Sunday, January 15, 2012

6 Tips for Maintaining a Social Life on a Budget by Guest Author James Lander


Guest Post: Author James Lander is a contributing writer for Couponing, a site that provides coupons and couponing advice.

If you’re in college, one of your biggest worries has to do with money. And now that it’s vacation, it can be such a feat toiling to make ends meet while trying to maintain a little semblance of a social life. Without intuitive planning tips and frugal budgeting, your financial woes could easily spiral out of control, wiping out your savings and earning you a poor credit score.

Fortunately for college goers, there are a couple of tips that can help you take a grip of your financial troubles by effectively managing your money. Use these tips as you start a new semester.

1. Know where and how your money is spent

A lot of young people wouldn’t be bothered to know exactly what they spend their money on each week. For most, as long as the frequent expenses are covered - such as food, entertainment, gas - they assume any other expense is fringe and basically negligible. However, you’ll be surprised to find that much of the unaccounted for money was spent when ‘out and about’ on things that could have been avoided. To rid yourself of this habit, start by accounting for every expense and before long, you’ll have noticed areas to improve. Jot down everything you intend to buy in advance for the week, including their prices and stick to that. You’ll still manage to have a decent social life without draining your wallet.

2. Pay your bills automatically

The first time you’ll encounter serious bills as a young adult is at college or just after college and, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a lot of financial support, you’ll have to fend for yourself almost entirely. You have to pay your rent, credit cards (plus their bizarre carrying costs), insurance and cell phone bills, all on their due dates. It’s arduous enough looking for the money to clear them up, let alone remembering the nitty-gritty of each bill (due date, amount, etc). Set up an automatic bill pay and make this burden a thing of the past. Most of the listed bills have online bill pay options that automatically clear the bill on its due date using your bank balance. You just need to provide your banking details and ensure that there’s always enough money and that way, you’ll avoid incurring late fees and penalties – fees and penalties can drain you financially and you’ll have nothing left for your social life.

3. Utilize free things online

Some of the biggest expenses while at college are books and software but interestingly, many of these can also be obtained entirely free of charge over the Internet. You’ll find that it just takes a little sleuthing to find textbook downloads or student discounts. Find other students that have taken the course you’re shopping for and see if you can either borrow or buy their used copies. Most schools also have “listservs” where students can post items for sale – similar to Craigslist. Spending a little more time at this junction can allow you to channel those savings towards your entertainment and social life.

4. Cook your food or have budget meals

If you cannot cook, chances are you’re spending a fortune on prepared meals or eating out. To be honest, the most budget friendly meals - such as generic brand pizzas - are not exactly the ones you can eat day in, day out. You’ll need to learn how to make simple, healthy meals. Start by browsing for cheap, healthy recipes online, Simple Recipes is a good place to start. Ask friends and family for their favorite recipes, those are generally some of the tastiest and easiest foods to make. Don’t be concerned about being “the perfect cook”, you’ll pick up more cooking ideas as you move on. Turn the money-saving food prep time into a social even itself – invite friends over, make it contest or have a potluck.

5. Be keen on discounts

This is especially important if you’re in college as there are all sorts of student discounts at eateries, cinemas, and stores. Some discounts may not sound like they would have any effect on your life, but they can, and will, add up. Take the Seattle Art Museum, with student ID admission it is a suggest $9 versus $15. If you go twice a month for a year, that’s $144 in savings! Many students feel embarrassed to ask for discounts but look at it from another perspective: it’s not going to last forever, so take advantage of this essentially free money!

6. Develop financial frugality

It can be tempting to splurge on every new gadget that is released. Doing it once in a while is fine but when it becomes a habit, it will be a drain on your funds and therefore your social life. If you’re really into tech stuff, consider joining the AV club. If it’s writing, try out the newspaper – you might even get paid to do what you love! Knowing what your school provides as extracurricular clubs is a great way to learn more about what you’re interested in, finding like-minded people and just having the opportunity to try things out without having to pay for it.

Young adulthood can be a difficult period, being more financially aware can make your ability to enjoy your life simpler.

[Image Source: mynextcollege.com]

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Broke Wide Open 500 Names Campaign - Be A Part Of The List & Support

500 Names, Yes, FIVE. HUNDRED. NAMES. YOUR NAME is needed on the 500 Names campaign list ASAP! Playwright, Performer, Composer and Poet Rock WILK, is raising funds to support a commercial run, a full production of a show that is an absolute MUST SEE; a play that is a culmination of 5 years of his unrelenting spirit and hard work. His incredible, life changing, dream awakening, soul penetrating New York City, true life musical, BROKE WIDE OPEN is the story of his Adoption and search for identity and home. Join me in supporting him by getting your name on his 500 NAMES list here.

 A theatrical phenomenon, BROKE WIDE OPEN is one of the best gifts of story that I've encountered LIVE on stage, one that is ready and worthy of a Broadway run, a show that has won the hearts of audiences and supporters who continue to purchase ticket after ticket and attend show after show, and write about it all over his Facebook wall and website. I could sit here and type a mountain of praise, but you deserve to have your own unique experience, free of the full extent of my hype and regard but if you really want to know exactly what was on my mind after I saw BROKE WIDE OPEN for the first time, its available here. All of the information that you could possibly want to know about BROKE WIDE OPEN and the 500 NAMES campaign is on Rock's website here.

Consider supporting an artist who continues to give back and support the people, and who LIVES the change that he wants to see in the world everyday; something that many folks have only dreamed and aspired to do. Rock WILK is not only a committed artist, he is a leader, a brilliant mind, a human from humble beginnings changing lives one show at a time. He is dedication walking and like no other person that I've ever met. I'm not quite sure how I managed to donate to this fundraiser, while knee deep in college debt and other unmentionable financial craziness, let's just say there was a will, and so I found a way - I had to. If you are still reading, thank you for attention and know that your next step is only a link away. Help me, help Rock raise funds and gather the resources needed to mount a full, multimedia musical production of his life story, his musical BROKE WIDE OPEN. Add your name to the 500NAMES list here.

Feel Free to share this information or re-post this article on your site, please be sure link back to this post as source credit. Help me spread the word!
-Ebony Brown

If you're on twitter, find me, lets get the word out!
@fotojunki
#500NAMES
#TeamRockWILK
#BrokeWideOpen

If you're on Wordpress find me at,
www.allthingsebonybrown.com
 
[Design by Ebony Brown]


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Event Card Design by Ebony Brown | Broke Wide Open at the Medicine Show Theatre in NYC 12/12


New York, NY - New York native, Rock WILK, playwright, performer, composer and subway “creative” performs his life’s work, BROKE WIDE OPEN, as a “Thank You” tribute to his audience, supporters and patrons of the arts on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 6pm (doors open at 6pm; show starts at 8pm) located at The Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019 (between 10th and 11th Ave.) BROKE WIDE OPEN, written, composed and performed by Rock WILK, is directed by Stephen Bishop Seely and production sponsored by Jack Sharkey. Originally conceived as an album almost five years ago, BROKE WIDE OPEN is an evocative, soul baring musical about the true life story of Rock WILK’s adoption, identity and search for home.

An evening of shared experiences and humble beginnings, this celebration and performance will be live, documented and remembered. Famous Famiglia Pizzeria is providing a generous donation of their world famous pizza – a gesture of support that has come full circle. Rock WILK was their very first customer; loyal since Famous Famiglia Pizzeria first opened their doors to the neighborhood (on 96th Street in Amsterdam Avenue in New York City) in 1986.

High energy, honest, and unforgettable, BROKE WIDE OPEN is a poetic and orchestral unveiling of truth with Rock WILK as both maestro and menace. In BROKE WIDE OPEN, Rock WILK, fostered three times and finally adopted as a baby, takes us on a journey where he recounts and relives life changing consequences and decisions. Like martyr, like savior, like rebel without pause, Rock WILK is insistently fighting to enlighten and protect anyone and everyone in his path. A force, a hurricane, a cyclone of well intentioned chaos, Rock WILK is a tempest of love; he is valor and destruction all wrapped up into one. Testing the limits of every relationship in his life, Rock WILK’s journey to explore cause, and find home, becomes both incessant and reluctant. Emotionally gripping and spiritually giving, BROKE WIDE OPEN is also hopeful with pockets of laugh out-loud, comedic revelation. Rock WILK’s transgressions and triumphs throughout BROKE WIDE OPEN inspire unsolicited introspection; like a mirror and milestone, this theater piece compels many to face themselves and transcend to that which they are open and willing.

Facebook RSVP: http://on.fb.me/bworsvp
www.brokewideopen.com

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