Monday, October 3, 2011

Extreme Couponing- is it really worth it?

Has anyone ever seen the show on TLC "Extreme Couponing"? If not, it's a show where everyday people save hundreds of dollars on groceries all thanks to discount coupons. These people put in many hours of hard work and time to munster up all the coupons needed to efficiently save on their groceries. There was once an episode where a lady bought around $900 worth of groceries and only spent $40! The only thing that I think of when I hear this is, What in the world are typically families doing with $900 worth of groceries? What can you possibly do with 50 boxes of cereal 12 gallons of mills and 60 cartons of eggs? Do they give it away, do they resell it, or do they keep a stock pile room in case of an emergency?

The idea of saving a lot of money on groceries is nice but at the end of the day, what are you possibly, realistically, doing with all that food? Before someone starts extreme couponing, I suggest that they sit and think about what they are actually doing. Are they doing it to "say" they saved a lot of money and have piles and piles of food stocked everywhere at home, or are they doing it in efforts to help other needy people.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Summer & College Students

By: Daniel Avila
As we all know, summer is just around the corner, and for some students summer means vacations and fun, but for others it is time to find a part-time job and/or apply for internships. Teens may be the recession's hardest hit demographic. According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for teens ages 16 through 19 is north of 20%, higher than workers in any other age group. While teens typically have some financial support from their parents, high school and college students in need of summer cash could find themselves without jobs. Consider these three ways to make money if the summer jobs aren't there.

Internships and apprenticeships
Two of the fastest ways to land a post-graduate job, internships and apprenticeship, are solid investments in your future. A lot of organizations that offer these programs don't advertise them. Students need to take a lot of initiative, make inquiries, and approach prospective employers whether there's a listing or not.

Research grants
Get paid to build your resume. Available through colleges themselves as well as through private companies and governmental bodies, research grants can help students pay for college, and room and board while they study. Students need to apply for grants early. Normally students start looking for jobs in April, but for these programs you have to start in February or March. For fall semester, they need to start looking the spring semester before the upcoming fall semester. The best place to start the hunt is within your school. Once students have exhausted options available through their academic department and financial aid office, they can find additional opportunities through scholarship sites, the federal government at and professional associations in their field.

Work-study jobs
If you're smart about picking a work-study job, it can actually give you more real-world experience than a summer retail job. Jobs ranging from research assistant to recycling manager, work-study positions won't make you rich, the pay is usually just above minimum wage, but they are flexible and won't subtract from your financial aid eligibility as much as other jobs. The federal government currently allows students to earn up to $3,000 in income without it affecting their financial aid package. For every dollar earned over the $3,000 benchmark, students will lose 50 cents in federal scholarships and grants, reports the Department of Education. Work-study jobs along with earnings from the Peace Corp, AmeriCorps and Teach for America are exempt from this clause, so students are free to earn away without any repercussions. Students seeking work-study jobs for the academic year may have more say in where they're placed if they can start during the summer. At campuses that empty out during the summer, work-study students will have significantly lower competition for the best jobs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keep an eye on our Debt and Deficits

By: Mike Sutarik
It is no secret that both our state and federal governments have run up enormous debts, and they continue to have large budget deficits year after year.  As students of a state university, we are all affected by the habits of our governments’ spending.  We actually reap the benefits of these big spending politicians.  Not only do our politicians give direct funding to NIU, but they also decide how much money will be spent on our financial aid.  Even without being able to pay their bills, the state of Illinois continues to promise financial aid and funding for NIU and its students.  However, in order for our state to get back on track, we will have to balance the budget and begin to pay off our debt.  This is especially important to University students like us.  Cuts in the state budget will need to be made.  Even though we cannot know when or where these cuts will be made, we must be ready for the idea that higher education could end up on the chopping block.  I raise this idea not to worry individuals, but rather to prepare people for this possibility.  Personally, it is hard to me to believe that our politicians would make cuts to higher education, because of the votes that they would lose.  However, something will have to be done to fix Illinois budget woes, and we should all wonder what the answer is going to be.  Please visit