Tag Archives: college

Stolen Bikes

15 Nov

So there was a point in my life were I thought biking was nerdy, and then after a few years in college, I really came to terms with the fact that I am a nerd and that I really needed a bike.

Bikes are funny little things, because they can get you somewhere extremely quickly and efficiently and it is not polluting the environment. They also help you to burn calories and build up some leg muscle.  Bikes are also funny because here at UK everyone in the world wants to steal them.  In fact they are stolen so often that Lexington Police has an online crime report form that you have to fill out that is just specific to bikes.

I have also been a target to this type of theft, sadly.  I bought a pretty crappy bike from someone off Craigslist (Yes! Always go with another person if you are buying something off of there and if you feel like it is the least bit sketchy DO NOT go!), anyway it had terrible brakes and the more that I rode it the more the brakes did not work.  Finally it came to the point that I had to start dragging my feet in order to get the bike to come to a complete stop.  Then, as I was crossing a street on my bike a car ran a stop sign and hit me on my bike, breaking my pedal (the guy was a jerk in his massive car and I kicked the front grill really hard – he didn’t apologize or roll down his window or anything he just made an obscence gesture at me and drove off).  Nevertheless, I now had an extremely crappy bike, one with a flat tire, no brakes and without a pedal and had stopped riding it so much until I got it fixed.

About a week later I went to my parking lot only to find that my car had been badly damaged from someone that hit it starting at the back bumper and dragging up the entire side of the car until they finally were able to stop on my driver side door.  Thanks, jerk!  So since I was unable to drive it, I went to unchain my poor little bike only to find that, the bike and the chain was completely gone.  The only thing that I can think, is that serves you right person that stole my bike I hope you crashed because your foot slipped off of the missing pedal and when you tried to slow down you realized the brakes did not work either.  A poor college student can only hope that in some way karma got both of those people.

I sadly got over my stolen property (although if I ever see that bike on campus, I will take it back, the second that I see it) but was unable to buy another one because of my financial situation.  So I learned to do something less fun but still energy efficient and walk everywhere that I would have rode my bike to.  This past semester I found out about a program that UK does which “rents” bikes to students for free.  That is right for free!

bikeYou have to win the lottery in order to get this privileged and the first time that I entered the lotto I did not win a bike.  The second time, however, I did! It was very exciting, the first thing that I did was to take it on a spin around campus just to see how much faster I could get around on it.  I know that bikes can be expensive and finding a cheap, nice, used bike is something that is very hard to do.  With this program I was able to get back on the road (well, bike lane) and I was able to save my money.  There might be this sort of program around you as well, it just takes a little digging to find it.

Also, if you have every had your bike stolen, I am very sorry for you.  We can hope together that we find our bikes or that karma comes back to those people and every time they go for a ride on our bikes, they hit a rock and fall off.  I can only hope.

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Now that it is snowing

13 Nov

Now that it is snowing there are something that I am starting to worry about and that is getting sick.  Yuck!  It happens every year that someone that I know or my roommates, classmates, colleagues, family and other random people that I come into contact with that are sick or will not wash their hands.  This is terrible because I get sick pretty easily.

nyquilLet me tell you a small story, when I was a freshman I lived in a 23 floored dorm with about 650 people living there as well.  They were old and extremely dirty and even worse my roommate did not have very good hygiene and the worst thing about it was that she did not wash her hands ever (like not even after using the restroom)! I developed Mono and then shortly after I developed a terrible staph infection that eventually went into impetigo and then on top of that I was not eating very healthy and I was getting colds all the time!

This was terrible, I was always having to buy Nyquil and Dayquil, vitamins and antibiotics as well.  The one thing that I did find was that when buying medicines was that whether you buy the brand name or the much cheaper off brand, generic they work the same and after some research on my part I found that there are laws that make sure that the generic and the brand name ones are the same.  This is beneficial for us college students because we are able to get the medicines that we need much cheaper, both from the pharmacy and over the counter.

So as this winter season starts here in the heart of Kentucky, make sure to stock up when there are sales on all the meds that you might need so you are prepared and ready to go when you need them.  Also, be sure to get a decent amount of sleep each night (like that is ever possible) and try to stay as healthy as possible!  Good luck out there!

Cold hands, cold feet, cold ears

12 Nov

There is one things that I feel most college students must have especially for the winter months – GLOVES!

leaves and snow

In between Fall and Winter – Snow and Leaves

It is very nice to have a good warm coat, scarves are stylish and boots are cute and exciting but the best thing in the winter to have is gloves.  They are so cheap and they keep your hands so warm.  I always feel that if your hands are cold then that just makes you feel more and more cold, the colder that your hands get.

Each year I lose my gloves and so I always have to get more.  The best place to get the cheapest knit gloves is Target which is awesome because they sell these gloves for $1 for a pair or sometimes when they have a sale you can buy a 3 or 4 pack for $1.  This is awesome because there are so many opportunities to get more gloves for less.

This morning I was very glad to have some gloves that I could wear because although it is fall and was about 60 degrees last night at like 8:30PM but when I woke up this morning there was snow on the ground.  I am going to be glad to have those gloves when I have to finish raking leaves this week.

Student IDs are Actually Tickets to Fun

4 Nov

So over the weekend, the internet in my apartment was out, which is extremely difficult to post blogs without internet.  However, I did learn some good tips for saving the dinero though.

Every college gives out student ID cards.  That ID can get you a lot of things.  It can get you into exams, school sponsored events and into certain classes.  However, it can do so much more than that as well!

On Thursday night for Halloween, I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which reminded me of how cheap movies and theaters can be with that great student ID.  It is so wonderful to have that great tool.  Luckily I look extremely young for my age, and they just redid all the ID’s at UK so I received a new one and I can use it for 4 more years in order to get into the movies :).  There are some benefits to looking like a 14 year old.

Movies, you can get into movies for $6, which I hardly ever do, since I usually wait to see the movies until it goes into the cheapies and only costs like $1.50, but if you want to see something that is brand new the say it comes out then that is a good way to do so.

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Basketball games, there is always a student section and if you have a student ID then any student ticket will work for you even after you graduate!  Here at UK the tickets are only $5.  Football games are the same you can go for $5.  Most of the other sports that aren’t so nationally popular, you can get into the games, matches, meets etc. for free.

Around Lexington, you can get into events, plays, operas, music concerts, sporting events, and theaters, for very reduced prices or for free.  You can even get discounts on restaurants and food places.  So far I have yet to find a grocery store that gives reduced prices for food, but almost all the different entertainment areas give some sort of student discount.  Check it out in your city!

Who doesn’t love massive piles of dirty clothes?

27 Oct

laundryBeing in college is very difficult but there are some things are are harder than other.  Besides all the school work, I struggle to keep up with my laundry.  In my old apartment it used to not be such a huge problem because we had a washer and dryer in our apartment.  I could just throw a load in the washer when I left for class and then I could come home and switch it to the dryer.

clothes everywhereAs of right now I have moved to a place that does not have a washer and dryer in it.  Instead it has 3 tiny coin operated machines across the street and they are expensive it costs $2 to wash and $2 to dry plus the machines are so small that I can’t fit an entire load in them.  The first time that I did laundry there I decided that I should only wash my clothes and not dry them.  Big Mistake.  I spent $8 on the washers and then I didn’t dry them so they were soaked, which in turn lead me to have to call my neighbor so that he could help me carry the heavy bag up the three flights of stairs to get back to my apartment.  Then I tried to hang my clothes all over the apartment to get them to dry but after a week there were still a few pairs of jeans that had not dried (I have a large amount of clothes, because I am a shopaholic).  It was a huge mess.

jeansSo, how can you avoid this struggle?  First, plan out when you are going to do your laundry.  I reserve on Saturday or Sunday a month that I can just devote to laundry day.  Then I sort all my clothes, which is very important, into blacks, blues, reds and whites.  I have found that most other colors fit into one of these categories (such as purple goes with blues, pinks and oranges go with reds).  Next I make my way to the laundromat, which there is a very nice one by my place that charges $2 to wash and .25 cents for every 5 minutes of drying time.  I did 7 loads of laundry the last time that I went and it only cost me $11.

clothes on the deskWhen you put your clothes in the dryer do not put more than one load in at a time, if it is a big load then you can even separate it more so that it is in two different dryers.  There is usually not a limit on how many dryers that you can use at once, which is the one nice thing about a laundromat, you can do all your laundry while you are there.  This will save you time and money.  I usually put 25-30 minutes on the dryer (they are massive at the laundromat I go to, look for that feature when you are looking for one) and then if the clothes need more time, I take out which ones are already dry and which ones are still wet and do it by 5-10 minute increments.

more clothes

The less amount of clothes that you have the more money you will save but this will also help:

  • Do not buy detergent at the laundromat – it is very expensive
  • Make sure you bring a large enough bag or basket to put all your clean clothes into (they compact more if you fold them)
  • Bring enough quarters to do all your laundry or if you put money on a card to use in the machines make sure that you put enough on it the first time so that you can keep track of how much you are spending
  • Do not stuff more than one load or half a load into a dryer, this will only end up costing you more since the clothes will not dry and you will just have to keep running the dryer.

Look here on how to make the most of your clothes so that you have to do laundry less often.

How do you save money when you wash your clothes?  Do you wash your clothes?

My savings account

26 Oct

The saddest of my bank account is always my savings account.  I have an interesting way to try to keep my savings account at least with $50 in it at all times.  I have split my account into 3 different ones.  The first one is called a relationship savings in which I can put money in and take it out as much as I please.  This is very nice becuase I can do it online, so when my bank account is getting dangerously low to that $0.00, I can move some money over from this account to my checking account.

Next I have a tax savings account.  My second job is just a side job helping a nice little lady do her yard work and organize her house, she has me as an independent contractor which means that I have to keep track of how much I owe in taxes, she does not take it out of my paycheck.  This is terrible for me, I never remember to take it out of my paycheck either and since I mostly live paycheck to paycheck, I don’t really have any extra to spare to be saving.  Right now I only have $47 in there and it should be much higher.  At the end of the year I will let you know how terrible this is to not keep saving for this.

The last savings account is at times the worst and yet it is probably the best.  It is a savings account that I can only put money into and if I want to take money out of it, I actually have to go to a bank and request that some of the money be moved to another account.  This is terrible for me when, there is something that I want to buy or just to float my checking account for another week until my paycheck comes in.

I am really terrible at keeping the savings accounts up – I am not perfect by any means!  I go over my budget and do not save like I should, but it is a work in progress.

There are some things that i have learned to do.  If there is something that I really want to buy (check out how I shop) and it costs alot of money, I put that money into one of the savings account and decide if it looks better in the account or if the thing that I want to buy is really worth it.  Usually I decide that it is not worth it.

I have read many times, that if you just put a dollar or five dollars in each day, or if every time you get paid you put 20 dollars in your savings account you will eventually have a massive savings account.  However, when mostly every dollar that you make needs to be used to pay bills, tuition, buy books and support some fun for yourself this is extremely difficult to do.  Another thing that I have seen suggested is that if you buy something then take the exact same amount of money that you spend on that item and put it into your savings account.

I really need to work on my saving skills.  Is there anything that you works for you when you are trying to save money, or do you live paycheck to paycheck like I do?

My Shopping Technique

25 Oct

I am what I would consider to be a shopaholic however, I am a very frugal shopaholic.  There are some steps that I take every time I get the shopping craze in order to protect myself from overdrawing my small bank account.

Here is how I do it:

When someone invites me to go to the mall with them, I immediately have to think of an excuse for why I can’t go.  They are usually things like “Oh I’d love to but I am in the middle of a huge project for school”, “the mall? ummmm maybe, can we go at 8:30?” (our mall closes at 9), “I am actually feeling really sick and tired”, “sorry I just laid down to take a nap” or if all else fails do not respond and after the mall closes then text them back – “OMG I’m sorry, my dumb phone must not have gotten this text until now.”

If you do get suckered into going, this is my second step, unless there is something that I NEED, I take all my credit cards out of my wallet and I don’t carry more than $10 bucks on me (if I am that lucky to have that much).  This basically prevents me from buying anything.  If you feel nervous about this, then just start out by leaving them in your car and then after that becomes comfortable leave them at home.

Step three – go shopping with someone that you can help pick clothes out with.  Tell them that you should try on some of the ugliest dresses in the store.  This brings moral down, that means that they will get discouraged that they do not look great in the ugly clothes (because they are ugly) and you can get out of there quickly before you go clean out the shoe rack (that is my weakness!)  If you use this step DO NOT let your friend buy any of those terrible clothes!

Step four – Pretend that you are getting really bored of shopping, because if you have no money or any way to buy anything you will be bored.  Then go do something fun, like go into a costume jewelry store and try on all the crazy stuff that they have in there.  It will make you feel more excited!  Claire’s is my personal favorite for this.

When I actually do go shopping for myself, I usually like to go by myself and I like to go to places like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Gabriel Brothers.  This is where I buy almost all of my clothes.  TJ Maxx is my very favorite store: they have so much name brand stuff for so cheap it is ridiculous!

I go to these places when I am in the mood to browse and to try on clothes.  I usually pick a bunch that will look cute on me but I pick them in the wrong size, either too small or too large that way I don’t really feel the love for them and I can have an easier time putting them back.

If I really do need something, I usually check out amazon and ebay for what I am looking for, especially if it is workout clothes.  Then I can compare prices and I always compare them to the same product sold by the actual brand so that I can see exactly how much I am saving.  Once I have found what I am looking for I wait.  Which is extremely hard for me to do.  I wait for two days.  If I cannot remember what it is that I was going to buy, then I do not buy anything, if it is something that I can remember but I feel “enhhh” about it, I don’t buy it.  I only buy things online if I cannot stop thinking about them for those two days and I really need them.

I probably spend at least 8 or 9 hours a week just browsing clothes and shoes on the internet.  What do you shop for the most when you go shopping?  What kinds of things do you use in order to save your money when you do go shopping?

Is Cable Really Worth It?

24 Oct

When thinking about cable TV, ask yourself, what is it that you most need from your cable TV?  Is it the weekly TV shows?  Is it the movies that you can get on HBO?  Is it the on demand option?  The chance to record and rewind your show as many times as you want?

What if I were to tell you that you can do all that, online for free without cable?  There are so many sharing sites out there that have so many different TV shows, even the most popular ones that you watch all the time, such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Heart of Dixie.  These shows can easily be found online.

Most of the time, you can go to the channel that produces the TV show and the latest episodes for free online (sometimes they make you wait for a day).  But if you think about it, do you really need to watch your show the second it comes on every week?  Isn’t there something else that you could be doing such as studying for that bio exam?

television

Cable or no Cable?

I will admit that sporting events are a little more tricky to find online in real time at good quality but there are always local radio broadcasts (most radio stations even broadcast over the internet as well) so that is easy to listen to the game.  My suggestion is that you find a friend who is willing to throw away all his/her money on cable TV and suggest a tailgating party at their house 🙂

Same thing goes for Netflix and Hulu Plus.  If you are paying for either one of those services, stop it!  All they do is charge you to watch a limited selection of movies or TV shows each month.  If you have Netflix, each month they charge about $9.  If you stopped using it then you would have enough money to buy 9 packs of chocolate pudding (since they are only a dollar each but there are 4 in a pack – so 36 pudding cups!)  That is just one comparison but think of all the things that you can do with $9, when you can watch TV for free!

My favorite site right now for watching shows and movies that I love is Megashare.info and if that does not suit you, the other one that I use is Project Free TV, which uses plenty of other host sites to find the episodes that you want to see at varying streaming speeds.

If you already use the internet to watch TV what different sites do you use?  Do you have a favorite site?  Or are you a person that says that they can never give up their cable and Netflix?

COFFEE!

23 Oct

coffeeOkay, I love coffee.  I love coffee so much. Coffee is my best friend.  But sometimes coffee is way to expensive.  When I was in high school I used to love Starbucks because it made me feel like one of the “cool kids,” when I was a freshman in college, my dorm was less than 50 feet away from a Starbucks.  Now I work on campus less than 100 feet from a different one!  On campus alone there are 4!

I started spending way to much money at Starbucks just to get a regular coffee without anything special.  I finally reached a breaking point when I ordered a grande white chocolate mocha frappuccino, which somehow cost me over $5.00!!  That was when I said enough is enough.

white castle coffeeI had been given a coffee maker when I graduated high school but never really used it much, well that all changed.  I bought myself a $4 reusable travel mug from Kroger (less than that one cup of sugary, whipped, milk stuff that they should just call a milkshake), and a bag of White Castle Coffee.  If you have never had White Castle Coffee, I would suggest it.  For a 3 pound bag it is right around $5 (about the same price as 1 Starbucks drink!).

If it is the sugar, milk and whipped cream that you crave then you should invest in some of that too.  You can buy cool-whip for $1 a tub and it keeps forever in the freezer.  I really like coffeemate in my coffee so I have some Sugar Free French Vanilla powder, it is about $2.

Now that we have all our ingredients let’s add it up.  Coffee is around $.10 (if a 3lbs bag of coffee is 5 dollars and there are 48 servings in each bag 48 divided by 5 is .10), the coffeemate is around $.10 and then the mug is $4 but the more that you use it the less it costs.

kahlua

If I can make a cup of coffee for less than a quarter, why am I buying Starbucks???!!! Is it because I love their coffee?  No.  Kahlua coffee is by far the best that I have ever tasted, White Castle comes in a close second, then Maxwell House, Folgers, and 8 o’clock.  Is it because it is convenient?  Well sometimes that might be the case but if your coffee maker has a timer on it.  You can get it all ready before you even go to bed and then it can automatically make itself so that once you are ready in the morning so is your coffee.  Do I buy Starbucks because I am forced?  No.  The only reason that I can think of for buying it is that all my friends do it and I still want to be the “cool kid.”  Well that has all changed.  Starbucks will never again steal my money!

Now I challenge you to make your own coffee for a week and do not buy it from anywhere else.  If you feel like you like strong coffee do not put in 3 or 4 scoops of coffee, instead buy a darker roast that will be stronger flavored and you will not have to use as much saving you money.

Although this might not sound appetizingyou some of you my favorite drink that I make myself is Cuban roasted coffee, with 1 packet of sweet ‘n low and some lemon juice with a slice of lemon in it!  What are some of the speciality drinks that you like to make yourself?

How to make wonderful cheap costumes

22 Oct

With Halloween coming up it is important for us college students (and everyone else of course) to start thinking about our Halloween costumes.  We must ask ourselves these questions:  Will I go with something sexy or scary?  What are all my friends going as?  Will I be going to a themed party that I need a certain costume for?  Can I wear the same thing as last year?  How many people will notice if I do?  Will it be freezing out?  And most importantly how can I do this all with the insignificant amount of money that I have?

Smarty-pants and cat

Smarty-Pants and a Cat. Photo by Susan Myers

First, do NOT buy one of those crappy costumes at the Halloween Expresses of the world, the $50 costume is not worth it, not to mention that it is probably (at least for me) half of the amount of money you allow yourself for food each month.  While this might be good if you are trying to lose weight, I have some better ideas.

Cat

My roommates as a cat and a store-bought pirate. Photo by Susan Myers

Second, go to your closet.  Do you have black leggings and anything animal printed?  Instant animal costume.  Last year, I let my roommate borrow my cheeta print leggings, that and a black shirt with a headband with ears on it – ADORABLE CAT!

freshman smarty-pants

As smarty-pants, when I was a freshman in high school.  Photo by Sarah Hay.

For my own costume, I decided to repurpose an idea that I had used once before, this time making it a little more grown up.  I was smarty-pants.  I literally just attached smarties candy to my black leggings and threw on a white shirt with a tie that I borrowed from a neighbor and some plastic glasses that I had.  So clever! I looked so SMART!

80's chick

My Friend Kara, as an 80’s Chick (missing the sweater) and myself as Smarty-pants.

more 80's chicks

Another time as 80’s Chicks

For my friend’s costume, we decided to go with an 80’s girl.  She has crazy curly hair to begin with, so making it massive was easy.  I also have an absurd amount of blue eye shadow that we threw on her.  She wore some purple leggings, with a blue cami and this crazy sweater that I really liked when I got it but I really only break it out for 80’s wear now.  I’m sure that any oversized sweater and colored pants will do.  You can even throw on some of those great leg warmers that are in style right now and bam! – 80’S CHICK!

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Greek Goddesses

For another event, I needed a costume and I decided to go with a greek goddess.  For this one, simply get out that strappy white dress that most people have, throw on some gold eye shadow or something else sparkly and from a craft store you can get gold rope and fake leaves.  I got ours from JoAnn Fabrics.  Throw on some heels or sandals and amazing – GREEK GODDESS.

This one can be altered so that if you have a white dress and put on some black eyeshadow, tie a black ribbon around your waist and wear black shoes – INSTANT GHOST!

Another thing that most girls have in their closet are the cowboy boots.  Simply get those out with the jean skirt that you bought a long time ago but never wear and put it on.  If you do not have a plaid flannel shirt, start looking around a week earlier and find some friend that is wearing one, ask them to borrow it.  (Cowboy hat is optional) – COWGIRL.

These are just a few of the costumes that I have made myself or have helped someone make, overall how much did it cost me?  Probably not more than a few dollars since I already had most of this stuff or I borrowed it from someone else.  That is exactly what you can do as well.

What kind of creative costumes can you guys come up with?

 

 

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