Posts Tagged ‘ college ’

WITH ALL THAT STUDYING, WHO HAS TIME TO MANAGE THEIR FINANCES?


M1stOnline-App-GraphicFor many, going off to college is the first time students need to manage their finances and budget their money. Rationing out a summer job’s income to last the entire school year is difficult, but possible! It’s all about knowing where you stand in your accounts financially, keeping track and making budgets.

We get it, you are busy and have a million assignments to focus on throughout the school year, and stopping in at the branch isn’t the first thing you want to do. That is why we made it quick and easy for you to manage your money from anywhere, even on your way to class or from the library!

The Members 1st mobile banking app makes it simple to access your money when you need it. It’s as easy as Tweeting!

Mobile Banking allows you to:

  • Make transfers
  • Keep track of your balances
  • Pay bills at your convenience

Another great service that Members 1st offers is text alerts. You can have alerts sent to your phone every time a transaction occurs on your account or even have alerts sent when you are below a certain balance to avoid spending more than you have.

Plus, credit unions offer many surcharge free ATMs located all over the country that you can access without  having to pay extra fees! Just because you are far from home does not mean you are far away from your local credit union services! Click here to find surcharge-free ATMs near you!

Click here to learn more about all of Members 1st FCU’s electronic and mobile services.

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

10 TIPS FOR SAVING $$ AT COLLEGE


CollegeStudent-Pig1. Create a budget before heading off to school.

Sit down and evaluate how much money you have to spend and what you will need to be spending it on. Will you have a job at school? How much spending money will you allow yourself a week? Do you need to go grocery shopping or do you have a meal plan? Are there bills that you will need to pay monthly? What forms of transportation will you be using? Prepare yourself for your regular expenses and put aside money for the fun things that you want to do!

2. Saving money on text books – shop around.
The biggest mistake many college students make is buying textbooks from their school bookstores. Often times many online distributors such as Amazon, Chegg and eBay offer textbooks at a fraction of the original price. Used books are significantly less expensive than new books. Renting a book is a great option. Whether you rent or buy your books, if you don’t need them for reference for subsequent classes, sell them at the end of the semester. Many online distributors buy back used books and their websites will direct you through the sell-back process (sometimes with free postage). Check with your campus bookstore for their book buy-back process, too.

3. Limit the amount of times you eat out.
Once you reach that limit, cut yourself off. Also, check your meal plan – does it offer “swipes” at partnering restaurants near campus?

4. Cut out excessive habits.
There is always that one weakness that ends up costing you an enormous amount of money. $4 a day for coffee before class is $20 a week! That would be $300 a semester on coffee! What could you do with $300 in your pocket?

5. Always pay your bills on time.
Skipping a bill here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal, besides you’ll pay them eventually, right? This can actually end up costing you hundreds of dollars in late fees and even ruin your credit score. If you need a reminder, make a calendar of when all the bills are due, that way you will never miss one. You can also use an online bill pay service to schedule your payments.

6. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Let’s be honest, you don’t really need 200 channels of football. Use that money for something more useful or on something you can’t go without.

7. Do you really need a car at school?
Many colleges offer free student bus services around campus/town or rides to the airport, bus terminal or the train station. Check with your school for options. Many offer day-long bike or car rentals for a nominal fee.

8. Take advantage of free on-campus activities.
Many colleges and universities offer a variety of free social events on campus. Remember, you pay a student activity fee, so take advantage of these events.

9. Do not use loan money for anything that does not go toward your education.
Your student loans are for your tuition, room and board, and educational expenses. Borrow only what you need and don’t use this money on anything else. Remember, you have to pay them back once you are no longer in school.

10. Flash your student ID for discounts.
Many businesses  including movie theaters and restaurants offer student discounts. Always ask and show your ID.

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

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)

 

Stay on track with financing college


college kids

High school graduation is right around the corner. There’s no way your baby is old enough to be going off to college. You just waved goodbye to kindergarten and you’re dealing with the fact you really do have a child old enough to be in college. And it costs how much? What do we need to do when? What’s a parent to do?

We know there are many important steps to getting your son or daughter into school, so here’s a college preparation checklist to help keep you on track:

Now:
• Complete income tax forms as early as possible (information is needed to complete federal and state financial aid applications)
• Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Pennsylvania State Grant Application. The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.gov and the PA state grant application can be found at www.pheaa.org.
• If the college/university requires additional documents or applications, be sure to complete those, too. Make sure all forms are completed before each school’s deadline.
• Continue searching for scholarships now and the entire way through college.
• Plan college visits if you’re still deciding on the right school.

April through June:
• Financial aid packages/award letters and college acceptance letters will start rolling in from schools. Keep track of them and pay attention to any deadlines.
• Thoroughly review the award letters to determine how much financial aid (grants, scholarships, work-study and loans) you’ll receive and how much is still needed to bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and the amount of aid offered.
• If financial aid and college savings plans aren’t enough to cover all school-related expenses, start researching additional options (ex. monthly payment plans with the school, federal & private student loans, etc.)
• Attend one of our financial aid seminars for addition details on financing a college education. They’re scheduled for April 24, May 22 and June 26. You can register online at
www.members1st.org.
• Complete applications for student loans if necessary.
• Open a checking account and VISA® Debit Card with us for your child and set up across account transfer capability so you can transfer money from your account to your child’s account.
• Celebrate graduation with family and friends!

Not sure what do make of the entire student loan process or just need to talk to someone with some expertise? Call Tiffanie DeVan, our Specialty Loan Administrator, at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6017 or (717) 795-6017 or email devant@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.

It’s back to school time


Who out there has a college-age child either leaving home for the first time or making a return visit? As your child heads off to school, make sure they packed the right financial aides and supplies to help them manage their money while they’re away.

Today’s students are environmentally conscious. That’s why we offer free online banking, complete with free eStatements and a variety of online services to help them keep track of their spending. Since it’s unlikely to see them without some sort of electronic device in their hand, we offer mobile apps for smartphones, Blackberry™ and other web-enabled devices. Using these free apps will help them know how much money they have or don’t have. Members 1st Online is particularly useful in monitoring our Rewards Checking Account. You can view pending transactions and all cleared transactions including those affiliated with our debit card. 

And don’t forget about the power of plastic – we offer personalized debit cards that work in conjunction with their Rewards Checking Account. Our debit card offers a monthly cash-back rebate and users can earn 5 cents for every qualifying transaction (transactions that don’t require a PIN or are not ATM-related). And, we don’t charge any kind of monthly usage fee like other financial institutions started doing. We also have re-loadable pre-paid VISA cards and of course two VISA Credit Cards to choose from.

We also offer overdraft protection for their Rewards Checking Account and Debit Card transactions.

Those college years are the best time to stretch their financial independence and gain some real-life experience on their own without having any monetary mishaps along the way.

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