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Navigating Inflation: Money-Saving Tips for Young Adults

Hey there, young adults! I know that dealing with money can sometimes feel like diving headfirst into a whirlpool of confusion. And now, with inflation hitting us, it's even more essential to get a grip on our finances. So, let's chat about some practical tips to help you handle budgeting and financial decisions during this time of inflation. Consider me your friendly virtual parent giving you some sage advice! 

Budget Like a Pro: The first step to financial stability is setting up a budget. List down all your monthly expenses, including rent, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. Once you see where your money is going, it becomes easier to allocate funds wisely.

Emergency Fund is Non-Negotiable: We can't predict emergencies, but we can prepare for them. Try to save at least three months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. It'll give you peace of mind and financial security during tough times. You just have to make sure you do not touch it. 

Cut Back on Non-Essentials: Evaluate your spending habits and distinguish between needs and wants. It might be time to reduce those frequent takeout orders, streaming subscriptions, or impulse purchases.  Saving a few dollars here and there adds up over time. 

Shop Smart: When grocery shopping, look for sales, use coupons, and consider buying generic brands. It really helps a lot to have your most frequented grocery store app on your phone. Planning meals and making a shopping list can help you avoid impulse buys and save on food costs.

Track Your Expenses: Apps can be your best friends when it comes to tracking expenses. There are so many free ones available that can categorize your spending, making it easier to spot areas where you can cut back.

Invest Wisely: Inflation erodes the purchasing power of your money. To combat this, consider investing in assets like stocks or real estate. While these carry some risk, they historically outperform inflation in the long run. Of course, this might not be an option if you are just starting out on your own. 

Pay Off High-Interest Debts: High-interest debts, like credit card balances, can eat away at your finances. Prioritize paying them off as quickly as possible. It will definitely take time, but be patient and try to pay more than the minimum payment on any credit cards you may have.  The interest you save will be money in your pocket. 

Automate Savings: Set up automatic transfers to your savings account right after payday. This way, you won't even see the money you're saving, making it less tempting to spend it. This is also a smart move for life insurance, but that's another post for another day. 

Consider Side Hustles: If your primary income isn't covering your expenses, consider taking on a side gig. Freelancing, selling crafts online, or tutoring can bring in extra cash to help you stay afloat. You might even have items that you can sell on Facebook Marketplace or eBay to make some quick cash. 

Stay Informed: Keep an eye on economic news and government policies that may affect your finances. Being aware of changes can help you make informed financial decisions, especially if you have student loans. 

Invest in Your Skills: Learning new skills or furthering your education can increase your earning potential in the long run. Consider investing in courses or certifications that can boost your career. Some places of employment might even pay for courses relevant to your job. Be sure to inquire before enrolling in classes or courses. 

Plan for Retirement: It's never too early to start saving for retirement. Contribute to your employer's retirement plan, and if possible, open an individual retirement account (IRA). Compound interest will work in your favor over time.

Seek Financial Advice: If you're unsure about your financial strategy, don't hesitate to seek advice from a financial advisor. They can help you create a personalized plan based on your goals and current financial situation.

Be Patient and Stay Disciplined: Achieving financial stability takes time and discipline. Don't be discouraged by setbacks or slow progress. Keep your long-term goals in mind and stay committed to your financial plan. If you have the opportunity to live with parents or family members at a low cost, this is an excellent thing to take advantage of to get your finances in order. 

Remember, we're all in this together. Inflation is a challenge, but with smart financial decisions and a little determination, you can weather the storm. Just like a parent would, I want to see you succeed and build a secure financial future. So, go out there and take control of your finances, and don't forget to treat yourself once in a while – you've earned it!


4 Types of Loans

Sometimes, you just don't have the funds to pay for something you really need. Almost everyone is familiar with credit cards, auto loans and mortgages, but there are all kinds of loans out there that cater to specific situations or needs. These four loan types are only a few.

1. Personal Loans

A personal loan is very versatile. You don't need collateral to apply for one like you would for an auto loan, and you can use the loan for a wide range of expenses, from home renovations to an engagement ring.

This type of loan works best for someone with a good credit score because you're more likely to get approved and receive a lower interest rate. You can apply for a personal loan with most credit unions and banks, and with some online lenders.

2. Home Equity Loans

If you own a home, you can get a home equity loan by borrowing against the equity, or the amount of your home you own. If you've paid off a third of your mortgage, you can borrow up to a third of your home's value. People who opt for this type of loan are usually doing something to improve the quality of their home, like renovating the kitchen or building an addition.

Home equity loans tend to have lower interest rates than some other types, but like with a mortgage or auto loan, there is collateral involved. In this case, your house. Collateral can be a risk because if you default on your loan, you could lose your home.

3. Student Loans

These loans are increasingly common in the United States. Most college graduates can expect to carry roughly $40,000 in student loan debt, at least. Many people today include student loan payments in their budgets, along with more traditional bills like rent and utilities.

Since 2006, all federal student loans have fixed interest rates. Every student applying to colleges should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). This application provides the government with the information needed to award federal loans and even grants based on the student's financial need. There are also private student loans available through institutions like banks.

4. Debt Consolidation Loans

A debt consolidation loan is a way to provide debt relief. This type of loan merges various bills into one debt that you can repay as one bill, to one lender. This type of loan is best for things like paying off credit cards, which typically have higher interest rates. If you decide to take out a debt consolidation loan, it's important to figure out the total you must pay for all the bills you want to merge and compare it against your budget. A lender can then help you figure out the best plan and interest rate to pay off your bill. Typically, the repayment period is about 3 to 5 years.

These are only some of the different loan types available. One of them might work for you, or another type all together might fit your needs better. It's important to do your research when considering a loan.
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What Happens When You Are Injured On The Job And Are Self Employed?

Most people working a regular job have a lot of benefits that are not necessarily available to those that are working for themselves. They have Medicare and social security automatically withheld, and their employer also contributes. This is not the case for self employed people.

Then, there is the matter of getting injured on the job. Many people with traditional jobs are covered either by worker’s compensation or by some kind of disability insurance offered by the employer. Things are usually pretty straightforward when this happens at work for most people.

When you work for yourself you are on your own when it comes to disability, whether you are a physician or a welder. Physicians Thrive can give you more information about disability when you are a doctor.

In this article, I will go over what happens when you are injured on the job and can’t work when you are self employed.
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1. Worker’s Compensation

If you are self employed and have employees, you should have a worker’s compensation insurance policy for them and for yourself. Since you will be paying for it for your employees it makes sense to also have it for yourself in case you are injured.

What if you don’t have employees? If you work for yourself then you have to evaluate if it makes sense to have it. If you work in a home office, then you are not likely to get injured on the job. In this case, you probably won’t see any value in it.

If you work a physical job like a carpenter, welder or any other job that involves any kind of risk for a serious injury, then this is a good idea.

It covers you if you are injured on the job. It isn’t easy to buy private worker’s compensation insurance, however and it may not be cheap if you do find an insurance company that does offer it.
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2. Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is the same as you would have with an employer, if they offer it. The big difference is that you are paying for the entire cost yourself. Usually an employee of a company will only have to pay a portion of it.

This can get expensive, but the good part about paying yourself is that you decide which policy is best rather than have to take whatever the employer would pick for you if you were an employee.

Many times, the insurance is only going to cover a portion of your income and rarely the entire amount of the money lost to an injury. It also depends on how long you will be without work.

3. Health Insurance

In many states you are required to have health insurance including when you are self employed. If you have disability insurance that only covers some of your income and expenses, your health insurance may make up the difference.

Since you have to have it, and you are choosing the policy yourself, make sure to pick the coverage that will pay the most towards an injury from work and the medical expenses related to it.

Further Reading:
Government support for the self-employed  - Department of Labor guidance for self-employed people
JJS Justice - support when claiming after a work-related accident or injury. 
Here are some self-employment statistics.  How many Americans are really self-employed?

Six Simple and Easy Ways to Save More Money

Did you know that almost one-third of people didn’t save any money in the last twelve months because they had no spare money to actually put into a savings account? Saving money is something that most of us want to do, but when it feels like all your earnings are quickly disappearing on monthly expenses, you’re not in a good place. The good news is that there are several money-saving methods that you may want to try that can be changed to suit various budgets. And, don’t forget that even saving small amounts can add up to more than you realize.
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The 1-cent saving challenge:

You might have already heard about a $1 per week saving challenge - the idea is that over the fifty-two weeks of the year, you boost the amount that you save each week by just one dollar. So, you save $1 in week one, $2 in week two, and so on. This can be a great way to save, but since you have to save more as the year goes on, it’s not suitable for all budgets. So, here’s an alternative - the 1c savings challenge. Rather than saving $1 per week, save just 1 cent a day and increase it by 1 cent as the days go on. If you stick to the plan for the full year, you’ll end up with over $650, and the most you’ll have to save in one go is just $3.65.
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Get a money box or piggy bank:

A piggy bank is a tried-and-tested money-saving technique. You might have had one as a child, so why not carry this on as an adult! You could use a jar instead of a proper piggy bank, or if you’re tempted to dip into your savings you can get jars and money tins that you need to open with a tin opener or even smash open quite cheaply in pound shops. Over time, you can save more than you realize from just popping your loose change into a jar.

Round your bank account balance down:

Rounding down the balance in your bank account is an easy way to save some money here and there. Log into your bank account online daily or weekly and round the money down, then transfer the money into a different savings account. For example, if you have $251.45 in your account, you’d transfer $1.45, leaving you with $250. Although there might not always be a lot of money to round down, it also comes with the added bonus of encouraging you to keep a watchful eye on your bank balance.

Use cashback sites:

Did you know that you can get money just for spending on websites that you were going to use anyway? Cashback sites and apps like TopCashBack or Quidco are a great method of saving money on the things that you were already going to buy, especially when it comes to essentials like switching utilities, broadband or insurance. Whenever you need to buy something online, take some time to visit a cashback site first and search for the site that you need. If it’s listed, visiting through the cashback site instead of going directly could earn you some money.

Consolidate your debts:

Using a loan to consolidate your debts is a great way to spend less on repaying credit, if you’re struggling to pay them off otherwise. Taking out a personal loan that provides you with enough money to pay off everything else that you owe often means that you can save money as you’ll switch to having just one easy to manage monthly payment rather than several. If you only have one debt to pay off at the moment, then consider using any money that you save using the above methods to put towards the debt and get it paid off faster.

Use cash more often:

Finally, getting into the habit of spending cash rather than using your debit or credit card can be a great way to help you get a better handle on your expenditures. Make sure that you have enough money in your bank account to cover monthly expenses like your rent and bills and take out cash at the beginning of the week or month for everything else. Having the cash there will make it easier for you to not go over your budget - you could even sort the cash into different envelopes for different things like food, socializing, etc.

Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments.
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Things To Know Before Mortgage Loan Application

One of your goals is probably to acquire a home. One of the ways you can make your dream come true is by taking a mortgage. However, purchasing a home on mortgage goes beyond finding a house and signing a deal with the seller. Your lender must approve of you. The process can be daunting for first-timers and those who are unprepared.

Qualifying for a mortgage requires some careful planning. You need first to arm yourself with knowledge before you start the mortgage application process. Here are things your mortgage lender or broker probably wants you to know before starting the home loan application process.

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Know Your Needs

You need to understand what you need before talking to a mortgage broker in Ontario or starting the application process. Lenders want applicants who have a standard of materials. Some of the things that your lender probably requires are two years’ worth of tax filings a month of a recent pay stub from a buyer to be listed on loan. Your lender might also require bank account statements of at least three months.

Pay Off Debt

You can lower the ratio of your gross and net income by paying off debts, such as car loans or credit card debt. Usually, lenders don’t like applicants who have committed a significant percentage of their income to loans. You need to have an excellent financial status that will appeal to your lender so that you can get the best rates possible.

A Credit Report

The first thing that any lender would want to check for when applying for a mortgage is your credit. You should prove your creditworthiness to your lender so that you can enjoy the most favorable rates. Therefore, you need to make sure that your credit report is accurate and that the scores are correct. You can apply for a copy of your credit report beforehand.
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Do Your Homework

It would pay if you did your research well before applying for a mortgage. You are looking for a home and at the same time, making a financial commitment that you will probably live with for years. As such, you need to get the best deal possible. You ought to research brokers, loans, and rates before committing to anything.

Now that you know the things to bear in mind when applying for a mortgage, you can make an informed decision. You also increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage and owning your dream house. Don’t forget to talk to an expert for further guidance.

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Getting Back on Your Feet: 7 Tips for Getting out of Debt Fast

This is a sponsored post

Although many of us might prefer to take things one day at a time, our financial future is important. It’s not always about how much we make, but rather, how we spend and save the money we already have.

However, since the introduction of credit cards and loans, many individuals around the world have been spending not only more than they currently have in their bank account but more than what they can afford to pay back in time. In fact, just in America alone, the amount of debt Americans accumulated in 2018 hit a record of $13.21 trillion.

While the whole “buy now, pay later” approach to purchasing a product or service is something we can all take advantage of, the deeper we dig ourselves into debt, the worse the consequences. High-interest rates, a declining credit score, and heavy stress are just some of the disadvantages.

If you’re looking to get rid of your debt fast, you’ve come to the perfect source. Try some of the following tips to help get your finances back in order.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
1. Start budgeting
Not everyone with debt is bad with their finances. Regardless, it’s a good idea to put yourself on a financial budget. This way, you can ensure your income is enough to cover not just your bills but other necessities in your life including food, gasoline or other transportation costs, and other vital expenses.

To start a personal budget, you must first decide how much you spend on a monthly basis and where exactly that money goes to. From then, you can figure out what percentage of your income should go to what. Ranking your expenses from most to least important is also a wise idea to get a better understanding of your finances.

2. Try the debt snowball method
Many people have tried the debt snowball method of tackling debt and found that it works for them. It might just work for you as well. This five-step technique involves listing all of your credit card debts in terms of the amount owed and paying off the smaller debts first, especially the ones with the largest interest rates.

Over time, you’ll notice that the number of debts you have will diminish faster. On top of that, seeing how quickly these debts are diminishing will psychologically act as a motivator to get rid of those bigger, peskier debts. It’s usually not until you see this progress that you feel more encouraged to continue doing what you’re doing.

3. Downgrade your vehicle
When you’re deep in debt to the point where you can hardly keep up, one of the quickest ways to tackle such is to sell your current vehicle and then use part of that profit to purchase a cheaper, used vehicle while using the rest of the money to pay off debt.
Especially if one has a newer vehicle they’re still paying off, one might simply sell this vehicle altogether to get rid of their monthly auto payments and wait until a more financially-feasible time to consider purchasing another vehicle.

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4. Pay more than your monthly minimum on your debts
There’s no rule that says you must pay exactly your bills’ monthly minimum payments each month. In fact, there’s a reason why they’re called monthly minimums: because that’s the minimum, not the maximum, payment a lender expects you to pay by a specific due date.
However, if you currently have the cash to do so, it’s a good idea to pay more than your monthly minimum payment, even if it’s just $10 more each time. Every dollar counts and the extra you pay off adds up over time. This is an especially great tip if some of your debts are already close to being paid off.

In the end, you could end up not only getting out of debt quicker but saving more money in the long run. Meanwhile, the more you drag on paying your dues over time, the more interest you’ll end up having to pay.

5. Go through your belongings, and sell what you don’t need
As hard as it might be for some people when you have debts to pay off, chances are, you’ll be needing more money to do so. Some folks may be left with no choice but to go through their stuff and sell what they no longer want or need. Unwanted clothing, old furniture in the basement, and extra home decor are all things you might want to sell.

These items can be sold in person at garage sales, directly sold to family members or friends, may even be sold online.

6. Cut the luxury expenses
Every one of us has some sort of luxury expenses whether it be getting our nails done every few weeks or going to the movies every Friday night. Even going out to dinner versus eating on a budget at home can be considered a luxury expense.

Your job is to figure out which luxury expenses you’re paying for and deciding which are the least important. As you’re paying off your debt, temporarily cut off some of your luxury expenses, that is, until you’re financially able to get back on your feet.

7. Consider consolidating your debt
If you have a lot of debt to tackle and several different payments to make on a monthly basis, debt consolidation can be a great way to get out of debt quicker. With just one due date per month, smaller monthly payments, and a lower interest rate, debt consolidation might just be your go-to option for obtaining better finances.

Do you need help getting out of debt as soon as possible? Get help at

At some point, most of us will have to use a credit card, take out a loan, or even occasionally borrow money from family members or friends. However, there comes a point where the amount of borrowing we do starts to pose significant problems.

No matter how much debt you’ve accumulated so far, the good news is, you can start tackling it now. From creating a financial budget to considering consolidating your debt, there are numerous ways you can quickly banish your daunting debt to lead a more financially-sound life.

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Exploring Your Potential Reverse Mortgage Candidacy

Retiring is not always fun. It can be stressful when you have worries about your income. However, if you own your own home, you may have an easy way to increase that income, at least temporarily. It is called a reverse mortgage. It is a non-traditional home loan designed solely to help retirees or people of retirement age stay in their homes while having money to spend in their golden years. Here is what you need to know about reverse mortgages and how to determine your candidacy for them.

You Must Meet Basic Reverse Mortgage Requirements

There are some basic requirements for getting a reverse mortgage. The biggest is that you must be retired or at the age of retirement. That minimum age is 62. The reason for that requirement is a reverse mortgage is a specific type of mortgage designed to allow retirement comfort without the hassles associated with traditional home loans. Reverse mortgage lenders do not offer reverse mortgages to younger homeowners.

Another requirement is you must own and live in the home. You cannot apply for a mortgage on a building you own while residing elsewhere. That means vacation homes are ineligible for reverse mortgage assistance. If you do own your own home, you must also prove your ability to continue to maintain it, such as by making tax payments. That is because you still own the home throughout the reverse mortgage process.

Your Home Must Have Enough Value to Get a Reverse Mortgage

Another issue affecting your reverse mortgage candidacy is you must own a home with enough value for the loan to work. A reverse mortgage does not allow you to access your full home equity.

calculator for reverse mortgages determines the portion available to you. The tool is necessary because there are federal restrictions in place governing reverse mortgages. The calculation tool can also help you simplify the process of figuring out the total value of your home. That process involves assessing factors such as its age, size and geographic location of the structure.

You Need to be Prepared to Pay Reverse Mortgage Fees and Interest

A good assessment doesn't guarantee a reverse mortgage is right for you. The amount the reverse mortgage calculator authorizes you to borrow is not the amount you must pay back. You need to understand there are closing costs and fees to be paid. Those are deducted up front before any money is issued to you. More importantly, your reverse mortgage will also accumulate long-term interest. With each passing year, you will owe more back than when you started. Therefore, you must consider your ability to pay the interest back when deciding whether to sign the initial loan agreement.

You Cannot Maintain Two Mortgages at Once

Another thing you need to know before you get a reverse mortgage is you can get one while you have a traditional mortgage. However, you cannot maintain both for a long period. Shortly after signing a reverse mortgage agreement, funds must be removed from the total you are allowed to borrow. Those funds are used to pay off the traditional loan right away. The remaining funds are available to you to make your retirement more financially comfortable.

If the amount you can borrow and the amount needed to pay off the first loan are similar, you may not want a reverse mortgage. The best scenario is using the reverse mortgage to pay the first loan and still have enough left over to spend for other purposes. That can allow you to get out from under your ongoing mortgage bills and get some actual financial relief.
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5 Things No One Told You About Shopping for a Home

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Buying a new home is exciting, but if you’ve never gone through the process before, you may be in for a big surprise – and probably more than a few. When you aren’t experienced with the ins and out, your excitement can quickly turn into frustration. The National Association Realtors recently released some of the latest numbers related to home-buying transactions showing that of all homebuyers, 34% are purchasing a home for the first time. If you’re thinking about becoming a part of that statistic, knowing what most were never told about shopping for a home can prevent learning the hard way.

It’s Going to Cost You Lots More Than You Think

If you’re renting, paying say, $1200 a month, plus perhaps utility costs, you have a pretty good idea of what you have to pay each month. If utilities are included, you know exactly what you’ll be shelling out when rent is due. But when you’re shopping for a house and the lender says the mortgage payment will be only $1400 a month, you might think, “Well, that’s only $200 more, I can easily handle that.” But you’re wrong. There are lots of other things to consider in addition to that payment plus utilities. You’ll need to pay for homeowners insurance, maintenance and repairs (something that’s inevitable), property taxes, and perhaps home association dues and even appliances.

That makes it difficult to determine your exact monthly costs as you never know when something is going to break, and there’s no doubt that total figure is going to be a lot more than just the mortgage payment.

You’ll Need to Limit Your Credit Card Use

Before you start shopping for a new home, you’ll need to hold off on purchasing any big items on credit cards, opening any new lines of credit, obtaining a car loan, etc. In fact, the more you can pay down your debt the better as the ability to get approved for a mortgage, and a good interest rate depends largely on your credit score.

Even If You Don’t Have Kids or Plan on Having Any, Considering Are Schools is Important

Singles and couples who don’t have children and don’t plan to often overlook the schools in the area when shopping for a home. While you probably think it doesn’t matter, it will if you ever decide to sell your home. That’s an important aspect to buyers, with homes in neighborhoods that have access to good schools generally appreciating in value faster than homes in neighborhoods where schools are average are worse, whether you’re purchasing a house among Charleston real estate or any other town in the country.

You Won’t Be Able to Resist Looking at Homes Higher Than Your Price Range

It’s only human nature to want something you can’t have, and nearly all people who shop for homes ended up looking at places that are out of their price range. While that’s all well and good, just don’t move forward with it. What’s even worse than living in a house that may need a few minor repairs is living in a nice home that you can’t really afford and eventually having to sell it when you don’t want to, or even worse, going through a foreclosure.

You’ll Probably Get Outbid

In a sellers’ market, or in areas that are hotter than others and likely to have cash buyers, you’ll probably get outbid, and more than once. While getting your offer rejected isn’t fun, keep trying - odds are that you will succeed.
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10 Tips For New College Students From A College Student (Guest Post)

I remember when I was getting ready to start college – Everything was so new and so different. Two years have quickly gone by, and I’m now a junior. Here are some things I’ve learned from my own experiences and from friends that I’d like to pass along:

1. Get your finances together and be aware of your expenses. – Open a checking/savings account if you don’t already have one. Get in the habit of saving your receipts and documenting them weekly/monthly or however you choose. Your expenses will add up, so it’s best to stay on top of them so you don’t end up in a rut or overdrafting your account.

2. Take the time to read things and understand them. – You are an adult now, and you actually have to read through things to make informed decisions. This will certainly apply if you move off campus into an apartment.

3. Rent your textbooks if you can. – Renting is the best way to go, especially for books for general education (gen-ed) classes. Vendors such as Amazon and Chegg are great places to get them. You can buy books from your institution’s bookstore and sell them back at the end of the semester, but you won’t get nearly as much money back as you spent.

4. Be aware of the available meal plans and your eating patterns. – Most institutions will have a meal plan. Know what plans they offer, and don’t get a meal plan higher than what you know you will eat. Also, PLEASE be healthy! (Don’t eat Chick Fil A every day for three weeks like I did.)

5. Take school seriously. – Your first year of college is so important for your GPA. Focus on your grades first. If you keep it high your first year of school, you have some wiggle room if you don’t do as well one semester. Also, if you have scholarships, you need to make sure you maintain the GPA required to keep the scholarships.

6. Get to know your professors. – Your professors possess a lot of knowledge, and you’ll do even better in class if you sit in the front and introduce yourself to them. If you take the time to get to know them, they will be more willing to help you in class or with other things. Some professors have written recommendation letters for me.

7. Don’t be afraid to get involved, but don’t over involve yourself either. – There are TONS of ways to get involved at your college/university. Try to get involved in at least one activity or organization so you can meet people and begin developing skills. However, don’t get over involved either. You don’t want to be overwhelmed and affect your grades or well-being.

8. TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY. – Get a planner if you don’t have one already! You’ll be super busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and maybe even a job. Be sure to stay organized!

9. Take care of yourself. – People are going to ask you to do things, approach things in their way, but at the end of the day, you need to do what is best for yourself. If people want to go out and do something, but you want to take an evening for yourself and watch TV, then by all means, watch TV!

College goes by so quickly! Take the time to explore new things. Take a class on something you’re interested in, but might not be majoring in. Meet new people and make great friends. The world is yours.

Guest post by my oldest daughter, Chardonnay Ismail.

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