowing from credit cards, and taking out payday loans. Students who are more likely to avoid financial problems are those who have had regular discussions with their parents about managing money, have had some form of financial education before leaving the nest, and have had some form of income (from a part-time job) that has given them the experience of managing their own money.

What is the best way for students to set up their banking so that they (and their parents) can track their finances?

The first bank account a college student has should be set up jointly with their parents. This allows a parent to monitor the account and help the children balance their checkbook. If a parent has access to their child’s account, they also may be able to recognize poor spending decisions and help counsel their child to make better choices.

Look for a bank or credit union that offers checking, savings, and preferably, a debit card. Some banks provide special deals such as free debit cards, checks or ATM use to students and young adults. Once your child opens an account, make sure he or she understands how to keep track of their spending and knows about any related banking fees. These include minimum deposit fees, overdraft charges, teller fees and extra charges to use an ATM not owned and operated by their bank.

What are some key things students should know when it comes to managing their own finances?

The earlier students begin working on understanding their finances, the greater the benefits they will experience. The key things young adults and college students need to understand when it comes to personal finance for their age group are:

  • Cash management (establishing a budget)
  • Spending wisely (understanding the difference between needs vs. wants)
  • Having a reserve for unexpected expenses
  • Using credit responsibly
  • Using student loans only for education-related expenses

Are credit cards a smart idea for students?

A credit card can be an effective tool to managing money, but without a solid understanding of how it works, a student quickly can get into financial trouble. There are a few basic things a student needs to understand about credit before opening an account, including how interest rates impact the ultimate price you pay for goods or services; what credit limits are and what fees are imposed if you overspend; the importance of on-time payments; negative impact on credit score if payments are late; and what kinds of purchases are appropriate for credit cards.

Alternative options for parents who want their children to have access to credit in case of an emergency are a prepaid credit card, which works much like a debit card; a bank-secured credit card, with the card’s credit limit generally equal to the amount of money in the child’s savings account; or adding the child to the parent’s account.

What are some of the biggest problems students experience upon their graduation when it comes to managing their own money?

Some of the problems recent graduates experience in terms of managing their money are the challenges many Americans face on a day-to-day basis. These include not having a budget or a savings plan, not saving for short- and long-term goals, understanding the difference between needs and wants, exercising restraint when it comes to making impulse purchases, using credit responsibly, and not having a reserve account. Unexpected expenses happen to everyone. An emergency savings account provides peace of mind, but also lessens dependency on credit when unforeseen circumstances occur.

What is your advice to students (and their families) looking to getting ready for college and getting started on managing their own finances?

NEFE research has proven that parents have the most influence over how children will learn to manage their money, more so than taking a course in finance and having their own income to manage. Therefore, teaching kids about money must start in the home. It’s up to parents to recognize that they are teaching their kids a life skill that they will use every day throughout their lifetimes.

Parents should:

  • Teach financial lessons early and often
  • Role model by setting a positive example
  • Teach kids how to set a budget
  • Make sure children understand the difference between needs vs. wants
  • Teach children the time value of money and the importance of saving

Young adults should seek out information outside the home as well:

  • Talk to people at school
  • Financial aid office
  • Student life office
  • Tap into other campus resources

More About NEFE

The National Endowment for Financial Education provides a free resource to college students and their parents that covers the basics on starting to manage money. 40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know can be found online at www.smartaboutmoney.org.

Advertisements
Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas, Housing Advice, Renting, Student Life

Finding Furniture For Cheap

If you’re renting for the first time and your apartment is unfurnished, you may be wondering how on earth you’re going to be able to furnish the entire place on your own.  As a student it’s especially difficult because you’re working with a smaller budget.  However, you do have options.  That’s why we’ve come up with some ideas to help you you aren’t breaking the bank when it comes to furniture shopping.

Ask the previous tenants.  If you get a chance, ask the previous tenants if they would be willing to leave some of their furniture for you.  It’s certainly worth a shot to ask them about specific pieces you would want and offer them an amount you would be willing to pay for each item.

Ask you friends and family.  It’s always worth it to ask your friends and family if they have extra furniture that they would be willing to sell to you.

Check online.  At JumpOffCampus, we offer a “Classifieds” section that will help you find furniture.  Just check your area and see what people have posted.  To check out this section of our site, go to http://www.jumpoffcampus.com/marketplace_listings .

You can also rent furniture online.  Currently we are now offering a deal on our resources page for our New York metro users to rent furniture from Cort Furniture for 10% off.  To check out this deal, just check out our website!

Check local yard sale listings and flea markets in your area.  You never know what you’ll find when you visit a yard sale or a flea market, but you may just find the piece of furniture you’re looking for at a significantly cheaper price.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

Don’t pick things up off the street.  Although it may seem like a great deal, you may end up with more than you bargain for.  Let’s just say that you get what you pay for, and at Free.99 you’re getting just that.  In most cases, it will probably be broken, damaged, or it will be carrying some unwanted guests (i.e. roaches, mice, bed bugs, etc.).

Any pest is a definite concern when you’re picking up used furniture, especially free furniture you find on the side of the road.  Our advice is to just leave that freebie alone.  In the end, it will potentially save you more money . . . and a huge headache.  Especially with bed bugs, they are extremely difficult to get rid of once you have them, and they can come from the cleanest of environments.  If you don’t believe it can happen, just check out this article from Suncoast News.

Inspect ALL used furniture for insects and pests BEFORE you bring it into your home.  As we’ve mentioned previously here and in our post about bed bugs, you need to be especially careful that you aren’t bringing any unwanted guests into your home.  Be sure to use proper inspection procedures to make sure you’re safe.

Inspect ALL furniture for broken or damaged parts BEFORE you pay for it.  This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you don’t want to pay for something you can’t use.  You want to inspect anything before you purchase it to make sure that nothing is broken or appears poorly constructed.  In an article we read by Laura Coffey at Today.com, she explains that you should be sure to inspect all the furniture IN PERSON before you purchase it.  That way you can be sure you are getting what you are paying for.

Plan ahead for transportation.  According to Coffey, you want to be sure to prepare to transport the piece before you purchase something.  This includes moving it from where you bought it and moving it into your place.  You may also want to consider how you’ll move it out when you leave.  Measuring is a great way to do this and to ensure that you aren’t buying furniture you can’t even get into your apartment.

Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas, College Planning, Finances, Housing Advice, Student Life

Cutting College Housing Costs

College can be expensive; as we’ve seen in the news recently, there are a lot of students struggling once they leave school to pay back their loans.  This is why as Mark Kantrowitz explained in our College Financial Planning series that it is important to try to cut costs where you can.

Campus housing may be one of these expenses that you consider to cut when you’re evaluating the cost of attendance. In an article we read by Emily Driscoll at Fox Business, she explains that these costs can place a great deal of financial stain on families.  In fact, according to College Board reports, the average cost of room and board for four-year public universities is $8,887 and $10,089 for private schools.  This is why we’ve put together a list of different options for students and their families looking to cut housing costs and save some money.

Compare housing packages.  According to Driscoll, if you’re looking for cheaper on-campus housing options, you may want to look at residence halls with fewer amenities or those that are further away from campus.  We also suggest choosing housing where you share a room, as this will also reduce the cost.

Choose the meal plan that fits your needs.  In another article we read by Kim Clark and Beth Braverman at CNN Money, they suggest choosing a meal plan option that fits your habits.  Often students won’t eat at the dining hall for every meal; they will either just go without eating or eat a light snack for some of their meals.  Therefore, it can be a waste of money if you’re not eating at the dining hall for those meals.  If you never eat breakfast or you don’t each much, you may want to choose a cheaper plan, as this will reduce your room and board costs.

Work in a co-op.  According to Driscoll’s article, many universities offer co-op programs that allow students to receive reduced housing costs while they work a service job on campus. If you’re looking to save money, it is certainly worthwhile to check out your school’s website to see if they offer a program like this.

Check out off-campus options.  In some cases, off-campus housing may be less expensive than on-campus options.  Especially if you live with roommates, it may help to reduce the cost of housing while you’re in school.  While your school may not live off-campus during your freshman and sophomore year, you may want to evaluate your off-campus options your junior and senior year.

However, when you are evaluating these options, it is important to factor in the cost of food, gas/transportation costs, and utility costs into the price of off-campus housing.  You should then contrast this to what you would spend living in the dorms and eating in the dining halls.  This will give you a better sense of how they differ.

Live at home.  Perhaps the most budget-conscious decision could be to live at home, if you live close enough.  That way there won’t be an added room and board cost to factor in.  The only added expense you will really have here is gas or transportation costs.

Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas, Student Life

Greener Living on a College Budget

As a college student, while you may want to have a more “green” lifestyle, your ramen-noodle-every-night budget may restrict you from actually living a sustainable lifestyle.  Let’s face it:  you most likely won’t be going out to buy a brand new hybrid car, or putting solar panels on top of your apartment. In fact, when we compared standard cleaning products to natural or “green” cleaning products at Walmart and Target, we found that there appears to be an average of about 5 cent increase in price per fluid ounce or count.  That’s on average about a 69% increase in price!  That’s pretty significant when you’re already living on a limited budget!  This is why we decided to find some ways to help you live green, because it just doesn’t really make sense:  why does it cost you more to live a green lifestyle when it should actually save you money?

Use public transportation when you can, instead of driving.  In an article we read by Cecille de la Cruz at Suite 101, she explains that the less gas you use, the more you’ll save.  Especially with climbing gas prices, paying for a bus or commuter rail ticket could end up saving you hundreds of dollars per year and will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Avoid wasting water when washing dishes.  In another article we read by Jen Boulden and Heather Stephenson, they explain that you can maximize your use of water by scrubbing dishes in stages.  Instead of running the water, you can fill one half of the sink (if you have a double sink) or a large container with soapy water to first scrub the dishes.  You will then only have to run the water when you rinse.

Avoid wasting water when you brush your teeth.  Boulden and Stephenson explain that by simply turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, you can save up to 10 gallons of water per day.  That’s pretty significant, if you really think about it!

Take showers instead of baths.  Boulden and Stephenson explain that baths take about 50 gallons of water, while a 5-minute shower could only use about 20 gallons.  This is a great way to conserve water and to avoid high water bills.

Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.  In an article we read on the TLC website, a TV left on uses 100 watts per hour, a DVD player uses 12 watts per hour, a modem uses 14 watts, a standard PC uses 130 watts, a ceiling fan uses about .1 kWh per hour, and a space heater, and a space heater uses about .09 kWh per hour.  By turning these appliances off, you could significantly conserve energy and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars a year in electric bills.

Use cold water to wash clothes.  According to de la Cruz, using cold water to wash laundry will leave them cleaner and will help you to save money and energy.  In fact, she explains that it can even prevent clothes from wearing and tearing easily.

Recycle and re-purpose.  Taking the time to recycle cans and bottles is worthwhile, as those materials can be used to make other products.  However, you can also reuse and re-purpose products around your home.  For example, if you still get plastic bags when you go shopping, you can reuse those bags later as garbage bags or to carry other things.  They don’t have to go immediately into the garbage.

Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas, Cooking, Student Life

10 Ramen Noodle Recipes

Photo from ramennoodlerecipess.com

Ramen noodles are the college student’s best friend; they’re cheap, they’re quick to make, and they’re tasty.  However, after a week of ramen noodles for dinner, you may get a little tired of them.  This is why we’ve decided to share some awesomely easy ramen noodle recipes you can try to spice up your meal!

The Ramen Breakfast Burrito

2 cups water

1 (3 ounce) package of ramen noodles

1 egg

¼ cup shredded cheese

1 flour tortilla

hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water.
  2. Crack and beat the egg.
  3. Add the ramen to the boiling water, and then slowly pour in the beaten egg.
  4. Leave on heat for 3 minutes while stirring.
  5. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of water from the pot.
  6. Add the ramen seasoning packet, along with the cheese and your desired amount of hot sauce.
  7. Wrap the mixture in a flour tortilla and enjoy!

Chicken Ramen Noodle Salad

2 packages of ramen noodles

2 boneless chicken breasts

½ cup of croutons

¼ cup of shredded bacon

½ cup of Caesar salad dressing

4 cups of water

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add in both ramen noodle packages.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until noodles are tender and have separated.
  4. Take the noodles off the heat and strain out the water.
  5. Cook the chicken in a pan until fully cooked.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan once done and add it to the noodles.
  7. Add croutons, shredded bacon and dressing and then enjoy!

Doritos Ramen Salad

1 package of ramen noodles

1 small bag of Doritos

½ lb. of ground beef

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

taco seasoning (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put 2 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the package of ramen.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and separated.
  4. Take the noodles off the heat and strain out the water.
  5. Place beef in a pan and cook.  Be sure to fully cook!
  6. Once its done, mix together with the noodles.
  7. Place the Doritos around the mixture in a circle, and crumble any chips you have left on top of the mixture.
  8. Add shredded cheese and taco seasoning and enjoy!

Ramen Chicken Parmesan

2 packages of ramen noodles

4 cups of water

2 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)

2 eggs (beaten)

½ cup of milk

1 cup dried bread crumbs

½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup of mozzarella cheese

2 cups of spaghetti sauce

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Put 2 cups of water into pot and boil
  2. Once the water is boiling, add in ramen packages
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the noodles are tender and separated
  4. Take the noodles off the heat and strain out the water.
  5. Mix together milk and eggs
  6. Pound the chicken breast until they are ¼ inch thick
  7. Dip the chicken breasts in the milk and egg mixture, and then dip into the bread crumbs.
  8. Place the olive oil and chicken into a skillet.
  9. Cook until the chicken is brown on both sides and the meet is fully cooked.

10. Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the spaghetti sauce into the skillet where you just cooked the chicken.

11. Once the spaghetti sauce is warmed, add the chicken back onto the skillet.

12. Add the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to the top of the chicken and heat until melted.

13. Add the ramen to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes in the spaghetti sauce.

14. Remove from the heat and enjoy!

Caramel Ice Cream Ramen

1 package of ramen noodles (crushed)

2 cups of caramel ice cream (or any other flavor)

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. While the noodles are still in the package, break the ramen into small pieces.
  2. Put the vegetable oil in a pan and cook until the oil is heated
  3. Put the noodles into the pan with the oil and gently shake the pan as they cook.  Be careful not to burn them.
  4. Once the noodles have browned, you can remove them from the pan.
  5. Put your desired amount of ice cream into a bowl.
  6. Add the fried ramen to the top of the ice cream and enjoy!

Ramen Frittata with Ham and Cheese

2 (3 ounce) packages chicken flavored ramen noodles

1 tablespoon butter

6 eggs

4 thin slices deli-style ham, cut into medium dice

3 green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Follow ramen cooking instructions and cook until noodles are tender.
  3. Strain out the noodles from the water.
  4. Melt butter in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat.  Add ham and green onions and cook until tender (about 3 minutes).
  5. Whisk eggs and 1 packet of the ramen seasonings into a bowl and stir in cooked noodles.
  6. Shake skillet to evenly distribute ham and green onions.  Add egg mixture and sprinkle top with cheese.
  7. Transfer skillet to preheated oven and bake until eggs are set and the cheese has melted (about 6-8 minutes).
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Ramen and Rotel

3 oz package of ramen (any flavor)

10 oz can Rotel mild or original

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons margarine

water

Directions:

  1. Crumble the ramen noodles while still in the package and then pour into a bowl
  2. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the crumbled noodles
  3. Open a can of Rotel and pour over noodles.
  4. Add ¼ can of water
  5. Cook in the microwave on high for 6 minutes
  6. Stir in margarine and enjoy!

Vegetarian Pad Thai Ramen

2 ramen packages

1 16oz package of extra firm tofu

1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables

soy sauce

sesame oil

peanut sauce

Directions:

  1. Drain tofu and slice or cube into bite-sized pieces
  2. Place into a bowl and add 1 ramen flavor packet with soy sauce.
  3. Shake in sesame oil and allow tofu to marinate for 1 to 2 hours
  4. Cook ramen noodles according to instructions on the package.
  5. Cook frozen vegetables by stir-frying until done.
  6. Add tofu with enough of the remaining liquid to pan and continue to heat.  Stir gently until heated.
  7. Add ramen noodles and mix well.  Allow noodles to absorb remaining liquid in the pan.
  8. Remove from the pan, season with more sesame oil and peanut sauce and enjoy!

Girl Scout Thin Mint Ramen on a Stick

4 packages of uncooked ramen

1 16oz bag of dark chocolate chips

14 drops of peppermint extract

2 drops of spearmint extract

2 drops of wintergreen extract

24 lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks

½ teaspoon butter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Empty package of ramen into a bowl and crush until it has the consistency of bulky oatmeal or rice crispies.  Do not crush finer as the recipe will not set.
  2. Lay out wax paper.
  3. In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips until they become smooth and creamy.
  4. If desired, add butter.
  5. Slowly add mint extracts to the chocolate, and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Quickly pour over crushed ramen and stir vigorously until completely covered.
  7. Immediately spoon mixture in tablespoons onto wax paper to form round cookie shapes.  Mixture should flatten and spread considerably, so be sure to leave plenty of space in between.
  8. Place a lollipop or popsicle stick into each cookie before it harden.
  9. Allow to cool completely for about an hour and then enjoy!

Taco Ramen Salad

1 package beef ramen noodles

½ lb ground beef

1 small tomato, chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Thousand Island dressing

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to instructions listed on package.
  2. Cook beef in a pan until fully cooked and browned.
  3. Drain beef.
  4. Stir in ½ seasoning packet.
  5. Stir in onion, tomato, cheddar cheese, and noodles.
  6. Add dressing and enjoy!

If you’d like to find out more about where we found these recipes, just click on the recipe title!

Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas

Afraid to cut the cord? Some not-so-scary alternatives to cable

When you’re thinking of cutting your expenses, you may want to consider cutting cable.  However, I’m sure as you read that some of you got the shudders, and some may have even passed out.  You may ask yourself (once you’ve picked yourself up off the floor), “How will I watch my favorite shows” or “How will I stay entertained?”  Well, we found a wide range of alternatives for you so that you can still watch your favorite shows but you don’t have to cringe every time you get your monthly bill.

You could opt for a subscription option.  These services offer you as much content as you can watch for a flat monthly rate.  Most of you have probably heard of Netflix, which offers you thousands of titles and only costs $7.99 for online streaming.  As not all of their titles are available to stream online, you may choose to increase your membership so that you can receive DVDs by mail.  This option, while it costs more, is only about $16 per month.  Similarly, Hulu Plus offers a service for $7.99 per month for unlimited online streaming.

Blockbuster offers a similar service, however, it does not allow you stream online.  This service costs about $9.99 if you want to get 1 DVD at a time, however, you can get up to 3 DVDs at a time for $19.99 per month.

If you can’t live without your baseball, you may want to get a subscription to MLB.tv.  This service also offers a flat rate for every out-of-market game, which you can watch as it’s happening or on demand.  This service ranges from about $84.99 per year (about $7 a month), to the most expensive plan at $298 per year (about $25 a month).

If you’re not looking to commit yourself to a monthly or yearly subscription, you may want to try a pay-per-view or per-episode service.  Apple iTunes offers TV shows from a wide array of networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, MTV, HBO, ESPN, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, and Showtime.  Episodes here range from about $1.99 to $2.99 per episode and can be streamed directly from your PC.  Amazon Instant Video also offers comparable prices for both TV shows and movies, and these too can be streamed directly from your computer.

Vudu allows viewers to rent movies and watch them from a variety of different devices, including the Xbox 360, a Playstation 3, a Blu-Ray player, an HDTV, an iPad, or a PC.  The price of this service is $2 per 2-day rental, and they offer new releases before other online streaming services like Netflix.

A slightly more “old-fashioned” way of renting a movie is through Redbox, which allows you to pick your movies up from any Redbox kiosk.  Standard DVDs cost $1.20 per day, Blu-ray discs cost $1.50 per day, and you can even rent video games for $2 a day.  Blockbuster also allows you to rent or purchase certain TV show and movie DVDs right from their website.  These prices for the newest releases are generally around $4 to $5 to rent (depending on quality), and about $13 to $18 to buy (also depending on quality).

If you’re looking to watch shows and movies on your TV, there is a wide range of devices that you can choose from.  Many gaming consoles today, in fact, have this capability, including the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.  If you don’t own one of these consoles, you may want to consider devices like the Boxee Box ($149.99), the Sezmi (about $99), a Roku (from $49.99), or the Apple TV ($99).  Any of these devices will offer you a way to stream movies and TV shows from online to your TV.

Lastly, there are the free options (the best price EVER).  Hulu offers a large variety of TV shows and movies free to its users without any need for a subscription.  You can also find a lot of your favorite TV shows from those big broadcast networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, and MTV right on their websites.  Other free services include Fancast, TV.com, Veoh, Joost, In2TV, and ESPN.go.com.

Whichever type of service or device you choose, you will certainly save when it comes to watching TV or movies.  In an article we read by Barbara Thau on DailyFinance, she explains that if you chose to pay for a $7.99 per month Netflix subscription, bought 3 seasons of your favorite TV show (say 13 episodes per season at 99¢) in iTunes from your Apple TV box ($99), watched TV shows for free on Hulu, and bought an MLB.tv subscription for the year for $84.99, you would spend $391.77 per year.  If you compare this to Verizon’s basic cable plan, which is $64.99 per month ($779.98 per year, not including the equipment), Cox’s basic bundle at $80.94 per month ($971.28 per year, without the equipment), or Comcast’s basic package, which costs on average about $59 per month ($708 per year), you would save, on average, about $400 per year.  So no matter what choice you make, you won’t have to feel so lost without cable because there are alternatives out there that will still help you to save and keep you entertained.

Some articles we referenced:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/187189-2/cable_cutters_cheap_alternatives_to_tv_dsl_and_cell_service.html

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/03/best_alternatives_to_cable_tv.html

Standard
Budget-Friendly Ideas, Finances

7 Easy Ways to Save a Little Cash This Summer

We know what it’s like being on a budget.  That’s why we decided to give you some easy options to save a little cash this summer and still have fun.

  • Circulating air more effectively rather than running the air conditioning.  According to an article we read at QuickandSimple.com, you can save more energy by opening windows and using portable fans or ceiling fans in every room.  This will both cut down on costs and is also more environmentally friendly.
  • Cancel cable for the summer.  By cancelling your cable subscription, you can save at least $20 a month (if you’re splitting the cost with a roommate).  This also gives you more incentive to go outside.
  • Make iced coffee at home.  In the article at QuickandSimple.com, they suggest making coffee slushes.  To make a coffee slush, take coffee and poor it into ice cube trays.  When the coffee has frozen, just pour the ice cubes with cream and sugar into a blender.  Hit “Blend,” and walah!  Iced coffee slush!
  • Carpool.  Either to work, to your summer class, or just going out with friends, you can save a ton when you carpool with friends. 
  • Shop at your local farmer’s market for produce rather than the grocery store.  According to QuickandSimple.com, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, string beans, and red bell peppers are in season right now.  You’ll save when you decide to buy local, as local farmers will often charge less than a store for produce that’s in season. 
  • Use your microwave.  In another article on QuickandSimple.com, using your microwave for four minutes will generate less energy than heating dinner in your oven for a half an hour.  This way you can save money and time.
  • Stay local.  You can have just as much fun in your area if you are “in the know” about what is going on.  In an article we read at MintLife, they make the point that by staying up-to-date with what is going on, you can often find free events in your area that might tickle your fancy.
Standard