6 Splurges That Make It Difficult to Payback Student Loans

It’s exciting getting your first job out of college! You probably have the largest paycheck that you’ve ever received in your life, and nobody is there to tell you how to spend it. So it’s easy to go a little crazy with that new income and forget about those pesky student loans.

Let’s look at six areas in which college students and recent grads often splurge and discover some real-world examples of how to combat that spending impulse.

  1. Dining Out: This splurge is probably the biggest culprit of fun, but unnecessary, spending. I know once I graduated, dining out suddenly became a possibility with my full-time salary, and I started eating out much more than I ever had growing up or in college.

    And it’s great, even healthy, to eat out every so often, but watch how frequently you’re doing it. If you’re grabbing a $10 lunch at the Panera right next to your work every day, that’s $50 a week, $200 a month, and $2,400 a year!

    Cutting down to just 2 lunches out a week would be $20 a week, $80 a month, and $960 a year. That’s almost $1,500 in savings!

    Consider spending the $1,500 you’d save on prepaying your loan. Most loans don’t require you to start paying on your loans until six months after graduation. You could have a good $750 paid down in those six months by just eating out twice a week for lunch.

  2. TV Expenses: We all love to come home and turn on the TV, eat some food, maybe pour a glass of wine, and relax. But it can get really expensive!

    According to recent reports, the average American spends $85 a month on cable!1 That, of course, doesn’t include Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and all the other streaming apps. It’s very likely that you probably are spending $200-$250 a month if you have cable and other streaming apps.

    Now if you’re feeling really drastic, you could cut it all, but I’d encourage you to start by cutting one or two. Cable might be your best choice, as it’s often the most expensive, and let’s be real: we don’t watch most of the shows anyway.

    If you’re a football fan like me, you could consider downloading the NFL app, looking into other streaming options, or going to a bar in town to watch the games.

    Let’s do the math on how much you could save. $85 a month is $1,020 a year, so just by cutting cable, you could save $1,000 a year. And you could use that money to pay the interest on your student loans so that you can pay them down faster.

  3.  Cell Phones: Phones can be pricey, especially if you get a new phone every two years and choose an expensive plan. But if you look into alternatives, you can save a lot of money on your cell phone.

    Prepaid plans are normally the best way to go, and what some people don’t realize is that most major cell phone carriers provide them.

    One option through a major cell phone carrier would be T-Mobile, which has a variety of prepaid plans that range from $3 a month if you don’t use your phone very much to $70 a month for one line.

    Another option is Verizon. With a prepaid plan through Verizon, you can bring your current phone, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of a phone.

    At Verizon, a 3GB prepaid phone plan costs $40 a month. That’s $480 a year. A 4GB (prepaid has odd; regular has even) phone plan costs $50 a month plus the $20 a month device cost. That’s slightly over $840. With a prepaid plan, you save $360 a year!

    If you’re still in college, $360 is about the amount you’d spend on books for a semester, so instead of pocketing that money, why don’t you put it toward the books you’ll need for your education? Plus, when you sell back your books at the end of the semester, you’ll still have some money left over for the next semester!

  4. Alcohol and Bars: When you’re a 20-something, the way to meet people is often at bars or social events that include alcohol. It’s just a part of the culture. But alcohol can get really expensive if you go out a lot.

    I’m not suggesting that you become a teetotaler (although I have several friends who are due to family history, and I have great respect for them). If you’re looking to save money on going out, you could consider setting a limit on the amount of money you plan to spend while out.

    Let’s say that you spend $25-$50 a week on alcohol between going to hang out with your friends and getting some wine to drink at home. That’s $100-$200 a month and $1,200-$2,400 a year! If you cut down your alcohol expenses to $10 a week, you’ll save a minimum of $60 a month and $720 a year.

    You could use this additional $720 to pay off your loan quicker, but be sure to check that it’s okay for you to do that. Or you could put it toward an emergency savings fund (where you have 3-6 months of income saved for any unexpected expenses).

  5. New Expensive Car: You probably drove a pretty old car in college, and it didn’t matter because everyone else did. But now, you might be a recent grad, and all your coworkers have nice, new cars. Since you can afford one now with your full-time salary, you might be tempted to buy one too, but don’t do it just yet!

    New cars can be expensive, and they depreciate in value very quickly. If you can—wait until you’ve had a chance to work a couple years, pay down (and maybe completely pay off!) your loans, and then trade in your old car for a newer vehicle.

    If you do really need a new car, I’d recommend getting a used car in great condition. It can save you a lot of money. See if you have any relatives who might want to sell a car or check out a site like CarMax.

    Used cars can get a bad rap, but often times, they are really a good deal. My fiance purchased a GMC Sierra truck for a ridiculously good price, and you can’t tell that it’s a couple years old. It looks brand new.

    If you want to get a new car, you might be spending around $525 a month2, which is $6,300 a year. 6k is a pretty substantial amount. If you have the average amount of debt of around $25,000, that’s about 25% of your loan before interest. In one fell swoop, you can tackle 25% of your loan by not getting a new car.

  6. Credit Card Interest: This splurge can apply to everyone because we all have material possessions we would like to have. For some people, it’s clothing, makeup, and accessories. For others, it’s books, fancy pens, and notebooks. And for still more, it’s firearms, power tools, and recreational vehicles.

    And it’s easy to see your credit limit of let’s say $3,000 and think of all the cool things you could get for yourself. Plus, if you use your credit card, you just have to pay it off slowly so it won’t really impact your loans, right? Not quite.

    Interest (if you’re paying it) is the worst way to splurge. Don’t pay more than you need to for a product, and if you buy it on credit, you are.

    Recent reports found that the average credit card interest rate is around 16%.3 That means that if you make a $1,000 purchase and just make the minimum payments on your credit card, you’re actually spending $160 more on that purchase alone.

    Now let’s consider how much you spend over the entire year, probably $30,000 for the average 20-something. If you purchase all of that on credit, you’re spending an extra $4,800 on all your expenses for the year.

    That’s almost $5,000, which again is 20% of your average loan. If you decide to forego the new car and don’t spend money on credit card interest, you can have almost half of your loan paid off just through these simple two steps.

    You also could put that money through an investment (where you’ll earn interest!), such as a retirement fund. Your future self will thank you!

    In sum, it’s important to think carefully about your spending and use your money wisely. Don’t forget the future in the midst of your exciting new job and full-time salary. The sooner you pay off your loans, the more money you’ll have to save for your dream house or ideal vacation, invest, or save for your retirement and your own kid’s college education!

See the full article here.

How To Stop Selling Yourself and Start Being Yourself In An Interview

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, over 60% of people are not engaged at work. This is possible because people are not in the right job and are only collecting a pay check. Organizations and teams with higher employee engagement and lower active disengagement perform at higher levels. For example, organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.

Take the time to articulate what drives you.

Your values are likely what motivate you, so share with your interviewer how you will demonstrate your core beliefs in the role you seek to fill. For example, if you are leading a team for the first time, will you seek to build trust among your team and be clear enough in your vision so that you can hold one another accountable to achieve collective results? Can you listen to your team members in a way in which they know they have been heard?

If you can truly articulate how you will show up in your new role, there is no stronger demonstration of your leadership style. You should be able to describe to the hiring team how you will show up every day to execute on the role. Give them the ability to imagine you performing (and excelling) at the job. If you can do this, I believe you will make a lasting impression on the interview team.

Create your own set of questions for the interview team.

This helps you decide whether the role is a good fit for who you are. You should be ready to answer the questions you know will come to you, but it’s also important to spend time asking them what it feels like day to day to be in the role for which you are being considered. Don’t stop your questioning until you have a good understanding of being in the position. This is the only way to affirmatively determine if you will find yourself in the right seat.

Roleplay.

I suggest that you spend 20% of your prep time on articulating why you are a subject or function matter expert. Spend 80% of the time finding the right words to communicate who you truly are and how that would look on a day-to-day basis in the role for which you are interviewing. You might be self-aware, but a gap can exist between knowing who you are and articulating who you are in a way that’s authentic and succinct.

Let go of the results.

If you show up in the interview being exactly who you are, know that you have presented yourself authentically, answered all the subject matter questions to the best of your ability and asked all the questions you can to help you ascertain whether the role fits you, then you’ve had a successful interview. If you have done these things, then the result — no matter which way it goes — will be the exact right one. If you do not get the job, it was likely because the fit was not right. If you do get the position, there is a much greater likelihood you will find yourself in the right seat.

For information or to see similar articles check out Forbes website.

July 2019 Scholarships

Attention U.S. middle, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students!!

Unigo just posted the July 2019 scholarships that are available to you which will include award amount, deadline, eligibility requirements and how to apply for each of these scholarships. The scholarship award amount ranges between $1,500 up to $10,000!!

Check out their website here.

Gamma Mu Foundation Grants & Scholarships

The Gamma Mu Foundation awards financial support to members of the LGBT community who demonstrate financial need and the desire to pursue additional training through academic or vocational education.

The Foundation’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of the LGBT community, primarily in rural and other under-served populations of the United States.

The Foundation’s vision is the creation of an environment that promotes health, acceptance, and pride in the LGBT community and a more accepting and inclusive environment for people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Grants and scholarships are awarded annually based on a formal online application and Board of Directors approval process. Only organizations and individuals in the United States are eligible for Gamma Mu Foundation financial assistance. All organizations qualifying for Gamma Mu Foundation assistance must qualify as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation will not award grants for more than three consecutive grants cycles. If an organization has received three consecutive grants, it will be required to wait for one year prior to re-applying for funding. With the exception of scholarships, Gamma Mu Foundation does not make financial assistance grants to individuals.

For application eligibility information on scholarships for LGBTQ students check out their website.

Pride Foundation Scholarship Programs

In 1993, Brian M. Day, an activist and community leader, established the first scholarship fund at Pride Foundation to support gay men of color who are leaders in their communities and are experiencing significant financial need. Brian understood first-hand the challenges that black gay men face while pursuing a post-secondary degree.

More than 25 years later, Pride Foundation’s scholarship program continues to be guided by Brian M. Day’s legacy. Today, there are more than 60 different scholarship funds covering a wide range of characteristics and majors. We encourage all LGBTQ and allied students of all backgrounds and educational interests to apply.

Pride Scholarship Program

Pride Foundation provides essential financial resources and community support to LGBTQ and allied student leaders in the Northwest—particularly those who face barriers due to race, economic circumstances, identity, ability, location, or lack of family support.

Do you identify as LGBTQ, questioning, or an ally? Do you currently live, have recently lived, or study in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington? Great news! You are likely eligible to apply for a Pride Foundation Scholarship when our application opens back up in October 2019.

For more information on scholarship details and guideline check out their site.