College

Find all of Emma Lenhart’s blog posts about the college experience and more on this page.

Below I have come up with four easy ways to save money in college that I think are completely do-able and realistic for anyone in college. I truly think that if you are at least mindful about the money you’re spending, you’ll be better off and at least not “surprised” as to where all your finances went.

There’s no doubt that college is extremely expensive. Besides paying tuition, you also have to keep in mind the dozens of other expenses that add up fast, like room and board, meal plans, textbooks, etc. However, college can also be a great time to start getting ahead on your finances and working to save money for your future.

If you’re looking for ways to make money in college, I have a great blog post all about it which you can read by clicking here. Let’s vow to be intentional spenders and smart savers when it comes to money and getting through college!

Save Money in College

5 Easy Ways to Save Money in College

1. Rent Your Textbooks

Textbooks are one of the most expensive things you have to deal with in college. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid having to get textbooks for some classes as some professors teach strictly from the book. However, I would recommend asking other people who have taken the class before you if the book is necessary for the class. Or, check www.ratemyprofessors.com and read other student reviews to see if the professor uses the textbook for the class.

If you absolutely must get the textbook, always RENT instead of buy! College bookstores allow you to rent textbooks for the term instead of buying the book. This is extremely helpful since most textbooks are somewhat obscure and can only really be used in a classroom setting. No sense buying a textbook you are only going to use for a semester and then never look at again.

If you need to buy a book or novel (sometimes needed for English classes), check eBay or Amazon for used versions of the book instead of going to your college bookstore or Barnes & Noble and paying full-price for a brand new copy. Renting your textbooks or buying a used version is a super great way to save money in college, and has worked for me very well.

Renting your textbooks or buying a used verison is a super great way to save money in college, and has worked for me very well.

2. Use Your Meal Plan

College meal plans are very expensive and I’ve known some people that don’t use up their money before the year is over. It depends on which school you attend, but some meal plans don’t roll over to the next year if there is a remaining balance. This means that any money or “swipes” you don’t use from your plan automatically disappears and goes back to the school.

Using your meal plan to the full extent may seem bothersome and the food may get old, but it’s worth it to eat your meals at school if you already have a meal plan. Also, make sure to check and see if your school offers different dollar amount meal plan levels. You could be paying for the highest meal plan when you really may only need/want a smaller one to grab a snack on campus every now and then.

Another tip to use your meal plan and save money is to shop for small, household items at your school. Most universities have a small market or convenience store that you can use your meal plan balance at. While the items there are usually over-priced, it still makes sense to use your meal plan balance for things like toothbrushes and cleaning supplies rather than going to a convenience store like Walgreens/Target.

3. Make a Budget

Budget is such a daunting word. Never in my life have I looked forward to budgeting my money or making a plan with it, but it is needed if you want to save money fast. Luckily, there are tons of iPhone and Android apps available to help make budgeting less stressful.

Goodbudget is an app that tracks your expenses and helps you stay on track with your budget. The app is free and tracks how you are doing with your money throughout the month. The app also allows you to share your budget with other people through syncing, which can be helpful if your parents want to track how you are spending your money at school.

Find out 5 ways to save money in college. The Emma Lenhart blog has tons of tips and tricks to save money on college expenses and textbooks.

4. Have a Side Hustle

Saving money in college is only an option if you have some money coming in. Looking for ways to make money fast in college? Check out this post, where I talk about ways to make money as a college student.

If you don’t think you have time for a full-on job, or are a freshman and still getting adjusted to the college lifestyle, consider having a “side hustle.” A side hustle is something you can do in your free time and usually doesn’t require having a set schedule or even a boss managing you.

My favorite side hustles are all online and have given me tons of flexibility with my money in the past. A great side hustle to do in college is taking online surveys, where marketers pay you to give your input about various products and services. The best website I’ve found for doing this is Opinion Outpost. The website is completely legitimate and both my sister and I have used it in the past (and even now) to make extra money. The surveys are interesting and the payout can be in gift cards or even on PayPal. Score!

Click here to register for Opinion Outpost and start earning money today. It’s extremely easy to sign up and you can start earning cash now!

5. Shop Around for Housing Options

When people think about housing options at college, they normally picture themselves living in a dorm or on-campus housing for the majority of the time. However, this is not always the cheapest way to go and looking for housing off-campus can sometimes help you save money.

In fact, at the university I attend, living off campus is significantly less expensive. Sure, I have to pay my own utilities and have to deal with having a landlord, but I also get great benefits like not having an RA or quiet-time hour restrictions.

When looking for housing, make sure to do your research and compare the cost of living on-campus in a dorm or apartment and living off-campus. Living off-campus isn’t as scary or bothersome as it sounds and can be just a short walk to class. Call realtors that represent apartments/housing around your school and inquire about the monthly rates and rent. Then do the same and research what it costs to live on-campus or in a dorm at your school. Don’t make the mistake of always assuming that living in a dorm is better or cheaper!


How do you save money in college? Do you have any tips for how to save money in college that I didn’t mention?

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Below you will find 32 self-care ideas you can easily practice. Having a positive mindset and a clear mind is super important for setting yourself up for success. It’s hard to be hopeful about the future when you hate your current situation. While everything in life may not be in our control, we can control some of it and learn to take care of ourselves. Practicing self-care while still in college is important for managing stress and anxiety in some of the craziest years of our life yet! In this post, you will find 32 self-care ideas you can try for yourself.

Accepting yourself

Growing up, I was a pretty big introvert (and still am.) Because of this, I would get anxious when I had too much on my plate, and needed a lot of “alone time” to feel good every day. Some of my other friends didn’t operate the same way and would get frustrated or annoyed when I told them I would be hanging out at home when they were out at dinner/etc. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t just “lame”, but rather wired differently and I needed to recognize that in order to take care of myself.

Ever since realizing that about myself, I try and take time for myself throughout the week. Some of my favorite self-care things to do are taking a nap, online shopping and treating myself to something I’ve wanted for a long time, or making myself a heaping bowl of ice cream. 

I’ve compiled a list of 32 self-care practices you can try on your own to take some time for yourself this season. What are you doing to take care of (insert your name here?)

What is self-care?

Simply put, self-care is the art of taking care of yourself and realizing that you are a human that has needs, whether you want to admit it or not. Self-care is sometimes pushed to the back burner of our lives when we see more pressing situations calling for our attention. Self-care isn’t really anything too serious, but rather something that I think should be normalized.

Self Care Ideas

32 Self-Care Ideas to Practice in College

  1. Listen to your favorite album on a vinyl record. If you don’t have a record player yet, check out this one. It’s only $45 and I love mine!
  2. Take a bath and put extra bubble bath in. Don’t have a bath tub? Use your favorite body wash in the shower.
  3. Re-watch your favorite episode of a TV show on Netflix. (I love re-watching Broad City or New Girl episodes…hilarious!
  4. YouTube “beginner yoga” videos and try it out on your living room floor.
  5. Call up a friend that you normally don’t get to talk to or usually just text. Ask them how they are doing and share stories.
  6. Re-arrange your closet or dresser. Organizing always helps me clear my head and makes my room feel less stressful/cluttered.
  7. Pamper yourself with body cream and give yourself a proper manicure/pedicure.
  8. Search for Pinterest recipes for a DIY at-home facial. My favorite one is here, which helps with oily skin and breakouts!
  9. Light a candle in your room.
  10. Write in a journal about what has been going on in your life lately (I love this one!) I’m not much of a journal-er, but I find it helps me take a step back and realize how amazing my life truly is!
  11. Buy yourself flowers! I love seeking out new markets and grocery stores in my neighborhood in search of the prettiest bouquet.
  12. Invite someone to go get coffee with you that you normally wouldn’t.
  13. Spray your favorite perfume on the bottom of your shower before you get in. The smell will fill the room! (Bright Crystal is one of my favs!)
  14. Strip your bed of all the sheets, pillow cases, and comforters. Wash and dry them with lots of dryer sheets 😉
  15. Go to a museum in your city (or somewhere nearby) by yourself. Allow yourself to spend as much time at one exhibit/piece as you want.
  16. Find a library that currently has that book you’ve always wanted to read and go pick it up.
  17. Make a healthy smoothie or acai bowl. I love using up my old bananas by blending them with frozen fruits + kale.
  18. Go for a run or hop on a treadmill/elliptical. I love listening to ’90s R&B when working out 😉
  19. Create a new playlist of all your favorite songs and load it up onto your phone or Spotify to play when you are on a commute/hanging out at home.
  20. Make a handmade card for someone you love. Pinterest has a ton of great ideas and they don’t cost a dime! (Well…besides the stamp.)
  21. Go through your closet for old clothes that you don’t wear or use anymore. Research and find somewhere to drop off the clothes to donate.
  22. Read a passage of the Bible that you feel speaks to your current situation. Pray to God about what is on your heart and listen for a response.
  23. Get a massage. These can be expensive but are worth it and a once-in-awhile treat (at least for us college students.)
  24. Deep condition your hair with a mask. Don’t want to spend money buying one? My sister swears by using coconut oil on dry hair.
  25. Prepare yourself some comfort food. Macaroni & cheese, pizza, chocolate cake, oh my!
  26. Write down a list of the 20 things and people you are thankful for in your life right now.
  27. Listen to a podcast that interests you. I feel like so many don’t use the Podcast app on their iPhones…hello people! It’s already downloaded on your phone and a ton of podcasts are free to listen to.
  28. Make yourself breakfast early one morning and enjoy it in bed.
  29. Find an event going on in your city and attend it. Scared to go alone? Invite a friend/family member/co-worker.
  30. Look at old photos with people you love. One of my favorite things to do is watch home movies from when my sister and I were little girls!
  31. Go for a hike or long walk in your area. Breathe in the fresh air and admire the nature around you!
  32. Play with or pet a dog. Don’t own one? Try visiting a shelter or even volunteering!



What is your favorite way to practice self-care? Have you tried any of these 32 self-care ideas before?

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It’s the best time of the year when finals are finally over + it’s about time to go home for the holidays. However, traveling home can be stressful when you attend school that is far away from your hometown. Luckily, you can still travel lightweight and carry-on only when going home to see your family.

How to Travel Carry-on Only

The Carry-On Suitcase

In order to travel carry-on only, you’ll need to have a trusty suitcase to lug around with you. Below are some of my favorite picks for carry-on bags. A silver suitcase? Yes, please.

I also love this carry-on suitcase from Delsey. It’s originally $320, but Amazon has it listed for $70 (and free shipping with Prime!) The suitcase also has a 4.5 star rating, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

How to Travel Carry-On Only With a Capsule Wardrobe

Traveling with just a carry-on may seem impossible when going from campus to home, but it can be done! I’ve selected my essential pieces for packing. A capsule wardrobe like this allows you to easily mix and match separate pieces to create endless outfits. This way, you won’t have to re-wear the same outfit over and over again, but can still pack light.

Things to Remember:

  • Pick a color theme or scheme. Obviously, from what you can see in the photo below, I love dark colors and wearing black a lot. However, I totally understand that not everybody enjoys wearing all-black, every day! When packing your carry-on, try and keep the articles of clothing in a similar color theme. This way, you can easily intermix tops and bottoms without much thought.
  • Roll your clothing to save space. Learning this packing tip seriously changed my travel-life. Rolling all of your tops, jeans, and undergarments will save a ton of space when compared to just simply folding.
  • Don’t forget to bring a personal item. I like to bring a purse or my Herschel backpack as my personal item when traveling carry-on only. I also put all of my chargers and electronic devices in here so I can get some work done while on the plane!
  • Wear your winter jacket on the plane. Big, puffy winter jackets can take up a lot of space. This is why I always wear mine while at the airport. Plus, it’s nice and snuggly to use as a blanket in chilly airplanes.

Carry-on Only Capsule Wardrobe

The Packing List

Chunky Sweater

Packing a great chunky sweater will be a lifesaver over winter break. Sweaters are perfect for layering under your winter coat and add some cozy comfort to any outfit. My favorite sweater at the moment is this one. It’s only $16 and I love the dark grey color.

V-Neck Tee

I have to admit, I always consider comfort when getting dressed in the morning. V-neck shirts are my favorite because they aren’t too tight and always super soft.

Graphic Tee

If you know me, you know that I absolutely love graphic tees. I feel like a girl can never have too many! The sayings on them are honestly just too funny! My current favorite is this pack that includes 3 shirts: Black, White, and Warm Grey.

Striped Top

I love a striped top for the winter season because it can be easily dressed up or down. Pair it with some leggings for a cozy night in, or with a pair of black skinny jeans and flats for dinner out with the family.

Black Leggings

My current favorite leggings are from Lululemon because they aren’t see-through, and super durable. However, I do have tons of leggings from places like Target, LOFT, and more. Leggings are a go to when lounging around the house and a must-have for winter break.

Black Jeans

Black jeans are a staple because they can double-up as your “fancy pants” if you need an outfit for a holiday party, etc. Topshop jeans are my absolute favorite jeans of all time because they tailor their jeans to fit Petite and Tall women perfectly.

Blue Jeans

You can’t leave your favorite pair of blue jeans back at your dorm! Throw these in your carry-on for creating easy go-to outfits. My favorite way to pair blue jeans is with a graphic tee and some fuzzy socks like these.

Knit Dress

I normally bring home a knit dress for the holidays in case I will be attending any events or parties. If you don’t have anything like that to attend, think about whether you will need “church clothes” or a Christmas Eve outfit. The knit dress is a staple and will keep you warm and cozy while looking cute 😉

Chelsea Boots

Oh, how I love Chelsea boots. These boots are a staple for winter and can withstand the slush and snow of the season. Plus, there are tons of inexpensive brands that offer great Chelsea boot styles. My favorite pick right now are these boots from Sam Edelman.

Sneakers

I’m the type of girl that lives in sneakers. Adidas, Converse, Vans…I love ’em all. My go-to pair for the winter months are these white Adidas. They pair effortlessly with black/blue jeans and are great for running errands/shopping for holiday presents!

Looking to get your loved ones holiday gifts but don’t have the budget? Check out these helpful posts:

Flats

Flats are great to pack in a carry-on because they easily fold up and take up almost no precious suitcase space. Plus, they are perfect for a night-out with friends or anything that you may need to look a little more dressed-up for.

Scarf

What’s winter without a great scarf? I love scarves because they are inexpensive, come in a million prints, and layer perfectly to keep me warm in the cold Cleveland weather.

Reversible Purse

A reversible purse is a great option to bring with you on the plane as your one personal item. The bag itself will hold all of your little personal belongings (headphones, phone charger, books) while it can double as a purse when you finally make it back home. This one is only $40!

Shop the Capsule Wardrobe:


 

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This blog post is meant to help you succeed in your college classes by sharing 25 essay writing tips to use as a college student. Grab your syllabus and laptop charger, it’s time to get writing!

College is different than high school in a lot of ways. The biggest difference I’ve seen, as a current college sophomore, is how college assigns “homework” and “tests.” In high school, it seemed that I completed a ton of pointless worksheets and projects. But in college, I’ve found that most of my assignments are centered around writing papers/an essay.

Writing papers isn’t just something used for homework, though. I’ve had classes that replace midterms or final exams with writing a paper. There are tons of different types of papers: response papers, reflection papers, research papers….the list goes on. Let’s get on with some helpful essay writing tips to get you an A on your next paper!

College Study Tips

25 Essay Writing Tips

Preparing to Write

I totally recommend taking some time to plan out your essay and outline it rather than just dive in. Doing this allows you to feel less overwhelmed by the entirety of the prompt and task at hand. We all know how daunting it can be to stare at a blank Word document for hours 😉

1. If at all possible, do not start writing your essay the night before it’s due. Your writing should be a process, and adding extra stress (like an approaching deadline) won’t help you.
2. Turn off all distractions when first approaching your essay. This means your phone + Netflix!
3. Seek out a writing center or writing lab on your campus. Many colleges provide this service to students without them even knowing about it!
4.Always make sure you completely understand the instructions/prompt. If you are unclear about anything, ask your professor/instructor in person or shoot them an email. Better safe than sorry!
5. Keep a copy of the prompt or essay instructions close by you at all times when writing your paper.
6. Refer back to the prompt when coming up with ideas for your paper, and ask yourself, “Is this information valuable and necessary to add?”
7. Outline your essay before you start writing it with bullet points. What must you include in your essay to cover the entire prompt?

Writing the First Draft

The work you put in during writing your first essay draft is what’s going to really count. Don’t get discouraged! You can do it 🙂

8. Make your introduction straight to the point. Adding unnecessary “fluff” (in most instances) distracts the reader from the purpose of the piece.
9. Your thesis statement should come in the first paragraph of the essay, and be as distinctive as possible. This signals to the reader what your main point, or argument, is.
10. Follow a consistent citation method if writing a research paper. Ask your professor if they prefer you to use a certain style.
11. Never copy a quote from an outside source without a citation! This puts you at risk of plagiarism and looks very unprofessional.
12. If you are going to be citing several sources, bookmark the website page so that you can easily find it when it comes time to write a bibliography. This will save time so you don’t have to search the Internet for your source all over again.
13. Develop your body paragraphs so that they constantly point back to your thesis and support your argument.
14. Conclude your essay by quickly reviewing what you aimed to accomplish in your essay by referring back to your thesis (introductory paragraph.)

Editing Your Work

Editing essays is something that is easily overlooked. Don’t be that person! You may have just written the best essay ever known to man, but if there are tons of grammar errors and spelling mistakes…it really doesn’t matter.

15. Have someone outside of your class/course read your essay. See if the topic makes sense to them after reading your essay. What can you further explain or define?
16. Read your essay aloud to yourself. Hearing the words you wrote will help you catch any grammatical errors or sentences that don’t make sense.
17.Attend your professor’s office hours and ask them to do a read-over of your work so far. This is sometimes not permitted (if it’s an exam or final), but a lot of the time, they will give you valuable advice. They are the ones that will be grading it, after all!
18. Vary your sentence structure.
19. Check and make sure that you are not switching in-between tenses in your writing. This can be confusing and cloud the essay.
20. Use Grammarly when editing your essay. This free application installs in your computer’s toolbar and will underline any mistakes, confused words, grammatical errors, etc. It’s truly a lifesaver!
Grammarly Writing Support
21. Use Easybib.com to quickly and correctly cite your sources. Export your citations and make sure they are listed in your bibliography in alphabetical order!

Finalizing + Submitting Your Essay

Once you’ve gotten to this step, most of the hard legwork of writing an essay is done. Whew! Finalizing your essay will allow you to double (and triple) check that you don’t have any unnecessary typos/mistakes. The difference between a student who gets an A- and one that gets an A+ is all determined in this final stage!

22. Add a cover page to your essay if necessary. (Ask your professor their preference.)
23.Double-check that you have added page numbers.
24. Add an original title to your essay. (Again, ask professor first.)
25. Submit your essay on time to avoid point deductions.


After all of that, give yourself a pat on the back! Writing a college essay is not easy, but it gets easier and more rhythmic with practice and diligence. What are your best essay writing tips?

Pssst! If you liked this post + learned new essay writing tips, I would love for you to share it with your friends. Sharing this post takes just a few seconds + helps with the growth of this blog. Click the blue social sharing buttons to the left or at the top of this page. Thank you!

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