How to Make $1000 in 4 Years

This week we have talked about money.  Many students come to college to get an education so they can earn more money.  The US Census reports that someone with a high school diploma will earn 1.2 million over their lifetime, but getting a college degree will boost your lifetime earning power to 2.3 million.  Getting a college degree pays.

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Here in Texas getting your college degree in 4 years also pays.  Did you know that if you complete your degree in 4 years and you do not attempt more than 3 hours more than what your degree requires will earn you $1000.  Just by going to class, studying, getting good grades and graduating you can get money!

How can YOU earn this $1000 rebate for graduating on time?  I am going to give you some tips to help you earn $1000 in 4 years.

1.  Focus on Core Curriculum requirements your first year.  If you take courses that fulfill your core curriculum then you will not risk being over the credit limit if you change majors.

2.  Meet with your academic advisor every semester.  They can help you pick core classes that meet the requirements for your intended major or majors of interest.

3.  Always have a back up plan.  You could have planned the perfect schedule but when it is time to register one of the classes could be full.  Have a few classes in mind that you can take (and meet a requirement) if a class is full.

4.  Focus on courses that meet requirements and not on classes that meet your sleep schedule.  Yes, 8am classes are not the most popular among college students (sleep is), but making a schedule based on your sleep habits is likely to lead to not graduating on time.

5.  When it is time to apply for graduation make sure you are eligible to graduate (talk to your advisor), apply for graduation, sign and date the application for the tuition rebate and return to the Registrar.

If you are taking out student loans and you are eligible for the tuition rebate the university will send the check to one of your student loans (you can pick which one and I suggest picking the one that has the highest interest rate).

Did you know about the tuition rebate program before reading the blog?  Do you still have questions? Tell me in the comment section.

Buy Now Pay Later

Credit cards….most of you have at least one.  Discover, Mastercard, Visa, they love to market credit cards to college students.  It is a great way to build your credit…and it is an even better way to destroy it.

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My freshman year I picked up a ringing phone and 10 minutes later I had my first credit card.  I was going to be responsible…and I was…for about 2 years. Then I got another credit card because I had been so responsible with my first.  Slowly I started charging more and paying less each month until I was close to my credit limit and could only make minimum payments.  You would have thought that Visa would have done something, here is a 20 year old woman close to her limit and she only makes the minimum payment.  Visa did do something….they increased my credit line.  It became a cycle…I would get near my limit and then they would increase it.

I never worried about my growing debt…I was about to graduate college, I would get a great job and be able to pay it off in no time.  Then life happened and I could not get that great job after graduation and life happened again and I could not work for 3 months.  I could not pay my credit card bills and I was in the middle of a financial disaster.

6 years later and I finally have emerged from financial chaos.  My credit score is improving but what happened 6 years ago still haunts me.  When i went to buy a new car I had to pay a larger down payment and I am paying an insane interest rate.

I am not telling anyone not to get a credit card, but I am telling you to make better choices than I did.  Here are some facts:

  • 63% of college students have at least one credit card.
  • Only 58% of those who own a card pay their balances every month.
  • The longer a student has had a card, the less likely he or she is to pay off the balance.

Here are some tips:

  • If you must have a credit card as a student, keep only one.
  • Deliberately keep your maximum available credit as low as possible.
  • Consider getting a secured credit card (you have to pay the credit card company upfront and what you pay is your credit limit).

If you need a credit card here are some things to consider:

  • Finance charges
  • Annual dues or membership, and enrollment fees
  • Late payment and grace periods
  • Special fees, changes in introductory rates, or penalties

You have to be your own financial advocate.  Visa/Mastercard/Discover want you to have credit because every month you carry a balance…they make money, every time you are late with a payment…they make money.

Click here for more financial guidance.

Click here to learn more about money management at UNT.

Tell us in the comment section: Do you have a credit card? Why or why not?

Loan Lessons Learned

Many of you have a student loan to help pay for the cost of your education.  Like you, I took out loans to pay for college.  Being the first in my family I did not know very much about loans, all I knew was that I needed them.

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Every year in Early February students fil out their FAFSA and mail it in waiting to see what their aid package will be.  For some of us it is a mix of grants and loans.  I bet not many of you think about how much of those loans you really need, I know I didn’t.  I learned to not care because the second week of classes I knew I would get a nice refund from the financial aid office.

While those refunds were great and I had fun with each and every one of those checks….from a new pair of jeans to a trip to Florida…I never thought about the later.

Here I am several years later and I am repaying my student loans.  While I do not consider student loan debt bad…I do consider my semester refund check habit bad.  Because I took out the maximum loan every year and enjoyed those refunds, I get to pay about $40 more a month in loan payments than I would have if I would have just took out the amount I needed to pay for tuition, room and board.

You might think that $40 is not that much…well over the next 30 years that $40 will amount to just over $14000.

On average, students will graduate with $23000 in debt.  That equals a monthly student loan payment of $267.  If that student would have tightened their budget and took out a little less, let’s say $20000, they would pay $230 a month, saving themselves $37 a month (over $4000 in 10 years).

The financial decisions you make today could haunt you 10-20 years from now.  From student loans to credit cards…

What student loan questions do you have?

More Bang for Your Buck

Happy Monday everyone.  I hope you enjoyed homecoming.  This time of year is fun but it makes me realize how much money I spend.  From Homecoming events to a great Halloween costume to the holidays, this can be an expensive time of year.  This week we are going to talk about money and today I am going to help you get more bang for your buck.

movies

Do you love to go to the movies?  I do, but going to the movies can get expensive.  My family went to see GI Joe and it cost us almost $50.  That is a lot of money to spend especially when it is over in 2 hours, at least that $50 sweater will last you a season or two.

Did you know you can see new movies for cheap?!  Yes, Denton has 3 movie theatres that offer some great deals.

Denton Movie Tavern has student tickets for $3 on every Monday and Thursday…all day, just show your UNT ID.

The Cinemark in Denton offers student tickets on Thursdays for $3.50.

The Silver Cinemas in the Golden Triangle Mall shows just out of theatre movies (right now you can see District 9 and The Proposal for example) for $2.  On Tuesdays you can get your tickets for $1.50.

How does this all add up?  Well, let’s say you want to see a movie twice a month.  If you go Friday night to the Movie tavern you will spend $7 on your ticket.  That is $14 a month and $168 a year.  If you opt to go to the Movie tavern on Thursdays when you can get a student ticket for $3.  That comes to $6 a month, $72 a year and $96 in savings.  You just saved enough money to pay for your next biology book.

Another way to save money is to skip the concessions…or if you are like me and cannot pass up the smell of fresh popped popcorn…split a bag with a friend.

Come back tomorrow for some more tips on making the most of your money.

Speaking of movies….are you looking forward to seeing any current or soon to be released movie???

Traditions

Homecoming is about celebration, but it is also about traditions.  I want to share with you some of the traditions you will see this weekend.

bonfire

The Homecoming bonfire will be held this Friday at 8pm next to the Athletic Center.  The first formal bonfire was held in 1935 and while the bonfire has not always happened (due to burn bans), it has always been a favorite tradition of homecoming.

The Homecoming Parade will be held this Saturday at 1pm.   The parade includes floats made by students, faculty, staff and alumni. The route runs from campus to the downtown Denton square, then back to campus.

The lighting of McConnell Tower began after a loss in 1974 to SMU in which the buildings doors were found painted red and blue.  This led to the idea of lighting the tower after a UNT victory.  After evening home football games, Talons lead the victory march from Fouts Field to the tower. Standing atop the Administration Building steps, the Talons lead the crowd in singing the alma mater and the UNT Fight Song.

The UNT fight song was written by a UNT alumni, Francis Stroup, in 1939.

Let’s give a cheer for U of NT;
Cheer for the Green and White.
Victory’s in store whatever the score,
Our team will ever fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Shoulder to shoulder we march along,
Striving for victory.
Playing the game for the honor and fame,
And the glory of UNT.
U … N … T … Eagles!
UNT Eagles Fight, Fight, Fight!

These are just a few of the traditions you might take part in while at UNT.  I am a big believer in tradition and I encourage you to make your own as well as participate in some of the UNT traiditions.  Maybe you and a few friends make a tradition of wearing all green on game days, or hang out at a local spot to watch away games.  While you might not remember a lecure from a class in 10 years, you will remember the traditions you started and took part in while here.

Have you created any traditions while here at UNT?

Homecoming 101

It is time to get Wild With Pride.  Homecoming is this weekend, but the festivities have already started.

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This Friday is the bonfire and yell contest.  It starts at 8:15 next to the athletic center.  You can also catch the spirit march which starts at 6:45pm (the march begins at fraternity row).

The student yell competition is a homecoming tradition at UNT.  Fraternities, student groups, residence halls sign up and compete.  Groups have 1-2 minutes and are judged based on:  spirit, creativity, organiztion, incorporating the theme and clarity.

Is anyone participating in the yell competition?  If not, you should plan on checking it out.  Since the theme is Wild with Pride, here are my guesses on what you might hear:

* a version of Tone Loc’s Wild thing

*Where the Wild Things Are

*Born to be Wild

Are any of you participating in a homecoming event?

When Stressed…Squeeze

Midterms are a source of great stress for most of us.  How you deal with the stress is key.  The less stressed you are the better you will be able to study and do well on those midterms.  I am going to share with you several stress relievers.

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1.  Yoga

2.  Music

3.  Taking a walk

4.  Write in a journal

5.  Exercise

6.  Make sure you get enough rest

7.  Talk to someone about what is stressing you

8.  Watch a funny movie or tv show

9.  Meditate

10. Make a stress ball

Here is how to make a stress ball:

  1. Look for a small, thick, round balloon.
  2. Blow it up until it is about 4-5 inches around. (Don’t tie the balloon yet!)
  3. Pinch the top of the balloon shut an inch or 2 from the hole.
  4. Place a small funnel inside the opening of the balloon.
  5. Using the funnel, pour cornstarch into the balloon.
  6. Slowly release the top of the balloon so the cornstarch can slide down.
  7. Continue adding cornstarch until your balloon is about three inches in diameter.
  8. Tighten the end of the balloon and slowly let out any remaining air.
  9. Tie the balloon closed as near to the cornstarch as you can.
  10. Squeeze!

What tips do you have for dealing with stress?  Tell us in the comment section.