6 Tips to Sticking to Your College Budget

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6 Tips to Sticking to Your College Budget

As you’re prepping to head off to college, it’s likely that budgeting is on your mind. You have a budget but how do you stick to it? We scoured our team here at American Express Serve for tips on sticking to a budget in college. Here are some of the best suggestions we heard:

Keep your receipts

The last thing you want to do is make a budget only to look back at the end of the semester and wonder where all that money went. Black hole? That same ghost that steals 1 of every sock pair? Make sure to track your spending either via keeping the paper receipts or by signing up for an account, like an American Express Serve® Account, which allows you to track your spending online.

Use the buddy-system while shopping

If you’re headed out shopping for some dorm room supplies — make a list, share it with your buddy, and make a pact not to buy anything that’s not on your list. It sounds simple, but using peer pressure for good (saving) instead of evil works.

Give yourself a fake due date

Late fees (un-needed spending with no return) are a huge enemy of a budget. Instead of counting on conquering your procrastination – set your due date for payment to 10 days before any bill is due. You can do this by setting up notifications in your calendar or setting up regular payments with the merchant. You can also make quick payments using your American Express Serve Account online bill pay feature, by storing the merchant information for recurring payments.

Make your budget top of mind

The only thing that reminds you of your budget shouldn’t be going online or to your spreadsheet to check it. Put a visual reminder on your desktop (an image that represents saving to you or a picture of that spring break trip you want to take) or set up automated emails to send to yourself bi-weekly on Monday morning. The best way to exceed your budget is to forget about it.

Only pay your share of the bill

Whether it’s utilities for your apartment, or dinner off-campus — splitting the check will become your norm in college. Make sure to always have a way to pay only your share. This sounds straightforward, but it’s more difficult than you think. Check out cards or services that provide peer-to-peer payment capabilities. An American Express Serve® Account allows you to send and receive money notifications by email and text(1). Or, you can take it back old school and carry cash.

Reward yourself!

Positive reinforcement has applications beyond your first Psych 101 exam. Create a positive association to sticking to your monthly or semester budget by rewarding yourself. Whether it’s a movie night with friends or dessert after dinner, even the smallest of rewards can help.

Sticking to a budget is always easier said than done but we hope that at least one or two of these tips helps you out!

The Basics of Developing a High School Resume

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The Basics of Developing a High School ResumeA résumé is an important part of your college application. The high school résumé is a snapshot of YOU, a concise summary!

Maybe you think a résumé is something that is only used for a job interview. Not so! A résumé is an important part of your college application. In fact, everyone should have a high school résumé.

A high school résumé summarizes your achievements, talents, and interests. It is a great way to showcase what you have done during your high school years, who you are, and what you can contribute to a college campus.

But, how does a high school student create a résumé? It’s easy! Just follow these steps and when you have finished, you will have a clear, easy-to-read anecdotal history of your high school career.

Let’s begin by listing the major sections of a high school résumé.

  • The Heading: (contains personal information)
  • Academic Profile: (contains high school information)
  • In-School Activities
  • Interscholastic Athletics
  • Academic/Other Recognitions
  • Work Experience
  • Summer Programs/Community Activities
  • Volunteer Services
  • Avocational Interests
  • To complete the first 2 major sections (Heading and Academic Profile) requires only factual information.
  • First type The Heading in bold. Then type your full birth name, social security number (“x”ing out the first 2 sets of numbers and only stating the last 4 for security reasons), and name of high school in one column on the left; then type your street address, name of city, state and zip code, telephone number, and email address in another column on the right hand side.
  • Between the 2 lists, insert a copy of your graduation photo to personalize your résumé. (To SEE what this should look like contact Erinn at info@granted4u.com for a sample )
  • Next type in bold font, Academic Profile. Under this section title, state the name of the high school(s) that you attended and the dates of attendance; the type of curriculum you studied (Honors? AP? College Prep? General? or Vocational/Technical?); your GPA through your junior year; your class rank, and your SAT and/or ACT scores.
  • Now for the remaining sections, start brainstorming!
  • Hopefully, you have kept an on-going brag sheet of all of your accomplishments since you entered high school but if you haven’t, it might be wise to sit down with your parents and friends so that they can help jog your memory as you compile your list.
  • Take each section listed in #1 above one at a time and simply list everything that you have done that is appropriate for each section. These sections should be listed in chronological order, but organize your extracurricular activities and avocational interests in order of importance to you.
  • Fill in the details!
  • Beside each activity or achievement, state the school year that you participated in the activity or received the honor. Then describe the purpose of the club/activity/honor and most importantly briefly describe your specific contribution(s) to the activity.
  • Tip! Any leadership or honor from your involvement in any activity should be italicized to emphasize its importance, and the year that you were selected for the position or honor should be noted.
  • Finally, denote the number of hours per week per year you devoted to the activity.Review your final product.
  • Tip! Do not include those activities in which you spent one hour or less per week.
  • Make sure your high school résumé is rich with details and personalizes your college application! This is the time to brag, to sell yourself, to make the admissions committee want you on their campus! Be truthful, but DO NOT undersell yourself!
  • Perhaps, you should even consider using professional resume writers like Resume Edge give it one final polish so you will truly have a perfect product to submit with your application.
  • Note: Because your résumé will have lots of details it may take more than one page. For each new page make sure to put in your name on each page, in case pages are separated. Also make sure to restate the heading under which you were working from the last page: Work experience Cont.