7 Summer Jobs for College Students

It’s springtime, and if you are a college student this is the prime time to be thinking about that summer job you’re hoping to get. There are the typical summer jobs out there  working in a grocery store, waiting tables, parking cars and cutting lawns  but there also jobs that offer both better pay and working conditions.

Here are just a few


Just because you are out of school for the summer doesn’t mean everyone else is. There are high school and college students who are either taking summer school courses, or are taking advantage of the long break to strengthen their understanding of subjects they are weak in.

If there are any subjects that you are particularly strong in, you can offer your services out as a tutor. You can do it through your own college, or through local high schools. Parents and students often need good tutors and turn to the schools because they don’t know where else to go. If you’re on the list, you can be making $30 an hour tutoring, rather than working in a burger joint at minimum wage.

Camp counselor

Summer camps are very popular, and they’re about a whole lot more than camping. They can be sports or recreation related, or they can even be instructional or musical. If you have an aptitude in any these areas and have the patience to work with kids, this can be a very rewarding summer job. The pay isn’t always the best, but the working conditions are usually a lot less stressful than most other jobs.

Lifeguard/pool maintenance

Summertime means swimming, and that means all kinds of job opportunities open up at pools and beaches all over the country. You can either work as a lifeguard, or doing pool maintenance. As a lifeguard, you usually have to have proper certification, and that will vary somewhat from one state or community to another. But if you’d rather be around a pool or at the beach during the summer, this could be the job for you.

Golf caddy

If you like golf, being a caddy would be an opportunity to spend more time out on the golf course, and get paid for doing it. In most places, summer is high time for golf, and there are plenty of jobs all around.

Movie theater attendant

With the possible exception of working at a pool or beach, there’s probably no better job in the summer heat than working as an attendant in a movie theater. You will be working in air-conditioned comfort with access to free or discount movies – while your friends are out pushing lawnmowers and painting houses in the hot sun. Movie viewer-ship tends to peak in the summer, so jobs are not hard to find.

Any job in a hotel

Since summertime is also peak travel season, hotels are looking for staff for virtually all positions. There’s probably some job within the hotel industry that you would find very agreeable. One of the biggest advantages here is that it could pave the way for a career in the hotel industry later on.

For the most part, you will have very pleasant working conditions  again, working primarily in an air-conditioned environment as well as the opportunity to meet a large number of very interesting people. If you’re close to graduation, working in a hotel may also be a good way to begin networking for the position that you’ll be looking for to start your full-time career – networking opportunities will be everywhere in a hotel.

House sitting

These jobs aren’t that common but they’re close to a dream situation if you can find one. Many people especially the wealthy take extended summer vacations where they will leave their homes for weeks, or even for the entire summer. You may have the choice of either looking in on a house several times a week, or even living at the house while the owners are gone. In the second scenario, you not only have a paycheck, but you also have free living accommodations for the summer.

Are there other summer jobs you have held in the past that you would recommend to others?

How to Balance a Job with College

collegeIf you’re trying to get your college education while taking on as little debt as possible, one of the best ways to do this is by working your way through. This can not only help in paying for school related expenses, like tuition, books and fees, but it can also cover immediate living expenses, like housing, transportation, food and entertainment.

But as good as that sounds, attending college full time and holding a job is a difficult mix. This is especially true if you’re taking a heavy course load or working toward one of the more challenging majors.

How do you balance a job with college?

Live at home where family runs the household

If you’re going to school and holding a job you probably won’t have time for doing much else. That will include running a household (cleaning, shopping, doing laundry, etc). By living at home, you’ll have family members to do most of the chores. After all, if you aren’t home much then no one can expect you to do chores!  Also, living at home will help you save money so you won’t have to take any quick loans out to cover your rent payments.

One other benefit hereâ”college campuses aren’t the most conducive environments for study and work. You can easily be distracted by other students who maybe don’t have to work their way through school or who prefer to rely more heavily on student loans.

Attend school at a local or in-state college

You’ll have to do this anyway if you live at home, but attending a school close to home has a major benefit when it comes to jobs. Where you’ve lived the longest is also the place where you know the largest amount of people. It’s also where you know the lay of the landâ. Simply put, you’ll probably find it much easier to land a job on your home turf than you will be in a remote college town.

Also, college towns tend to have high competition when it comes to the jobs you’ll be looking for. Thousands of kids in a college town will be competing with you for the jobs you want, and that raises the chance that you won’t find one. At home, you’ll have a better chance of finding a job, and a replacement job if you lose that one. Unless of course your home town also happens to be a college town.

Take courses in summer to even out the course load during the school year

During my college years I usually took a couple of courses over each summer. By doing this, I was able to take four courses instead of five during the fall and spring semesters, which made it easier to hold a job. One summer I even took four courses so that I could catch up from a very light fall semester the year before.

If you take summer courses, it’s best to take easier ones. Because they’re shorter, summer courses tend to by concentrated and that can be a problem with meatier subjects. A philosophy sequence would work well, but a physics sequence could defeat the purpose.

Get a job that blends well with college

The last thing you need when you’re a full time student is a job that requires a lot of hours and leaves you drained. That could lead to burnout in short order. The better course is to find a job that will blend better with school. That will mean a) considerable flexibility when it comes to scheduling, and b) one that isn’t physically, mentally or emotionally draining.

One job I found to fit the bill perfectly was being a security guard. I worked a lot of hoursâ”which meant a larger paycheckâ”but it was always on the weekends and in the evenings and never during school hours. There’s virtually no stress in that kind of job so it didn’t take away from my school efforts.

The job had another benefit that any college student can appreciate. Because of the low stress and long hours, I had plenty of time to do my homework! As a security guard, I was mainly being paid to be on site just in case something happenedâ”a mechanical breakdown or a fire for example. None of that ever happened, so most of my time was spent doing my homework. In fact, it was like getting paid to do my homework! I never did my homework at home while I was attending schoolâ”I did it all at work.

There was plenty of company at that job too. Most of them were other college students like me!

You don’t have to work as a security guard (though I highly recommend it for students) but if you can find a job that’s similar, it can really help you in paying for school. And it can do it without pulling you away from your studies.

How are youâ”or how did youâ”balance a job with college?

photo by jimmyharris

9 Tips to Graduate College Without the Chains of Debt!

graduate debt freeWith the costs of college tuition and living expenses skyrocketing, I hear a lot of people, particularly teenagers in high school, talk about whether it is possible to graduate from college without incurring any debt.

The truth is, despite the rising costs recently, it is possible for someone to obtain a degree without burdening themselves with student loans.

I myself was able to pull it off due to a combination of planning, saving, and generous assistance from family and relatives.

In order for it to happen, though, someone has to make it a priority, not merely wishful thinking or an afterthought. Avoiding debt in higher education requires thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making.

To help out, here are a few things I learned along the way which could be of use to those who either are about to embark on their college journey or have children or younger siblings who have a few more years before they have to worry about it.

1. Get a job ASAP

I got a job as a sophomore in high school working as a birthday coordinator (yes, that was the actual title) for a local recreational place near my house. I then got another job as a clerk at the local grocery store and worked continuously until the week before I left for my first day of college.

Getting a job as early as possible is important not only because it helps pay towards your college, but it also teaches you skills which you help be successful in college. For example, my senior year I ran on the cross country and track team in addition to my grocery clerk job. This meant I had to be up at around 6 a.m,. , leave home at 7 a.m. in the morning, finish cross country practice at 5:30 p.m. and not get back home until 10 p.m.

To survive, I had to be organized and efficient with my time. I had to learn how to cram in study sessions in between lunch breaks at work or before school and sports practice.

The discipline I had acquired from that really helped me my final quarter of college, when I was working as the news editor for the university student newspaper while also taking 22 credits.

2. Save, save, save

When I first saw money trickle into my bank account, there was a terrible temptation to spend some of it. Occasionally, I did. After all, it seems as though you can afford to spend small amounts, especially when the number rises into the thousands of dollars.

The problem is it’s an illusion. Although your savings may seem like a lot, remember it’s going to pay for several years of college amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. You will need every penny.

After deducting a small amount of your paycheck for tithing and expenses, tuck the rest of it away in a savings account and don’t touch it. It won’t accumulate much interest, but you will be less tempted to spend it there, especially if you love your debit card. I made the mistake of making lots of small orders on Amazon.com, thinking I wasn’t spending much, until I counted up the total spending and realized how much it actually turned out to be.

Don’t let spending creep up on you by avoiding unnecessary purchases.

3. Take as many Advancement Placement classes you can where you have a realistic chance of passing the test

While in high school I took three separate AP classes, all of them social studies-related. And I passed all three tests and got college credit for it.

There was a reason I didn’t bother in math or science; I was terrible at both. Today, there is a strong push, depending on your school district, to take AP classes, and even more pressure to take the test. Don’t listen to anyone except yourself on this. As Dirty Harry said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Know yours. Take only the AP classes where you either have the time to study or the material comes easy to you and you won’t have trouble with the test.

I say this because when it comes to college, the test is all that matters. If chances are you won’t pass the test, you risk taking a class where you won’t receive any college credit, and all the hard work and studying will only take away time you could have dedicated to your other classes.

By taking AP classes, and passing the tests, I freed myself up from several requisite courses which, in addition to other decisions, enabled me to graduate two quarters early.

4. Do running start for the last two years of high school

This was one big regret of mine from high school. I never took running start, and looking back if I could have I would have done it in an instant. Aside from some extra costs, it is essentially two free years of college that also count as two years of high school. When you eventually go to the college of your choice, you will have two years already completed, freeing you up to pursue other courses. The downside to this option is that it will separate you socially from the rest of your high school peers, but if you’re participating in a sport of other extra curricular activity this won’t have as much of an impact. And frankly, sparing yourself two years financially of college is worth the juvenile social drama.

5. Be realistic about the colleges you can afford

I do say this with somewhat of a side note: this is for people who are interested mainly in obtaining a degree with incurring debt and don’t have a specific college in mind, or their financial capacity to afford it is the highest priority. If you aspire to attend a prestigious private university or Ivy League school, where the costs are substantially higher, or your career involves an extended education, i.e. doctor, lawyer, master’s degree, it becomes increasingly contingent upon your financial background and the scholarship money/financial assistance you receive if you still want to graduate debt free.

From the get-go, I selected colleges I could afford based on the amount of money I had saved, would make during the summers in-between school, and other financial assistance I received from my family. Depending on your circumstances, i.e. scholarships, financial assistance, family finances, you may have a greater range of colleges to attend than others.

For me, it was mostly confined to in-state public universities, so my options were somewhat limited. The university I ultimately chose, Eastern Washington University, had one of the lowest tuition rates in the state (tuition has spiked since, though). But I was realistic about what I could afford.

If you’re in college

6. Try to work a part time job during the school year

This is easier when you’re attending a college located within a larger city, where more jobs are available, but if you can, try to find some way to make money while you’re at school. Thanks to Craigslist, you can often find part-time or freelance work in your region, or apply for one after the school year starts. You can also apply for jobs at the university you attend. One popular job at my university for students was working in the library. Others tutored or taught music lessons.

This is beneficial because working year round, rather than merely during the summer, will help even if it’s confined to the weekends or a few hours in the afternoon each day. It can be difficult, though, for those with greater academic loads or more rigorous courses.

Additionally, if the job happens to give you career-related work experience, it’s two birds with one stone, so to speak.

7. Take classes you have to take to graduate, not ones you want to take

Most universities have a list of requisite courses you’re required to take in order to graduate. Some of them give you flexibility as to the course. Others do not. I took lots of literature courses, such as Shakespeare or Western Literature, but they all applied to my general course requirements.

What I’ve found after college, however, is that many classes I took, purely out of my interest on the subject, were a waste. With the Internet, you can not only study the subject just as thoroughly for free on many websites, but you can also check out the required reading for the course, order the books online or from a library, and then study at your leisure. This certainly isn’t the most orthodox manner in which to educate yourself, but it will certainly save you more than a buck.

8. Cut costs any way you can

I know you’re supposed to “have fun” in college, but “having fun” shouldn’t bankrupt you. This is the time to be frugal and not get harangued for it. Shop at thrift stores where you can buy second-hand items for dirt cheap. When you shop for food, buy inexpensive, but healthy products like fruits, vegetables, and pasta. And stay away from the liquor section of the grocery store.  Try to avoid things like cash loans.  Instead, work additional part time jobs!

Some universities require you to live on campus for the first year which include their meal plans; if you can, avoid it. Generally speaking, their “meal plans” are the equivalent of a coal mining company “truck system.” Since they control where you spend your meal plan dollars, they can set the prices as high as they like.

If you are required to live in the residential halls, get the cheapest meal plan you can and shop for the rest. When purchasing books for classes, there are dozens of ways to either avoid the eye-gauging prices at the university bookstore or paying for them at all. for the first two quarters my freshmen year, I had to buy only two full-priced books; the rest were either borrowed or the earlier edition, which is usually 10-20 percent of the original price.

If you aren’t required to live in the residential halls, be willing to settle for less than you’re accustomed to at home when it comes to your living situation. After living in my (Beta Theta Pi) fraternity house for two and a half years, I moved into a slightly renovated miner’s shack from the Great Depression after finding it on Cragislist. It was 300 square feet. No insulation between the single board walls. The temperature never got above 60 degrees even with the electric baseboard heaters on day and night. When the temperature outside dipped down to near zero degrees, I woke up in the mornings with frost on my side of the walls stuck to my blanket.

Was it a sultan’s palace? Not really. But it was cheap and a monthly lease, which is exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t recommend this for 99 percent of people, but if you can find a cheaper place with less amenities than usual, give it a thought before you turn it down.

9. Pray about your decisions before you make it, and keep praying

This is something I really didn’t do until my last year of college, and I very much regret, but before you make major decisions about what school to attend and what career to go into, the best thing you can do is to pray about it.

As a Christian, your life isn’t just about what you want, but what God wants, and often they are not the same. For example, you may wish to attend a certain college or get a certain degree, but God could have other plans for you. Or, they may be the same. The only way to find out is to pray about it.

I regret not praying over it because after I chose which university to attend I got anxious about whether or not I had made the right choice. I also know people who were dead set on graduating from a certainty university, only to find themselves, due to circumstances mostly beyond their control, end up elsewhere.

But prayer shouldn’t stop there. The desire to remain debt-free is biblical, so there is nothing wrong with asking God for help in that endeavor. Just remember to pray, not wish.

photo by smemon

Why College Students Shouldnâ™t Have Credit Cards

credit cardThere was a time when it was impossible to get a credit card if you didn’t have a proven means to repay the debt. No more. Credit card lenders learned something a couple of decades ago that they’re using for all it’s worth: extending credit cards to college students guarantees customers later in life.

Today, nearly every college student has one or more credit cards. Most will handle the arrangement responsibly, but many will experience some sort of credit problems either during their time in college or shortly after. And there are several reasons for this.

There’s no way to pay them back

If you’re in college and you don’t have a job, it’s unlikely that you’re paying on your credit cards. And if you aren’tâ”and your parents aren’t eitherâ”chances are that the balances on them are snowballing to higher levels with each passing month. That’s what happens when you have no way of paying them.

Students are often the world’s greatest optimists when it comes to their future income potential. But four years of credit card debt can be an enormous burden to carry into your adult life when you finally get there.

Credit can discourage working

Heavier reliance on credit is freeing up students to devote greater time to schoolwork. Working to pay some or even most of college costs isn’t as common as it once was.

One of the under-appreciated aspects of college life is living expenses, the kind that aren’t covered under student loans. This can be money for food, transportation, entertainment, travel to and from home and even cell phone service. The money to pay those often comes from credit cards.

Excessive use of credit cards in college can discourage working as a way to help pay for college expenses. It’s an easy pattern to get intoâ”borrowing is easier and less time consuming than work, and the bill doesn’t come due until much later.

Credit cards + student loans = big trouble later

It isn’t so much that credit cards or student loans are bad for your finances, but rather when the two appear in tandem.

Student loans create substantial long-term debt, while credit cards hit you with relentless short term debt (they don’t call them revolving❠for nothing!). It’s a matter of stacking a double dose of debt on a person who either isn’t employed (pre-graduation), or does have a job and is struggling to get out of the starting gate of adult life.

Difficulty paying credit cards can wreck credit for a long time

If you’ve ever had serious credit problems then you know how hard it can be and how long it can take to fix it. If a student is graduating with debt, they’ll have their hands full dealing with that alone. But when you add bad credit to the mix, it can be a long, lonely climb into adulthood.

The mix of student loans and credit cards can set the stage for this exact problem.

While it may be necessary for a young person to borrow in order to make it through school, the fact is that they will also have needs when they graduate that will make borrowing necessary. A first car after graduation is one such need; making a geographic move to a distant city for a new job is another. That will be harder or even impossible if you’re credit has been wrecked before you even graduate from college.

Lack of maturity

I realize that this is painting with a broad brush, but at age 18, 19, 20 or even 21 many students lack the maturity to handle credit cards. Add that to the fact that the whole concept of credit cards is largely set up to encourage spending and it could be a recipe for disaster.

In addition, if the student isn’t fully responsible for paying the credit cards the connection between using them and paying for them may be vague at best.

It’s no coincidence that credit problems often hit early in lifeâ”it’s the combination of need and immaturity in the early years of adulthood. For that reason, credit cards should be seen as a last resort in an emergency, rather than a typical way to transact business.

There are different opinions on this subject of course; what do you think?

photo by scobleizer

How Can You Kill Student Debt in School?

kill debt in collegeMost articles about eliminating student debt are written for people that aren’t students anymore. We often approach crushing student debt once school is already done. I see a major flaw in this. I was able to finish school without any debt. I’m no nobody special and I didn’t do anything extraordinary to get there. I partied on the weekends like everyone else and I consumed my fair share of caffeine.

However, I can proudly say that I walked on stage with no student debt to worry about. I’ve been able to travel and do whatever I want now that I have no loans to worry about. I’ve been blogging and working a part-time job because I feel no stress.

How can you kill your student debt in school?

Focus when everyone else is out.

I know that college is supposed to be a large party. Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of fun. The thing is that you need to pick the activities you participate in. A Friday night out is fun– when all of your work is done. A random Monday afternoon party can throw you off gear and screw up your priorities.

My trick has always been to focus when nobody else is. I’ve spent many weekends doing homework and blog work. In return, I could save money and get better grades. The result of this was more trips after college. It’s all about focus my friends.

Take advantage of paid internships.

Internships are by far the best way to get experience in your field and make some money at the same. How can you go wrong?

Unfortunately for me, the internships in my program flat out sucked. However, I saw many of my friends thrive through paid internships. My  one friend was able to do one term in class, the next term working, for his final two years. It took him longer to graduate, but he graduated without any debt. He also built some serious connections in the field.

Work in the summer.

How do you plan on spending your summers in college? I partied and worked like an animal. I literally worked all of the time. I also went out all of the time. How’s this possible? When you’re 19 years old you should be on top of the world. I’m not here to feel sorry for you. If your young and healthy, you should be full of energy. Why not work during the summer instead of lounging around?

Work while in school.

I always worked while in school. Everyone hates this one. We all say that we’re too busy to work in school. You know, we study all day and then build houses in Africa on the weekends. Any student that says they have no time is a liar or horrible at time management (aside from law or medical students).

Most degree programs will at the very least allow you to work on the weekends. Working a few hours on the weekend will add up. Even if you only make a few hundred dollars per week, you’ll still have money coming in. Money coming in beats money going out constantly.

Maintain a realistic lifestyle.

Always remember that you’re still a college student. This means that bottle service and brand name clothing isn’t your friend. You need to be realistic with how you live if you want to get out of college without any debt. The beauty of being realistic with your finances in college is that most students are also poor. You won’t be the only one. There’s no need to pretend to be the campus baller if your pockets feel lonely.

As you can see it makes much more sense to start dealing with your student loans as a student. There’s no point in waiting. Why wait until you’re done with college? Are you going to graduate from college without any debt?

photo by jimmyharris

How I Leveraged Craig’s List and Made Thousands

CraigslistI was 18, making minimum wage, and sick of having bosses telling me what to do.   I had started out as a bag boy at a local grocery store during college and had moved up the ranks to the produce department.   While I learned a ton working at a grocery store for three years, I realized the danger of settling for mediocre pay and not challenging myself to think outside the box.

One day while I was working at the grocery store, it was like a light bulb went off.   I think I was stacking some apples and day dreaming about what I would do in life.   This is when the entrepreneurial spirit inside of me began.   I started brainstorming money making ideas while I worked away at the grocery store and was confident I’d come up with something.

Then it hit me.   I started thinking about my talents.   While some people fit into tidy categories, I seem to break barriers in terms of social aspects.   The Lord has blessed me with physical strength as well as a passion for communication and talking with people.   So that got me thinking.   What could I do with my strength and relationship skills?   Nothing came to mind at the time.

As I was driving home on a weekday, I saw a large moving truck near my house and it hit me!   Why not start a moving company!   I sped home and started researching.   Doing a couple Google searches for moves it was obvious that the majority of companies were using Craig’s List to advertise their services.   Genius!   Free advertising coupled with text and an image.   Heck I could do that I told myself.

I threw up an ad the next day and read something like this: College student mover offering relocation assistance for $20/hour.   You provide the truck and I’ll do the heavy lifting.   All revenue will be going towards my college education.❠  Clever words huh?

Well guess what happened?   My cell phone started blowing up within hours with soccer Moms asking me to move their furniture.   They were so enthralled with my drive to pay for college that it was a no-brainer for them to hire me.   I was also priced extremely low.   While other moving companies were charging $55/hour, I was a bargain at $20/hour.

I carried out my first move that very weekend and I remember smiling all the way home.   I couldn’t believe how easy it was to move furniture!   It helped that I worked out every day but the money was huge compared to my minimum wage job at the grocery store.

Soon, the money started to pour in and I was booking clients right and left.   I ended up quitting my grocery store position and focused all my attention on moving jobs.

Over time I began to realize that Craig’s List was a science and there were perfect times to post.   My typical regimen was to post four times a day during the week and work the entire weekend.   I would post once in the morning, once at lunch, once in the afternoon, and one in the evening.   My ads never really changed and I always focused on my goal of paying my way through school without debt.   Parents loved it and the business kept rolling in.

This posting regimen as so effective I sometimes had to cancel on clients because there was simply not enough time in a weekend.   I remember some weekends where I would work from 6Am until 4AM the next day!   I’ll be honest, working that much was not something I enjoyed, but the money sure was nice!

In terms of revenue, I won’t go into specifics, but I’ll just say that I was making in a weekend what most people make in a week at work.   Between the $20/hour wage, tips, and maxing out hours on the weekends, I raked it in during college.   To this day, some of my friends still don’t believe how much money I made during school.

After a year of moving furniture for clients, I ended up creating a personal blog for my services and posted a link within my Craig’s List ads.   It worked well and noticed an uptick in business because of it.

So, now you know a little bit about my side hustle in college.   Late nights, obsessive Craig’s List postings, and buckets of sweat later, I look back on my moving days❠and just smile.   Who knew someone like me could leverage a free service and make thousands of dollars while others were making minimum wage?

If you’re a college student and looking for ways to make extra money, hopefully this article spurred you on to do what I did!   All it takes is some strength, dedication and communication skills.   The rest is a cake walk.

To the readers: what about you, what were some of your side hustles in college?   Did you have any unique ways of making money that you’d like to share with the rest of us?   Comment below!

What Should You Do With Your First Pay Check in College?

first paycheck in collegeYou finally landed that first gig in school. You’re a college student and you found yourself a job that pays you a decent amount, allows you to get out, and helps you pay the bills. Now you just need to figure out what to do with this money. You need to make some smart moves so that you don’t waste our pay check at the bar as soon as you get it.

What should you do with your check in college?

Figure out your expenses.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out where you need to spend your money. Where does your money absolutely have to go? What are your financial obligations?

There are two types of expenses: fixed and variable. Fixed expenses are things like rent, insurance, and anything else that’s a steady number on a consistent basis. It’s easy to figure out these expenses because they never change. When figuring out your fixed costs you just need to add up rent and everything else that you absolutely have to pay each month.

Variable expenses are things like your food and entertainment for the month. This is variable because the money spent here all depends on how often you consume food or go out. This also depends on how much money you have left. For example, if you have $200 in your bank account after rent, you might have to watch what you eat or how often you go out.

Once you figure out your fixed and variable expenses, you’ll see how much money you have left over for other fun in life.

Consider your goals.

The next step is to decide what to do with your money. Do you have any goals? Do you want to save up for a trip in the future? The reality is that you won’t be making six figures as a student. While you shouldn’t stress too much about saving money, it helps to at least build the habit of having financial goals.

For example, if you want to get into the habit of saving money you can try to plan an annual trip. I did this in college. I haven’t missed a Spring Break since 2006 (this year included). How do I do it? I put aside $20 a week for the whole year. This is usually enough money for a week away.

Once you see results from saving money, you’ll be motivated to save more and for different goals. Do you want a new car? What about a new wardrobe? We all have different lives and different financial goals.

Create sub-accounts.

The fun part of saving money is creating many sub-accounts for your various goals. I used ING Direct to create a few different accounts for my goals. For example, I always have a “vacation” account that I put money into. When I make a little bit more money, I put it into this account. I want to travel as much as possible. This is why I create sub-accounts so that I have a visual reminder of where I want to be really spending my money.

Make more money now.

Now it’s time for you to make some money. This is a topic the deserves its own post. What are a few more ways you can make money in college?

  1. Start an online business.
  2. Sell your crap online.
  3. Ask for a raise.

There are many more ways to increase your income. The point is that you find ways to increase what you’re making.

That’s how you can spend your first pay check in college. These are just my humble suggestions. You can try them out to see if they work for you and your unique situation.

6 Ways to Afford College Now

ways to afford college nowYou did all the right things: studied hard, got good grades, had a plethora of extracurricular activities. You applied to a range of colleges across the nation, from safeties to dreams and many in between. You received the acceptance letters, and a few weeks later, the financial aid package arrives in the mail.

It seems unfair that students who did all the right things can’t afford college because of deteriorating financial aid packages. In such a harsh economic climate, everyone is suffering, especially hopeful high school seniors.

My younger brother, a senior in high school, saw his dreams of attending his first choice school shattered when his financial aid package required him to take out $30,000 in loans per year. It’s not realistic to expect a student to graduate with $120,000 in debtâ”essentially condemning him to a lifetime of debt payments.

According to CNN Money, the average student currently graduates with approximately $25,000 in student loans. And that’s for four years of education.

After a mini-meltdown, I sat down with my brother and we came up with ways to afford college now. Here are six ways to afford college now:

Think about your options

Perhaps your first choice is out of financial reach. Start to seriously consider the less expensive schools you applied to. State schools are often more affordable than private schools. There are other programs you can find online like  Kendall education degrees  that offer quicker degrees for people who want to teach. There are a variety of different schooling options online you can research.Smaller and older private schools may be able to offer higher financial aid packages. Start to think seriously about your other options.


Community College

Community colleges sometimes get a bad reputation but they are great for getting your basic two-year requirements out of the way. Paying for community college as you go essentially leaves you with only two years’ worth of school to pay for when you transfer to complete your last two years of school. While community colleges do cost money, they aren’t nearly as expensive as private or public schools. Consider attending several community colleges concurrently to ensure you get the classes you need in a timely manner.


Start working NOW

If you don’t already have a job, get one now. Don’t go out spending the money, but build up your savings to pay for books and tuition while you’re in school. It’s tempting to have fun and be out spending money with your friends, but you’ll be the envy of their eyes when you graduate with little to no debt.


Consider living at home

I know it seems glamorous to live in the dorms, but you’ll save thousands per year by forgoing dorm fees and meal plans. Between work and school and extracurricular activities, you probably won’t be spending much time hanging out in the dorms anyway. Living at home would save thousands of dollars.


Consider working while in school

It’s hard but not impossible to maintain a job and go to school at the same time. During college, I worked an on-campus job 10 hours a week and babysat an additional 20 hours a week, giving up many precious Saturday nights in order to make money. Sacrifices need to be made in order to afford college.


Put college off for a year

If all else fails, consider putting college off for a year. Maybe the best solution is to take a year off and work as hard as you can to create a little nest egg that will help you get through four years of school.


Afford college now

Going to college doesn’t have to be out of reach for anyone. Your first choice school may not be the best option financially, but it’s important to open yourself up to different possibilities and consider other options.

We still don’t know which path my brother will choose. But we know the only decision being made right now is not to go $120,000 in debt for the sake of a college degree.

E-Campus Textbook Rental Review

textbook rentalsThe following is a review of a cool new company called eCampus.com that rents our textbooks so you don’t have to buy them!

For the college students out there, how many of your textbooks have you actually kept since graduation?  Not too many, I know.  I’m in the same boat!  They’re attracting dust in my closet and have no plans to touch them again!  It’s a shame because I spent literally thousands on those textbooks.  Unfortunately, real life sometimes has nothing to do with what you learned in college. For me it’s the case and I’m sure it is for most of you too.


College textbooks = SCAM

Purchasing textbooks is a scam in my opinion.  Colleges charge an arm and a leg for them and expect you to always have the most current edition.  Do we really need the lest edition?  Heck to the no we don’t!  But if you want to pass your courses you have to because the professor usually mandates it.  Complete nonsense if you ask me.  Textbook publishers are in the business to make money and will create a new edition each and every year whether you like it or not.


eCampus is the solution

What if I told you that there was a solution to this problem?  Ever heard of eCampus?  Textbook rentals are their game and they’re great at it.  Renting is oftentimes even cheaper than buying a used textbook.  Use eCampus for all your textbook rentals and you can save big.

Plus, renting a textbook is much much easier than having to track them down to purchase.  So, not only does a service like this save you money but it also saves you tons of time.  If I had to go back to college this is what I would do.  No more buying textbooks for me!


Site layout

Their site layout is awesome.  The moment you go to their homepage, you’ll never feel confused about where to go.  eCampus makes it easy for you to browse hundreds of textbooks.  You can even use a textbook’s ISBN to do a quick look-up.  There are associated fees with late rentals so you’ll need to read the fine print at checkout to ensure that you don’t get dinged.


Don’t follow the herd

Saving money the smart way is sometimes not the most popular thing to do.  If it’s your goal to graduate debt free like I did a year ago, then use eCampus to help you save some serious coin. Another cool benefit of using eCampus is that you can sell your used textbooks back to them!

4 Ways Colleges are Ripping Students Off

colleges are ripping students offHigh tuition, meal plans and parking feesâ”college life sure adds up!

When students see a college campus, they see possibility for a better future. However, when those running colleges see students, they often see walking, talking ATMs. It’s true; college life is expensive and barely affordable for the average student. Myself, I ended up leaving university with $41 thousand dollars in student loans. I started my professional career in so much debt, that I’m just starting to see the light at almost 40.

It doesn’t have to be that way for current students however. Most of the high priced items on campusâ”such as textbooks, meal plans and student parkingâ”can be avoided if you know about the alternatives. And because I don’t want you leaving college with a huge student debtâ”beware of the following high-priced college cons on your student campus:


1. The textbook rip off

Truly one of the highest and most unfairly priced items you will encounter on campus are textbooks in the good old campus bookstore, which is where you would assume to find the best student prices, right? Hardly, you’ll be lucky to leave the campus bookstore with your shirt if that’s where you expect to buy the semester’s required reading. This is the college’s way to make an extra buck. Did you know that most of the required❠textbooks in your courses were actually written by your instructors? On top of that, many include accompanying lab notes, CDs, and supplementary texts that only inflate the price moreâ”oh and by the wayâ”you probably won’t even crack the cover. Avoid the campus bookstore and seek out books from these sources:

  • Rent textbooks online
  • Purchase used textbooks from last year’s students or post an ad on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, etc.
  • Split the price of textbooks with a friend or group and make photocopies to study from

2. The student credit trap

You see it every frosh week, credit card companies just lining up to give students their first credit cardâ”tempting you with their free gifts and promises. You probably won’t believe how they are just throwing themselves at you so you sign up. Did you know they are just hoping that you’ll max out your credit card? That’s why they want a parent to cosign after all, so they’ll bail you out when you can’t afford to repay the debt you’ve racked up. Credit card companies prey on ignorant college students who are living independently away from home for the first time, just hoping that you’ll go on a shopping spree with your free money❠or buy take out every night. If you’re responsible with money and you want to sign up for one credit card, it will support you as you build your credit score for the future by:

  • Making your credit card payments on time
  • Resisting the urge to sign up for multiple credit cards
  • Using one credit card to pay off another
  • Ask credit companies to freeze your credit limitâ”they will raise your credit limit without notifying you

However, if you’re not responsible with money, avoid credit card companies and their promises like the plague.


3. The high priced meal ticket

Campus dining usually works by issuing all students a dining card that works via a point system. So whenever a student purchases a drink, a meal or a snack at the cafeteria (or one of the campus restaurants) your card has points deducted. My university had a cafeteria, but the more delicious options, e.g., Harvey’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks, and Dominos, were not included so if you wanted a Starbucks coffee and muffin you paid out of pocket. Doesn’t seem fair does it? To avoid having to buy extra food on top of the meal plan card you’ve already paid for:

  • Read the campus meal plan rules and know what restaurants are included
  • Be aware of cafeteria hours and eat within them or you might be hungry after hours
  • Put a small dorm fridge in your room so that you have breakfast and snacks on hand when needed

4. The campus parking trap

When I ask friends who have college-aged kids how much they pay for campus parking, I’m told between $300 and $500 per year. However, if you don’t arrive early to campus, you won’t find a spot. The truth is that campus parking authorities sell more passes than they have spots allotted. And if you get caught parking in a no parking zoneâ”the campus cops will slap a ticket on your vehicle. Avoid being ripped off by campus parking by:

  • Commuting to campus by bus, bike or walkingâ”it’s much cheaper
  • If you need a car, strike up a monthly parking deal with a business who will probably allow you to park much cheaper

(This has been a guest post by Tina Jacobs, a registered nurse and freelance writer who has written for numerous print and online publications on topics ranging from education to money saving tips for college students such as how to find cheap textbooks. Tina is a proud Georgetown University and plans to expand her portfolio while she waits to take her nursing licensure via the NCLEX exam. Most days, Tina can be found studying or writing in her beautiful bay window with her cat, Oscar, for company.)