Seven Ways College Students Waste Money

When it comes to spending money in college, expenses may seem never ending. Between textbooks, tuition, housing, utilities, and maintaining a social life, managing money is no easy task, but one you can accomplish by avoiding these common money drains.

1. Buying new textbooks
College textbook prices have increased faster than tuition, health-care costs, housing prices, and inflation. A few options for reducing textbook prices include buying used books online through sites like Amazon.com or Half.com, or renting through sites like Chegg.com, BookRenter.com, CampusBookRentals, or CollegeBookRenter.com.

2. Carrying a credit card balance
Many credit card companies often lure borrowers with enticing introductory offers, and then hit them with hefty monthly interest charges on accrued balances. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a Hopewell Federal Credit Union credit card.

If you use a credit card, only charge what you can afford to pay off each month.

3. Going out to eat
If you spend on average $5 on a coffee and bagel for breakfast daily, and $8 on a sandwich or fast food for lunch and dinner, you will fork out more than $100 for five days of food. Instead, buy $100 worth of groceries and cook at home to stretch your dollar—and be healthier.

4. Drinking alcohol
Research shows that students who drink alcohol spend on average 10.2 hours a week drinking, and average about 8.4 hours a week studying. Drinking can be a very expensive habit, and even more so if you get hit with a ticket for drinking underage. There are many inexpensive alternatives for entertainment, such as attending sporting events, student union events, concerts, bowling, or cooking dinner with friends.

5. Owning a vehicle
As a college student, you might consider becoming familiar with public transportation or investing in pedal-powered two-wheeled vehicle—a bicycle. Students who bike, walk, or use local transportation can save about $20,000 during their four years of college. And if a car is a smart choice, consider a safe and cost-effective late-model used car, financed with a credit union car loan.

6. Stopping at the coffee shop
While each purchase is small, a latte at $4 a day adds an extra $28 to weekly spending. Instead, buy a $20 coffeemaker and a pound of coffee for less than $10, and you’ll be able to brew about 30 to 40 cups of Joe.

7. Living alone
By doubling or tripling up in an apartment, you can split housing and utility costs. Also be aware that landlords may keep a security deposit—and ask for additional money—to cover damages at the end of a lease. Document everything up front with photographs and note any damages.

If you need help with a college spending plan, we can help. Stop by or call us today at Hopewell Federal Credit Union.

Advertisements

Are you a widow or do you know a widow?

I recently had the pleasure to meet Dr. Kathleen Rehl, Ph.D., CFP® last month in San Diego. I have always known about women living longer on average than men, but seeing the figures really brings this subject to light. It is imperative that women do their financial planning before their spouse dies. It is nice to have a 3rd partner that knows your financial goals no matter who passes first. Fifteen years living by yourself is a long time to be financially strapped if you don’t have to be.

Kathleen Rehl Ph.D., CFP® is the author of “Moving forward on your own”. She had some really interesting insight to what emotions women go through when they become a widow. Here are some interesting statistics on widows:
◌ The average age a wife becomes a widow is 59
◌ Half of women over age 65 live 15 more years after their husband dies
◌ 70% of Baby Boomer wives will outlive their husbands; 80% of women will be single at death
◌ On average, only 8% of widows aged 55-64 remarry; by age 65, only 2% remarry. Conversely, a widower typically remarries within two or three years of his wife’s death
◌ Widowed female seniors outnumber widowed males by 4 to 1

Becoming a widow can be a very emotional life changing event. It’s important to be careful in making big decisions during this emotional period. I have seen huge amounts of IRA withdrawals, big purchases, and inappropriate financial products bought during these times. If you do become a widow, try to talk over major decisions with a trusted friend or financial professional who is not in a hurry to sell you a product.

If you would like a copy of her book or you know of somebody that might want a copy, feel free to give us a call. Dr. Rehl is also a widow herself.

Scott L. Webb is the owner of Webb Financial Group LLC and can be reached at scott.webb@lpl.com, (740)454-6113or http://www.WEBBFINANCIALGROUPLLC.COM. Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. Not NCUA insured, not credit union guaranteed.

Consider Amenities Versus Cost When Downsizing

Most retirees now downsize homes for a lifestyle change—not to tap equity. Which is good, because a smaller house doesn’t necessarily mean a more affordable house.

You could pay more for a smaller, well-built, energy-efficient house with new appliances and no maintenance issues on the horizon—especially if it’s in a desirable location.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when downsizing.

* Know what you prize. Is it affordability, a smaller household, or more amenities to maximize the comfort of your retirement years? Decide what you can’t live without and go from there.

* Move before life forces you to. Don’t wait until an accident or a spouse’s death forces you to move. You’ll make a better decision if you’re not dealing with a crisis at the same time.

* Don’t go too small or too big. Less maintenance generally means more happiness, but don’t go so small you have to give up possessions you want to keep or there isn’t room for family to visit.

* Account for tax implications. If you pocket more than $250,000 (or $500,000 for couples filing jointly) selling your home, you’ll have to pay capital-gains taxes.

Ever Wonder How Credit Unions are Different from Banks?

Credit Union vs. Bank

Credit Union
Not-for-profit cooperatives offer a full range of financial products and services to their members.
Earnings are returned to members through services like free ATMs, better rates, and lower fees.
Insured through NCUA up to $250,000.
Owners and members live and work in their local community. Credit unions are democratically governed and elections are based on a one-member, one-vote philosophy.

vs.

Bank
For-profit corporations offer a full range of financial products and services
Earnings go to outside stockholders in the form of dividends.
Insured by FDIC up to $250,000.
Banks are governed by paid shareholders. Voting rights depend on the number of shares owned.

Now you know…what will you choose?

Credit Unions Tally 100 Million Memberships in U.S.

Credit unions have reached and surpassed 100 million memberships nationwide—equivalent to one of every three Americans.

The 100 million count is based on credit union data collected and compiled by the Credit Union National Association, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis., in its June “Monthly Credit Union Estimates.” CUNA estimates that credit union memberships expanded by 2.9% from June 2013 to June 2014, and the 100 million mark was achieved in June.

Credit unions added 2.85 million additional memberships over the past year—the largest reported increase in more than a quarter century. The increase was the fastest, in percentage terms, since 2000, according to the CUNA analysis.

“Clearly, there is growing recognition for credit unions among consumers,” says CUNA President and CEO Bill Hampel. “They increasingly understand that a credit union places their interests above all else, particularly in returning financial benefits to consumer members in the forms of lower rates on loans, higher returns on savings, and lower and fewer fees.” He adds that, in 2013, those financial benefits totaled more than $6 billion.

Hampel points out that, as cooperatives, credit unions are owned by their members and exist to provide financial services to those members. Banks, he notes, which are owned by shareholders, exist to return profits to those shareholders.

“It’s the structure of credit unions—as not-for-profit, democratically led, and cooperatively owned financial institutions—that allows credit unions to maintain this focus on returning financial benefits to members,” CUNA leader Hampel says. “In fact, by doing so, credit unions have earned the satisfaction and trust of their existing members—and are attracting even more.”

CUNA Chief Economist Mike Schenk says other factors within the financial services marketplace have played key roles in credit union growth. He notes that a growing number of consumers continue to express dissatisfaction with big Wall Street banks due to the economic downturn and consumer movements such as Bank Transfer Day in 2011, when consumers were urged through a grassroots movement, primarily on social media, to leave big banks and move their money to a credit union or small bank because they tend to offer better rates and incur fewer fees.

“In 2010, credit union membership barely grew, expanding by just about 0.65%, or about 600,000 memberships,” Schenk says. “But, with the spotlight turned in 2011 to the increasing fees banks were charging—particularly for debit cards and other products—and the additional publicity for the lower and fewer fees at credit unions, membership growth that year more than doubled over the previous year, by 1.4 million—and the rate of growth has increased in each subsequent year.”

Schenk notes that not everyone can join the same credit union, but there is a credit union for everyone. Consumers looking for a credit union they are eligible to join should visit aSmarterChoice.org, a website that includes a comprehensive credit union finder, and helps consumers learn more about credit unions.

Additionally, hundreds of credit union members have shared their credit union story with photos on americascreditunions.org and social media to show they are part of an organization that focuses on their best financial interests. Learn more about the 100 million credit union memberships nationwide milestone by visiting http://www.americascreditunions.org.