Money Math: Valuable Lessons To Learn At College

When you leave school, there’s every chance that you can solve equations, plot graphs, and measure angles, but many college students have limited experience when it comes to managing money. In school, you’re often taught how to solve problems, but these aren’t issues that will necessarily crop up in real-life situations away from the classroom. If you’re preparing to go to college or you’re moving on to the next stage of your course, this guide should come in handy.

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Evaluating your accounts

Going away to college is an excellent time to look over your accounts and determine whether they still work for you now that you’re about to become a college student. If you’ve been with the same bank since you opened your first account, you may find that there are other options out there worth considering. Look at accounts that are geared towards students. Some features, such as online bill payments and low daily balance limits, may be particularly beneficial if you’re swapping high school for college. Before you start your course, take a few minutes to have a look online, explore your options and choose the best account for you. It’s not hard to open a new account, and in many cases, you can do this online.

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Learning to budget

When you go away to college, there’s every chance that this will be the first time you’ve had to budget properly. Whether you’ve taken out a student loan to help with your fees or the cost of living, or you have an allowance from your parents, it’s essential to learn to budget as quickly as possible. When you’ve got money in your account, it can be very tempting to spend it, and you don’t want any nasty surprises when you go to an ATM or check your balance online. It’s very easy to get carried away at the beginning of the semester, but remember that your money has got to last several weeks.

There are many different ways you can budget. Some people prefer to stick to tried and tested traditional methods, such as noting down outgoings in a notepad and updating your spending record with a simple pen. Others use apps or spreadsheets. Whatever technique you prefer, you need to write down exactly how much money you’ve got coming in and what’s going out. Remember that with loans, you’ll usually get a lump sum, rather than regular payments. When you’ve got everything written down, you can ascertain how much disposable income you have. This is the money you have available to spend on socializing or buying new clothes, for example.

From a budget you’ve done for the semester, you can then break this down into a monthly and weekly budget. This will give you a figure to stick to every week. If math isn’t your strong point, don’t worry. You don’t have to sit and work out complex calculations for hours on end. There are really useful features like a fraction calculator and budgeting tools online that make life much easier. If you find it hard to control your spending and keep track of how much money you’ve spent in a week, one option is to take your weekly allowance out of the atm and keep it in a safe place. It’s usually easier to monitor spending when you have cash.

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Understanding loans and credit and planning for the future

When you’re a student, you may not even think twice about taking out a loan or filling in a credit card application. The trouble is that the decisions you make at the beginning of your college journey could affect you long after you’ve graduated. In many cases, college isn’t a viable option without a loan, but be careful about borrowing too much money or getting into debt that you can’t afford to repay. With college loans, it’s common to start repaying your loan when you start working, and you have an income. However, the terms differ according to the type of loan, and if you’ve taken out a private student loan from a bank, rather than a federal fund, you may be required to start your repayments much sooner. If you take out additional loans to your student loan, this will increase your debt, so make sure you can afford the repayments. If you miss payments or you get into a lot of debt, this affects your credit rating.

The average US student accumulates around $30,000 worth of debt over the course of their college career. This is a significant figure, but if you’re sensible with money and you understand the impact of borrowing, you should be able to manage your finances in a way that makes college affordable. As soon as you start working, and you’re earning a certain amount on a regular basis, you can start paying back your loan.

The trouble with accumulating debt comes when you can’t afford the repayments. If you’ve taken out a loan or you have credit cards, and you can’t meet the minimum payment every month, you’re likely to encounter penalties and charges, and your credit score will be affected. If you have a low credit rating, this will make it more difficult for you to borrow money in the future. This may mean that you’ll struggle to take out a mortgage and it may also have negative implications for your employment prospects, as many companies carry out credit checks.

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Going mobile

In this day and age, many of us rely on our phones to carry out a range of simple, everyday actions, including checking our bank balance. If you’re a student, it’s really useful to have access to mobile banking. This enables you to check your balances whenever and wherever you want, make payments and get in touch with your bank. If you don’t already have online banking, download your bank’s app now.

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If you’re preparing to go to college, you’re probably looking forward to broadening your horizons, taking on new challenges and forming friendships, but don’t lose sight of the importance of managing your money. Work out a budget that will see you through the semester, keep an eye on your accounts, and think very carefully about borrowing money. Use apps to take control of your finances, seek advice if you need help with debt, and make sure you’ve got the best account before you leave home.

Retire Early, Retire Right

You should always be thinking about your retirement. As crazy as it might sound, you really should be thinking about retirement in your early twenties. Not because you’ll be planning to stop working in the next few years but rather due to the fact that you’ll be there sooner than you think. So, you have to be prepared. You need to make sure that you have enough cash in your account to survive comfortably without the income that you might have been relying on. To do this, you need to consider ways that you can build up your capital, avoid debts that will eat your savings and live smart financially.

Recently, there was an advert for pension saving schemes. It showed two people’s lives in retirement on the saving plan they were currently on. One the one side someone was saving a lot and having a wonderful time after retirement. On the other, they were saving the bare minimum, and the projection for their retirement certainly wasn’t as rosy as they’d probably hoped. So perhaps this is the best place to start when thinking about your retirement.

How much are you saving? Ideally, you want to save around a quarter of your paycheck for your retirement. Unfortunately, for most people, this probably isn’t realistic. Particularly, when you take into account rent, bills, little luxuries and other expenses. You might hear people say that if you can’t afford to save your pension, you’re living past your means. But at what point are you sacrificing your enjoyment now to pay for a great future?

As such, you should really just be saving as much as you can reasonably afford. A few hundred each month isn’t an absurd level, and it’s one that most people should be able to meet. So, if you’re saving around that amount of money, you’ll have a nice pension pot to fall back on when you retire. If you’re struggling to save any money at all, a handy tip is to start thinking of it like another bill or even tax. It has to come out of your account at the end of the month. Of course, saving is a great start, but there is more that you can do to protect the outlook of your retirement and maybe even quit working earlier than most.

Buying Property

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Most people working now will be retired around 65-70 with the retirement age steadily increasing every year. You probably want to retire earlier than that and make sure you can still enjoy those last years in full. That’s why you want to buy property. There is an argument as to whether it’s financially wise to invest in property. And yes, it’s true to say that some people do end up in debt because they buy property and find that they can’t afford it. But that scenario is quite rare. The key thing to remember is that when you buy property, you leave yourself with capital that you can use and fall back on.

You might buy it with a loan but you can steadily pay that off, and if you’re doing this you can probably cut back a little on savings. Essentially, your home is your savings because you’ll be able to use the money you’ve put into it to move to a bigger home and pay the rest of the money on that one off. Then, when you retire, you can sell that and again, free the capital, moving to a smaller home and live comfortably through retirement. Yes, it sounds all too easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, but it’s definitely possible if you commit to this type of plan. You just have to make sure you have some money in your accounts so that you don’t end up in debt when the home needs a repair or two.

Gaining A Second Income

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If you want to be well off when you retire or retire early, you better make sure that you have more than one income. In fact, it’s advisable that you have at least two incomes and ideally three. The good news is that one of these incomes can be completely passive and the other one you can complete in your spare time.

The nonpassive income would be what is essentially a side hustle. It’s something you can do outside of your main job, perhaps at the weekend to earn a little extra cash. The great thing about this is that if you already have a solid plan in place for your finances, that side hustle cash can be spent on things you want. But wait, isn’t that just wasting your money? Actually, no because you probably will be buying these products or services anyway. This way, they won’t affect your overall financial savings.

An example of a side hustle would be tutoring students. You might have experience as a teacher or perhaps an academic. If so, then you’ll be able to offer the support that parents are always looking for to push up their kid’s grades.

Or, you might want to consider working from home, making money online. Fortunate Investor has some great examples of ways to make money on the net. One example would certainly be working as a freelancer writer. With this job, you can provide content to websites and easily earn a lot of money in no time at all.

What about the passive income? Well, that could be any type of investment that doesn’t require a lot of your time. If you’re looking for a great example of this, you should think about flipping properties. To flip a property, you need to invest in a fixer-upper. Spend a few months renovating it on the weekends, using services from pros rather than elbow grease. Once you have done this, you can then sell it on and pocket the profit. Some people easily make double to original value of the home doing this, though it does depend on whether you buy the right property.

Avoid Frivolous Spends

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If you’re going to retire early and retire well, you need to understand the value of money. This means that you should avoid spending money in areas that won’t benefit you in the long run or that will probably turn out to not have been worth it. An example of this would be buying a new car.

According to financial experts, it’s never a smart idea to buy a car brand new because you’re pouring money down the drain by doing this. At best you’ll be wasting a few thousand that you could have saved if you bought the car second hand. At worst, you could be wasting a small fortune because you were desperate to own a dream car that will lose half it’s valued in a few years. There are exceptions to this. You might buy a classic, and if that’s the case, it could even be considered a solid investment. But this possibility is quite rare.

Of course, this is just one silly spend that you want to avoid when you’re working towards a solid retirement. Another would be tech. Tech depreciates almost as rapidly as cars. So, if you want the latest tech, it’s worth just waiting a couple years until it drops in price. Yes, you’ll always be a couple years behind the trends. But you’ll also be saving a lot more money compared with the typical consumer.

As you can see then, it is possible to retire earlier than most and to make sure you have a solid cushion of cash to fall back on. Goodluck!

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Rules To Follow When Living On Your Own For The First Time

There are many transitions in life you make and you grow up and increasingly become aware of the greater responsibilities on your shoulders. It will dawn on you one day when you’re packing your bags full of clothes and everyday living items; you’re going to have to take a giant leap into the big wide world. One of the most difficult and daunting transitions from teenager or student is the coming of age as an adult. Living on your own will be tough for a smorgasbord of reasons, however, managing your personal and property finances by yourself will be the most harrowing challenge. The chances are good that you’ll be limited by income, but counter to this is the abundance of information and access to advice at your pleasure. Follow a few rules, mixing simple and complex solutions to problems, and you can navigate your way through life averting catastrophic setbacks.

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Budget before you move

Before you’ve moved into a new apartment or shared house, make a budget that reflects your current income, the monthly costs to live in the property such as rent, your expenses such as insurance, or phone bills, and finally your expenditure such as the weekly food shopping or on new clothes. Use this budget you create to see you through the first month or couple of week. After you feel settled in into the new place, take a look at your bills and go back to the drawing board to rebudget accordingly. Keep in mind some properties have utility costs which are seasonal, such as air conditioning which you might have used in the summer.

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Top of the range tech isn’t a necessity

You don’t need to have all the latest gadgets and appliances around the home, and a lot of young people make silly financial choices that they could do without. Don’t try to reconstruct or emulate in any fashion every part of how you used to live before, such as the need to have a laptop or tablet. Your parents of the university may have provided you with the technology all the other students had, but rather than wanting electronic accessories; you should focus on skillets, plates, cutlery and varying sizes of pots and pans. However, if you’ve been hired for a job that is well-paying, modern studio apartments have all encompassed utensils and connectivity as standard, such as here. Simply download the app required on your smartphone, and you can adjust the heating, set the time for the washing machine or dim and turn off the lights.

Cooking for yourself

There’s an endless wave of information on the internet for beginners just learning how to cook for themselves. Groceries are the most unpredictable, fluctuating part of your budget. Identify what your essentials are, such as bread, milk, and cheese dependent on your tastes. Cooking in bulk will save you money and time. Rice, pasta expand when inside your stomach, so you will feel fuller when eating this food type. Vegetables have a high water content as consequently, also fill you up with relative ease, not to mention the health benefits their exert. A better financial option is to cook in large quantities and freeze the excess individually. Buy airtight boxes and vacuum sealed bags which will preserve your food for up to 5 days at a time. Generally, the price per portion goes down when you cook this way because you save on energy bills and food prepping.

Filling Up Your Free Time, And Your Wallet In The Meantime

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Time is money, and often, you won’t have enough of either. However, there are some ways to utilize the time, that you’re usually on the sofa playing PS4, to gain a little more cash flow and fill out your wallet (you could even buy a new one if yours is looking pretty tired). The following are some ideas how you earn some extra money when you’re out of the office, so those Yeezys might just become your next investment.

Use Your Camera

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Whether you use your iPhone camera, received a Canon PowerShot for Christmas, or you’re out every weekend with your drone; if you’ve got a talent for capturing incredible images, you can make money from doing so. You never know, your side hustle could become your full-time job, and you’ll never dread Monday mornings again. Start by setting up a dedicated Instagram account for your pictures, gain some interest, and build your followers; you’ll be able to gauge what pictures go down the best, and you’ll be able to develop your skills and individual style. If your front door doesn’t lead to a Swiss landscape of a mountain and lake; there’s no need to stress about it. Taking photos of your everyday environment, whether it’s a cityscape or a suburb, will give you a personal edge and your crowd will appreciate what you’re portraying.

Before you set up an online store for your work; offer to sell your popular posts as prints. You can print your photography as they’re ordered, and you won’t have to fork out a huge sum of money upfront (unless you’re getting hundreds of orders and it’s time to start thinking about quitting your job). Do a run of themed or limited edition pieces; people love to know that they own something rare, and it’ll tempt them to buy something over just liking your post. There are a ton of other ways to sell your photography skills too; for some more ideas, take a look here:

Use Your Laptop

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Instead of watching Netflix when the weather is bad outside; you could think about getting online to earn some money instead. If your laptop or tablet is a permanent fixture on your body when you’re chilling, it could be the perfect route into getting paid. If you don’t mind filling in some surveys and answering questions about yourself, then you should read more into getting paid to do so; there a number of websites that will send your regular questionnaires and pay you cash or vouchers to complete them. You can grab a beer, sit back and earn some dollars as you type; sounds like a Thursday night well spent.

If you’re a talented writer or graphic designer; think about selling your skills outside of your workplace and setting yourself up as a part time freelancer. You could start small by seeking out any local businesses or independent online stores, and asking them if they need any content or branding help. If you keep your rates reasonable, you’ll be an appealing option for small companies who have less of a budget to spend. And, if there places you already go to, to shop or eat; you might just get a free meal or a regular discount on items, which will save you money.

You may not feel like you want to sit and work on your laptop when you’re not at work, and that’s understandable. Consider an online auction site, like eBay, and start selling the items that have been hanging in your closet for months, and that you’re unlikely ever to wear or use again. Not only will you be earning more cash; you’ll be making room in your home for all the new stuff that you’ll be able to afford.

Use Your Style

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If you’re the type of person that’s constantly being complimented on your outfits, sneaker choices, and the hats you wear, you can turn your excellent taste and style into an income. Taking regular images and blogging about them, or uploading them to Instagram, will provide a platform for you to show what you’re wearing and how you’re styling your garments. When people respond positively to what you’re doing, it’s a sign to keep going so that you’ll build up a loyal and ever-increasing following. Check out the 50 best men’s style Instagram accounts for some inspiration.

The more popularity you gain, the more notice brands and companies will take of you; this is when you’ll be sent free items to share and wear, and be paid to advertise through your chosen channels. It seems like a pretty sweet deal when all you have to do to get paid is get dressed each morning.

4 Ways The Internet Can Solve Your Cash Problems

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If the internet has done one thing it has ramped up our accessibility to extra cash, and who doesn’t want or need a little bit of extra cash. After all, we tend to be one dollar short of our bills at the end of each month for the simple fact that we all live to our means.

The reasons why we may want to make a little bit extra are almost infinite. It could be that we want to pay down debts before we get stung hard by the interest rates, perhaps an injury is keeping you out of work, your emergency fund was suddenly hit by a car maintenance job, or you want to put that little bit more into your retirement fund.

Whatever it is, we have done the due diligence for you and come up with the best ways to make money online and help you make that little bit more:

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Survey Taking

More and more people are using the increased demand for data to their advantage, namely by making money in their spare time. Seriously, the world has gone absolutely nuts for data, and businesses will do anything to better understand the average consumer, which is where you come in and, more crucially, where this list of paid surveys comes in. All you have to do is tick some boxes or answer questions, maybe even test a product or two and, voila, you can earn a little bit of extra money to go toward your debt repayments or whatever you are using it for. Simple and effective.

No-Risk Betting

It’s also called matched betting, and it is arguably the easiest way to make substantial money (without robbing a bank or a friend’s ISA). The way it works is relatively simple: you take advantage of those free bets you always see being offered by betting shops and then ‘matching’ them at an exchange. That’s what makes it risk-free. Twice over. Not only are you betting for free, you are also betting for and against a certain outcome. Big money to be made once you get the hang of it and, yes, it is totally legally before you ask.

Just Search The Web

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and that certainly seems to be the case with Qmee’s idea, which has made making a little bit of extra money online almost as easy as breathing air. All you do is install the Qmee add-on to your web browser and then browse the web as you would normally. You just conduct a search and every so often, what will happen is, a sponsored result may appear with a cash reward attached to it. If you’re interested, well, click and collect. Yes, the rewards may be tiny, but for doing nothing new that’s a good deal, as is the fact you can cash out whenever. Yup. no minimum amount needed.

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Test Sites

So you know your way around the web, huh? Well, why not turn this into a nice little money spinner (maybe even go pro with it) and browse the web full-time. You think we’re joking, don’t you? We’re not, and UserTesting will support us. This is a new type of platform and what it does is allows people to review websites, loads of websites. It takes about 20 minutes to do a review and, in return, you’ll get $10 dropped into your PayPal account. That’s it. Simple.