Ask Taze: I'm Having A Cash Problem
College Life |  Source:

Ask Taze: I'm Having A Cash Problem

What should I cut back on?

It's 2017. Woah. New Year's is a great time to use as an excuse to get it together.

Unfortunately a lot of our troubles stem from our mentality, as well as our environment. I decided to try and think about one thing specifically: budget. Many times I catch myself thinking that if something doesn't cost me my first-born, it's obviously a piece of crap.


With ever-tight budgets and ever-growing closets, it's easy to wither away into Oldhagdom from expense OR slither right into Bankruptville from addiction. We always want the best, but in college (and often after) we can barely afford the worst.

Unfortunately this isn't just about what's in our closet. We want to have fabulous lives. Sometimes to have great bounty, you have to trim away the dead branches that have stopped producing fruit. So here's my top five keep it/cleave it lists:

Top 5 Keeps on a College Budget:

5. Tennis Shoes
Contrary to what celebrities may have you thinking, shoes are not just about style. Having a decent pair of tennis shoes will not only help promote physical activity (which let's be honest, the freshman 15 is now more like the freshman 50), it may also help prevent later back problems and joint pain. A solid pair of sneakers is a must in a college kid's closet.

4. Alarm Clock
We know, we know, you have a phone. However, studies have shown that using an actual alarm clock to wake up promotes better sleep habits than using a phone.

So charge your phone across the room (where you can't just reach and grab it for a middle-of-the-night-Facebook-check) and invest a couple extra bucks into a real alarm clock for your poor, tired brain. Interested in reading more on sleep habits? Maria Konnikova of The New Yorker has a great read here.

3. Meal Card
Most college students have these. If you don't, get one. Why? Well ... if you actually use the card (not buy the card and then not use it) it will save you TONS in fast food, restaurants, gas station snacks and the ever-waiting vending machine.

In addition, practicing eating only when you're in the cafeteria will help regulate your body to recognize the cafeteria equals eating, not your bed. Plus if you're not hungry at 1 a.m., that's like $20 extra a week from cutting the late night Taco Bell runs.

2. Phone Case
Gosh darn it already! Get the best case! You KNOW you're going to drop your phone in the toilet on accident and then have to spend at least $100 on repair.

So just spend the extra $30 on a case that will defend your device. When picking, don't go cute. Go prepared.

1. Organizational Products
Ok, weird right? Why would this make the list? Because the point of college is to learn. It's harder to learn with clutter and chaos. And no, your BS answer about how you "know where everything is" will not fly here.You had to learn where everything was in the crazy, you can learn where it is in the calm.

What types, you ask? Bins, baskets, compartments, stackable drawers, label makers and ALWAYS cleaning supplies. Splurge on these things to help create an environment ready for hard work and success, because this is the time where it really counts.

Top 5 Cleaves on a College Budget:

5. Expensive Health/Beauty Products
Unless you have a SERIOUS condition, there's just no reason to spend $40 on shampoo. You hair will survive the next few years on regular ol' six dollar shampoo. And who honestly needs eight different body sprays? That's more than one per day of the week! Cut it back Jack. One smell will do for now.

Ladies: the makeup. It's okay to have it, but try different cheaper products and find ones that work for you. In fact, just last week I found a GREAT mascara for under two bucks! It is possible to maintain proper hygiene and care on a college budget.

4. Fast Food
It's. Not. Good. For your body or your budget. College students easily spend $50 a week on the Macs, Bells and Kings near campus. That's $200 a month!

Try to limit yourself to only eating out at good quality venues where you can enjoy both the food and ambiance of the experience. This will cut back your cost and give you fonder memories. AKA make it worth it.

3. Brand-Name Items
If you have to have something, fine. But if it's a product that has multiple versions, such as Fruit Loops, try the off-brand version. A typical brand name grocery trip can easily be five dollars more than an off brand grocery trip. Add up a yearly sum: that's an extra $260.

For clothes that can be even more expensive. A pair of jeans from Target or Walmart cost around $20, where a pair of jeans from brand name retailers average around $30-$60. Cutting back in brand allows for more spending in other areas.

2. Gadgets and Gizmos
While having them is awesome (Deus Ex Mankind Divided for real!!), they can and do take away from the important things. Also, they're ultra expensive.

I don't even feel a need to quote items and prices here, because everyone already knows this. Point being, spend your hundreds elsewhere or even just save for emergencies.

1. Smoking/Drinking
This is not a popular statement. I'm not talking about don't party ever. I'm talking about not every single weekend. It's literally spending hundreds for a rental. You can't keep the high. Eventually your body gives it up, and you're left a daydream late and a hundred dollars short.

Cigarettes, while yes, ruining the environment and your body, ruin your pocketbook even more. A pack costs on five bucks average. So If you smoke a pack every two days, that's $912.50 a year (that's like three car payments)! Plus apparently employers can tell when you smoke, even when you brush and spray. Smokers earn on average 20 percent less cash than employees who do not smoke!

Anyway you look at it, these "fun" activities rip giant holes in your pocket that prove difficult to patch. Interested in more info on smoking? Check this out.

Hope this list proved useful or at least got your gears going. As always

YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST FAN! Treat yourself like it!

- Taze

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College Life | 

10 Easy Ways to Save Serious Cash in School

...or a couple dollars, whatever

1.Shop the dining hall
You're pretty much required to pay for a meal plan, so take advantage of it. Grab a bagel from one line, sauce from another, and cheese from the salad bar to microwave your very own pizza bagel. You can find other essentials in the dining hall as well--like ramen noodles or rice.

2.Make your dorm room a kitchen (If your college trusts you to plug shit in)
Some colleges allow microwaves and fridges. If yours does, all you need is a microwave cookbook and you'll be living the life--from chocolate cake to quesadillas. Otherwise, you can use an iron for quesadillas. Or grilled cheese. You get the idea. Cheese.

3.Take advantage of the free shit
Colleges are already squeezing you for tuition, so take advantage of the free activities offered. From concerts and lectures (from people you actually care about, not just professors) look around for free stuff and then use it. Tutoring sessions count, too--math is hard!

4.Love to DIY (or fake it while you make it)
During your time away from home, you'll find that making new friends mean you have that many more people to get birthday gifts.

5.Rent or borrow textbooks
Shelling out for textbooks can mean major moolah, which you may or may not be able to get back by selling your books at the end of the semester. Instead, rent your books or try to borrow them from someone who has already taken the class.

6.Learn to suffer
If a major event comes up, skip it by playing the "starving student" card. This only works for four years of your life, so take advantage.

7.Don't be selfish and share your shit
Textbooks, clothes, food, whatever. Don't buy your own, go in on it with a friend, from cases of beer to shoes for a job interview.

8.Stay on campus
Sure, there might be plenty of stuff happening in the surrounding neighborhood. But by staying on campus you can avoid the temptation to spend.

9.Hang with other poor kids
It's always good to have rich friends willing to pay your way. Haha, we kid. But if you have to spring for yourself, find friends that are in a similar financial situation to yours. Most people are poor in college; it's part of the deal.

10.Learn from others
Everyone has their own money-saving methods. Keep your ears open to learn how other people get away with saving money, from sneaking ketchup packets to finagling more financial aid.

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College Life | 

How to Conquer a Weeknight Hangover and Make It to Your 9 a.m.

...I will pay someone $1,000 cash to bring me a ginger ale

So, you've made it home after Tequila Tuesday, drenched in someone's beer (or worse), and reaching frantically for a glass of water. You check your wallet, Snaps, read your mom's concerned comment on last night's obscene status update, and realize you have less than 15 minutes to make it to class.

First things first: Always set an alarm prior to going out. Better yet--set a recurring alarm.
If your phone is your alarm, charge it like it's never been charged before. Be mindful of which apps drain your battery. Snapchatting your intoxicated adventure to Burger King or swiping everyone within a 50-mile radius may seem like a priority at the time, but waking up on time and being productive is imperative to keeping your shit together.

If you're among those who can sleep through just about anything, I strongly suggest multiple alarms. Make sure your alarm sound is obnoxious enough to really jolt you awake. I used to have an alarm that sounded just like those awful beeping timers at Starbucks. If you need an alarm that jumps around until you catch it then have G-ma buy you one. This should be the last reason you miss class.

OK, so, you're actually awake in time for class. Truly en-route-to-full-blown adulthood. So how do you collect yourself to stay awake for an hour-plus and maybe even learn something?

One of the main reasons for a hangover is dehydration, so drink water. Gatorade or coconut water are especially helpful in keeping the body hydrated, but nothing beats good old H2O. If you're a regular coffee drinker, have a coffee to avoid a caffeine withdrawal headache. However, while it may make you more alert, caffeine also narrows your blood vessels and increases blood pressure, and could actually make things worse. Moderation is key, so avoid the venti.

When it comes to hangover food, keep it light and focus on water intake. Otherwise, eat foods that are easy to digest, like cereals or yogurt, and avoid combining too many foods. Toast, the smell of which is scientifically proven to boost your mood, is another great option. Top it with a healthy fat like avocado or peanut butter--healthy fats will curb your cravings for greasy food.

If you're feeling nauseous, take activated charcoal. Traditionally used for food poisoning and "detoxing", it's extremely porous, so it has the surface area to capture the toxins (aka chemicals) hanging out in your gut and keeps them from being absorbed. It's inexpensive and available at drug stores in the form of pills, tabs or powders. Alka-Seltzer is a better-known option, and it contains sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda), which neutralizes stomach acid. However, added ingredients like aspirin or citric acid could irritate your stomach, so activated charcoal may be a better alternative when you want to play it safe.

Don't forget: A water bottle, eye drops, gum (the act of chewing actually keeps you alert, a major win-win) and inner peace--you're not the first to go to class hungover, certainly not the last, and you can give yourself a pat on the back for that fantastic display of willpower. Go forth my still-kind-of drunk-friend, go forth!

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College Life |  Source:

Is Activated Charcoal Really Worth Your Time and Money?

Simply put, yes.

If you've been to the store lately, you've definitely seen at least an entire shelf filled with products screaming about charcoal and its supposed benefits. There's charcoal everything now: soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face masks, face wash, the list goes on longer than the file of Hillary's deleted emails.

Seriously, take a trip to the Target beauty section and you'll know what I mean. But do they work? Are they worth spending what little money you have on?

The answer is hell yes. We all know that activated charcoal is used for overdoses and medical emergencies to absorb toxins in the stomach, and the beauty products work the same way. Whatever product you choose to try out, whether it be the shampoos and conditioners or the face washes, they absorb any excess dirt, oils, and toxins.

I cannot rave about these products enough. And this isn't just some new trend; it's actually backed up by some scientists. Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist, broke it down for us: "When dirt and oil in your pores come in contact with the carbon, they stick to it and then get washed away when you rinse."

So there you have it ladies and gents, activated charcoal is your skin's new BFF. (It works great for men, too. No shame in a man actually caring about his skin and hair, we ladies actually very much appreciate that).

But where do you begin? Well, I have a few suggestions to get your charcoal obsession started, so grab a pen and paper and make a charcoal grocery list.

1. Freeman Facial Polishing Mask with Charcoal & Black Sugar
This mask is my favorite. You can feel it working as you scrub it onto your face. Plus, even if you get it in your mouth, it just tastes like sugar (talk about a bonus you never knew you wanted). And after you rinse it off your skin is left feeling baby soft and clean as ever. Seriously worth the few dollars you'll spend on it at Walmart.

2. Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner
These are some of the cheapest and best charcoal shampoos and conditioners I've found. They deep clean your hair, smell wonderful, and leave your locks feeling lovely. Plus, they're only $5.99 each at Ulta. Like, c'mon, you can't beat those prices.

3. Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser
This cleanser will be your holy grail product. Trust me. Once you use this, your skin is cleansed, clear, soft, and supple. This contains salicylic acid to kill and keep away zits, natural ingredients to soothe and exfoliate your skin, and, of course, charcoal to work its magic.

Those are all the products I have for now, but trust me when I say there will be more and you will be #obsessed.

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College Life |  Source: @leroux.jolandi

Alternative Jobs That Can Help You Pay For College

The reward of doing what you love is priceless.

One of the worst parts about being a college student is finding a reliable and sustainable source of income. Many of the jobs that many of us would kill for require a Bachelor's degree or a few years of professional experience.

Some jobs might not be willing to work around your school schedule. If you are lucky you might just find an internship within your field, but then you find out that it doesn't pay. Employers are like sharks hungry for college blood. We are young, posses a lot of youthful energy, and most importantly, we are desperate.

This is why so many students end up working dead-end jobs waiting tables or dishwashing. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with working at a restaurant, especially if you have culinary wet dreams of being the next Anthony Bourdain, but ideally we would all like to be doing something we are passionate about, something related to our field of study.

After I left my last restaurant job I took a leap of faith and decided I would never work another service job again. That might be a bit unrealistic, but I've dedicated my time to doing the things I love and finding ways to make money from them. We live in the digital era where the internet reigns supreme and the sky's the limit. Here's a few things myself and a few friends began doing that have kept us out of the slave labor of a "job" and into the throes of what could potentially become a "career":

Start a band.
If you think some employers are sharks, club promoters and venue owners can be even worse. But the light at the end of the tunnel is that there are many ways to make money from your music - you can sell songs online.

You can rent out small venues or buildings to put on your own shows and pocket the revenue. You can play on the streets in the busiest part of your city. And if you live in a small college town, you can create and dominate the scene like it's nobodies business. But keep in mind, you have to have at least some sort of musical talent.

Freelance writing.
As an English major, my dream is to one day pump out novels like Stephen King while wandering the earth like Bill Carradine in Kung Fu. But writing a novel is incredibly difficult and for some can take years.

I've been freelance writing for about a year now and it has quickly become my main source of income. For the first time in my life I honestly get excited and look forward to "working".

Make YouTube videos.
I've been meeting a handful of people that have established successful YouTube careers. If you can create engaging and entertaining content while maintaining a growing audience, that's really all you need.

The possibilities are endless, and no matter how obscure you think your idea is, someone somewhere will watch it, need I remind you of Corgi Flop?

Sell your art/stuff.
A close buddy of mine recently sold his collection of comic books he has had since he was a kid. He made quite a pretty penny on eBay and ventured on to sell whatever he thought someone might want to buy.

If you are an artist or some type of content creator there are a lot of websites that cater to the entrepreneur in all of us. Sites like StoreEnvy allow you to create your very own store, and sites like Fiverr also let you sell service online, no matter how bizarre.

The internet has made it possible for people to connect like never before, so use it to your advantage! These few things sometimes take time and hard work to develop, but the reward of doing what you love is priceless.

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College Life |  Source: @ethomander

All I Want For My Birthday Is A...

Nine things you should ask for instead of cash.

It's honestly in our nature to wish for things we want, not for things we need. As I've gotten older, my list of things I need keeps growing, especially now that I'm in college and living in my own apartment.

I guess that's how you know you're in true adulthood: you have to begin asking for household items rather than new shoes and Sephora sets. There's often things that we don't even realize we need until we need them. That's the beauty of it all.

It sounds crazy, but a lot of people don't have luggage because they never really needed it. It's easy to just use a backpack or duffel bag for travel, especially if you're just a roadtripper. But encountering your first flight, or needing a ton of space to move clothes to and from college, you'll be wishing you had some luggage.

A toaster.
This is honestly embarrassing, but my roommates and I once totally overlooked the fact that we didn't have a toaster until I woke up for an 8 a.m. class and weren't able to have our Eggos.

Have you seen how expensive sheets are these days?! And you don't want sandpaper, either. Some high luxury cotton candy cloud bedding can cost around $300. So ask someone else to buy it for you!

A vacuum.
These are expensive, too.

A safe.
As you get older, you'll be in charge of protecting your important documents. And let's be real, you can't just toss them in a drawer or a bag and remember them when you need them. Having a safe or a lock box is great for keeping your social security card, passport, birth certificate and other possessions safe and sound.

A grill.
Who doesn't love a good cheeseburger? Become your own chef, and ask for a grill so that you can host BBQ's and what not.

Car cleaning supplies.
Super necessity, especially if you're like me and are obsessed with keeping your car clean.

A utensil set.
Another shameful confession, my roommates and I also forgot about a can opener. We got very creative in our methods of opening cans without the proper tool. It sucked.

This one goes out to my BFF. She planned a party and realized right before people showed up that she didn't have dope speakers. One cannot throw a party without the proper equipment for getting lit. ASK FOR SPEAKERS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY!