3 Ways to Help You Save

Often we avoid saving money because we think we’re young and have plenty of time. We feel like we don’t make enough or we’d simply rather spend, spend, spend. The good news is that no matter what situation you’re in, there’s a plan available to help you start saving.

Whether you’re living off an allowance or minimum wage, there are several ways to start. Let’s look at three examples which range from easy or challenging, which assume you work 20 hours a week at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). Your monthly income would be $406 a month (after taxes). With that in mind, let’s look at how your cash might stack up if you choose to use one of the savings methods we’ll discuss here.

Easy: Budget, Split and Save

Develop a weekly spending budget. This should include money for essentials like gas, food, entertainment and bills (like if you have to pay for part of the cellphone bill). The next time you’re paid, deposit your spending money – based on your budget – into your Checking account. Whatever funds are left – no matter how large or small – should be deposited into your Savings account. The hardest part of this plan is pretending the money in your Savings account doesn’t exist. With a little patience, over time you’ll begin to build a significant savings. Although this method may not be the fastest way to grow your balance, it does allow the most freedom.

Moderate: 52 Week Challenge

Begin by setting aside $1 on week one. On week two set aside $2. On week three set aside $3…you get the picture. Simply add one dollar to the previous weeks deposit for 52 straight weeks.

When you think about the last four weeks of the challenge, it may seem difficult to set aside $49, $50, $51 and $52 each week. However, when you see the figure of $1,378 saved at the end of the year, it may be worth the struggle.

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Difficult: Paycheck Percentage

Using this method, you’ll set 10% of your paycheck which equals $40.60 per month or you could be more aggressive with savings and save 20% which is $81.20 per month. You could start with a smaller percentage and work higher as your pay increases if that makes you more comfortable. The end goal here is as you get a pay increase, the money you put into savings increases too over time.

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As you can see, saving can be easy or challenging depending what method you choose to follow. The bottom line is that you frequently set aside whatever you can into a Savings account with good dividends.

Just pick a plan that works well for you and be sure to stick to it.

Prom on a Dime

According to the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey, American families spend $800 – $1,000 to cover prom costs. Here are some ideas on getting the night you want without breaking the bank.

Establish a Budget

Whether your parents are helping to cover the cost or you plan to spend your own money, it is best to establish a budget. One easy way to do so is with the Plan’it Prom App for iOS and Android. The app helps you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. It also provides a timeline and countdown feature so you don’t forget any important details.

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Save on Threads

Thanks to the internet, both guys and girls can rent formal wear online to avoid over paying for an outfit you’ll likely wear one time. If you plan on renting your attire, start window-shopping and reserving now since the hottest trends go fast. You can also check out consignment shops or thrift stores.

To Limo or Not to Limo? That is the question.

Renting a ride can be a luxury, but is it worth the cost? Call around and price-check different businesses in advance to make sure you get the best deal. Also, consider sharing the cost with a group of friends. If the rental is $600 for the night and you have six friends sharing the ride, you end up spending much less money than if it was just you and your date. You could decide to drive yourself at a huge cost savings so you can use your resources elsewhere.

Dinner Options

You and your date could choose to go out to dinner, but that can be a really large expense. Consider doing something low key or find a swanky restaurant with thrifty prices. Another option that you may consider, especially if you plan on having a group share a ride, is to have a little dinner party at home. It could be in the style of a potluck, but you could have parents provide the food or have it catered and then split cost with your friends.

 

Keep these things in mind whenever you are planning for prom. Remember that things can still be luxurious without all of the costs. What are some tips that you can think of to save money for these events?

 

About the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey

The survey results are based on 4,000 live telephone interviews conducted nationally from January 24 – January 26, January 31 – February 2, February 7 – 9, and February 14 – 16 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel.

Wise Choices
for your Tax Refund

Tax season is here.  If you’re expecting a refund check, consider some of these ideas designed to help you make the most of your return.

Pay High Interest Loans and Lines Of Credit

Use your tax refund to pay more than the minimum payment to reduce the amount of extra money you’ll spend on accumulating interest. Contributing money to your minimum payment is always a good idea because the longer you take to pay the balance off, the more interest adds up.

Build Your Savings Account

Put your money into a dividend-earning account like the eXtras Student Savings account and let your money work for you. Whether it’s your tax refund, birthday cash or an employee bonus, having that extra cash earn interest will build your balance. Plus, the longer that money sits untouched in your account, the more interest you’ll earn.

Grow Your Emergency Fund

You never know when a crisis may occur. Having money set aside for unexpected expenses like auto repairs, medical expenses/emergencies or temporary unemployment makes these events a little less stressful.

No matter what you choose, plan ahead and use your tax refund wisely.

What are your tax return saving or spending plans?

Dining Hall Makeover

Is your college dining hall diet stuck in a rut? If you like the cost saving benefits of on campus dining, but you cannot fathom the idea of another dish of spaghetti, consider hacking your next meal.

A variety of sources have stormed the internet with easy recipes and ideas you can use to take your dining hall experience to the next level.

Save Your Taste Buds

A quick online search for ‘dining hall hacks’ will open your eyes to hundreds of ideas designed to spice up your dining life. The short list below offers healthy alternatives for beginners that will pep up your plate with little to no extra cost.

Let’s get started.

  • Amp up your pasta selection by visiting the Small Kitchen College.  The site provides 10 creative ways to dish this carb-loaded comfort food.
  • Prefer to keep your food selections healthy? Her Campus is a great resource for light, tasty platters filled with flavor.
  • From buffalo chicken dip to cheesy breadsticks with marinara sauce, Seventeen Magazine provides some party favorites make and share with friends.
  • If your campus has a Panini press or a waffle iron available, check out The Proctor Experiment for recipes like Asian Burritos, Banana Raspberry Pancakes and the yummy Chocolate and Banana Grilled Cookie Sandwich.

Protect Your Wallet and Waistline

Don’t let the convenient, low-cost benefits of your dining hall points/pass go to waste just because the thought of another bite of pizza makes you want to hurl. Give meal hacks the old college try. By shaking up your meal routine, you’ll be less inclined to go and spend your money elsewhere or binge on unhealthy fast food options. Revive your meal selections this week and, if you’re feeling bold, try some experiments on your own!

Have you already discovered a tasty dining hall hack?  What recipes are you exited to try? Share your comments below and happy hacking!