Archive for the ‘ College ’ Category

How you can save money and make money on college textbooks!


TextbooksNo one likes spending their hard-earned money on textbooks. Unfortunately this is something every college student goes through each semester. Don’t worry though, because there are steps that you can take to save money and even make money each time you go through this process!

First, do not wait until the last-minute to buy your textbooks. Give yourself time to shop around and find the best deals out there.

The next thing you must do is make a list of each book you will need. Look over the books and decide which books you will rent and which books you will buy to keep for long-term use. Often times if the textbook contains information you may be able to utilize for your major, it is a good idea to hang on to the book as you may need it again.

Now you can begin shopping around! Avoid your school book store if at all possible. Amazon, a major online retail store, carries hundreds of textbooks that you may find easily by simply entering your textbook’s ISBN. If the book is in stock it will appear with price options for renting, buying used and buying new textbooks. Other websites that offer the same services include Chegg.com, BookRenter.com and Textbooks.com. These are just a few examples of companies that offer these services, as there are dozens available online.

Another option to save money is by sharing textbooks with friends. If you and a friend are taking a class at the same time it may be a good idea to split the cost of the book and share. Keep in mind that everyone in the same major takes primarily the same classes, so ask around and see if anyone has some old text books lying around that may be of use to you. EBooks are also becoming popular with college students, as they can also be significantly cheaper and are available instantly upon purchase.

Finally, when the end of the semester rolls around (which will be quicker than you think) look into selling back textbooks that you will not be using again. Just like buying textbooks, it is a good idea to avoid selling back to the bookstore, unless you’re okay with only getting a few bucks back. I don’t know about you, but I want to make as much money back on the book as I can!

Many online textbook retailers offer services to buy back books as well. After all, that is where all those cheap used textbooks you bought came from anyway. Selling back is simple and painless. On Chegg.com you simply click the “more” button on the upper right hand corner of the website and hit “sell back” to get a quote on the textbook you wish to sell by entering the ISBN number. Then, you simply agree to sell the book, enter your information and ship the book!

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Guest Blogger: Megan Lopez, Marketing Intern (student at St. John’s University, New York)

Move-In Day Will Be Here Before You Know It!


College-MovingInIt’s that time of the year again, so grab those boxes and bins and toss them in the car. With so much to do in so little time it’s hard to know where to begin. The following tips may be of some use to you while you prepare to head off to college!

Be prepared and make a list. You basically need to pack up your entire life into a few storage bins. Make sure that you pack only the things that you need. If you are going home over Thanksgiving break you can probably wait to bring your winter coat.

Order large items online. It’s difficult to pack everything in one vehicle. To make this easier on you and your parents order larger items like; comforters, mini-fridges and microwaves online and have them sent to your campus mail room. There may even be a store location near your campus that you can pick the items up at when you arrive, which can help you to avoid shipping fees!

Pack a bag of necessities. Your first couple days in the dorm are going to be hectic between getting situated and meeting new people. Pack a bag of clothes and toiletries that you will need for the first few days so that you can find everything without dumping your entire suitcase.

Coordinate with your roommate. Talk to your roommate before moving in day. There may be items that you can share, such as an area rug, a mini-fridge, gaming console, or a TV. See who is bringing what to avoid having duplicates and spending money unnecessarily.

Arrive early. Many colleges assign specific move in dates and times to help control the chaos. Be sure to check with your housing department on campus for the exact time that you will need to arrive. Also, keep in mind that there are a large number of people moving in on the same day. Checking in can be a hassle, try to beat the crowds. Remember, which ever roommate gets there first gets to pick which bed they want!

Take breaks. Move-in day can be very stressful. Not only do you have to move in but so do hundreds of other students. There are people everywhere and tons of things you need to do (like the oh-so-exciting paperwork). Make sure you give yourself time to eat and regroup.

Follow your schedule. It may seem odd to have tons of activities and presentation scheduled for move-in day, but colleges do it like this for a reason. Most importantly there is a lot of information that they need to relay to you. It is also to get students out and about; they do not want people to be alone in their rooms all day.

Socialize.  Going hand-in-hand with all the activities scheduled, this is a great chance to socialize and meet people. There are hundreds of students who want to meet new people and make new friends as well so this should be the easiest part of the day, not to mention the best part of the day!

Have fun! This is an exciting time in your life. It’s the beginning of something completely new to you and all your classmates. Take it all in and have fun!

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Guest Blogger: Megan Lopez, Marketing Intern (student at St. John’s University, New York)

 

A life cycle of lending


piggy bank

Think of us first when you need a loan.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union has a whole suite of lending products for every stage of your life. Throughout your lifetime there are many good reasons to borrow money: for education, purchasing a new vehicle or home, or perhaps financing your business needs. We have one of the widest variety of competitively priced lending products of any financial institution in the area. As a member, when you apply for a loan, you may qualify for a discounted loan rate depending upon your Member Loyalty Reward level. Always ask what your reward level is and how that could help your loan rate.

As a locally owned credit union with no stock holders pushing to maximize profits, you are ensured low rate loan products with very little or no fees. One of the first types of lending young adults become familiar with is our student loan program, Credit Union Student Choice. This program allows student and parents to borrow money as a line of credit, which allows for deferred payments until after graduation with low rates and a competitive structure. Our Student Loan Administrator, Tiffanie DeVan, would be glad to sit down with both student and parent to discuss this option for financing your college education. You can reach Tiffanie at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6017.

Many people start their relationship with us via an auto loan. These loans may be obtained either directly from us or through our “On the Spot” vehicle loan program, which is available through any of our 250 auto dealer partners throughout Southcentral Pennsylvania. We have financing available with terms up to 84-months. Visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Loans or call (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 for details.

One of the most convenient types of loan products we offer is our VISA® products. These products include our VISA® Platinum Cash Back program, which features 1% cash back on all purchases, plus 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases. If you are having some credit issues, but still would like the convenience of a VISA® card, our new VISA® Platinum Secured Card can provide you with a VISA® card and help you re-establish credit. Contact our Card Services Department at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 for more details or visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Card Services to apply.

If you are purchasing, refinancing, or constructing a new home, our experienced mortgage experts will guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible. We offer VA, FHA, Conventional, and Construction loans, plus a PHFA first time buyer’s program with little or no money as a down payment. You can reach our mortgage specialists at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6026. To view our current rates or to apply online, visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Mortgage Services.

After home ownership, you may be interested in home equity loans and lines of credits to assist with making home improvements, debt consolidation, or simply to have a line of credit available for any future borrowing need. Our fixed-rate, fixed-term home equity loan program features terms up to 20 years and our Home Equity Line of Credit products have different repayment options to fit your budget. Contact our loan specialists at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 or visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Loans > Home Equity Loans & Lines of Credit for details.

If you are a business owner, we have a number of business loan programs available for capital purchases or line of credit products, which can be tailored to suit your business needs. Members 1st participates in the SBA 504 program, in addition to the US Department of Agriculture’s Business and Industry program. Visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Business Services to learn more about how we can help you. You may also contact our business lending experts at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5168.

If you need money, we have money to lend: Signature loans, Fresh Start loans, Share Secured loans, and Recreational Vehicle financing to name just a few. In addition, along with many of our lending products we offer our Member Value Protection coverage, which offers low cost debt protection in case of death, disability or unemployment. We are your one stop shop for all of your borrowing needs throughout your life. Stop by your nearest branch or visit us at www. members1st.org.

College is coming


college student

As a parent, this moment has been on your radar, but now it’s coming fast. Your baby is about to begin his or her senior year of high school. This is a very busy year and will fly by quickly. There’s much to do. That also means it’s time to start thinking about higher education opportunities and the application process. To help you and your senior, we’ve included some tips for the fall months as you move forward toward next year’s college departure.

August:

  • Request information and applications from prospective colleges, universities or technical/career schools.
  • Visit campuses to help evaluate schools.
  • Start a general search for scholarships and grants, research financial aid information from prospective schools so you’re aware of any early deadlines.
  • Attend our free Financial Aid Seminar on Thursday, August 22 from 6 to 8 pm at our Adminstrative Headquarters.

September:

  • Set a time to meet with school guidance counselors to determine college admission plans and to arrange proper testing (SAT, PSAT, ACT). Attend college fairs and meet with admission representatives to discuss career objectives and see if the school is recognized as being strong in this field.
  • Attend Financial Aid Nights offered by local high schools or Members 1st.
  • Evaluate early decision/early application admission requirements.
  • Start admission applications. You should apply to numerous schools so you have options if you are not accepted at your first choice.

October:

  • Be aware of college admission application deadlines in order to submit application materials (applications, essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation) in a timely manner.
  • Research and begin applying for private scholarships and grants. Always double check the deadlines.
  • Check with schools regarding application procedures and availability of scholarships and grants.

You can also find resources about student loans and our Student Choice Line of Credit at www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Student Services.  Our Specialty Loan Administrator, Tiffanie DeVan, is always ready to help you. You can reach her at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6017 or devant@members1st.org.

Money Tips for College Grads


Graduate of 2013

 

Guest post by Nico Leyva
Nico Leyva writes for Nerdwallet, a consumer finance website that promotes financial literacy and looks for the best ways to save you money.

Congratulations! You’re just about to graduate or already have graduated from college and are now officially an adult ready to embark on a journey into the real world. Unfortunately, you now have a whole new set of responsibilities and commitments. You are starting to become, or have become, financially independent, which brings with it a number of potential pitfalls and difficulties. You may be expected to support yourself with a job, pay your own rent, pay for a car, and pay for various other cost-of-living expenses, including food, health care costs and student loans. Keeping up with your finances is probably starting to seem a bit daunting. Don’t fret! We have some tips to help college grads stay financially healthy.

Don’t Overuse Your Credit Card – A credit card can be a great option to help you manage your expenses. But don’t start charging everything, because your account could become unmanageable as your amount owed increases. Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates for younger consumers, and bills can quickly spiral out of control. Unpaid bills or late payments will negatively affect your credit score and, in turn, your ability to receive loans and credit in the future.
Do Establish Credit – Managing debt is a very important way to establish credit and build towards better credit. Making sure you pay your student loans on time, and managing monthly personal loan payments or credit card bills will have an immediately positive effect on your credit score. Keep your total amount owed as low as possible and check your credit report (you get one free report each year from each of the three main credit bureaus) as often as possible, to ensure there are no errors. If you need help, schedule an appointment with a GreenPath counselor, a free service provided to members of Members 1st Federal Credit Union.
Keep a Budget – This might be the first time you’ve had to manage a budget on your own, and keeping track of every monthly or weekly expense can be tough to do off the top of your head. Create a worksheet or calendar of all your potential expenses and compare that to your monthly income. Keep it as simple as possible. Try to cut back on unnecessary expenses and focus on needs versus wants. It’s also very important to use online banking or a checkbook to track your transactions, so you know how much money you have and don’t get charged for overdrawing your account.
Start Saving – It’s never too late or too early to start saving. You should have a savings account that you contribute to regularly. It can provide back-up for your checking account, and it will help you be better prepared for future expenses and for life stages like buying a house, or saving for retirement.
A Car: To Buy or Not to Buy? – Cars are a big financial burden. Not only do you have to consider paying off the car itself, you have to account for possible loan payments, insurance payments, gas, and repairs and service when needed. Before considering a car, check out public transportation options in your area. Is there a bus line, subway or metro that runs near your work? Can you bike to work? All of these options will cut down on the amount of money you would be spending on a car each month and free up funds for other uses. Ask Members 1st about their First Time Car Buyers Program that’s available to college graduates.

You have your whole life ahead of you. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward financially. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from your local Credit Union. Members 1st Federal Credit Union has a financial Advice Center to help you with any questions you might have, and you can always call them to speak with someone one-on-one. They’ll help you get on the path to financial success.

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