Category Archives: Saving Money

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.          

How to Create a Simple Budget While in College and to Tweak it so it Will Fit ME

create a simple budget

Every student could benefit from a budget. When in college, money is a particularly scarce resource, as is your time. Working side jobs can be difficult, and working too many hours will only compromise your grades. Whilst you need enough to survive, a better way to look at it might be how to reduce your spending rather than how to earn more money. Afterall, money-making can be done once your degree is in your hands.

Budgets are the best way to achieve this. Following a spending plan can help minimize debt and overspending on less-than-necessary things. It may even lead to mindset differences, such as becoming more minimal and more appreciative of the smaller things in life.

The problem with researching the topic of budgeting

The issue is that everyone’s circumstances are different. Finding budgets online is a nightmare. Templates are an issue because they will likely consist of a bunch of things that you don’t have, like mortgage repayments and rental income. Whilst you can adapt them, you will have to add in things specific to you as well as remove items (and perhaps whole sections). The process is kind of pointless.

What’s more important is to really understand your own situation and spending patterns, and then making a budget from scratch, bespoke to you, will not take very long. Plus, filling in manually every type of spending that you have might be a wake-up call that’s needed.

How to create your own budget

Creating a budget doesn’t have to take long. In fact, it can be done in an afternoon with just a few steps. If you have more time to spare though, you can add in some extras (step 5) that will make your life easier and enhance the effectiveness of the budget.

Step 1: Income

The first step is to determine what your income is. This is easier to calculate than your spending, so it comes first. It should be a relatively steady number: living cost loan income, income from working, parental help, and so on. Find out what your income will be for the near future, or until the end of college if possible. Of course, use your after-tax income here for simplicity, unless you have a small business in which you want to track expenses within this same budget.

Step 2: Track spending

This isn’t about guessing what things you’re likely to buy next month, this is about tracking what you actually buy. The issue with forecasting items is that you’re prone to underestimating. Things constantly pop up, whether it’s getting college books or new clothes. It’s best to just track what you actually spend for a couple of months, then you’ll know for sure what the average month looks like. 

This doesn’t have to mean delaying your budget creation either. You can literally just open up your bank statements and reconcile them. Go through and write a note next to each spending. Even if you can only identify 75% of them, this means that you will need less time tracking them physically, meaning you can get started sooner.

Step 3: Goals

The point of a budget isn’t the budget itself, it’s to better reach a goal. Think carefully about why you want a budget. Is it so you can pay off more of your college debt? Is it to save up for a 6-month traveling experience? Whatever it is, write down a handful of meaningful goals.

SMART goals are best, too. This means making them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. For example, a poor goal would be to “have lots of savings in the future”. A better goal would be, “build a $4,000 emergency fund by July 2021”.

The reason this is step 3 and not 2 is because “track spending” is a function of goal-setting. In other words, your goals must take into account of your spending. It’s impossible to completely turn your spending on its head and set unrealistic goals. 

Step 4: Set parameters

This is the fun/daunting part; the budget itself. Now that you have an idea of what you actually spend, and what your fixed, unavoidable costs are, you can start to set parameters on your variable costs. 

If you have optimistic goals though, don’t shy away from being ruthless on your fixed costs. For example, running a car may seem like an unavoidable fixed cost, but you should think carefully about whether it really is. 

Most college students live close to or inside the campus. Having a bicycle may be the more healthy, environmentally friendly lifestyle choice that could save thousands per year.

Step 5: The spreadsheet itself

Now that you’ve created your budget, you want to represent it on a spreadsheet effectively. Downloading templates and copying them is one way to do this, but alternatively, you can play around with it yourself and learn some valuable Excel skills.

For example, you may want to use conditional formatting to change the colors of the cells depending on their value. This is how you make your balance appear in red when it goes below zero, for example.

Likewise, you want to set borders around sections, instead of having prose of messy information. You could use different pages for different sections too, and have the main page that represents and pulls in all the data together.

If you want an easier way to input data into the sheet (i.e. input each purchase you make as you go), then you can make use of forms. Google forms (inputted into Google Sheets) are an easy way to do this — you simply make a small Q&A where you type in the data and hit enter. This will be submitted to the budget. The link to the form can even be placed on your mobile home screen.

Lastly, formulas are important to learn too. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you want to automate the calculations as much as possible so there are few mistakes. “=SUM” will perhaps be your most used formula.

Using Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Save Money on Christmas Gifts

Black Friday can be as controversial a topic as what meat you’re going to eat for Christmas dinner. With viral clips of fighting over in-store goods and others claiming its all a scam, you can quite easily be put off by it all. 

The rule of thumb is to only scan Black Friday sales for things you already want to buy, instead of putting yourself in the vulnerable position of letting sales sweep you off your feet.

Christmas is approaching and you’re going to need to buy some gifts regardless. Black Friday is actually very well placed in that respect, as it gives you time to have another pay-day before the actual day of Christmas and your quite possibly expensive and boozy New Years’ Eve.

So, rather than postponing the inevitable hand-over of cash until you’re passing by a garage on Christmas eve, browsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can really reduce your Christmas spending. You have to go about it in a sensible, prepared way, however.

Planning

The first thing to do is plan the number of presents you’re going to need to buy. This means writing down the name of everyone that you’re intending to buy a gift for. It may also be wise to roughly write down how much you’re willing to spend for each name, too. This will help prevent impulse buys and blowing your budget on just a couple of people. You may also want to discuss this with others too – asking if you’re both planning on buying each other a present, in order to avoid the phrase “I thought we weren’t doing presents this year?” which leaves both parties embarrassed on the day.

Research

When you’ve figured out the list and budget, you can begin to look into gifts for each person. This comes before Black Friday, so you’re not left with finding and buying presents for everyone over a single weekend. Anyway, you’ll find that sales start from the week leading up to Black Friday in many stores (Amazon being one).

You can make good use of Chrome extensions such as Savelist and Shoptagr which will create a list of items that you’re interested in – and the latter will even notify you of price drops. Hopefully, the week leading up to Black Friday is enough to create a list that includes possible gifts for everyone. Another good option is to use comparison sites and select the vendor with the best prices. The last place for good and cheap products it’s well known eBay.

Timing

Timing is the next thing. You don’t want to just buy an item because it’s on a general sale, as it may drop further on the day of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Equally, you don’t want to miss out on a potentially good deal by getting greedy.

You can deal with this in two main ways. Firstly, scan for dates and stock count. Sites such as Amazon often state how long you have until the deal runs out and goes up in price, and many sites also will tell you “only 5 remain”, although they may be lying depending on the company.

The second thing to do is to find the same deal on other sites. If you have only one option on a good price for a product on a certain website, then this may not be worth the risk of waiting. However, if you have three separate sites, it would be unlikely that they end their deal/run out of stock at the same time. Thus, if you have options, you can afford to wait. Once they get ruled out and one is left, it may be the time to strike.

5 Great presents on sale

RUNMUS Gaming headset

The RUNMUS gaming headset is suited to PC, Xbox One and PS4 users, and benefits from 7.1 surround sound for an enhanced gaming experience. Finding a highly rated gaming headset (4.6/5 from 10.279 reviews on Amazon) in this price range is a great bargain.

Price: $26.95 (reduced from $42.99) at Amazon

TCL 55” 4K TV

If you’re looking to spend big on a present this year for someone (or perhaps… a present for yourself?) then 4K TVs are getting cheaper by the day. The TCL 55” however is quite possible the first 55” TV I’ve seen for under 400 bucks that’s 4K. With 4* reviews, it looks like a great Black Friday coup.

Price: $399.99 (reduced from $699.99) at Amazon

Fitbit

It’s not called Cyber Monday for no reason! The Fitbit is next on the list, as you’re sure to pick a version up cheap over the weekend. These a great present as they mix utility technology with health benefits. Whilst there are many versions that will no doubt see a price drop, the Fitbit Versa 2 is first on sale at Amazon.

Price: $148.99 (reduced from $199.95) at Amazon

DAYBETTER LED strips 10m 

Colorful LED lights are that product that you never think about buying for yourself, but when you see someone else’s, you can’t help wonder why you haven’t got around to getting any yet. They can transform a room and add an incredible ambiance. At 10m long, these LED lights are sure to fill up a medium to a large bedroom.

Price: $19.74 (reduced from $28.99) at Amazon

Magilano SKYJO 

SKYJO is the self-proclaimed “ultimate card game for kids” – and it really is a lot of fun even for adults. Christmas is a time for socializing with family, so it’s good to have some non-tech gifts that you can play over the dinner table too. Whilst the deal appears to be coming to an end soon, it’s likely to see the same deal pop up elsewhere this weekend.

Price: $7.49 (reduced from $19.95) at Amazon

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

Prepared Meal Kit

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! 

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.

20 Best Personal Finance Blogs for Young Adults of 2019

Top best blogs for young adults

We all learn math, science and English throughout grade school, and some of us go on to learn in college as well. One thing that no one gets the same lesson on is personal finance! Grade schools and colleges might have a class here or there about personal finance, but there is not a standard by any means. We each get our own lesson by watching our parents muddle their way through their own finances. The majority of us really do not want to end up like our parents, financially speaking.

Approximately fifty percent of Baby Boomers have less than $100K saved for retirement and according to AARP Gen X has on average $125K in debt, which includes credit cards, school loans, and mortgages. This is a perfect example as to why young people today really aren’t interested in receiving financial advise from friends and family older than them! Young people today are apprehensive about taking on any debt and they are right to do so.

Looking for classes or books on how to learn about personal finance really depends on your own personal situation and everyone’s situation is different from the next person. Everyone has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to where they start out financially in life. In order to help you navigate the vast amount of knowledge regarding personal finance, we have created a short list of a top 20 Personal Finance Blogs for young people to follow and learn from below.

In no particular order here are finance blogs that may help you find your own personal financial path.

The College Investor

TheCollegeInvestor

Blogger Robert Farrington started writing in 2009 and averages 5 blog posts per week. His niche is helping postgraduates get out of debt and helping them start investing. Some of his most popular blog posts are: 3 Ways to Make $50,000 Per Year Without Working With Passive Income, 50+ Ways to Make Money Fast With a Side Hustle and Secret Ways to Get Student Loan Forgiveness. I like that he shares not only tips for everyone, but opens up and tells people what he actually uses for his own personal financial needs.

Money After Graduation

moneyaftergraduation

Blogger Bridget Casey started her blog in 2012 and posts new entries several times a month. Her niche is in helping you figure out how to pay off your college debt and learn how to be in control of your financial life instead of being a victim of it. Some of her latest blog posts are: The Best Books to Gift a New Grad, How to Save a Down Payment for a House and How to Use the Debt Snowflake Method. She also offers e-courses. One of her courses Debt Crusher on debt elimination is free! Another course is on how to Build a Better Budget is pretty inexpensive at $47. Another course she offers is The Six Figure Stock Portfolio, which helps you learn how to build a portfolio. This class is $400, payable in two installments of $199 each. I love getting free debt advice and giving it as well.

Retire by 40

ReitreBy40

Joe Udo, formerly a computer engineer at Intel, said that the job became more and more stressful and he decided he needed to get out. He started Retire by 40 in 2010. He started his blog about his journey, mostly to keep tabs on himself to make sure he followed through and he was able to quit his full time job and leave corporate America in 2012. He now dubs himself Mr. RB40 says that just because he left the 9-5 does not mean that he does not work. He says he stays really busy with blogging and other things, like being dad and maintaining the house. He posts one to two times a week depending on his availability. Some of his most recent blog posts are School’s Out – First Grade is Over!, May 2018 Goals and Financial Update and Take a Peek Behind the Curtain – See How I Write a Blog Post. MR. RB40 shares his personal portfolio and his journey, and instead of starting out right out of college, this journey starts in his 30’s. With many people in different stages of life between their 20-30’s it is important to look at all pathways to being financial stable. His wife still works and they live off of his passive income, and Mrs. RB40 should be retired by 2020 and they will be living off his writing and their passive income.

The Penny Hoarder

ThePennyHoarder

Kyle Taylor is the founder and CEO of the Penny Hoarder website, which started in 2010. The website / blog’s mission is to improve the lives of regular people by allowing them to spend less time worrying about their finances and more time living their lives. The Penny Hoarder employs over 90 individuals and has many different writers, but the blog concept is there. The different categories that The Penny Hoarder focuses on are: Making Money, Deals, Food, Smart Money and Life. In all of these areas readers learn about how to pinch their pennies and save either with coupons, side gigs, budgets or college. Some of their most popular blog posts are: 8 Legitimate Paid Survey Sites to Make Extra Money Each Month, 12 Ways to Save Money and Add $5k to Your Bank Account this Year and 31 of the Absolute Best Freebies We’ve Ever Found Online. With multiple blog posts per day, if you are looking for a specific topic I’m gonna bet they have covered it!

My Money Blog

MyMoneyBlog

Jonathan Ping has been sharing his knowledge about money and finances since 2004. He might post once or twice a month, but that’s because he is busy living and loving life! He and his wife cut back to being half time workers and their passive income is enough to cover their household expenses, but they aren’t ready to retire just yet. This blog is about preparation and learning about your finances and retirement. His most recent blog posts are: Airbnb vs Hotels Price Comparison Chart, How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free (book notes) and British Airways Fuel Surcharge Settlement. What I love about this blog is that he doesn’t claim to be an expert, just a man trying to figure it out each and every day.

Frugal Rules

FrugalRules

John started out adulthood like many do, with piles of credit card debt, and he has become debt free and is a veteran of the financial services industry as a stockbroker. He wants to spread financial literacy, so the more people understand how to live within their means. Some of the topics Frugal Rules covers are: frugality, investing, debt, credit cards and online brokerages. Some of the most recent blog posts are: Are Side Hustles Worth the Sacrifice?, 7 Best Ways to Sell Your Old Stuff for Money and How to Invest in Stocks When You Do Not Know Where to Start. I like that he owns up to his debt from college and says that he wasn’t aware of living within his means, because that is where many people find themselves regardless of their age! Knowing the next step to living within your means is an important one.

Good Financial Cents

GoodFinancialCents

Jeff Rose is a self-proclaimed numbers geek. If you don’t love this guy after reading his about me page, you should just stop now, just stop it. He has credentials but also personality. If you can make finances fun that is a talent in itself! His site also has a Retirement Income Calculator, which I know there are plenty of those online, but not all are found on blogs. Some of Good Financial Cents’ most recent blog posts are: 87 Super Easy Ways to Save Money, CIT Bank Review and Best Insurance for College Students. Still trying to make a difference and reach everyone, Jeff also has a Podcast that might reach more young people than his blog, because what young person do you know that sits down to read about financial literacy? While owning up to his failures he makes it fun to learn about finances what to do and NOT do, sometimes from personal experience.

20 Something Finance

20SomethingFinance

G.E. Miller started blogging in 2007. He believes he has solved the financial matrix and he spends less, has less but insists he isn’t missing out on anything. He posts           a new blog entry about every week. Some of his most popular blog posts are: Money Savings Products I Personally Use, How to Pay Taxes with a Credit Card (and Profit) and The U.S. is the Most Overworked Nation in the World. I like that he started at the bottom, where most people find themselves when looking for a change in their finances. He moved for a higher paying job, he bought a smaller home; he sold his second car and started biking to work. He switched his purchases of products and services from ones that cost money to ones the create money. He talks about how to use your credit cards to earn cash back each month on purchases you are going to make anyway.

Everything Finance

EverythingFinance

This site was started in 2007 and while this blog site is more corporate run that is not to say that it doesn’t have some great information for young people. Great articles on getting started in investing, understanding your credit score and loans like mortgages or personal loans. Some of the most popular blog posts are: 5 Tips for Managing Bills as a Married Couple, 7 Summer Jobs You Can Do from Anywhere and Why We Bought a House When Renting was Cheaper.

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

GirlsJustWannaHaveFunds

Ginger with Girls Just Wanna Have Funds for women entrepreneurs to use passive income to reach their financial goals. She started her blog in 2003 with the mission to teach women about how to earn their financial freedom because she has been there done that and wants to help you avoid those same mistakes! Some of her recent blog posts are Tight on Funds? Here’s What You Can Do!, 3 Ways to Fix the Mistakes of Your Younger Self and 3 Interesting Ways Other People’s Money Can be Good for Your Finances. While her site is geared towards young female entrepreneurs, that’s not to say guys can’t benefit from reading her blog too!

The Centsible Life

TheCentsibleLife

Kelly Whalen a mother of four has been blogging since 2009, she started The Centsible Life as a way to keep track of all the advise she had been given and read up on for ways to get her family out of debt. She soon realized that her blog was helping other people just like her trying to get out of debt too. Blogging quickly became more than just a hobby for her! Her site covers all things life and money. Your finances are tied to your health, food, travel, etc so just about anything where you spend money or it costs money or you can save money in life, The Centsible Life will write about it!

Money Smart Life

MoneySmartLife

Ben Edwards started Money Smart Life in 2006 to share his story about being in control over his spending. His journey began when he was only 12 year old and wanted a Nintendo and his parents made him work for his money to buy it. He worked hard to earn the $150 needed for the system, but when it came time to actually buy it, he decided not to. He claims to have cracked the Konami Code and chose instead getting the game system to invest his money and how it became addicting to him to check everyday in the newspaper how his stocks were doing. While not all 12 year olds are going to swoon over getting stock for every birthday and Christmas, that’s exactly what Ben did. This gave him a financial edge over his friends after graduating from college he was able to cash in stocks and buy his fiancé a ring, put a down payment on a house and pay for their honeymoon. He was ahead of the curve because of the decision he made when he was 12 years old. What I love about this story is how you can use this same advise and teach your children and or use it as personal advice to start controlling your own financial future right now.

Debt Roundup

DebtRoundup

Debt RoundUp was started in 2012 by Grayson Bell to help navigate his way out of debt and share his own journey at the same time. While Grayson isn’t a certified financial planner, he is a guy who dug himself out of debt one penny at a time. His site is to share his personal journey and provide tools to help you get started on your personal journey out of debt or learning how to manage and use their money to free them of the looming cloud of credit card debt. This site’s followers aren’t financial professionals but they are regular people sharing their successes, failures, struggles and ways they found worked! So if you are like Grayson and financed a Jetski and want to get out of the financial hole you are digging you will be in good company with the author and followers of this page. I might need to follow this one myself, as someone who went on vacation after losing my job and another time went ahead and bought the furniture when my roommate lost his job. Knowing you can make financial blunders and still get out of the hole is always good to know.

Wise Bread

WiseBread

Wise Bread is not rung by one person but instead a community of bloggers whose mission is help you live your life on a budget. The writers blog about Credit Cards, how to avoid them, how to use them to your benefit and how to manage them. They tackle the topic of personal finance and budgeting. They give tips on frugal living and life hacks and more. A few of their latest blog posts are 28 Free Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer, Best Money Tips: How Much You Should Spend in Retirement and These 8 Modern Car Features Are Riskier Than You Think. What is great about this site is that the community of writers have all kinds of different perspectives that they share while writing so while you might not agree with one blog post, there still might be another post that speaks right to you and your current situation. Just keep reading and see if you find a blogger or topic that is going to best fit what you are searching for!

The Simple Dollar

the simple dollar

The Simple Dollar was founded by Trent Hamm in 2006 when Trent was tired of ‘trying’ to get out of debt and was ready to make it happen for good. While working on his own debt he felt inspired to help others do the exact same thing by sharing the tricks and tips that worked for him. Now with a staff to help run the site and contributing writers they have more than one post per day to help you learn how to plan your financial goals for credit cards, loans, insurance, investments and banking. Having multiple writers is a great way to be more relatable to your readers by having lots of different perspectives writing each day that have different backgrounds and can share their own struggles and successes. Some of their most recent posts are: Ten Inexpensive (and Quick) Ways to Liven Up Cooking at Home, The Gap Between Your Goals and Your Actions and How to Plan a Really Cheap Weekend Getaway.

Broke Millennial

BrokeMillennial

Erin started Broke Millennial to help young people figure out how to get out of debt and #GYFLT (Get Your Financial Life Together)! She explains that she learned at a very young age the value of a dollar after working hard to earn it and this life lesson helped her through college and she graduated with zero college debt! Learning how to get your financial life together happens differently for everyone and if reading all of these blogs isn’t quite you style, check out her youtube show where she breaks it down in quick videos for you. I love that she addresses one of the big things about young people… umm they don’t really read much! They want information and they want it NOW! Being able to get the same information watching a quick video is time well spent rather than fifteen minutes of reading articles. Everyone learns differently, and I am just glad someone recognizes this!  Some of her latest videos on YouTube are: 5 Pieces of Money Advice to Ignore, The 2 Easiest Ways to Pay Down Debt and Mastering Your Bank Account. Her mantra is “It’s time to get your financial life together. It doesn’t need to be terrifying. It just needs to be done.”

Financial Samurai

Financial Samurai

Finding it hard to get motivated to get out of debt or earn more money? This is where the story of the Financial Samurai begins. Sam Dogen was working in Corporate America waiting for that next big raise wasn’t a driving force, but finding a way to life free was motivation! What does living life free mean? It means something different to each person, but here it means spending time with family, travel and have little worry about finances. Starting the blog in 2009 it only took 3 years to make the jump from employee to self-employed. Sam’s experience shows that even if you make the right choices and invest and get educated you can still fall victim to financial disaster. He suffered financially from the financial crisis and with money no longer as a motivator; living life by his terms is what mattered most. Now he writes for his blog and is able to save and is control of his financial life, and he shares his knowledge about investing, negotiations, starting a blog, financial products and wealth management.

Taking financial advise from someone who is well educated on this topic is never a bad thing, but knowing how they have personally made their success and worked through their failures is important. Why would you take financial advise from a guy behind a desk with an office? Do you know his credit score? Do you know his debt to income ratio? Nope. If you do not know someone’s ability to manage their own financial life, why would you take their advice?

Nerd Wallet

NerdWallet

Tim Chen is the CEO and founder of NerdWallet, he started the site in 2009. Tim states that he has made many avoidable financial mistakes and while some mistakes cost money, others cost time. Either way sharing way to avoid making these mistakes to others was a passion of Tim’s and thus NerdWallet was started. NerdWallet now has roughly 285 employees and their site covers topics like: credit cards, banking, investing, mortgages, loans, insurance and money. Topics for each may be finding the best credit card for your situation, how to start investing or how to earn more interest with your investments. Taking the financial advise from a blogging standpoint to a full grown company with employees is quite an achievement from someone who is honest about making financial blunders. It is always good to know you can make mistakes and still find success down the road.

Club Thrifty

ClubThrifty

Holly and Greg Johnson who were previously in the mortuary business founded Club Thrifty in 2012. Through hard work and by not listening to other people they pursued their goals and soon started living their dream life. Having kids and working full time jobs and working a side hustle wasn’t easy, but knowing you can only fail if you quit trying they knew that this was their ticket out of their financial struggles. It didn’t happen over night but they worked their way out of debt and soon found that living life without debt and huge interest payments you can actually afford to LIVE! Their blog’s niche is about you stop spending and start living. You can often learn a lot about how to travel on the cheap and learn about how to use credit card points to help cover the majority of your travel costs. What is exciting about this blog is that with no financial background and a family to support they were able to work together as a team and now work from home or a beach or a foreign country to support their family.

The Minimalists

TheMinimalists

The Minimalists’ founders Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus started their site in 2010 after a realization that having it all, the money, the houses, the cars, the 80-work week still left them unsatisfied. They were not in control of their lives. This led them to begin taking control over their lives through minimalism. Their story didn’t start there, they are long time friends who both grew up poor and both found their lives needed change and decided to take control over their lives with minimalism. A few of their top blog posts are: New to Minimalism? Start Here, 30-Day Journey to Minimalism Game and Tour Joshua’s Minimalist Apartment. The Minimalists also have a podcast, books, films and tour to help inspire people to take control over their lives by not allowing all the ‘stuff’ to control their lives. What I like about this blog best is it speaks to how to live life and not focus on keeping up with the Jones next door. Living life as a minimalist does not mean you go without, it means you are fulfilled by other things in life other than ‘stuff’.

All of these blogs have something to offer people, whether you are starting out in life right out of high school, graduating from college or are already married with kids. Take some time to find a blog that speaks to you and your financial goals in life. If you don’t like to do a ton of reading, find one that has a podcast. It is never too early or late in life to start taking control over your financial future, so start now!

College Side Hustles: How to make money from writing

writing for money

With the rising cost of going to college, working while going to college is more the norm than it used to be. After the housing market recession students are more aware of their financial situations and trying to keep from graduating with mounds of debt. Many will try to pay for their classes during the semester after securing a student loan to cover the upfront costs. Students have crazy class schedules that can make it difficult to find employment to help cover their bills.

Freelancing:

Students often don’t realize that they have a skill that they have been developing for years, writing. From grade school through high school students have been working on mastering the skill of writing, whether they wanted to or not. Being a freelance writer can be the ‘write’ fit for a lot of students. Freelancing works around your crazy school schedule because you can write for a client a 2 am or at 10 am between classes. You can literally work wherever with your laptop by your side and Wi-Fi on campus.

Job Market:

You can find a job just about anywhere. There are job boards created just for freelancers. Every website on the Internet has content that they either need to update or create. Some sites will pay top dollar to have great content. Others will pay low rates but spend more time correcting and editing a freelancer’s work. There are a myriad of types of contract work available.

Pay for writing depends a lot on the content being written about and the experience of the writer. As a freelancer you can decide what your time is worth when you write. Some content positions will pay $0.05 per word; others can pay up to $0.25 per word. If a client asks you to write a 1,000 word article you charge them $.05 and it takes you two hours two write maybe a little longer you have just earned $50. If you were working for minimum wage you would need to work about 7 hours to earn $50. Clearly the minimum starting pay for writers is better than the US minimum wage. If you write faster, the higher your hourly rate is.

Experience isn’t always required. You have papers you have written for college and other projects, this is already a beginning of a portfolio. Just because it wasn’t paid work doesn’t mean it can’t be used to help get you that first writing job.

There are inexpensive classes you can take that will teach you how to become a freelance writer. Earn More Writing is an example of this type of course. It has several levels of courses you can take and can be done in a relatively short period of time. You are also learning from someone who currently makes a living at freelance writing, who has taken the time to share her knowledge.

While you can figure out how to freelance all on your own, you will save time, energy and money by taking a course on how to become a freelance writer.

What Should I Write About?

When you are just starting out you should write about topics you already know about. Maybe you just took a class on a subject that really interested you; this is a great starting point to build a portfolio. You shouldn’t write about things that do not interest you as your writing may be affected by your lack of interest for the topic. Keep in mind if you write about something that isn’t fun the rate per word could be higher, so you could earn more for your work.

Pitching clients can happen in lots of different forms. You can send cold pitches to websites or companies. You might not hear back, but then you might hear back right away. Dealing with rejection or just no reply at all is a good thing to learn early on.

Having an Online Presence:

Creating a portfolio of your work doesn’t have to be fancy. You need a simple site, and you can even use a WordPress site for free to begin to market your writing. Create a bio explaining you are in college and what your interests are and you can link some of your writing you have done for school to start in your portfolio. Once you get some online published work you will want to add this to your portfolio. Alternatively, you can also create a YouTube channel where you can share from your experiences to others.

Freelancing while you are in college is a great way to earn some side money or even enough to pay your tuition. The ability you have to market yourself and time you have available are really the only things you need to get started. You can write whenever and wherever. The flexibility is endless when it comes to freelancing.

Why Use Comparison Sites to Guide Financial Decisions?

choice

Financial decisions cause us an inordinate amount of stress. From small financial worries – like how to budget for day-to-day expenses – to large financial worries – like when and how to invest – can be stressful enough to send us into a tailspin. It doesn’t help, of course, that there are so many options and possibilities out there. With financially-minded technology it feels like there’s a new product, service, or bank to consider every day. This can add to the stress we’re already feeling and cause us to do one of two things:

  1. Shut down completely. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, we may come to a standstill. This isn’t helpful because we won’t be able to make an effective decision that meets our financial needs or solves our problems. We might lose money, pay too much in fees or interest if we refuse to change banks or services, you name it!
  2. Make a snap-judgement decision – that’s wrong for us and our situation. We’ve all made poor financial decisions in the past and it’s never fun. If you make a judgement call without knowing all the information, or based on bad information, you could truly cause yourself financial harm.

Obviously nobody wants to make bad financial decisions, or to not decide at all, but these things happen. They happen a lot more often when we’re overwhelmed or stressed out.

What makes a bad decision “bad”?

good or bad

A bad money decision doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s truly bad. It might not just be the best decision for you. If you make a call that either loses money or doesn’t make you as much money (or save you as much money) as another decision could have, it’s probably a “bad” decision. You want to be living your best financial life, not walking the line between mediocre and great.

Several things come into play when you discuss making a poor financial decision. Often it has nothing to do with the intelligence of the individual. Usually it’s a result of many other factors. Here are a few things that play into your bad financial decision making:

  1. You’re emotionally invested.
  2. You feel like you’re making the right decision because someone you know made a similar decision.
  3. You’re choosing to work with a company, brand, or financial institution you’ve worked with in the past without researching their services.
  4. You went with the company that advertised to you.
  5. You didn’t do enough research.
  6. You did too much research and became overwhelmed – leading to a rapid-fire judgement call.

These are just a few of the reasons you might make a bad financial decision – or even just a decision that wasn’t the best fit for you. This may leave you feeling even more overwhelmed then before. “How am I going to make the right decisions if literally everything I do will somehow get in my way?” you might be asking. Luckily, there is a way around several of these human errors when it comes to money decisions: doing the research ahead of time on impartial comparison sites.

How do I do my research the right way?

researchThis is a common fear. You’re always going to run the risk of over-researching different products, services, or companies and end up committing to the wrong one – or, the wrong one for you. But comparison websites really do help.

Their value comes, in large part, from their ability to remain unbiased. The reviewers on the website you’re looking at likely don’t have an emotional connection to the products, services, and companies they’re reviewing. And they don’t have an emotional connection to your unique financial dilemma – they don’t even know you!

This gives them the ability to provide excellent, thorough, documented research that compares different services, products, and companies. As you wade through this research there will be a temptation to discredit it. That’s fair, and you should look at several review and comparison sites before making a final decision. However, the truth of the matter is that very few reputable comparison and review websites provide you with faulty information. Their sole goal and purpose is to empower you to make the right decision – regardless of how you may feel.

Take the guess work out of decision making – and save money.

Comparison and review sites help you take the guesswork out of research. They give you the cold, hard facts and help guide you towards an answer that solves your financial problems. More importantly, they’ll empower you to work with new companies, try new products, and experience new financial services that can legitimately save you money. You’ll either decrease your spending or find ways to grow your wealth – and that should always be the goal when making a scary financial decision. Comparison and review websites can help get you there.

How Small Investments Can Turn into a Meaningful Savings When You Are a Student?

invest money

It is not uncommon to find student with a small debt or a big one in college. When contemplating how to get out of debt and ultimately, transition into the ability to become an investor, one has to make a dramatic shift in their finances in order to get ahead. Consider the following recommended steps to get out of debt and then position yourself in order to make a substantial amount of capital.

Debt Elimination

Debt elimination is the first necessary step a student should take before deciding to invest. It is essential to pay off high interest credit cards that typically have a 30% interest rate before even considering saving and investing. Additionally, it is beneficial to pay off personal loans or any student loan that have high interest rates before trying to pay money into a savings account. Once the debt is eliminated, it is wise to then set money aside for a savings cushion in order to pay your future college tuition payment or to allow for the unexpected to happen.

Three Months of Wages in Savings

Before investing in any options, it is best to have at least three months of wages in savings. Once there is enough in savings, then one can consider the best way to invest other money. Those students that fail to save will find it very difficult to get out of debt in the long term because they will never have a support system of finances to assist them should them need it. Their savings is vital should they decide to avoid high interest credit cards and personal loans all together.

The Recommended Quantity of Savings per Month for Students

In determining what is the proper amount of capital to save every month, it is essential to ascertain what one’s income from their part time student job, in relation to what their realistic living expenses are including their college tuition payments. The recommended savings amounts can range anywhere from $10 to $500. What is important to consider with this calculation is that even saving smaller amounts of capital per month absolutely is worthwhile because it will add up in the long term. What makes saving difficult is that the smaller amounts of savings are going to take longer to amount to a substantial amount of money. Typically, it is only through saving amounts in excess of $500 should one look into the possibility of entertaining the notion of investment and forex trading. The reason for this is that the currency trading market has very high stakes and the prospective investor should not be worrying about losing capital in order to be ready to be making such expensive and high profile trades that have very high risks associated with them. Perhaps an investment with low risk can be more adequate for students at this point. However, one can choose to make an investment with higher return. Be sure to know that the risk is higher as well.

High Risk Investments

For those student who are more advanced investors and that do have the potential to lose a great deal, currency trading and binary options are the latest potential ways to make a substantial amount of money. Currency trading requires specific level of knowledge in order to make substantial gains. Where this type of trading becomes very high risk is between individuals that do not know enough about the market in order to make sound trading decisions.

Binary options are a form of investing that should be avoided because there is a great deal of risk associated with these transactions that makes it very difficult to make substantial gains without incurring a great deal of loss. Binary options are reserved for the experienced traders that work at reputable companies. Should one have any doubt about the integrity of a financial company, they should not trust their binary options are very unregulated in markets that are outside of the United States. Where binary options are quite difficult to get ahead is that they are the notion of buying an option on a stock that will be profitable if the market swings in a certain way. Thus, there is a potential that an investor may not even make a profit. Instead of utilizing binary options, investors should be focusing on a more ownership based strategy to do well in investing.

Concluding Remarks on the Subject

To conclude, it can be quite difficult to get out of debt, especially in college. The reason that it is so difficult to get out of the red is that there is a vicious cycle that continues when a student spends more than they have and then pays subsequent interest on those charges. The best way to get out of debt is to pay off the high interest debt, save at least three months of wages, and then consider the amount of savings per month towards investing should the student have the requisite capital to do so. Then, if he has sufficient capital to invest, they will then be able to get ahead in their investments with potential currency trading strategies. That being said, these strategies are best left to the experts in order to get the best possible results for financially qualified individuals.