Websites every college student should know about

Dumblittleman has a guest post that is great for college students. It has some great websites that every college student should use that are free. Check out the list here

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How to get a good grade on a college exam

Many people are going to provide you with a ton of study techniques for exams and tell you all these so-called secrets to passing exams, but lets be honest. There is no secret to passing exams, it is obvious. The basics is you have to know the material and regurgitate what the teacher wants you to know. There are some things that can help you do a little better on the exam though.

Definitly get plenty of rest the night before. If you don't you will be so tired that you can't focus on the exam and all the studying you did will be wasted.

If it is an essay exam, write wayyy more than you need to. In my experience I always get a better grade when I write way more information into it than I think I need to include, because it shows the teacher that you know your stuff. Essay grading is subjective, so you want to be on your teachers good side. Even if you don't know a lot about what you are writing about, if you write a lot of material, even if most of it is b.s., as long as it isn't just crap you will probably get a decent grade.

Take your time. Do not rush through the exam, but on the other hand don't second-guess yourself on every answer. I have realized that almost everytime I start to second guess I get the answer wrong. If you don't know the answer skip it and come back to it.

Always ask the teacher for extra credit. The worst thing they can say is no, but sometimes they will give you a very easy way to get extra credit. I think anyone would be happy to get some extra credit at the end of the semester!

Eat before you take the test. Do not eat a whole lot, because that can make you sleepy/groggy and mess up your concentration. But you do want to eat something because you can focus better with food in your stomach.

Pray. Alot. Duh.

Don't panic. Never ever ever panic during an exam. If you do, you may as well leave because you will fail. When you panic all of your logical thinking goes out the door, along with your good grade. Always stay calm and don't stress if you don't know one answer.

Make sure you give yourself adequate study time, and do a good review of the information. This one should be obvious also.

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Free book! with new Zecco account

If you open a Zecco trading account now through my link you will recieve a free book titled 'China Shakes the World'. With Zecco you receive $0 Stock trades for up to 10 each month. I opened a Zecco account 2 weeks ago and am very pleased so far. It is great that the prices are free for regular trades, and if you go over 1o or do options trades they are only $4.50 each, which is still a great deal!

If you are new to stock trading, Zecco has a community forum where members answer questions, and after reviewing it I found it to be very informative and helpful. If you have been wanting to try stock trading but have never signed up, now is the time. You can purchase just one stock if you like through Zecco, just to get the feel of it. I am starting out slow, but eventually will probably trade more.

If you sign up through my link, you get the free book and I get $50. I just wanted to put that out in the open. So don't wait, sign up now!

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Stock trading with Zecco

I have finally given up on high yield savings accounts. Okay, that isn't completely true, but I'm going out on a limb here. With the FED cutting interest rates what seems like every day now, no one is earning any signifcant interest on their savings. The stock market is down as the recession is freaking everyone out, so I decided now would be a good time to begin investing in the stock market.

I began researching a few different stocks about a week ago and finally chose a few to begin with. I am going with Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, and J.Crew to begin with. I am watching a few more right now, but I want to see how things go and get used to things before I put too much money out there.

After choosing stocks, I realized that I needed to choose a broker or dealer or whatever you call the place you buy stocks from. I began looking online, and quickly realized I was looking for a discount online broker. So I started googling every name I had heard, E*trade, Sharebuilder, Zecco, and a few others. I decided on Zecco for several reasons, the main one being price. As long as you have $2,500 in your account, the first 10 trades a month are free. I don't plan on doing a lot of trades, so this should be perfect for me.

I read several blogs about it and all of the comments, and I read every bad story I could find about it. It appeared to me that all of the bad stories were from people who didn't do what they were supposed to, like send in the correct paperwork. And most of the problems people had were in the application process, which I found to be very simple and easy.

I have now completed the application and been approved, and everything is great so far. Many of the things I read that were complaints I noticed were not problems in the application. It was completely online, so nothing needed mailed in. I am now waiting for my ACH transfer to go through and complete funding, and then I will be ready to trade!

Check back for a complete review of Zecco once I have had time to do a few trades and see how everything goes.

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More MPG's with Acetone!

I have been analyzing my spending, and have realized that my two biggest expenses are gas and food. I'm still working on the food thing, but for gas I started doing some work on Google. I realized that I have two options: I can buy a small fuel efficient car, or I can make my truck more fuel efficient. I decided to go with the latter, because in the end that will be cheaper than buying another car, plus I don't like little cars.

After looking on Google some, I came across this website that this guy has made that talks about putting acetone in your gas and getting better mileage. At first I didn't believe it, and I'm still not convinced yet, but I was just enough intrigued to finish the article.

There are several reasons that this sounds legit to me. First of all, he emphasizes experimenting with it yourself and tracking the results. I don't see how he could make any money off of this, and it seems like he is legitimately looking for better gas mileage instead of just trying to rip you off like most people do.

Then I said, how come I haven't heard of this before? I think the oil industry is so powerful that they do their best to keep all of this out of the news. The article kind of alludes to this several times, but it just seems like everything is tied to the oil industry. All the politicians seem to have ties, rumors going around that the war is about oil, and some people are getting very rich off of it all. If it gets out that you can get significantly better gas mileage another way, then it will hurt them.

Anyway, without wasting anymore space, here is the link. Read it, if nothing else I think you'll find it interesting. I will probably try this if I ever get around to buying acetone and putting it in there. If I do I will give my results.

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IRS wastes $42 million of our money

Evidently the IRS decided to waste $42 million of taxpayers money so people could know they are going to get a refund soon. I love our government, they use our money in such productive ways. I mean seriously, that $42 million could not have been used any better. People really need to know that they are going to get their refunds. Who cares about starving people, or kids who can't afford to go to college, or AIDS, or the budget deficit, or the war? Lets waste money on mailings to let people know they are going to get refunds.

(sarcasm off now)

Here is the link

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random thoughts from February

Several things have been going on lately that are important, so it's time to share them.

First of all, vitamins are worth every dollar you pay for them. Every one of my friends has been sick with everything from the flu to colds to stomach viruses, and many are on antibiotics now. I always take a daily vitamin, but when I realized that everyone was getting sick I decided to really crack down. I have been taking a one a day mens and 2 echinacea every day for 2 weeks and have felt the best I ever have without even a hint of getting sick. I also have doubled the amount of water I am drinking and have been using germx like crazy. There is no doubt in my mind that if it weren't for this I'd be sick as a dog with the rest of campus. So the lesson here is: kids, do what your momma says and take your vitamins and wash your hands!

The second thing that is important is never pass up opportunities. If you have a chance to go on a trip or meet some new people, do it if it is at all possible. College is a time when you are supposed to be having fun and meeting lots of new people and making memories, and if all you ever do is worry about working all the time and trying not to go to far in debt then you will never have any fun. This may sound contradictory as I am the biggest advocate of saving money and not going into debt, but in 20 years you won't remember those 2 days of work that weekend, but you will remember that beach trip that you took with your buddies when you skipped work. I am not advocating going into debt for this, but am just saying that if you have some money and have a chance to go do something then do it. Have fun, make memories, and do it as cheaply as possible. That, my friends, is college.

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Why shouldn't I go to college for free?

I have decided that I should go to college for free. College students are constantly bombarded with advisers and financial aid stuff saying that there are billions of dollars available in scholarships, and yet it seems like no one I know can ever find any of those dollars. So as of today, I am now on the lookout for free money for college, not loans, but free money and scholarships.

Today I called the financial aid office to inquire about any aid the school could offer me and they confirmed exactly what I expected: I'm not eligible for any more than I have because of my parents income bracket. I have been thinking about this and was wondering if I could file taxes independently from my parents and then be eligible for financial aid because I would be in the lowest tax bracket, but I was told that I have to include my parents information on my FAFSA until I'm 24 so that wouldn't work either.

Then I asked the guy at financial aid about any outside scholarships I should apply for, and he said that first of all DO NOT USE FASTWEB. He was very persistent in this and said that all they do is sell all of your information to mass marketing, and that hardly anyone gets results from Fastweb. He gave a longer explanation, but just trust me in that I will no longer be using Fastweb. He said to use search engines and put in criteria that you fit in along with the word 'scholarship' and it should turn up results. I have not had time to investigate this fully, so I will be writing again soon once I try that.

He also said to check local retailers and companies such as Wal-Mart and Costco for scholarships, as well as my parents employers. I have checked my parents employers in the past, but will be checking on that again soon. I need to check the local retailers, but haven't had time yet.

I really hope this new search turns something out, because I really need to get some money for school or I am going to have massive student loans, which is what I am trying to avoid. I have a job, but there is no job you can work in college that even begins to touch the amount you owe. It covers my gas money and has helped me establish some savings, but besides that I'm stuck.

If you have any advice or a success story on finding a scholarship feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at If you have some money you want to donate towards the college fund, I would gladly except that. There is a donate link on the right of this page, or you can email me and we can talk.
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Cheap dates for college students

Most college students don't have any money. Some don't even have a car. I know at least for me every time that I go out on a date I'm racking my brain for something to do that is cheap and fun. So I have made a list of different things that college students can do for cheap dates, and if you're single you could do most of these things with your friends too.

1. Play a sport.
- Most college campuses have places available where people can play sports. These range from basketball and tennis courts to huge open fields. Many people enjoy Frisbee golf or ultimate Frisbee. These are a very low-cost activity that can provide hours of entertainment.

2. Go to the movies.
-Go to a matinée movie at a lower price, and check for low price movie theaters near you. We have a $1 theater here, and back home we have a $2 theater. That is cheaper than Blockbuster! Just be sure not to spend to much on snacks and drinks there, because that's where they make their money!

3. Play a game of Laser-Tag.
-Thinking back to high school, Laser-Tag can be fun for just about anyone, and it doesn't cost that much either.

4. Bowling.

-Bowling is a great date! Also fun with a group of friends. Also try going at night and see if they have blacklight bowling. Most of the bowling alleys near me do, and that is pretty fun also.

5. Play Miniature golf
-Watch for good deals, often times putt putt runs specials or you can get coupons.

6. Spend an evening playing board games by candlelight.
-or not by candlelight, whatever floats your boat! Board games are a great way to be easily entertained for hours. And after the upfront cost of buying, they are free! If you are too poor to buy a game, ask friends. Almost everyone has a game or two stuck in the closet.

7. Go window shopping.
- this can be a good or bad idea, depending on your money habits. My favorite way to do this is put $20 in your wallet and leave all your cards at home. That way you have a spending cap. An interesting variation to this is going to flea markets and places where used stuff is sold. That can be very entertaining.

8. Take a hike.
-Lots of places here to go hiking, ask the locals to see if there is somewhere near you to go hiking. You may also be able to get information from your school as to where there are some good trails.

9. Check the university schedule for school-sponsored activities.
-So basically, check your school home page for free events.
-There is almost always some type of sporting event going on, and if you are enrolled in the college they are often free. Even if you aren't interested in the sport, this can be a good place to hang out.
-Also watch for debates. Occasionally a school will host a debate on an interesting topic.

10. Visit the zoo or museum on a free or lower admission day.
-Good idea if there is one near you. Be on the lookout for discounts!

11. Star gaze. Ponder the mysteries of the universe.
-Really good idea.. free and romantic! also try sunsets.
-Probably one that you only want to do with your significant other.. your friends probably won't think this is too cool

12. Dance lessons.
-This provides entertainment for years to come. Once you've had dance lessons you can randomly just dance anywhere, which can be a fun or romantic activity.
-This is very entertaining. It does cost money, but is very fun.

13. Take a stroll through downtown.
-Window shop, people watch, make random conversation, talk to random people. Don't be scared, it'll be fun!

14. Play around: Visit a quiet playground (without kids). Share secrets or interview each other..
-Random stuff is fun, and it's free!

15. Take a walk.
-The ultimate free date. Just walk around and talk. Provides exercise, conversation, and scenery if you walk through an interesting area.

More ideas for college students...

Watch people. This basically can be a lot of fun. Go to Walmart or a mall, and just observe the people around you. There are some very interesting people everywhere, and I'm sure you will be entertained if you watch them.
If you get bored, do random stuff like sneak stuff into people's carts at Walmart, or glue a quarter to the floor and watch people try to pick it up.

There are infinite options for free entertainment available to you, you are only limited by your creativity. So be creative and go have some cheap fun!


How to have a great amount of fun for cheap

As poor college students, my friends and I have had to discover ways to have fun without spending money. Normally, if we wanted to go out and do something we would go out to eat, go to the movies, do things that cost money. But now that we're in college, we don't have hardly any money and can't afford to do that much. So we have had to develop ways to have fun for free. Or at least cheap.

You're going to end up paying for food unless someone invites you over and cooks for you. A good way to get food for cheap is to get a bunch of people to go to the park and chip in some money, and then grill out on the grills that they have there. You have to be smart about getting everyone to pay though or you can lose money on this deal. That's food and fun for cheap, and you can get hours of entertainment from a park.

Another way to have fun is to have people over to a house, and order pizza and play games. The more pizza you buy, the cheaper it is. And you can get pretty good deals, like the 5-5-5 from Dominoes. The key to having fun for free is to be creative. You don't always have to spend money to have fun.

If you cut food out of your time with your friends, you will save a significant amount of money. You can eat something you cook at home, or eat on campus for free if you have a meal plan. There are many things you can do and make it fun that are completely free, like going to Wal-Mart and goofing off.

Check this page for more ideas on fun stuff to do for free or cheap.


How to get books for class for free

Many of my classes require a subscription to a magazine or journal. For this semester I have to have the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine. I have found that I can access these through the school library online for free, or go into the library and flip through them whenever I want. This is an easy way to save some money!

Some of my large lecture hall classes have notebooks required to fill out. Since these are classes that almost everyone has to take, I started asking around and am going to try to get them for free or significantly cheaper. There are 2 upsides to this: 1) save money, 2) already filled out notes make class easier.

I still haven't purchased any books, except for one for my web class that I absolutely had to have to pass the class. I got an international version of that book, so it was much cheaper, and I am sharing it with another guy so it saves money.

By following these tactics, you can easily save 50-100 dollars a semester on books and required reading.

I hope everyone has a great, inexpensive semester!

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Personal Finance Class

I have signed up for a personal finance class at my school, and have just begun it. I plan on using this class to learn more about how to manage finances and invest money wisely, and then transferring that knowledge to you. I will attempt to take the theories and whatever else they teach me in the class and apply it to us, as college students, and make it applicable.

Check back frequently, bookmark this site, subscribe to the RSS, do whatever it is you do so that you remember to come back and see what I learn in this class and how it can apply to you!

I think this will be very useful for anyone who takes the time of reading it, if the class is taught well. I'm off to finish my first homework for this class, so I'm going to wrap this up. Just remember, check back later!


Eggs: the cheap, healthy, easy to make meal

I am hungry and have been looking around my dorm room for something to eat. My fridge has eggs, water and Gatorade in it. I have other random stuff sitting around that I could eat, but I just need something to hold me over, so I googled egg recipes and found some good stuff.

I discovered that eggs is one of the cheapest sources of protein that you can get. Protein is very important in your diet, because it will keep hunger away longer and it is essential to building and maintaining muscle. Now I am about to go make some hard-boiled eggs, the easiest snack available, and it will hold me over until dinner, when I begin the search for something healthy to eat again.

So, eggs are healthy, cheap, and easy to make. Every college student, no actually everyone in the world, should keep some in the fridge.

I hope this helps some hungry poor person somewhere, if not it helped me and I fit that description!
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Free $25 from ING Direct Online Bank

If you want an easy $25, along with a good online savings a checking account that both earn good interest rates, you should sign up with ING Direct. Email me or comment on this post for a link to recieve the $25 promotion.

ING's Orange Savings and Electric Orange accounts have good interest rates (Orange Savings is 4.10%APY), and good features too. You can link it to up to 3 banks, so you can easily fund it. The Orange Savings account has an automatic savings feature where you can set it to automatically withdraw a certain amount of money from your checking account on a regular basis to boost your savings. And best of all, if you sign up now you get $25 for free just for signing up!

The Electric Orange account is a checking account that pays a great interest rate of 3.15% APY. You can send checks to people online, which is very useful, and you can use certain ATM's for free.

You can also use these accounts for automatic bill pay, and they deposits made from these accounts to other accounts will count as direct deposits, so you can use them to fulfill the conditions on other promotions later down the road.

If you open a new account, you can get a free $25 bonus. The conditions for this is you have to open it with $250 and open it through a link that I would be happy to send you, all you have to do is send me an email or comment on this post. I will respond to emails ASAP, but only email me if you are definitely going to do it, because I only have a limited number of links available.

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Discover rejected my credit limit increrase request

I called Discover at the beginning of December to try to get a credit limit increase (CLI). I asked for them to do it using only a soft pull, because a hard pull will hurt your credit report. The customer service rep (CSR) on the phone said she was unable to do it because I had not been with the company long enough, and that after 6 months to try again (evidently I had only been there 5 months). She didn't give me a specific date, so I called again the other day and inquired about the CLI. A different CSR said that 6 months still wasn't up yet.

I bought a new camera (Nikon D40) on the card along with 2 lenses and a months worth of gas, so I have a decent sized balance going on the card right now. I am hoping that I don't go over my credit limit ($1000), because I am definitly pushing it. I am a little frustrated with Discover right now, although I guess I understand because of the credit crunch going on right now. I just think that $1000 is too small for a credit card, because one decent sized purchase and you're maxed out!

I am now considering getting a new card. I got this Discover card because of the rewards program, which I just received my first $20 from. I get 5% cashback on gas purchases and 1% on everything else. The camera was the first purchase I made that wasn't gas on that card, so I have done pretty well with it so far. I always pay off my bill every month on time just to make sure I don't build up any debt.

It's really frustrating to use up that much of my credit limit, and then have a CSR say they can't increase my limit. I have always paid the full balance every month on time, so I don't see what the problem is. It's now been over 6 months, so I'm going to wait another week, and then try again. If it doesn't work this final time I'm definitly getting a new card.

I will be on the lookout for a new card with a decent reward program, because that is where I benefit the most at from credit cards. What I need is one with rewards for eating out. I'm going to analyze my spending and see where I spend the most money every month, and then get a card that has rewards in that area. I will update when I find something interesting.

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I'm not going to buy textbooks

Last semester I bought books for all of my classes and ended up not using some of them, so I got ripped off. I think this is a system set up by professors to make them more money, since they write the books (sometimes). Granted, I did get good deals on some of my books and have already made money on 2 of them. This semester I decided that I am not buying a book until I am for sure that I have to have it.

I am going to go to class through the add drop period before I buy my books, because by the end of that time I should be able to tell whether or not I will need them. If the teacher puts everything online that I need, why should I buy the book? If the quizes and tests come from lectures, not the book, then why do I need the book? I am not paying 4-500 for books again this semester.

Like I said earlier, I think the teachers write their own books and then require them just to make money. Obviously they do, but this is ridiculous. College students can't afford to pay the outragious prices of textbooks nowadays as it is, especially if they aren't going to use the book!

I am going to try to get by with as little as possible this semester, which should save some serious money. I recommend that you try this also, unless you just like throwing money away on books you will never use.

And when you buy your books, DO NOT buy them at the campus bookstore. Look on facebook, many students list books there at decent prices. Also try ebay,, amazon, and other online book sellers. You can save a lot of money by doing this also. This is how I make money off of some of my textbooks.

A great site to buy textbooks is Textbook X, and they have FREE SHIPPING on most book orders over $49!
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FinWeb=Awesome website

I have just discovered a great website that I can't believe I haven't heard about before! It has free information covering everything financial that you could ever have a question about. The website is FinWeb, and it is completely free.

FinWeb has information on every topic I could think of, from getting reverse mortgage loans to investments to debt consolidation and everything in between. At first glance I thought it was just a few pages of information, but then I realized that there are links at the top and down the left side of every page that are full of information. It also has a page of links to financial news sites and a directory of links for every category that it covers. This could be very useful as these links cover anything that wasn't covered on the site. This is one thing that makes FinWeb so great, it covers about everything and if it doesn't have an article on what you need it probably has a link to where you can find it!

This site is so useful because it is simple to navigate, it has a lot of information, and it is completely free. I have never seen a site so comprehensive over everything financial. Many sites have good information about getting a mortgage, or how to invest, but FinWeb covers everything all in one place. That is why I highly recommend this site, because it is like the Wal-Mart of finances! Everything you need under one roof!

There is a ton of information and it would take hours to read every article on there, but it is fairly easy to navigate and get right to what you are looking for. I have personally found it useful for tax information on a sole proprietorship, which I may be starting soon. I will definitely be visiting FinWeb some more when I get closer to starting it so that I don't have to scour the web for information, since this seems to have everything in one place! I will also use it for information about investing, as I need to do better on this in the New Year.

Besides one ad on the left side of the page, this site is ad free. I don't see how the owner of the site is making any money, but I can tell you it is great for information and I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear some big company like Forbes bought this site in the near future, because it has way to much information to be undiscovered. I would compare this site to HowStuffWorks, except FinWeb is less cluttered and covers finances.

FinWeb's mission statement basically says it is there to help Americans understand how to improve their financial situations, and I would say it has accomplished this mission well. Check this site out, click through the links at the top and on the left of every page, and bookmark it for future reference because even if you don't need it now, you will one day I promise.


How to have a better '08

Now that 2007 is over, it is time to look back on our mistakes and make changes in the new year. Everyone is focused on "new years resolutions", but these are basically very vague goals that will be broken within 2 weeks. It has almost become a joke now to make "new years resolutions." There are much better ways to make changes to your life in the new year than resolutions.

First off, you need to look back on last year and see what you want to change. Once you have decided what you want to change (ex. weight, finances, etc), make a specific goal. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, set a goal to lose 5 pounds by the end of January. Write down your goals and put them in a place that you will see them daily (mirror, refriderator, etc). By setting specific goals throughout the year, it makes the goal much more attainable.

If you miss one of your small goals throughout the year, you can tweak your other goals so you can catch up. If you only have one big resolution it is harder to get motivated to go after it, but with small goals you can actaully see progress.

When setting goals, they must be something you are passionate about. If you are not passionate, you will not meet the goal. It's simple, because to meet goals you have to work at it, and if you don't care then you aren't going to work for it.

I recommend these goals for 2008:

Increase GPA by .3-.5
Spend less
Make more
Read Tips from a College Student daily :)

Of course, you have to make these goals specific to you. Try to make them reasonable. You need to push yourself a little bit, but do not make your goals unreachable.

Here's to a great 2008!

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Its been a good year!

Looking back on this year, its been a good one. I started this blog one day in August when I was at home and bored because I didn't have a job. It's gotten a lot better since then, and this blog has a lot of potential.

There have been posts covering everything from free money from banks to where to go on a date at college. Instead of making a list of the best posts, there is a list on the right and if you want more check the archives. There is a lot of good stuff in there, too much to put in one list.

I think 2008 will be a great year, and this blog is going to keep getting better. I am working on a list of goals for 2008, and will post it soon.

If you have any feedback about this site please send an email or comment on here. Feedback is greatly appreciated, and makes it easier to make any needed changes if I know what you do and don't like. Also, if you'd like for me to write about a particular topic, I'd love to hear from you! I have a lot of ideas of things to write about, but I am writing to help others, so if I know what you want me to write about that helps alot!

I am excited about what 2008 will bring, and hope you are too!

Happy New Year!!!

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