How to Deal with Financial Fomo
College Life |  Source:

How to Deal with Financial Fomo

Being social doesn't have to break the bank.

You've definitely been there: when your friends want to go out to Panera, but you went out for sushi yesterday. You spent more than $1,000 on your meal plan, so why can't you just get together in the dining hall?

Lucky are the guys and gals who can afford to go off campus to eat everyday, but for the majority of us, that isn't the case. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with being social in college on a budget without missing out.

Limit going out to eat to once a week
If you have a meal plan, USE IT! You've already paid for it, and instead of shelling out extra money on an expensive restaurant meal, get most of your meals in the dining hall. To mix it up, you can try the retail options most dining services run on campus. If you limit eating off your meal plan to just once a week, you'll enjoy it way more than if you eat out every day.

Plan before you go out
The social scenes of many schools are based around the bar, which can quickly add up to an expensive night out if you figure in the cover charge, drinks, and Uber rides. Instead of planning to drink only at the bar, pregame at your dorm or a house party.

If you can, walk to and from the bars, or take a bus. As far as cover charges go, you probably won't be able to score a discount, but if you pick only a few bars to go to instead of hitting up all of them.

Shift your spending to where you really want it
The best way to avoid not having enough money to do the things you want is to shift your spending from other categories to savings for the things you truly want. For example, if your library offers copies of textbooks on reserve, use them instead of buying your own. Or, if you want to save money to get coffee with your friends, make your own in the mornings, and spend the money you saved at the bar.

Talk to your friends and plan other activities
You don't have to miss out on college life just because you're on a budget. If you feel comfortable, open up to your friends and suggest cheaper alternatives. Chances are, they'd be happy to spend less too, and they're probably in the same boat as you financially.

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Don't compromise who you are to avoid FOMO.

FOMO, amiright? It's become a college student's downfall, influencing us to give attention to things we don't have the time, energy or desire for. Before this term was coined, we seemed to have a little more control over our priorities.

Think about it: We've all had those nights when you come home after a long day at the library, take a shower and slip into some sweatpants, only to get the text: "Everyone" is going out and it's going to be the "best time ever". You are so tired and comfortable, but FOMO is slowly but surely pulling you away from your bed. If everyone else is going, you have to go, too. You convince yourself it's going to be the best time ever, but in reality it's just another night at Tin Roof Bar you may not even remember. Take a step back and realize this opportunity will more than likely present itself again--so don't feel bad about saying no.

We're poor college students. The little money we do have seems to disappear so quickly. You haven't bought yourself a new dress in months and you've become acquired to the taste of egg sandwiches and ramen noodles. This coming weekend you know you need to stay in and save money, so you've made plans to catch up on homework and binge-watch rom-coms.

But Saturday morning rolls around and your phone blows up with day plans for the game. You've worked so hard pinching pennies all week, and to throw it away now... but FOMO calls and suddenly has you checking all your coat pockets for loose change. So before you call an Uber and blow your budget, think about the regret that will follow on Sunday morning. And don't feel bad about sitting this one out.

FOMO isn't exclusive to social events. It also applies to beauty, fashion and technology. If you don't have the latest iPhone, you feel FOMO. If you didn't have ombre hair at one point, you feel FOMO. If your nails aren't constantly painted with latest gel color, you feel FOMO. If you haven't listened and memorized every new Justin Bieber song, you feel FOMO. Even if something doesn't interest us, we still make ourselves do it in order to avoid the fear of missing out. Don't compromise who you are to avoid FOMO.

Missing out on a few things here and there won't change your destiny. When you do something to simply not miss out, or to just to say you were a part of it, you're aren't going to enjoy it, anyway. Plus, it's a waste of time. Do what makes you happy, not what you think you should be doing or--God forbid--what everyone else is doing.

The only fear you should have is the fear of not staying true to yourself.

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Splurge Or Save?

Where to allocate your limited funds.

When you're in college, finances are hard. Life is good, but you're most certainly low on money. You're probably relying on someone else, or a part-time job, to get the funds you need. It's important to know where it's worthwhile to spend a little more, and where you should skimp.

Here are a few guidelines to help you figure out where you should cough it up and when to cheap out, so you can save that money for the important things (see: booze).

Drunk food: Save. Let's be real, you're not tasting whatever you eat after six hours of drinking, so buy something on the cheap. Hit up the closest fast food or pizza place and head home with a greasy bag of carbs that will carry you to sleep and help ward off a hangover.

Pregame liquor: Splurge. Well, don't actually splurge, but don't completely shaft yourself either. The price difference between a handle of Vlad and a handle of Smirnoff is really not a big deal, especially if you split the cost with friends. And that tiny price difference translates into a HUGE difference in taste. Treat yo' self.

Beer: Save. You're drinking it to get drunk, not to explore the hoppy aftertaste and malty flavor. Get this shit on the cheap, because you probably can't tell the difference anyways.

Dinner with friends: Splurge. I'm not saying you should go somewhere expensive, but if you're hitting up a restaurant for someone's birthday or to celebrate something, spend five or six extra dollars to get something a little better. Think Thai food instead of pizza.

Condoms: SPLURGE. Buy them. Buy the good ones. Ladies, gents, everyone. Buy them, use them, and have some excellent sex. Ten bucks here and there for a pack of condoms is much cheaper than a child or an STD. Just do it.

Going out clothes: Save. These are clothes you wear for drinking. They're going to get spilled on, torn off, tripped in, puked on, and god knows what else. Not to mention, it's probably not something you'll wear after graduation. Get something that you like for cheap, and save your money for a good pair of jeans that will last forever.

Snow/rain boots: Splurge. If you're in a rainy/snowy/unpredictable climate, don't underestimate the importance of weather-appropriate footwear. There are few things worse than getting stuck in the rain with a pair of cheap boots with a rip in them. Invest in a solid pair and use them all four years, and beyond.

Phone case: Splurge. In college, you're going to treat your phone like shit. You'll drop it, spill on it, lose it, use it in the rain, and just generally abuse it. Get a phone case that will actually protect your only means of communication, so you don't have to worry about being too careful.

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Why Consider a Degree in Three?

Tuition ain't cheap, ya know.

College is expensive. It's full of brutal minimum wage jobs with awful hours, living off ramen, trading nights out for Netflix, not to mention tuition up to $334,000. And it's long.

We've been studying 12 years, have to study 4 more in college, and maybe have to study even more for graduate school. A 3-year degree model can introduce a faster pathway through education, while maintaining the same quality of education.

So, if only 38 percent of students get a bachelor's degree in four years, why do I suggest shortening the norm to three years? Because a three year degree doesn't have to mean squeezing 4 years of work into 3. The solution could instead include, "reducing the number of electives, cutting back on core requirements or shifting to shorter semesters," according to CNN.

Honestly, I don't want to pay $2,000 for a class on basketweaving to fulfill an art elective. I just want to take classes that are relevant. It's not that I don't value holistic learning. I do. It's just something I'd rather pursue by joining a club, using the internet, or going to the library.

Washington state is with me on this one. Their proposed Bailey's Bill would offer a "Degree in Three" program at state schools. In my opinion, all the other states should follow suit.

If you're planning on trading college for a job that last year, that's not only a year of college tuition saved, but also an extra year of income. Factoring that in means that students can save up to 50 percent of college costs by graduating a year early.

Fortunately, you don't have to go to Washington to find these programs. American University, St. John's University, and Miami University of Ohio are three of the many schools already offering these programs; and each school offers its own perks.

American allows students in their early graduation program to use financial aid for summer study, study abroad through a special program, double major, and switch to a 4-year option if they decide that's a better choice for them. Grace College in Indiana offers summer courses at no tuition to students in the degree in three program, increasing savings even more.

What if you don't go to these schools? You still have options to graduate early. Taking summer and winter classes, using CLEP credit at any of 2,900 schools that offer it, (check your school's policy), and using AP and IB credits, (and making sure your courses are applicable to your major), are just a few of the ways you can shorten your time in school. College life is great and all, but three years is long enough to get the full experience, and that's the norm across Europe, even at prestigious schools like University of Cambridge.

A degree in three is not the right choice for everyone, but it can help you lower the cost of your degree by an average of $8,893 at a public school and $30,094 at a private school.

The downside of a degree in three? Hard work, summers spent studying instead of on a beach, and stress, according to one student. You may also have fewer choices of a major, because some have stricter requirements, and less time to explore your options.

While cutting down on requirements for degrees is a strong proposal, many schools with 3-year degree programs are still squeezing four years in three. Graduating early can be hard, but you'll be getting out a year earlier than your classmates, and according one student who went through with graduating early, being one step closer to reality is is worth it.

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How to Not Spend Every Last Penny in College

Those shoes aren't even that cute, girl.

I get it. All your friends are hitting the mall this weekend because so-and-so needs a formal dress. And of course you want to stop at Target on the way because you need more string lights and/or a cute new lamp for the apartment. You want to stop at Chipotle, too? Why not? What really is *money*?

I never thought I would be the stereotypical broke college student until I was hit in the face with the harsh reality of my card being declined. Thank God it was on an online order so the cashier didn't see me cry. I just saved those heels to Pinterest and moved on with my life.

Why in the world is it so hard to save money? What is it about being all on our own in the real world that leads us to believe it's OK to drop $100 on fraternity philanthropy t-shirts throughout the year? Do we honestly need that many?

Instead of listing off the hundreds of things that we all know we blow those hard earned bills on, I'll be generous enough to share some of my newly learned knowledge on how to do the opposite: SAVE.

First of all, are those shoes even cute? Just because they're 75 percent off does not make them that much more appealing. Take a second look at the 37 things in your cart and really, really evaluate whether, you'll wear them at all, their level of practicality, and what else you'd spend that $150 on. Music festival tickets? Gas for a month? Birthday gift for the beau? You get the idea.

Secondly, set a budget. Really. I know this probably seems like a thing your Grandma does, but I swear it helps. Figure out how much (if anything) you bring in a month from your work, and subtract the things you KNOW you'll spend money on. Gas, groceries, Starbs, you get the jist.

Then add in your 'extra-curriculars' we'll call them. Shenanigans on the weekend? Maybe $20. Sunday brunch? $15. Need to send home a thank you letter to your Grandma because she remembered your birthday six months ago? $5 for express mail. Sorry Grandma. This way, you won't be surprised when you run out of money because you'll know exactly where it went! Ta-da!

Lastly, find a job you enjoy (enough). If you absolutely dread each day of work, it's going to make it that much harder to get your ass out of bed each day.

Do a little research, and get out there doing something that excites you, and gives you the cash you need to get those god-awful shoes you wanted.

Plenty of campuses have career resource centers that are perfect for lining something up, or at least giving you the opportunity to get yourself an interview and allow you to showcase that *sparkling* personality everybody loves.

All in all, you're on your own. College is a time for getting out of your parent's house and learning how to do things for yourself. If you blew all your money during #SB2k16, you're definitely not alone. Everybody does it now and then, which isn't a horrible thing because, lesson learned. Look at you now! Reading up on how to save. Snaps for you.

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College Life |  Source: @craftygator

Five Money Tips That Will Save You This Semester

Try the envelope system!

College is expensive, and saving money is tough. The older you get, the more you realize it is important to start budgeting what little income you have. Here are five tips to help you save money when it really counts.

1. The envelope system

It's exactly how it sounds. You put your money into separate envelopes, physically allocating your funds to pay for each bill or need, such as rent, loans, Wi-Fi, gas, groceries, you name it.

Mark each envelope has the name of the bill and the amount needed, then throughout the month, put cash as you earn it in its respective envelope. This way you know what the money is for and you are not tempted to spend it because you can physically see where it is going.

At the end of the month, each envelope should have the full amount that you can then deposit to pay your bills or use to pay for your expenses.

You can even designate an envelope for "extra" which can then be turned over to pay down a loan, placed into your savings, or used for spending money.

2. Avoid swiping plastic

Maybe you don't have to go as far as freezing your credit/debit card in a block of ice, but you can easily start by not taking it out with you to bars.

Designate a specific amount you allow yourself to go out with, and that way you can avoid buying a round of shots for 10 people just because you're feeling friendly.

3. Don't buy textbooks from your school

After spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks I never even cracked open between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I finally realized it would be better if I got them from somewhere other than the university bookstore, or else from outside sources.

Wait until you are absolutely sure that you need the textbook to pass your class. If you do, try, or Amazon to find used copies to rent or buy. You will save hundreds of dollars. If you have friends in your class, consider even splitting the cost of a textbook rental and sharing a book to save even more.

4. Grocery shop only twice a month

Go to the grocery store every two weeks, and buy only what is necessary. Avoid those quick trips in between your biweekly shopping trips to just "pick up a few things" because you will undoubtedly spend money on useless snacks that you don't need.

5. You have legs, use them

If your class is only half a mile away, use your legs and walk! You'll save money on gas and parking meters, as well as parking tickets you'll get for the meters you forget to pay for.