Frugal Living 
41
comments

Tips for Buying Used College Textbooks

College TextbooksMy wife started her first semester of classes this fall on her way towards a Ph.D. One of the best things about a Ph.D., besides the degree, is that candidates are paid to go to school. The salary isn’t something you can retire on but with the cost of education, anytime you can get college education for free (or less than free, in this case!), you jump on it.

With the start of classes comes the need for college textbooks. As I remembered years ago, college textbooks are not cheap. In fact, the prices seems exorbitant to me but that’s what happens when there’s a small market forced into buying a product. Fortunately, there are some techniques you can use to defray the costs.

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 Personal Finance 
9
comments

40 Money Tips for College Students

Carnegie Mellon FlagI remember the first day I set foot at college, it was a mixture of excitement and fear at the prospect of being on my own. I arrived in Pittsburgh, PA a few days early and had the opportunity to wander around an empty campus. Carnegie Mellon University, especially in 1998, wasn’t a large campus, you could walk from one end of the campus to the other in less than twenty minutes, but it was still intimidating. After five years, a few degrees, and a great experience, I departed for the “real world.”

One thing I wish I had when I started college was a list of things I had to do for my finances like I did for my academics. College is where you set many of your life’s foundations. Whether it’s spiritual, physical, academic, or financial, your foundations are laid in your youth but set when you’re in college. I was fortunate enough not to make too many missteps and managed well enough, but I wish I had a list… so I wrote one, I hope it can help you whether you’re starting college or just starting over. I hope it helps. (and it sure beats reading another list of best paying careers!)

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 Personal Finance 
12
comments

5 Tips for Getting Ahead in College

HandJim has covered the fundamentals and offered great tips on what to do before you start working after college. I figured I would chime in with my thoughts on how college students can get ahead of their peers by the time graduation day rolls around.

This is not textbook theory; I have used these tips myself. These are also not tips that only college students can use, just ideas for how to get ahead of the pack. Finally, you can use this advice at any time in your college career, from 1st year to 4th year (or even 6th! nothing wrong with switching majors).

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 Frugal Living 
28
comments

How to Live Like a Broke College Student

Empty WalletRemember the good ol’ days of ramen noodles and $5 cases of beer? Or how about those midnight cramming sessions where the only things you cared about was acing a test and that gallon of coffee next to you?

Most of us have moved on from those glory days (well, except for that gallon of coffee still next to us), but if there was one thing I learned from it all it was was this: I survived! And not only that, but I did it with a budget 1/10th of what it is today.

How is that possible?

Well, I was forced to. The Bank of Mom & Dad had done their part in helping out, but It was up to me to make ends meet and make sure I graduate on time. That meant long hours working at the dining hall, and even longer nights studying. It also meant not rolling with my friends (aka the Jones’) and hitting up Cancun every Spring Break ;)

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 Your Take 
57
comments

Your Take: What Would You Tell Yourself 10 Years Ago?

Library = Hard Work!Hindsight is 20/20, we all know that, but imagine if you not only had hindsight but also a time machine. What fun that would be! If you could go back in time ten, twenty, thirty years… what would you tell your earlier self?

I would tell myself that it takes hard work, talent, and a little bit of luck to find success in this world, emphasis on hard work. When I was 18, I had a pretty high opinion of myself. I did well in high school, I got into the college I was aiming for and go into the program I wanted to. I went to college, had to adjust to my newfound freedom, and was immediately floored by the genius that surrounded me (it was Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, I was routinely the least intelligent person in the room and I’m not being humble in the least). After all was said and done, I survived the experience pretty much intact.

When I entered college, I thought I could out-smart and out-think everyone. When I left, I knew that I couldn’t out-smart or out-think people, I had to out-work them. If I only had known that from the beginning, I probably would’ve graduated with a few more A’s and B’s. :)

If you had a time machine, would you tell yourself ten years ago? Don’t feel like you have to stick to personal finance tips, it’s Friday Funday, so feel free to write whatever you want!

(Photo: jhoweaa)


 Career 
35
comments

Is College Worth the Cost of Tuition? Yes.

Graduation CakeEarlier this year I finished writing an article in which I tried to find the salary breakeven point for private vs. public college graduates, a task that was impossible because I couldn’t find enough publicly available information at the time. I was trying to figure out whether college was “worth it” and if so, whether public or private college was a better value. Since I didn’t have enough data, I just took some “average student loan debt” figures and calculated the breakeven point.

In a recent Business Week article, they took a 2007 College Board analysis that showed college graduates earned 61% more than high school graduates over a 40 year career. Master’s degrees earn 93% more. It’s not the private college vs. public college debate but it’s certainly a good look at whether student loan debt, in general, is worth it.

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 Personal Finance 
7
comments

Take Control of Your Financial Situation

This article is part of the series, The Summer of George- The Most Productive Summer a College Student Will Ever Have.

Do you think that you don’t earn enough money have to worry about managing your finances? If so you are dead wrong. If you get into the habit of properly managing your finances at an early age then these habits will hopefully follow you into your 30s and so on. Let this summer be known as the time where you finally took control of your financial situation.

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 Your Take 
52
comments

Your Take: Should Students Get Credit Cards?

Student StudyingOne of the big debates in personal finance is whether a college student should get a credit card. On one side you have people who believe that credit cards are evil, credit cards prey on the financially weak, and credit cards will bleed you dry. On the other side, you have people who believe that credit cards are dangerous but can be a useful financial tool for the financially educated and fiscally prudent.

I personally find myself in the second group and I liken credit cards to fire. Use properly and you can keep yourself warm and cook food. Use it recklessly and you can burn down your house and kill someone.

The problem with credit cards is that it’s so easy to get into debt. You can get your instant gratification without any of the hard work involved and you don’t feel the pain for many many years. This is a recipe for disaster for a student because it’s unreasonable to expect them to use them responsibly in the midst of their greatest taste of freedom.

When I wrote about the best student credit cards and listed some smart tips for college students, I understood the comments I got from people who said credit cards are evil and I was being irresponsible writing a post about them for college students. I wrote it because I think it’s better to educate someone than to shield and protect them.

What do you think? Should students get credit cards? Or should they avoid them like the plague?

(Photo: m00by)


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