Budgeting Your Way Through University

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One of the most stressful parts of university and living away from home has to be budgeting.  The change of having to pay for rent, food, essentials, and transportation can come as a costly shock to those who previously had them provided.  One way to make sure you have enough money for your all of your necessities as well as your leisure, is to set up your own budget, and stick to it.

The first step is finding out exactly how much money you have, and how much you will be making (or receiving from financial aid) throughout the year.  If you feel like you may be struggling to make ends meet, this would be a good time to ask yourself if getting a part-time job would be helpful.  Of course, if you’re enrolled in a particularly work-heavy program, getting a job is probably not the best option for you, as you want to ensure that you will have plenty of time to focus on your course work.  Jobs can be very time-demanding even if part-time, and if most of your money is going towards tuition, you want to make sure you make that investment worthwhile.

Next is ensuring you know how much you need to put aside for tuition, books, rent, food, necessities, leisure, and transportation.  For books, try to opt for used instead of new, and also try to compare prices of your campus bookstore with other stores and online shops.  You’d be surprised how much more your campus bookstore will charge for books you can also find elsewhere.

For food, necessities, and leisure, it’s easiest to make a weekly budget.  Sticking to making your necessary purchases once a week and setting a limit for spending is essential to sticking to a university budget, and will help you identify your spending habits and patterns.

Knowing when to spend and when to splurge is one of the biggest struggles of living alone for the first time.  One of the easier places to limit spending is with food.  Avoid buying meals on campus unless you have a prepaid meal plan, as these can quickly add up.  Try to allow yourself some extra time in the morning or the night before to pack whatever meals and snacks you may need (we recommend our fresh rice noodle bowl recipe, it’s great as a packed lunch and doesn’t need to be reheated).  Simply bringing your own cookies or muffins to have with your Starbucks coffee is a really great starting point, and can really jumpstart the habit of being prepared and avoiding unexpected and unnecessary spending.

Food can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to your finances.  Wasting food is a dangerous habit to get into, so it’s essential to know exactly how much food you have and need so that you can avoid letting what you buy go past its expiration date.  Don’t get into the habit of stockpiling food when it’s on sale, because more often than not, we buy more than we can eat through.

What we hope you take away from this post is the aspect of staying financially aware.  The stress in finances in most cases comes from not knowing how much you can reasonably spend based on your income and savings.  Keeping on top of this will significantly lower your stress and also help you get into these helpful habits that will carry on long-term.  If you have any other tips for saving through University, leave them in the comments, we’d love to read them!

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She Ain’t Fat Bruh

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The only good thing about getting home from vacation is being able to catch up on all the dope tunes I missed out on when I was gone. At the top of my mind, I instantly thought Drake’s new album Views and  Beyonce’s Lemonade, until I came across a new track by Trinidad James called “Just A Lil’ Thick” (She Juicy) ft. Mystikal, Lil Dicky.

Besides having a great beat, which is one of my top priorities as a person who A) likes to dance and B) often throws parties. This track embraces the idea of loving women’s bodies who in modern day society would be considered “fat, obese, or overweight”. Our society often resorts to body shaming when someone’s body does not fit the ideal body type, for women the ideal body type is someone who is considered thin, or skinny.

For most women, laying outside of these standards can result in negative feedback from society, work place opportunities, lovers, friends and family. In the music video, James rejects societal stereotypes about what men should want or find attractive in a female, while also changing the negative idea of the word “fat” and saying “She ain’t fat bruh, just a lil thick”. This transforms the negative stereotype of “fat” into something that isn’t so offensive to those who have a larger body type.

He tackles fat shaming attitudes by embracing the positive side to thicker women, with lyrics like “I’m talkin the 175 and up club, the we cook good, we eat good, we look good”. This acknowledges that just because a woman likes to eat, it does not make her “fat” but an attractive woman who is comfortable enough in her own skin to actually EAT!

This song actually makes me happy when I listen to it; I think as women, our bodies and our looks can sometimes be a daily struggle, especially if we aren’t being supported by others around us. Some people go to extremes just to be so thin because society tells them this how you should be and look.

To me I’ve never been that skinny girl, I LOVE FOOD and always will, but I know how in our heads we can get as females, sometimes it can literally ruin my week just because the pressures of looking good are so strong, especially in summer time.

So to every woman out there who is struggling with body issues, weight issues, beauty issues, just know that you are NOT alone, you’re smart, you’re beautiful and you will find someone who will love you for you. Stop trying to fit in when you’re supposed to stand out!

Creating Your Own Inspiration Space

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Its hard to deny that our mood, motivation, and creativity is often affected by our environment.  Keeping your work environment clean, comfortable, personalized can often help with keeping you on track while keeping you motivated.  This type of space does not have to take up an entire room, and can be as simple as keeping a vision board, personalizing your desk, cubicle, or home office space.

We all find comfort in different things, whether it be in minimalism, clutter, organization, there are millions of possibilities for creating your ideal work environment.  Much like any other space, it is important to include elements of your interests and inspirations. These can be photos, plants, figurines, drawings, quotes, or anything else that you can fit onto your desk or hang around it.  Whatever elements you choose to add to your space, just make sure that you maintain a degree of organization to avoid a chaotic mess, which tends to happen in any workspace.

Next, its important to have all of your work materials close by.  Its best to keep them within arm’s reach, as you will want to avoid having to get up to gather things later on, as it will only leave more possibility for distraction. Storage and organization is key for this, as you want to make sure you have enough space while also keeping things easily accessible.

Another useful tip is to keep switching out decorative or functional elements of your workspace to keep things new and fresh.  If this is a creative space, this is particularly important, as introducing new interesting elements to your workspace can help with the mental creative process.  Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery.

We hope that these suggestions help you in creating your ideal workspace, and remember that there are endless possibilities as to what you can do with any area you choose to work with. Make this into a fun personal project which will work to motivate you in your creative endeavors.