Author Archives: MoneyforCollegePro

Optimize Your Budget and Make Your Food Last

When you’re trying to save money, every penny counts. However, one of the biggest expenses we all face is food. The cost of goods including food is constantly rising. If we aren’t careful, our food and grocery bills can end up occupying a larger part of our budgets than we intended.

It’s therefore vital to manage our food expenses economically and develop money-saving tactics. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to cut down on food costs without sacrificing your health.

Prepare Your Own Meals

You can probably guess what the most common culprit of ballooning food expenses is: eating out. If you’re serious about cutting down on your food spend, start preparing more meals at home. When you stop eating out, you’ll significantly cut down on your food bill and eat healthier meals.

If you’re short on time, try a once-a-week meal prep plan and start with simple meals you can whip up in minutes. You can slowly expand your repertoire of dishes when you start feeling more comfortable and confident with cooking.

Make a Meal Plan

Whether it’s an occasional weekend meal plan or a menu for every day of the week, creating a plan beforehand can help you stick to your planned meals and budget. Thinking ahead and making lists can also help you reduce unnecessary expenses when you go to the supermarket.

Rotate Foods, Don’t Waste Them

When you eat the same food day after day, it can end up being monotonous and boring. When there’s no variety in your meal prep and grocery list, there’s a high chance you’ll waste food.

Hence, your best bet is to rotate different types of food and dishes. Make sure to include a variety of veggies, fruits, dairy, grains, and lean protein in your meal routine to make it more interesting and palatable.

Choose Cheaper Proteins

Protein-rich foods like eggs, ground meat, and dried beans are not just cheap and healthy, but also have a longer shelf life. If you add in other non-perishable items like rice, pasta, and oats, you can have a steady supply of quick and nutritious meals. Moreover, buying these food staples in bulk is cost-effective and will save you frequent trips to the grocery.

Use Your Freezer

Cut down on ready-made meals and TV dinners. They offer little nutrition and are heavy on the pocket. Instead, prepare meals in advance, freeze everything that can be frozen, and defrost as needed. You can make large batches of chili, curry, or stew, and divide them into meal-sized portions so they’ll be ready whenever you need a quick meal.

Love Your Leftovers

Knowing how to recycle or repurpose leftovers into different dishes is a valuable skill if you’re looking to cut down on expenses. Identify and learn recipes that are leftover-friendly. Excess ingredients and food like carrots, celery, and rotisserie chicken can all be thrown into a pasta sauce and enjoyed as a new dish.

Start An Aromatic Herb Garden

The joy of preparing meals from ingredients freshly picked from your own garden is unparalleled. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t need a huge space to have a garden. Greens like herbs, cress, and lettuce can be grown on your window sill. Small vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and beans can be grown in pots that will easily fit inside your kitchen.

Track Your Expenses

Sometimes we buy food we don’t need out of habit. Tracking our food budget can help prevent this by making us aware and accountable for our expenses. Monitor expenses and your budget to scale back and change previous spending habits.

Shop Smart, Buy Local

Buying locally grown and produced food is fresher, more nutritious, good for the environment, and cheaper. Buying from farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Programs also help the local community.

You can join a CSA by paying growers a lump sum at the start of the season. In exchange, you’ll get fresh produce at regular intervals that are cheaper by as much as half the price you pay in groceries.

You can also buy meat at the deli instead of the supermarkets’ meat section. They’re not only cheaper, but they’re fresher too.

Eat Before Going Grocery Shopping

When you visit a grocery store on a hungry stomach, you have a tendency to fill your cart with more food than you need. When you’re full, you’ll be less tempted and be able to shop more objectively.

Beware of Coupons

Coupons, cashback, and new customer discounts are great ways of saving extra money. However, exercise caution before you purchase items on discounts as coupons encourage you to buy more items than you need just because they’re on sale.

Budget-Friendly Habits: Start Small

There are many ways to cut down on food expenses and eat healthier, but they entail creating new habits in place of the old. The best way to adopt these budget-friendly practices is by starting with small steps and gradually adding more to your routine.

Whether it’s preparing your own meals, tracking your expenses, or cutting down on grocery visits, ease into it one habit at a time. You’ll eventually find yourself rewarded with healthier, better meals and have more cash to show for it.

What is a Tuition Waiver?

What is a Tuition Waiver

Not everyone can afford to go to college. Some have to apply for financial aid to get through college. Tuition waiver is one option available to students that desperately want to further their education and lack enough funds. 

However, getting a tuition waiver largely depends greatly on what is available to you, your qualifications, and if your school offers the scholarship option.

What is a Tuition Waiver?

A wavier should not be confused with a student loan. It is a program that allows a student to pay only a portion of his/her tuition or not to pay at all. They are issued only for a certain period; therefore, the student has to re-apply every semester that he/she would like the tuition waived. 

Tuition waivers are beneficial for those that can’t afford to pay the college tuition fee. However, not all colleges grant waivers, so you have to research the colleges that offer tuition waivers to students. And because a tuition waiver covers only tuition, students that live close to the institution, can work while at school, or have relatives close by can benefit from this program. 

Difference Between A Scholarship And A Tuition Waiver

Both scholarship and a tuition waiver are financial aid packages offered to students to further their education. It is possible for a student to be awarded both programs or to run both programs simultaneously. And even though they might seem alike, they are not entirely the same. 

A scholarship can also be termed free money, and it doesn’t have to be paid back to the institution. Scholarships offer the benefits to pay tuition fees with other college expenses such as accommodation, school supplies, and maybe feeding. Besides, colleges, NGOs, and states can offer scholarships to students. 

The requirement for each type of scholarship depends on who is offering it. For example, state scholarships usually require the student to be a resident/native of the state. Other scholarships might require the student’s accomplishment of some sort- an outstanding academic performance or talent.

A tuition waiver is offered by a chosen college that provides such benefits. When a student qualifies, the college reduces or pays the full tuition fee for the student. The waiver only affects the tuition fee for some credit hours, and it needs to be re-applied after every session. 

The disadvantage of this is that it does not cover any other educational expense. There are also qualifications that a student must meet to qualify for a tuition waiver. Some include being an American by birth, having encountered a significant hardship, being adopted or a foster child. 

Qualifications for Tuition Waivers

Not every college offers tuition waivers, and they are definitely not for every student. Some criteria make a student eligible for a tuition waiver. Some of these factors include the following. He/she:

  • Is or was a foster child.
  • Has served or fought as a soldier/sailor in a war.
  • Is a spouse or a dependent on a veteran.
  • Is a native of America.
  • Is a non-traditional (older) student.
  • Have financial hardship (or any other sort of hardship).
  • Is a full-time employee of the college.
  • Is enrolled in a STEM Degree Program.
  • Has a high or attractive academic status in the previous institution such as class valedictorian etc.
  • Attended an automatic scholarship school.

These are the common eligibility factors that would qualify a student for a tuition waiver. However, it is best to know the requirements before applying for the waiver. 

How To Apply For A Tuition Waiver

Usually, a college offers a waiver automatically based on the information provided by each student in the school’s application. However, it is not always this seamless. Students would have to follow the process to ensure that the waiver has been approved and granted. The students can visit the department in charge for a follow-up. 

The department you’ll be checking in may differ depending on the qualification of the student. An employee of the school might visit the school’s employment office for a waiver, while an American (who is not employed by the institution) would visit the admissions office instead. 

However, if you don’t get an automatic grant (and you qualify), you can apply through the school’s admission office or directly online. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter requesting a tuition waiver. Sometimes, the student might be required to write a letter asking for a tuition waiver. 

If you are planning on visiting the office, it’s best to inquire before applying to be well-aware of what is being offered. Different schools have different procedures; it is better to understand what your school demands. 

Conclusion

If you sincerely need financial aid to enter college, you should look into requesting a tuition waiver. You might have your tuition fee disappear for a whole session. Just ensure that you qualify by looking at the eligibility factors for a waiver, and the rest will be sorted out for you. 

The Best Headphones Under $50 for College Students

Best Headphones under $50 for College Students

Looking for some headphones for this semester and wondering what are some good headphones for college? Let me walk you through some different options that I felt were the best.

If you are college student and you’re on a tight budget but need headphones for your studies let me go through the range of the best headphones for under $50.

Yes there are a lot of cheap headphones available and there are also a lot you want to stay away from!

The range of headphones for under $50 is broad sweeping so for sure there will be one that suits you best and as you will see fifty dollars or under for headphones is enough to give you great sound quality, durability and comfort. Several were chosen from this site https://headphonecomparison.com/best-bluetooth-headphones/ that has over 15 amazing options.

Considerations choosing Student Headphones

There are some important points you want to look out for when buying cheap headphones; the quality of build, its comfort, style and lastly the sound quality. Now with buying headphones at a cheaper rate you will have to unfortunately let one of these points slide.

If the headphones you want will be used a lot and you also want them to last a long time well at least until you graduate, build quality, sound quality, comfort and battery life must be taken into consideration.

Sound Quality

You don’t need to spend a fortune to find headphones with good sound quality. There are two styles of headphones that can affect the sound quality along with your sound preference. Open back versus closed back headphones makes a difference in the quality of sound. Closed back headphones give you good sound quality while blocking out most if not all background noise. Open back headphones offer very unique acoustic properties and can sound very airy.

Comfortable Fit

The most common of headphones is ‘in the ear air’ which gives quality sound and is compact so is easy to pack and take anywhere. The second is the ‘over the ear’ headphone which on the down side is not as compact but does have soft cushioning for ear and drowns out a lot more background noise than the in ear style.

Build Quality

Because of the advancement in materials and technology out of China you are able to easily find built to last headphones for cheap.

Battery Life

Battery life is another reason to take into account for what you will be needing your headphones for. These days batteries have come along way long gone from the times of one to two hours of listening time. You are now able to purchase wireless bluetooth headphones with a battery life of up to twelve hours of listening. If you need more use than 12 hours on the move this should be taken into consideration.

Top 3 Headphones for Students on a Budget

Firstly, there is a choice you have to make and that is over ear headphones verses on ear headphones. Now it depends on what you will be using your headphones for? Do you need them to be compact? Is comfort an issue for you? Whatsoever maybe your choice fortunately these days as far as sound quality goes both types can deliver the same quality of sound.

1. Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones

Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

Is Lightweight and is able to deliver high quality sound to even the most demanding of sounds. It has a cushioned swiveling ear cup for comfort and compatibility with a standard L shaped 3.5mm stereo plug.

BUY NOW

2. Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

Beats Flex Wireless Earphones

These stylish comfortable wireless earphones are great for those on the move they feature magnetic earbuds, a built in microphone, seamless connectivity and auto play and pause just to name a few.

BUY NOW

3. Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

Panasonic Long-Cord Headphones RP-HT161-K

These padded comfortable long cord headphones have a superior sound quality compared to higher priced headphones. With its over the ear style and sufficient cushioning blocking most if not all background noise and giving you a quality bass and high frequency trebles.

BUY NOW

Final Thoughts

Overall for students on the move or not a good comfortable set of headphones goes a long way. There are many out there to choose from that are under the price range of $50. I have laid out three of my best to help you get started .from wireless to comfortable yet compact to a pair with extra long reach and high audio definition.

For me, the best headphones that I found were the last ones Panasonic ‘Long-Cord’ Headphones RP-HT161-K. So, I hope this helped with your decision on the range of headphones available out there for college students that are under $50.

Differences Between Quarter, Semester and Trimester

Academic calendars divide an academic year into different sessions to allow the students to catch a break in-between each year of study. However, it is possible for schools that offer the same program to have different academic calendars. 

Schools in the United States, for example, offer three different academic calendars. These are the Quarter, Semester, and Trimester systems. Understanding the differences between Quarter, Semester, and Trimester is important to any college student who is just beginning to understand the complexities involved in the structure of their academic years. 

Different Schools Have Different Academic Calendar

Colleges, Middle schools, and high schools all have different academic calendars they operate. Some colleges working with distinct administration forms might also not share the same academic calendar divisions (even if they are located in the same state). It is common to see schools that are located in different places have different academic calendar divisions. 

Schools that operate on the quarter system award quarter credits like those that run the semester or trimester systems. Institutions nevertheless have a way of converting incoming credits from a system to another. This is especially needed in the cases of a transfer (foreign exchange or within natives). 

When a student transfers to an institution offering semester credits with an incoming quarter credit, academic advisors are instructed to multiply the incoming credit by 1.5. Vice versa would attract a division by 1.5. 

However, when a student moves from a quarter system to a semester system, it might be a little difficult for the student to adjust if they don’t understand what each means. 

What Is A Quarter?

As the name implies, a quarter system divides an academic year into four divisions (sessions). The four sessions are named according to the four seasons of the year; spring, summer, fall, and winter. Usually, summer is used to complete outstanding courses or if a student wishes to finish his/her degree in advance. 

Each session in the quarter system lasts for about 10 weeks, each with the whole academic year ending in June from September. In each quarter, a student can take about 3 to 4 classes. This highly depends on how many credits each class is. This is because each session comes with a maximum number of credits a student can offer. 

Some students prefer this system because of its flexibility, and it allows students to take small loads of coursework at a time. Teachers would prefer this system because the shorter breaks would keep them and students in focus. Most students tend to forget what was taught in the previous semesters when the break is too long. 

What Is A Trimester?

A trimester system divides the academic year into three sessions. These sessions are also named according to the seasons of the year; fall, winter, and spring. This system isn’t prevalent with higher institutions, but it is also used in many middle schools and high schools. 

Each trimester lasts about 12 to 13 weeks. However, the ‘summer system’ still exists, but it is not recorded as part of the school year. Students can take about 3 to 4 classes within the credits allowed in each session. 

What Is A Semester?

A semester divides an academic year into only two sessions; fall session and spring session. This means that there are two long breaks within each academic year. The summer break (the break after the spring session) and the long winter break (the break in between the fall and the spring sessions). 

Each session is about 15 weeks long. This system is the most commonly used in the United States. In each session, a student can take about 4 to 6 classes within the allowed number of credits for that session.

Some scholars have studied each system and its impact on students and teachers. They concluded that the semester system provides students with ample time to digest and learn what they need to per time. Teachers/ Lecturers also can create and complete many assignments to allow students to comprehend better—little wonder why some schools are migrating to the semester calendar system

Conclusion

Now that you know the significant differences between each academic system, the natural question to ask is ‘which academic calendar is the best? All the systems have their pros and cons, and the best one to enroll in will mostly depend on the student’s needs and preferences. As such, we can’t pick the winner of them all. Students can only try to understand how it works to not fall into the trap of each system’s timing. 

How To Build Credit As A College Student?

How To Build Credit As A College Student

About a year ago, a friend of mine wanted to obtain a loan from a bank. After going through his application, the bank promised to get back to him. A few days later, I found out that the bank denied his application. It was such a big disappointment as he needed the money badly.

I was angry at the bank for being so inconsiderate, but when I saw his FICO score, my anger died down immediately. No reasonable bank will give him a loan with such a poor FICO score!

In this article, you will find answers to the following:

  • Why college students need to have a good credit rating score.
  • What is a FICO score, and how does it affect you?
  • What should a college student’s credit score be like?
  • What is the best way for a college student to build credit?
  • What are the dos and don’ts of a credit card for students?

Why Do College Students Need To Have A Good Credit Score?

As a college student, having a good credit rating score is almost as important as having good grades. To get access to loans, you need to have a good credit score. Lenders need to have the assurance that you’ll be able to pay back the loan at the stipulated time. Most lenders would usually look to your FICO score to give them an idea of your credit history and how trustworthy you are. If you have a poor score, you won’t be given the loan. You can almost bet your life on it.

You should also improve your credit score as a student because it would help you crash your interest rates on your borrowings, which would help you save more money.

What Is A FICO Score And How Does It Affect You?

FICO score shows lenders how legitimate you are as a borrower. “FICO” stands for “Fair Isaac Corporation.” It is a data analytics firm that was established in 1989. It uses information about your credit history, credit utilization, and payment history to determine your FICO score.

As a student, if you plan on living the American dream, owning your own home, snagging a great ride, getting a good job, or even owning your own business then, you would want to have a great FICO. Your future landlord, auto loan creditor, future employer, and even the bank is interested in your creditworthiness by FICO. 

Now, whether you are a college student or simply an adult, you need to be creditworthy to access funds for most things. And if that is the case, as a rule of thumb, a credit score of 750 and above sounds good. Stay within that range.

So, What Is The Best Way For A College Student To Build Credit?

First things first, own a credit card. The single most important reason to apply for a credit card is to build a positive credit history. So, grow up and get one.

However, if you don’t want to or can’t open your credit card account, then another smart thing to do is to get your parents to make you an authorized user of their credit cards. That way, you can piggyback off your parent’s positive credit history.

Other ways of building credit as a student include:

  1. Opening a secured credit card: This is a smart way of building credit, especially for students with little or no credit history. It’s quite similar to your debit card. Your credit limit is determined by the amount of cash you deposit.

As credit bureaus are aware of every transaction made with a secured credit card, you can easily build your credit score by making small purchases with this credit card.

  • Making payments on your student loan: If you have student loans, start making payments on them while you are still in school. This will improve your credit score as it shows that you can repay your debts on time. Even if it means cutting down on your monthly expenses, you will find out later that the result is well worth the sacrifice.
  • Get someone to co-sign for your credit card: You may find it difficult to obtain a credit card as a student, especially if you’re below 21 years old. Your best bet is to look for someone who is legally qualified for a credit card to co-sign for your credit card.

However, you should ensure that you don’t miss payments as you would be jeopardizing the credit of your consigner if you do. Also, avoid the temptation of overspending simply because you don’t have to pay immediately; always spend within your limits.

 What Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Using Credit Card As A College Student?

  • Do your homework before choosing a credit card company. Choose the card that’s right and best for you. Credit card offers are endless. Just because you received an offer in the mail doesn’t mean you should take the dive. When you receive a credit card offer that piques your interest, do the due diligence. Don’t let freebies tempt you. Do you know how a pretty woman chooses her man from her roaster of chasers? That’s right. Compare and contrast various credit card company offers. Know what’s a great fit and go for it!
  • Do marry your card features. Different cards like different phones do different things. Understand these differences, and they can potentially break or build your overall wallet.
  • Do keep an eye on your purchases. Spend no more money than you earn, period! Differentiate your needs from your wants and evaluate your purchases.
  •  Do pay up promptly. That is how extra fees/charges are avoided. You should also try and get answers to questions on interest rates or annual fees.
  •  Do submit to your credit limit. When you are simply under the confines and boundaries of your credit limit, you’d be kept safe from the temptations of overspending with the consequent interests and charges
  • Do keep an eye on your credit score because your ability to buy a nice car, own a decent home, qualify for a loan, and sometimes a befitting job hinge on that.
  • Do pay more than the minimum payment when clearing your debts. Paying off your debts faster minimizes interest charges.
  • Do use credit card reward programs to your advantage. Once you get acquainted with using your credit card right, strategically using rewards can help you save money.
  • Don’t use reward credit cards when you can’t pay off the balance quickly.
  •  Don’t do free money. Avoid cash advances because there’s no free lunch anywhere.
  •  Don’t use multiple credit cards. Every new credit card application makes your credit score to drop. It’s as simple as that
  • Don’t share your credit card. 

Conclusion

To have access to most of the important things in life, you need a good credit score. Aside from being a factor that determines your access to loans, it can also influence the kind of jobs you get, the house you live in, among other things. The above-listed points will guide you in building a good credit score as a student.

How to Eat Healthy in College – Eat a Prepared Meal Kit!

Prepared Meal Kit

Updated with new information Dec 17 2020

Having a healthy balanced diet is the most important lifestyle choice you can focus on – even more so than exercising. No amount of exercise will help you lose weight for example, if you’re consuming even more calories through pizza. What diet and food choices to pick can be confusing, though. There are a plethora of vegan documentaries telling us about the hormone levels in milk, and an equal amount of rebuttals from meat-eaters. 

At this point, these choices are somewhat personal preference still. What we can agree on, is that highly processed foods leads to cancer and early death. No amount of vitamin tablets and hours accumulated on the elliptical is going to offset buying pre-made, highly processed food. Getting enough fruit and vegetables and a wide variety of them, along with enough protein (be it nuts or non-battery farmed chicken) and healthy fats is perhaps the simplest way to look at things. 

How do we achieve this at college though? It is so much effort to cook everyday. Its not just the cooking either, but to eat fresh means to buy perishable foods. These go out of date within a few days, and you’re back down the shops again.

As a result, college students often turn to pre-made meals from the shops. They’re easy to make, and are often actually cheaper than cooking yourself. The allure is real. It’s just unfortunate that they’re highly processed, and are the number 1 type of food that needs to be avoided.

The solution to this, and fast becoming a trend realised by students all the way to large families, is to meal prep. Combing the healthiness of fresh cooking with the laziness of pre-prepared meals is the genius of meal prepping.

Reasons to meal prep

Easy on the wallet

The money we can save by meal prepping can be compared to how a large manufacturer saves money by expanding their output – bulk buying ingredients in larger quantities will lead to cheaper prices per lb/kg. Just hope you have enough freezer space.

We are very often told not to be persuaded by the “3 for $5” pseudo sales but the reality is, it is cheaper per unit than buying just 1. These allure you to buying more than you need, but with meal prepping, the more the merrier. Ultimately, we can make better use of the sales through meal prepping. We also waste less on impulse buys, because meal prepping forces us to plan better, so we tend to stick to it and buy less snacks. Not only this, but sticking to the shopping list and cooking with more attention on the ingredients will result in less waste, which is better for both the environment and the current account.

Time and effort 

Through deferred gratification, meal prepping means we spend some extra time now so we can reap future benefits. 

Very often we find ourselves on Sundays with lots of free time and energy, but none of that on weekdays after work. Meal prepping is a great way to exploit that, giving us a ritual activity to do on the weekend (and it still may only take 2 hours or less), and be able to lazily stumble home from work and chuck our planned hard work in the microwave for 3 minutes. It’s very rewarding! 

Additionally, if large cooking sessions isn’t ideal, then merely doubling up on portions when cooking a regular meal is a great way to feed you for tomorrow, with no real extra time spent (triple it?). 

Health 

No more carcinogenic, high sugar, salty, processed insoluble ready meals! 

Meal kit companies

There’s a relatively new solution to prepared healthy food which doesn’t require as much time, effort and energy to compile. Introducing MEAL KITS which are essentially personal easy-to-cook subscriptions that you get daily, bi-weekly or weekly to your doorstep with all the ingredients and preparation instructions included. The meal kits are tailored to your flavor based on what you have indicated on the app. That seems to be an-ever growing trend, those food boxes or meal kits. The thing is that they are not cheap, especially for college students and whatnot!

I liked the way Kyle from MealKitsCanada described it in his article about the global leader in meal kits, HelloFresh. Meal kits are more of an alternative to eating out, especially during COVID conditions, than a replacement to buying groceries. It’s more expensive but potentially worth it. Here is the article “is HelloFresh worth it”?

It literally applies to all of us, that when we cook ourselves, our meals become more healthy than when we purchase pre-packaged meals. Even if it was the same meal with the same ingredients, buying the meat from the butchers and the vegetables from a market is a far more sustainably healthy way of making the same meal. It will undoubtedly taste better, too.

Winter Break Jobs For College Students In COVID Times

Winter Break Jobs For College Students In COVID Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed so many things about how we live our lives. It has had staggering effects on employment and the traditional working environment. So many jobs have been lost due to the knock-on effects of the virus. On the other hand, businesses have had to change their work pattern and switch to remote work to adhere to the physical distancing guidelines. This switch to remote work has created a surge in demand for remote jobs. 

College students in search of winter jobs during this period might find it difficult to get the regular winter Jobs because of the changes brought about by the pandemic. Nonetheless, there are still jobs students can engage in to make an extra income this winter.

Some of the jobs that college students can do in COVID times include: 

Food Delivery Jobs

Today more than ever before, there is a huge surge in demand for food delivery drivers. COVID 19 pandemic has made people more reluctant about eating out as they try to minimize physical contact. Most people now prefer to order their food online and have it delivered to them at home. This provides an opportunity for college students looking to make extra cash.

However, before deciding to take this job, you must be certain that you don’t belong or fall under the population at risk of COVID 19. Being a delivery driver means that you will likely be having physical contact with different people every day; this makes it a pretty risky job to take on at the moment, given the current state of things.

If, after weighing your options, you decide to do the job, you have to take precautionary measures to keep you protected from the virus.

Aside from food delivery, you can also deliver packages as well, visit websites like Amazon Flex and Goshare to get paid to deliver packages for them.

Online Tutoring Jobs

This is another job that is experiencing an increase in demand as a result of the pandemic. With schools closed, most parents are in search of online tutors to help their kids learn from home. If you are passionate about a particular subject and feel confident in your ability to pass your knowledge to your students patiently, this job is just perfect for you.

Getting an online tutoring job is pretty easy. You’ll find many websites online dedicated to connecting tutors with students. You can find online tutoring gigs from sites like Tutor.comChegg Tutors, Manhattan Prep, and lots more.

Freelance Writing

Even though the knock-on effects of the pandemic have hit many industries, freelance writing is one job that has not experienced any decline. If anything, the pandemic seems to be accelerating its growth.

If you love writing, you can make $20-$55 an hour working from home as a freelance writer. All you need is a smartphone or computer and internet access, and you are good to go. Some employers pay per word with a rate of $0.005 to $0.06; thus, how much you earn is largely determined by your speed. 

To excel in this job, you have to be a creative writer who can write high-quality content on different topics. If you are new to freelancing, you can surf the net for articles on how to be a successful freelance writer.

There are many freelance writing websites where you can get freelance writing jobs, including FreelancerUpwork, Writer Access, and Verblio.

Uber Driver

If you have a car and a good driving record, this could be another convenient job you can do to make money during the winter break. Rides are usually in high demand during festive seasons as people move from one place to another, visiting friends and family members.

However, the current situation has made people more skeptical about taking cabs because it brings them in close physical contact with other people, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus. This is why most people opt for Uber, a more convenient and safer means of transportation. 

You can earn $5-$43 an hour driving for Uber. One good thing about this job is that you can work at your own pace.

Christmas Light Removal

One of the most beautiful things about winter breaks is the Christmas decorations, which light up every home with lovely, beautiful colors. Setting up Christmas lights is always so much fun, but it can be a challenging task for many when it’s time to take them down. This is why most people prefer to pay others to get this job done.

You can leverage this opportunity by simply helping people around your neighborhood to take down their Christmas lights and other decors; you’ll earn a little extra cash doing so.

Pet or House Sitting

This has always been a common winter job for students. The holiday period is when most people travel; in some cases, the whole family might be away for a long time. Most homeowners are willing to pay to have someone watch over their homes and pets while they are away.

You can offer to help people feed and their pets, water their flowers, empty the garbage, and do other house chores for them while they are away.

Proof Reading And Editing

With so many companies working remotely due to the covid-19 pandemic, there is an increase in demand for proofreaders and editors. You can easily make $12-$50 by helping companies proofread and edit their works.

Many companies will pay you to proofread their blog and social media posts to ensure that they are free from any typographical, spelling, or grammatical errors.

You can get proofreading and editing jobs from sites like Editor WorldProofreading Pal, and Cactus.

Transcription Jobs

This is another job you can do from home. With the staggering increase in online video content, the demand for transcription services is accelerating by the day. You can earn at least $20 per hour, helping companies to transcribe audio to text. If you are fast at transcribing, this could be a great job for you.

Conclusion

The COVID 19 pandemic has greatly altered the world of work, it’s just like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has led to the loss of so many jobs (especially formal jobs in the traditional office setting). On the other hand, it has created a demand for new jobs as companies adopt remote work to keep their employees safe. College students may find it difficult to get regular student jobs this winter. However, there are many other jobs that they can do, as highlighted above.

Best Checking Accounts For College Students

As a college student, you’ll likely struggle financially. Even if you manage to obtain and work a part-time job, the expenses may seem overwhelming. Every penny counts so it is pertinent to make sure that you properly manage your money. One way to solve this issue is by taking advantage of a checking account.

With a checking account, you’ll benefit from the interest rate and you’ll have a safe place to store your money. Below, you’re going to learn about the best checking accounts for college students.

  • BBVA Free Checking
  • Radius Bank Rewards Checking
  • Chime Free Checking

BBVA Free Checking

BBVA Free Checking

While BBVA is not as well-known as Bank of America and some of the alternatives, it offers excellent free checking accounts for college students. BBVA Free Checking is available across the nation so you can sign up for an account whether you’re at the University of Tennessee or Stanford University. Furthermore, the bank boasts an impressive network of ATMs. There is a good chance that you’ll be able to find an ATM close to your dorm. The bank has 55,000 ATMs across the United States.

Even better is the fact that the free checking option is excellent for college students since the requirements are slim to none. The minimum opening deposit is $25 which is reasonable for all university students. Furthermore, there is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charge.

While BBVA has an impressive offering for college students, it has some limitations too. One of the most notable is the fact that it offers no interest so you’re not going to earn any money. There are no ATM fees when you use a BBVA USA ATM but it’ll cost roughly $3 per transaction when using an ATM out of your bank’s network.

Either way, BBVA is a good choice for students looking for an easy online banking solution with the bottom of the barrel minimums.

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Radius Bank Rewards Checking

Next, you have Radius Bank which offers the unique Rewards Checking Account. It will prove to be compatible with college students because it has a low minimum and a user-friendly banking app. One thing that sets Radius apart from the competition is the fact that it pays interest. If you maintain a balance between $2,500 and $99,999, you’ll receive 0.10% APY. If you maintain a balance of over $100,000, you’ll receive an interest of 0.15%.

Radius also offers 1% bank on all debit card purchases making it a good choice for college students who want to be rewarded for spending money. The bank offers unlimited ATM reimbursements as well as mobile check deposits. This makes it one of the most convenient banks for students at any university. While the Radius Bank Reward Checking Account is impressive, it has a few minor cons.

For starters, students will need at least $100 before they can open an account. While the interest is helpful, it will not be accessible to all. You’ll need a minimum average balance of $2,500 or $2,500 in direct deposits before you can earn interest. Other than that, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

If your account drops below $2,500, you don’t have to worry about it being closed. Also, Radius has worked diligently to expand its ATM network over the years. It joined the MoneyPass Network a few years ago so members can take advantage of fee-free ATM withdrawals at more locations.

This provided users will access to 32,000 more fee-free withdrawal ATMs and 3,000 more deposit-taking ATMs. The only real con is the fact that you’ll need $100 to open an account but that shouldn’t be too difficult for the average college student.

Chime Free Checking

Chime Free Checking

Long gone are the days of paid checking. Several decades ago, consumers were required to pay varying fees for checking accounts. The American financial system has undergone many alterations over the last few decades, resulting in free checking. Now, U.S. consumers can combine their savings and checking into single accounts and still avoid fees.

While fairly new, Chime has one of the most advanced, mainstream banking systems. Chime features checking and saving accounts with no fees, which is not unusual in the modern-day financial system. But, unlike some financial institutions, Chime does not require its customers to keep a specific amount of money in their accounts. The no-minimum balance is what draws American consumers to Chime checking but this is only the beginning.

Another benefit of Chime checking is expedited deposits. Chime checking account holders are guaranteed to receive their deposits in as little as 48 hours. This is ideal for college students relying on part-time jobs to pay their living expenses. From the second your employer deposits your paycheck into your checking account, Chime begins to process the payment to ensure the most expedient deposit.

Chime’s SpotMe feature is extremely popular among college students because it offers a $20-overdraft withdrawal with zero monetary penalties. If you are short on cash and need gas to get back and forth to campus, you can utilize your debit card to cover the expense without concern about future overdraft fees. The $20 can be utilized as an emergency fund in between paychecks.

An additional benefit of Chime’s SpotMe overdraft waver is its customizable capability. Chime checking account holders have the option to customize their SpotMe overdraft limit from $20 to $40 or $60, $80, or $100. To qualify, your account must be in good standing.

Conclusion

Ultimately, college students from across the United States need a reliable checking account. However, choosing one will prove to be very difficult since your options are plentiful and all banks are unique. So, which checking account is best for modern college students in America? While BBVA Free Checking has some cons, it is likely the best choice for college students. It is impossible to beat the minimum opening deposit and the minimum balance requirement is outstanding. Plus, there are no monthly fees to worry about.

The only downside is that members of BBVA Free Checking will not benefit from interest payments. While Radius is better in this regard, most students will never have enough money to meet the interest threshold. So, BBVA Free Checking is the winner of the pack.

Should you use a Challenger bank over your bank?

digital Challenger bank

Challenger banks are what they say on the tin: a challenge to traditional banks. They pose as a challenge, or a threat because they’re up and coming with a different approach to banking.

By nature of being rebellious, they’re young businesses. They threaten the status quo of banking because they offer a new take on banking procedures, infrastructure and services. Generally, you’ll find much cheaper currency exchange fees, more tech-heavy usability and much faster sign up processes. 

Start-ups in this field have a very good understanding of what ticks us off about traditional banks, and they’ve engineered a way to overcome such bureaucracy, high priced and ancient UI.

With incredibly easy sign-ups, super speedy transactions and innovative technology, it’s not difficult to see why they’re on the rise. There’s no doubt that traditional banks are becoming extremely weary of this trend, and it may be the threat they need to evolve a stuck-in-the-past, complacent service.

How popular are challenger banks?

To no surprise, there are a growing number of challenger banks. Of course, they’ve not replaced traditional banks in either quantity or userbase (yet?), but they’re on the rise nonetheless.

What’s interesting though, is that this has been the story in Europe. In America? Not so much.

They’re popular in most of the world in fact, particularly in Europe in places with a strong fintech scene. London is perhaps the birthplace of the most prominent challenger banks, with Monzo, Starling and Tandem being situated there. With a 5 minute in-app sign-up process, these are becoming extremely popular and seem to be slowly replacing traditional banks.

It’s strange then that the US hasn’t really welcomed them with open arms, and haven’t been producing many themselves. It’s thought that US companies are focused on payment solutions instead of bank accounts, as they have more scope for profits and fewer regulations. This surely applies to most countries, though.

The real answer lies in the distrust of startups. In Germany and the UK, customers don’t think twice about trusting fintech’s with their money, in conjunction with having faith in government-backed deposit protection regulations. Americans it seems don’t have the same trust. 

It seems that although payment startups are trusted, a little more time (or value offered?) is needed for mobile banks.

Despite this, one of the largest challenger banks, N26, has launched into the US (with 100,000 wait-listed US customers ready to pounce), along with Monzo set to enter the US too. There already some domestic US challenger banks to choose from, although they’re certainly not in their stages of maturity yet.

The advantages of challenger banks

The thing that challenger banks have over traditional banks is their lack of infrastructure. This sounds like a disadvantage, but it means they can react faster to changes. Traditional banks have huge sunk costs, with many different departments to attend to, making them always a bit behind. When tech is at the foundation of a business instead of brick and mortar capital, you can be fluid in the market.

The innovation of technology has perhaps been its strongest point so far. The services they provide are highly customizable. You can find yourself creating saving spaces – virtual spaces that are safe from spending. These can be saving pots for different areas of your life, allowing you to budget better.

And it’s secure because you can freeze your card with a simple click in the app, as well as limit certain spending like gambling or ATM withdrawals. There are fewer fees, more transparency, and an overall feeling of clean efficiency because they don’t have their hand in a million different departments.

The largest benefit for small companies and those who like to travel is the cheap fees of challenger banks. For Americans (and Europeans), N26 is one of the strongest options. If we take them as an example, then for no monthly account fee, you can benefit from free card payments in any currency. This is profoundly advantageous, and completely embarrasses traditional banks which charge flat fees on top of huge 4% currency spreads on any foreign purchase.

And with many challenger banks, you can also withdraw from a foreign ATM for no extra cost, and receive a second-to-none exchange rate. This on its own is what sets them apart, and is the reason why expats are in love right now. Many companies (such as Transferwise in the UK) even go as far to call their debit cards as “borderless cards”, because that’s exactly what they are – complete and utter frictionless foreign spending and money transfers.

Disadvantages

For many users, it can be difficult to author some drawbacks of using them. Of course, though, the reality is that nothing is perfect.

Firstly, they’re smaller companies. This smaller, more malleable infrastructure is their greatest asset, but it also means they’re less reputable. They feel less safe. They’re of course fully regulated, but their smallness means they might not inspire credibility.

They’re somewhat limited too. Many people like dealing with one entity and building a relationship with them. Traditional banks may have debit cards, credit cards, mortgages, various savings and student account and so on. Challenger banks are very much for one job and whilst they do it well it may not be suitable for those who want to go in-store, build a relationship and rely on them for all financial aspects of their life.

Personal preference is one thing, but what’s important here is that it’s important for the US to be more accepting of challenger banks. Choice is at the core of free America, and what better way to increase that than to threaten traditional banks with innovative technology?

What is a FICO Score and How Will the New FICO Score Affect You?

FICO score

For most of us, debt is a fact of life. It’s not hard to understand why – post-secondary education expenses have ballooned over the past 40 years. Back in 1980, tuition, fees, and accommodation cost about $9,400 (in 2020 dollars). Today, that figure is nearly two-and-a-half times higher, sitting just below $24,000.

Meanwhile, wages haven’t budged much over time. In 1980, the federal minimum wage sat at $3.10 – or $9.70 in 2020 dollars. Today, Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country at $13.50. Meanwhile, states like Idaho still allow employers to pay as little as $7.25 an hour. That’s right – some of us make $2/hour less than our parents did 40 years ago.

Suffice to say, many of us borrow tons of cash to pay for post-secondary schooling. According to CNBC, more than two-thirds of 2018 graduates needed loans to pay for their degrees. This isn’t just some rite of passage – it’s something that could seriously impact your creditworthiness down the road.

Recently, banks have been tightening lending standards in response to the COVID crisis. This development has negatively impacted FICO scores. Because of this, many institutions are leaving behind many would-be borrowers.

However, FICO has recently announced a new credit assessment tool – the Resilience Index. What will it mean for college students and graduates? We’ll explore this issue in-depth in today’s post.

What Is A FICO Score?

FICO scores are statistics used by lenders to assess the legitimacy of a borrower. “FICO” is an acronym for the Fair Isaac Corporation, a data analytics firm based in San Jose, California. They debuted the FICO score in 1989; shortly after that, it became the gold standard for determining creditworthiness.

The Fair Issac Corporation determines your FICO score by assessing five indicators of credit risk. These are as follows: The length of one’s credit history, credit utilization, the number of accounts held, recently opened accounts, and payment history.

After assessing your finances against these factors, FICO then assigns you a score. It runs, oddly enough, from 300 to 850. FICO and most lenders consider anything below 580 to be poor. On the other hand, anything above 800 is deemed exceptional.

Few borrowers have a FICO score that is truly bad or exceptional. Most lenders deem a FICO score between 670 to 739 to be a “good” score. However, FICO occasionally changes the weighting of their variables. As such, even borrowers that maintain consistent credit characteristics can have their FICO scores change significantly.

The FICO Resilience Index is one change that could have a significant impact on scores. We’ll break down what it means later. But before we do, let’s address a common question: Can a bad FICO score really impact your life negatively? To be frank, yes.

How Can Your FICO Score Impact Your Finances?

Lenders aren’t the only entities that check credit scores. From phone companies to your landlord, scores of firms do. In other words, if your FICO score tanks, your life can quickly become a living hell.

Let’s start with your bills. If your credit score is low (but not terrible), it can affect the interest rates you pay. Those with scores that slip below 670 may notice a rise in the rate on their credit cards. Need to go back to school for a graduate degree? If you have a “fair” credit score, interest on private student loans can get as high as 14.5%. In both cases, double-digit interest rates can result in monthly payments hundreds of dollars higher than those with good credit.

Are you trying to land that first significant role? Playing fast and loose with your credit can make it tough to get a well-paying, prestigious job.  According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 47% of employers admitted to running credit checks on potential hires. Many fear those with bad credit will “help themselves” to company funds or sell trade secrets.

Worst of all, a bad credit score can make it tough to keep a roof over your head. Increasingly, landlords require credit checks from applicants. If you don’t meet a lender’s minimum FICO score, the application process usually ends there. Often, this situation forces those with lousy credit to seek out a roommate. Sometimes, these living arrangements work out. Much of the time, though, they can prevent you from living your best life.

When It Comes To FICO Scores, Every Decision Matters

Often, measures taken against those with bad credit make sense. Businesses don’t want to lose money. Companies don’t want to hire dishonest employees. And landlords want dependable tenants.

There’s just one problem – as a young person, making even one mistake can screw everything up. As someone fresh out of school, you already have one strike against you. If you have a credit card, you’ve probably haven’t had one for long.

You also lack employment experience. It can be hard to find work, and when you do, you may not make all that much. If you miss one credit card, car, or student loan payment, it can have a disproportionate impact on your FICO score.

As such, we implore you – take this topic seriously. Yes, it’s okay to make spontaneous plans and enjoy your youth – but only if you’re able to pay your bills first. If your finances are drum-tight, focus on increasing your earning power/cutting expenses first. Then, save up a “fun fund” that can pay for spur-of-the-moment adventures.

This way, you can make the most of your twenties without compromising more expensive goals (e.g., homeownership) later on in life.

The FICO Resilience Index: Good Or Bad For College Students?

As if worrying about your FICO score wasn’t bad enough, a new metric has arrived on the scene. Recently, outlets like CNBC have reported on the latest tweak FICO has made to its credit reporting. In June, the agency announced the introduction of the FICO Resilience Index. In brief, this scale assesses the resiliency of borrowers to economic shocks.

Unlike past updates, the FICO Resilience Index isn’t a reconfiguration of how it determines FICO scores. Rather, it is a standalone measure that assigns borrowers a score from 1 to 99. The lower your score, the more resilient you are to recessions, sudden job loss, etc. The higher your score, the greater the likelihood you’ll miss payments, or default on loans when things sour.

Unlike traditional FICO scores, which punish the young more harshly for making mistakes, the Resilience Index could be a godsend. That one missed payment three years ago won’t dog you as much anymore. If you’ve managed to stock up an abundant emergency fund and paid down your debts, the Resilience Index would judge you more fairly.

At a time where uncertainty has never been higher, we feel the Resilience Index is a better judge of creditworthiness. In the past, a strong cash position didn’t factor in the computation of your FICO score. Now, this vital stat could help you get better interest rates, find work, and improve your living situation.

The Better Your FICO Number, The Better Off You’ll Be

We’re happy to see the implementation of the Resilience Index. Thanks to this measure, those who have a mostly trouble-free credit record will pay lower interest rates and face less discrimination. However, it’s still important to practice financial prudence, especially in these times.

By spending less than you take in, you’ll avoid overdraft fees and missed bill payments. As a result, your score will climb higher as months and years go by. Interest rates will fall, you’ll find it easier to rent desirable apartments, and you’ll get better job offers.

By focusing on things within your control, you can shape your financial future. Choose wisely.