Spring Cleaning: Moving from College to Home

So, you are getting ready for the next big move. You have completed your last term paper, your last final and now you have your degree. Everything should be “easy as pie” until you realize you have to move out. What is the best way to prepare for the move home? Here are some steps you can take to make it an easier, faster process.

Organization is Key: Begin by deciding what items you really want to take with you—think long-term. Categorize everything into “keep, trash, or give away” labels. If you’re unsure what to keep, try to visualize where that item will fit in your future accommodations. If you cannot figure out where it fits into the new location, consider giving it away or donate it to a Goodwill near you.

Don’t Toss Your Work: You may never want to take a second look at the project or paper you spent hours working on, but you never know when it could come in handy again. Sometimes future employers want to see what you are capable of and will request to see past projects—especially when you are starting out in your career. Use your best work to build your portfolio when looking for your first job. You never know when an old A+ research paper might help jump-start your career.

For the Sentimental: Consider making a memory box or scrapbook to commemorate your most precious college memories. As you pack, set aside a box for the items that mean the most—concert tickets, photos with friends, your first report card. Once you return home, you can figure out how best or organize your favorite items. Need some ideas of how to get started, look here for the starting steps or some inspiration.

Leaving college can seem overwhelming, but whenever you have a well thought out approach to the move, it can be a quicker experience than you think. Congratulations on graduation and good luck in your future endeavors.

Making the Cut: Groceries on the College Budget

It is just a fact of life, we need food to survive.  With a busy schedule of classes, studying, writing papers, or whatever your plate holds, it can be easy to grab some fast food and go. Consider making some cuts to your eating habits daily. Here are some ideas on how to bank some bucks.

  • Trying to eat on 12 cents? Two words: Ramen® Noodles.
  • If you live on campus and pay for a meal plan, then use it. Some programs don’t restrict you from taking food to go or eating as many meals as you wish.
  • If you’re like many college students ducking into the corner coffeehouse every morning for your daily cup of Joe, then you are wasting money. An average latte, cappuccino, or mocha costs about $3.50 depending on the size you need. Seven days of that routine costs you $17.50 per week, $70 per month and around $280 per semester. That’s over $500 a year! Make your own. By the time you graduate from a four-year degree, you’ve saved over $2000 in coffee costs. Even if you buy numberswiki.com a decent coffee maker or small espresso/cappuccino machine for your dorm room or apartment, you’ll still save hundreds of dollars.
  • Oatmeal is fast, filling and affordable.
  • Peanut Butter Rocks.
  • Skip the fast food forays and late night take-out. Make sure you keep healthy, affordable options in your room or apartment. Yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, bagels, peanut butter are all affordable, convenient and much more healthy than a late night burger and fries.
  • Collect coupons and follow the weekly sales at the grocery store. Avoid high-end markets like Whole Foods. These are nice, but most products cost much more. Once you’re out of school and have a good job you can shop the upscale markets.
  • Kick the bottled water habit; support your local tap water and drink for free. If you’re freaked out by unfiltered water, consider buying a convenient travel-size filtered cup.

Think of the many ways you can cut costs while doing day to day budget checks. What are some of your favorite tips for saving money on food?

 

Source:
“118 Ways to Save Money in College” College Scholarships. 04 Dec 2013 <http://www.collegescholarships.org/student-living/save-money.htm>.

Unwanted Gifts? No Problem!

Now that the holidays are over, have you walked away with some gifts that have left you unsatisfied? You are not alone. Last year, 11% of people said that they either trashed or returned items that they really didn’t want.

Here’s how you can make the most of those unwanted gifts, and maybe make a little money in the process.

Return It

Some stores like Nordstrom, Walmart and Khol’s accept returns even if you don’t have a receipt. This isn’t a bad option if you know the where the gift was purchased. Don’t count on getting cash back though because you’ll likely be given store credit instead. Shop around and exchange the item or just hold out for something in the future.

Swap It

They may only cater to a type of product (electronics, movies and games at Goozex.com or books at BookMooch.com) but the process is simple. You place the items you want to swap and create a wish list. If someone wants your item, you earn points/credits and put that toward things that you want to acquire. They also offer alerts when an item you are looking for becomes available.

Sell It

Craigslist and eBay are wonderful outlets for almost any item you can dream of finding or in this case, selling.

If you get a gift card that you simply don’t want, consider selling it for something better. Visit a site like GiftCardGranny.com.  You may only get 85-92% what the card is worth, but that’s better than holding onto a card you’ll never use.

Donate It

Give your unwanted gifts or gift cards to charity. Make someone else’s day and walk away feeling good about your contribution.

 

Sources:

  • Gustke, Constance. “5 Ways to Ditch Unwanted Holiday Gifts” Bankrate. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.bankrate.com/finance/frugal/ditch-unwanted-holiday-gifts.aspx#slide=1>.
  • Bergen, Jennifer. “How to Sell or Swap Your Unwanted Gifts” PC Mag. 31 Dec 2011. PC Magazine. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398232,00.asp>.
  • Bowsher, Karla. “5 Ways to Make or Save Money with Unwanted Gifts” Money Talks News. 20 Dec 2011. Money Talk News. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2011/12/20/5-ways-to-make-or-save-money-with-unwanted-gifts/>.

Why You Should Have Renters Insurance

You come home and discover that your apartment has been gutted by a fire. Your landlord’s insurance policy will cover your loss, right? Wrong. Unless the damage is the result of the landlord’s negligence, landlords’ insurance policies typically only cover the physical structure of the building, not tenants’ personal property. To protect yourself, you need renters insurance.

Renters insurance is like homeowners insurance for renters. If your property is destroyed, you get money to replace it. Even if the value of your personal property only totals a few hundred dollars, renters insurance could be beneficial. It may only cost you $200 to replace your futon, but your personal liability is virtually limitless. A friend could trip on your rug and sue you for $100,000. If you have renters insurance, your insurance company will cover at least some of your costs.

Another benefit of renters insurance is that you do not have to worry about collecting money from someone who causes damage to your property. Let’s say your apartment flooded after your upstairs neighbor left the shower on all day. Legally, he is responsible for your losses, but that does not mean he will be willing to pay you. If you have renters insurance, you can just file a claim with your insurance company. Perhaps the best part of renters insurance? It is dirt cheap, usually costing no more than a few hundred dollars a year.

Looking for financial advice? Apple FCU has partnered with BALANCE to provide you with FREE and CONFIDENTIAL financial education and counseling. Their certified counselors can answer your questions, review your credit report and help you create a budget. Call 888-456-2227 or visit AppleFCU.org/BALANCE for more information.

Want a FREE Quote for Renters Insurance from Apple Financial Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple FCU? Click here and select ‘Homeowners’ from the drop-down.