save money

5 Best Stores for College Students

Whether you are running low on groceries or need textbooks in a pinch, this list of the 5 best stores for college students  will definitely help you out in times of distress!

1. Target

This one may be a bit obvious but Target will nevertheless remain number one on my list. This glorious palace of red is a one stop shop where half of your paycheck mysteriously disappears during a trip for “just a few things”. You can walk in only needing paper towels, but you will walk out with trail mix, 3 dresses, a necklace, a mop, candles, and the complete second season of “The Office”…and probably no paper towels. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Shop now: www.target.com

Targetwww.target.com

2. Forever21

Oh Forever21, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. There are so many nice things you can find here at such low prices. Say it with me: two dollar cami’s. (Don’t worry, guys, there’s a men’s section too!). Shop now: www.forever21.com

Forever21www.forever21.com

3. Marshall’s and TJ Maxx

I cannot stress how much I LOVE shopping at these two stores. Every shopping trip is like a mini treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to find there. They have a little bit of everything including clothes, electronic accessories, home decor, groceries, and books. Everything is marked down way below retail price which makes it easy to find nice things that guys and gals on college student budgets might not usually be able to afford. Shop now: www.marshallonline.com and www.tjmaxx.com

TJ Maxx & Marshallswww.tjx.com

4. eBay.com

Okay so this one isn’t exactly a “store” but it sure comes in handy in a pinch. You can find literally anything you will ever need on eBay (I personally use this site to find art supplies for class) at much lower prices. Some of these items are brand new while others may be used, so it takes a smart shopper to find the hidden gems. Shop now: www.ebay.com

eBaywww.ebay.com

5. eCampus and Knetbooks.com

If you need textbooks (who doesn’t?) but are not a huge fan of the price tags, check out these stores and sites. You can save up to 90% on textbooks as well as rent or sell used textbooks. You’ve read the blog, now go check out the rest of the site! Shop now: www.ecampus.com and www.knetbooks.com

eCampuswww.ecampus.com

An Argument Against Gen-Eds

Recently in an English class, we were assigned to write an argument. I chose to argue General Education requirements. Because I have a lot of passion for this topic, and because I want a lot of you to read what I have to say, I chose to share some of my basic thoughts in this week’s blog. General Education requirements in college not only take up 2 years of your time in school, they also use up a lot of your money. College is an exciting time in most students’ lives. The strenuous schedule of required gen-ed courses can add unnecessary stress to this exciting time.  For the amount of money students pay, they should be able to choose what courses they take, what are universities doing with all of this money?  I will be focusing on a few main points including: The extra cost Gen-Eds create for students, why Gen-Eds aren’t necessary for students who have already decided a major, and the time wasted spending four years in college due to Gen-Ed courses. Allow me to begin with the extra cost Gen-Eds present for students wallets.

Just imagine if two years of school could be subtracted from your bills, we’d be saving so much money in the long run. To me, there is no sense in paying for two years of classes that have absolutely nothing to do with your major. I am currently enrolled in a theatre class and a music class. My major is broadcast journalism. Taking a theatre class when I have no interest in acting doesn’t make since to me, but it fulfills one of my gen-ed requirements. Although I have learned all about acting in this class, I will likely never pursue this field, or need any of this information. I’d rather enroll in broadcasting or journalism courses because they will actually aid me in my future career.

This brings me to my next point; Gen-Eds are unnecessary for students who have chosen a major. Many people argue that Gen-Eds create more well-rounded students. I argue that the fundamental stages in a person’s life are for becoming “well rounded”, college is for getting a degree and going to work. The overall goal of college is to gain a successful career. If a journalism major wanted to spend thousands of dollars taking art and music classes, they would have chosen to be an art or music major. Isn’t it better to be an expert on one skill than to be mediocre in many?   Focusing solely on one’s major as opposed to being distracted by gen-ed courses might help students to enter the workforce more prepared for their jobs.

Many people also believe that taking Gen-Ed courses is smart because students change their majors so often. My justification is that it wouldn’t matter if a student changed their major if they were only going to school for two years because they’d be so young, they’d technically have 2 years to spare. Because a bachelor’s degree would only require two years of school, most students could graduate by the time they were twenty years old. If a twenty year old were to change their major, they could attend two more years of school in their new major and still graduate at twenty-two. The point of a two-year bachelor degree program would be to give students who are sure on their major a head start on their chosen career.

My final reason for why Gen-Eds shouldn’t be required is that they are a waste of time. As I mentioned before, why spend four years in college when your actual major only takes two? If student could finish school in two years, (obviously this excludes doctors, lawyers, etc.) they could get two years of work under their belt.  That’s two years of making money instead of spending thousands on school. In another circumstance, if a student wanted to take a couple years after high school to work and save for college they would be able to without much set back.

I can see that Gen-Eds could be useful to students who don’t already know their major. Gen-Eds are a great source for students to explore different fields of study and to find out what interests them. Gen-Eds can also benefit students in their major later on by creating a foundation that’s easier to build on. While Gen-Eds do have their benefits, I find that the consequences of money and time outweigh those benefits. High school was a great foundation for college; I now want to move past high school and focus on my career. My hope is that enough of you will agree with me and that our numbers could make a difference. I’m assuming that all of you believe in and value higher education. I’m assuming that you all wish that you could save thousands of dollars and still achieve your bachelor’s degree. If my assumptions are correct, we need to stand together and make a change.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Microsoft Office 2010

Planning a Summer Road Trip

Tired of drinking on home turf?  Looking for a last blow-out with your college buddies before you all go off your separate ways?  Plan a road trip!  There is nothing like being piled into a car rubbing elbows synching bathroom breaks and sharing moon pies to form familial bonds.  You’ll thank me later when you’ve got a full mailbox at Christmastime.  In this blog post I’ll talk about the major source of your budget drain, gas, how to make sure you’re still friends at the end (hint, it’s odor-related), and do a quick highlight of a trip planner I found helpful to plan my last epic cross-country trip.

Gas

If your car isn’t digital…

You can be allergic to math and figure out your gas mileage with this link. http://www.milesgallon.com/.  Google Maps will tell you your miles, highball the average gas prices, and you will have a gas budget and a cushion.

If you have a smart phone, and you’re not already using the www.gasbuddy.com app, do it.  GasBuddy relies on its user hive to report gas prices to help you find the cheapest spot to fill up.  It’s a pain-free way to save money on gas.  I use it all the time and it’s saved me up to 25¢ a gallon.

To save even more money on gas, there’s a methodology to up your gas mileage called “hypermiling,” the efficacy of which you will only know if you know your gas mileage, which handily, you have already calculated.  Some of the concepts are basic, like accelerating slowly after stops, one will make you look silly–turning your car off at red lights.  Overinflating tires, another concept of hypermiling, is probably dangerous.  I don’t recommend it.  Using cruise control to accelerate and decelerate was the most helpful tip I gleaned from my research.  The precise and slow incremental changes will increase your gas mileage, and it’s not a pain in the ass on the highway.  Hypermiling’s not for everyone but if you’re on a budget, have a full car and a lot of luggage dragging your car down, it might be worth looking into.

Febreeze

You will not be showering regularly, full car, hot summer, you do the math.

Trip Planners:

Though not without their faults, enumerated here: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/userguidefree.htm, these planners have their place.  They definitely help with the planning phase and any spontaneous stops that might happen on the way.  I mapped my route on TripTik and it looks like this:

This particular route starts in NYC, loops to Las Vegas for the epic Electric Daisy Festival (300 electronica acts and a carnival in one?  Yes, please!), swings back through my hometown and drops off friends in Kentucky to ultimately culminate back in NY.  This part of the planner isn’t particularly impressive since Google Maps can do the same thing, but the next tab over, Places, I did find impressive.  AAA has a huge database of restaurants, hotels, gas stations, campgrounds, events, bars, playhouses, art galleries, etc., and they give away their program for free.

What I love the most about this is it’s like getting the town guides you see in hotels, all in one place with no pamphlets, and you’re never surprised by prices in restaurants.  Free Wi-fi is everywhere now (McDonald’s, Starbucks, hotel lobbies) so this ends up being decently mobile even if you’re camping out.

I hope this helps!  Be safe, and take lots of pictures!

 

WonderBread

I’m reading Abnormal Psychology