Healthy Summer Snacks

Summer is finally here and with the bright sunshine and rising temperatures come the numerous invites to summer barbecues and parties. You can still enjoy these events without sacrificing your healthy eating habits! Swap out a few of the traditional summer snacks for these healthier alternatives.

fruit salad1.Fruit salad
Most berries are in season during the summer so take advantage of this and try a fruit salad. They’re super quick and easy to make and are sweet without the worry of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Simply slice up your favorite fruit and mix them together in a large bowl. Popular options are star fruit, kiwi, watermelon, mango, and strawberries.


turkey burger2.Turkey burgers
You can’t have a summer barbecue without a grilled burger. Try swapping out the traditional beef patty for a lower fat but equally satisfying turkey burger.


frozen greek yogurt


3. Frozen Greek yogurt
Trade your ice cream for frozen greek yogurt to have the same taste with much less fat.





green tea

4. Iced Tea
Iced teas are a great alternative to sugary drinks. Try green tea with a sprig of mint for freshness or honey for a sweeter drink.





angel food cake


5. Angel food cake
Between birthdays, graduation parties, and Independence Day, there’s bound to be a situation where desserts are a must. Angel food cake is a healthier alternative to most cakes because it has a very low fat content but still tastes great.



What are some of your favorite swaps to maintain healthy eating habits? Let us know in the comments below!

Love Always, Pinterest


Being introduced to Pinterest was the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. I have, however, learned how great Pinterest actually is.

1. Recipes. FEAR NO COOKING PAN! Pinterest has been proven to help turn you from Ramen Noodle Nancy to a 5 star chef in just a matter of minutes. Pinterest is full of endless amounts of fast, easy, tasty and healthy step by step instructions of recipes that will taste like a party in your mouth. It’ll be impossible to go back to eating microwave dinners after scrolling through your timeline.

CAUTION: you may possibly burn down your building in the process of attempting to be the next Betty Crocker, don’t worry your friends will thank you when they see all the cute firefighters.

2. Appearance. You can easily spruce up your dorm room with quick simple D.I.Y crafts, put together outfits for the week, and makeup/hair tips to help you look “natural” in your 9:00am class so you could catch that cutie’s eye without looking like you’re trying too hard. Who said you can’t be Fabulous on a budget?!

CAUTION: If your D.I.Y. crafts end up looking like a kindergartener’s art project…give all the credit to your roommate!

3. Dream Wedding. In the world of Pinterest, planning out every last detail to your dream wedding while you’re still single is totally normal. If you want to have the best and most memorable wedding ever you’re going to need to prepare 4,5,6 or heck maybe 10 years in advance, darling it’ s never too early. Besides who needs to pay thousands of dollars for a fancy wedding planner when you have a Pinterest account?! With the money you save from not hiring a planner you can use it for your dream honeymoon which you can also plan on Pinterest. *hint, hint*

CAUTION: Mentioning your Pinterest wedding board on the first date is not the ideal ice breaker, you may just end up walking back to campus alone.

Pinterest is the ultimate survival guide of living on a budget. You can be super hip without having to move back in with your parents. Be careful, you might get hooked.


Check out our eCampus Pinterest when you have some free time:

5 Ways to Save in College

Any college student knows the value of a dollar of today’s economy, mainly because they are eating Ramen out of a Styrofoam dish in their dorm room. Does that sound familiar? Well, put down the flimsy plastic cutlery and bust out your student ID. Here are 5 sure-fire ways to save in college without skimping meals or going bankrupt!

1.Check with your campus’ Student Life office about local places you can get discounts. Many restaurants and clothing stores close to college campuses offer 10% or 15% off for students. You could have paid full price for a pizza or a pair of jeans you could have gotten a discount on. Comprehensive lists of chain locations can be found online (including Apple and Subway).

2. Think you’re stuck using the campus bookstore for books you need? Think again, friends. Even if you wait until the last minute, there are always ways to get discounted textbooks online. allows you to buy, sell and rent textbooks. A book that costs $150 off the shelf of you campus bookstore could cost $2.50 online. That’s $147.50 for food and activities. Goodbye, Ramen!

student discount3. Don’t be impatient and rush out to buy the latest software, hardware, or technology there is out there. Did Microsoft come out with the latest edition of Windows or Office during the summer? Wait until the start of the school year or check to see if your campus IT department is open during the summer. Many campuses give students software and hardware for free (not really free, if you look at the fees for tuition), or you can go online and see what companies offer discounts or deals. Adobe offers a discount for many of their products for students, and Academic Superstore lists a lot of popular hardware and software on their website for a discounted price.

4. Buy in bulk. Taking a daily trip to the grocery store or to Walmart gets to be tiring. Head over to Sam’s Club or Costco and get all you need in bulk. Want hamburgers? Get a 50-pack that you can use for a while. Craving Capri-Sun? Get that in a box of 30. Here in a bonus: Sam’s Club offers a collegiate membership so you can save on college essentials!

5. Do you really need to have that new pair of Beats headphones or the latest Coach handbag? You will survive without it. Big brands are not a big deal. Getting an education and being able to survive on your own is. Skip buying the big name brand products and settle for the generic. Cannot live without a certain print? Check out all the crafty DIYs on Pinterest and make your own!

What student discounts have you used recently? Let us know in the comments!

Top 5 Rewards Programs

Save Money
It’s no secret that college students have to stretch every penny. We have to worry about covering tuition, housing expenses and food, all while trying to have enough spending money to live it up during the best four years of our life. But with all of the loyalty programs and rewards cards that businesses offer, it is also very easy to cut corners and score a free meal every once in a while. I have narrowed down the top five rewards programs that I feel give you the best bang for your buck. Check them out:

5. Kroger Plus Card
Do you buy groceries and gasoline? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely have a Kroger Plus card. It gets you great discounts on groceries, and actually allows you to go online before shopping and pre-load coupons straight to your card so that you save even more money. Even better, you don’t actually have to keep up with that pesky piece of plastic anymore. Just type in your “alternative ID,” (the phone number associated with the card), and start saving money! In addition to great savings on groceries, you also earn 1 point for every dollar spent, which goes towards gas savings. This card will do nothing but save you money on food and groceries, which seems like a pretty good deal to me!

4. CVS ExtraCare Rewards
Although drugstores are typically known for offering overpriced products, the CVS ExtraCare card mitigates that stereotype by offering customers great discounts and coupons on a variety of products. This card personalizes the coupons it offers you by utilizing your purchase history to offer you great deals on the products you actually want and need. Not only are you offered great coupons, but you automatically receive the weekly sale prices with just the swipe of your card. To top it all off, for every 10 prescriptions you have filled, you earn $5 in ExtraBucks Rewards! So stop paying so much for those vitamins.

3. Qdoba Rewards
Regardless of whether you are team Chipotle or team Qdoba, the Qdoba rewards card is what it says it is – all rewards. Just for signing up you receive your choice of either a free large drink, or free chips and salsa. After that, all you need to do is swipe your card every time you visit. After purchasing 10 meals, and collecting 1,000 points, you receive a meal for free! You have nothing to lose and only free meals to gain by signing up for Qdoba rewards! Anyone else addicted to their guac?

2. Speedway Speedy Rewards
Don’t let the Speedway name fool you; the Speedy Rewards Card isn’t limited to discounts on gas. In fact, you can actually redeem your Speedy Rewards points online for gift cards to your favorite restaurants, clothing stores and gaming websites. In addition to earning points for every dollar spent on gas, every time you purchase a food item that belongs to a “Speedy Rewards Club,” you will receive that item for free after so many purchases of that item. I always use this card to score a free coffee before studying.

Earn Double the points when you sell textbooks



1. eWards 
Let’s face it, no one likes buying textbooks. They’re expensive, they’re heavy and they’re painfully boring. But if you want to know what’s going on in class, they’re necessary. Now that has introduced their eWards program you earn points every time you rent/buy/sell a textbook. The points add up quickly and turn into HUGE savings for the next time you need books (like a $25 gift card)! Additional points can be earned just from referring friends or tweeting about deals. Enrolling is super easy and it’s free, so there is really no reason not to. Join me and more than 20,000 other students and become an eWards member and start saving now!

(BONUS: Double Points Days are starting May 29! For one week only, eWards members earn double points for selling used textbooks.)

What are your favorite ways to save money?


Why Being a Commuter Student Pays Off

Many students choose to go away to college once they graduate high school, while others decide to stay at home and commute. I happen to be one of those commuter students (hence the name “Commuter Crystal”), and I have found many perks to this decision.

Going away for college usually means higher expenses, and I’m not talking about minor living expenses like food and gas. I’m talking about tuition and housing. Take the University of Pittsburgh, for example. If you’re going to the main campus and are an in-state resident, you’re paying anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 extra to attend compared to a branch campus, and that all depends on your major. For housing, it can be anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 to be housed on the main campus compared to housing on a branch campus closer to your home. Should you be an out-of-state resident,  you could be faced with an additional $20,000 a year. Commuting from home can allow you to pay a minimal amount of rent to your parents or do chores in lieu of rent. Staying close to home isn’t looking so bad, is it? Commuting to Campus

After tuition and housing, you have to think about other costs associated with college. Meal plans are expensive, and buying your own food to live in an apartment off campus can rack up a hefty total too! If you live at home, you can buy food and make it yourself, but chances are your folks or a sibling will cook for you. You won’t have to stick to Ramen noodles every night, or cook things in bulk and freeze it for later. As for gas, everyone knows how the economy is today. Living away from home means driving back home for holidays among other things. While this could be great for your highway gas mileage, it racks up a big bill. If you stay at home, you may only have to drive to campus and back to your home.

While there are many benefits to living at home, there are also numerous drawbacks. For starters, you’re living with your parents or other family members. You’re not part of the dorm life, or out on your own and truly independent like you might want to be. Also, you have to travel in bad weather to and from campus. I live in a place where it seems like there’s no fall or spring, just summer and winter. Traveling to campus in the winter is a treacherous drive, and extremely dangerous. In addition, you have to worry about parking on campus. At my university, resident students are allowed to park in commuter lots. If you don’t leave early enough, you can’t find a spot near the buildings. While it saves money, living at home presents other hassles.

Living at home isn’t for everyone, but it is an option that is often overlooked. While you may have to make a few aggravating drives and sacrifice some privacy, you will save tons of money tuition-wise, housing-wise, and living expense-wise. My point isn’t to convince you that being a commuter student is the best option, because quite frankly it may not be for your circumstance. I would just encourage students to weigh all the options before making the decision to move away for school.

What are your thoughts? Are there any major perks or drawbacks that I missed?