Category: Money

Why You Should Be Thinking About Your Financial Future Now

It’s never too early to start thinking about your financial future. Even if you are a teen who is still in the process of figuring out what you want to do with your life, there are reasons why you need to start planning now. By beginning to think about your financial future, it’s possible to ensure the money is there when you need it. Investopedia provides some basics that you can start to employ right this minute and be secure all of your life.

financial future planning

Creating and Reaching Financial Goals

One reason why you need to start planning now has to do with goal setting. It’s up to you to decide what those goals may be. Perhaps you would like to own a home by the time you’re 30. Maybe you want to pursue a higher degree, like a doctorate. Start by learning how to set goals, including how to go about securing the resources to reach them. You may have to adjust or refine those goals as you get older, but that’s much different from having none at all.

Reserving Funds for Major Expenses

Another good reason why you need to start planning now for your financial future has to do with making significant purchases when you grow up. A home, a car, college, and even retirement are major investments that require cash. According to Your Quest, money management is more important than ever for young teens to learn, as retirement keeps becomes more and more expensive. Report indicate that Americans are living longer than they used to, and thus are needing more money in retirement funds to sustain themselves (sometimes needing up to 38 years of funds or more). Even if those expenses feel years away, now is the time to learn how to create a budget and live within your means. Make sure the budget includes line items specifically for each major expense.

Set goals for how much to tuck away each paycheck and stick with it. Remember to include a line item for emergency funds, since you never know what could happen. Along with watching the funds grow, you’ll learn a lot about avoiding overspending and stop yourself from going into debt.

Setting Up Savings and Investment Accounts

When you have at least a few goals for the future, brainstorm how you can begin working toward them now. On the financial front, this means learning to save money now and possibly invest in some manner. Hands on Banking reinforces, “opening a savings account is easier than ever before. All you’ll really need are forms of identification and a little bit of money to start your account with. Once that’s done, you can start planning more effectively for your future.” Start with simple plans like opening a savings account, then move on to setting up a certificate of deposit. The goal is to put mechanisms in place that allow you to earn interest on the money that you save.

In time, you will be old enough to make investments. Start with safe ones that are highly likely to earn some sort of return. As you become more comfortable with the market, it’s okay to allocate some of your money to options with higher risk and a chance for a higher return. As long as you maintain a solid financial cushion and learn not to invest more than you can afford to lose, you’ll be okay.

Ultimately, the habits you develop now make it possible to maintain financial well being and make life a little easier. As you accumulate wealth and achieve your goals, there will always be one more to set and reach. With your sound skills, there will always be a way to get where you want to go. Think about your finanical future today!

Six Summer Jobs You Won’t Find at the Mall

For teenagers, getting a job for extra cash during the summer is considered part of growing up. A summer job is a great opportunity to earn extra cash and gain valuable skills that are applicable to the real world and hopefully future careers. In fact, many businesses are looking for seasonal workers to lend a hand in stocking shelves, bagging groceries, or providing customer support. If you want to branch out from the regular teen work, here are a few summer job options to consider this year.

Becoming a Neighborhood House Sitter

If parents are out for the night, they will need someone to watch over the kids or any pets the family has. Teenagers often take advantage or babysitting gigs, house-sitting, and similar work. You’ll have to know how to prepare a few meals, take care of regular cleaning and home maintenance. You may be asked to watch the pets or take them out for a walk occasionally. Advertise your services at local community or neighborhood bulletins or social media sites.

Working as a Summer Camp Counselor

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts both host summer camps for kids, full of fun activities such as roasting marshmallows or learning different first aid and survival skills. As a camp counselor you can help teach basic survival skills or creative arts and crafts to children, so they have a memorable summer, even when their parents are not around. Make sure to invest in a good camping blanket to stay cozy and warm.

Working Part-Time as a Barista

Many cafes are looking for part-time servers to mix drinks during the peak summer season at local restaurants or resorts. Teenagers can learn to provide customer service by taking orders and maintaining a positive attitude while they serve food or drinks. Here you can also learn valuable retail skills like working a cash register or organizing backroom supplies.

Landscaping or Mowing Lawns

If a neighbor doesn’t have the time to mow the lawn, they often pay teenagers to do it for them. Teens might also water the garden, plant seeds, paint the fence, or pour fertilizer onto wilting plants. Learning outdoor and yard skills are great not just for everyday life, but for future jobs as well. If you don’t want to do the dirty work, you can also find lots of summer sales jobs, getting people pest control, sprinkler work, and other outdoor work.

Administrative Assistant Job

Office jobs are a dime a dozen. Most companies and hospitals require someone to be at the front desk to greet customers or help them book an appointment with a busy specialist. Their responsibilities include answering phone calls, filing legal paperwork, or inputting data using Excel spreadsheets. If you know how to do a few basics on the computer and are already organized, these kinds of part-time reception work could be perfect for spring boarding into office work after school.

Teenagers have to think outside the box if they want to find a summer job. They can design T-shirts, build a website, or even work at the local gas station. There are many part-time jobs available for inexperienced high schoolers, but the ones mentioned before are definitely a great start.

6 Ways to Make Bank While Still in High School

Many famous entrepreneurs got their start at an early age. They often cite starting a service based business or online shop as their first venture. Even if you aren’t aiming to become a CEO in the near future, earning some extra cash on the side can allow you to save for items or experiences without relying on your parents. Parents may be inclined to veto certain purchases or outings, but they are generally more likely to support their children’s choices if the student has shown discipline and maturity in earning and saving responsibly.

There aren’t as many options for high school students to earn as there are for college graduates working full-time, but don’t let that discourage you. There are also many opportunities available for high school students that aren’t readily taken on by adults.

Sales

When brainstorming business ideas, make sure you are adhering to all school rules and laws. Selling gum, candy or baked goods is a common suggestion for teens who want to make money. However, many schools have policies in place that prevent anyone besides the school from selling food on campus. In some cases, you won’t get in trouble, but your parents can be held responsible. Networking with family and friends and selling security cameras or MLM products such as doTERRA oils or Mary Kay products can be highly lucrative.

House and Property Care

High school students are very capable of doing most household tasks like cooking and cleaning. In many families, each member is expected to perform certain chores without pay. But it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can pick up more than your assigned share in order to make some extra cash. With your parents’ permission, you can also offer these services to neighbors. You can also add services like mowing lawns, helping with household technology (setting up new purchases, troubleshooting computers, etc), and driving errands (if you have a license).

Academics

You can profit from the work you do in your own classes. You can offer tutoring in classes you have already completed and done well in. You can also sell notes and study guides you have created (just make sure they don’t break any academic rules your school has). You can make multiply your business by offering these services to groups.

Use Your Skills

Think about what you enjoy and what you’re good at. This could be typing or computer activities, art, etc. Think of how you can profit from these skills and/or do a little research to see what you come up with. Many online sites will pay on a per-job basis for things like transcription (listening to an audio file and typing what you hear), translation, data entry (for example, re-typing a page of text that has been scanned from handwritten notes or a pdf), and more. You can generate sales by making a website or contributing to a blog that already exists.

Retail / Food

Part-time jobs like dishwashing and folding clothes are common for people who are still in school. These jobs tend to pay less per hour than other opportunities mentioned in this article and they can be stressful since you are working for a real company. However, the benefits are a steady paycheck without having to set-up your own client base or online shop, as well as a solid role to add to your resume.

Work for Someone You Know

Chances are, someone you know has a business they could use some help with. It could be a friend, a family member, a friend’s parent or a parent’s friend. By looking within your own social network, you may find an opportunity that no one else knows about. Working at a real company can give you great insight into what type of work you may or may not like to take on after high school.

If you’re like me, you crave independence. Your age doesn’t need to be an obstacle to getting a head start on your financial success. Financial coach Chris Hogan says “There’s no present like time.” The sooner you can start raking in the dough, the sooner you can learn how that process works, which will set you up for decades to come.

5 Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt

Let’s have a moment of real talk real quick. Student debt is absolutely crippling young people in this country. Up-and-coming members of the workforce suffer from massive amounts of debt that will keep them from truly relaxing for decades upon graduation—constantly struggling and worrying about making that next payment. What’s worse – while a chapter 13 can help you avoid a foreclosure or repossession (Want A Fresh Start, LLC), student loans are not bankruptible. They’re not going away.

We’ve compiled the best strategies for avoiding debt—you know debt, it’s the kind of crippling thing that makes a grown man cry himself to sleep every night.

1- Look for Alternative Education Options

The easiest and most effective way to avoid debt, at least of the student loan variety, is to just not go to college in the first place. I went to college, so maybe that’s why I’m a little bit jaded. So let me preface this by saying – I believe in the importance of education! Education is the single most important investment you can make in yourself. However, it is simply not the case that a 4-year degree from a liberal arts university is the only or even the best kind of education for you.

If you’re going to spend money on educating yourself, the education MUST come with useful, marketable skills in the workplace. If you’re passionate about history, philosophy, or lesbian dance theory – I’m very happy for you. A library card is free. Unless you know almost for certain what you want to do as a career, then college may just be a waste of time and money if you’re going just to go, and have no real sense of direction as to what to do with your degree once you actually graduate with mountains of debt and no job prospects (CBS News).

When deciding between a trade school, a traditional university degree, or self-teaching the skills you need, it’s important to follow the opportunities, rather than your passions. Passion is definitely an asset, but it’s entirely possible there is no marketplace value for the thing you are passionate about. Look at the unemployment statistics, growth prospects, and average earnings for each degree, certificate, or program. Research the jobs you think you want to train yourself for. You don’t need to do something you hate, but you need to have a realistic understanding of the opportunities available. Chances are high that the avenue you pursue doesn’t require a PHD in lesbian dance theory.

2- Scholarships

I didn’t apply for scholarships, and boy, what a regret that was. Perhaps if I had been a more diligent student, then maybe I would have looked at all of the dozens of scholarships my university offered, not to mention the several that the state offered in part of its education funding. Sure, I got by with my Pell grants and federal loans, but dang, I wish I could go back and apply for any of the literally hundreds of scholarships available to pretty much every single person who goes to school because there are one easy way to avoid debt.

3- Fellowship Aids

These are almost the same thing as grants and scholarships, but mostly come from the universities themselves. I know that the MFA and MBA programs that my university offered supported students by providing grants to all students enrolled to help stipend their tuition costs. Every school is different, so the one you may want to go to might not offer any fellowship grants to its students, so it might be wise to look into schools that do to avoid serious debt.

4- Student Teaching and Interning

Being provided with your own class and canvas to teach is perhaps one of the best ways for education students to step into the role of the master and begin to hone their craft of teaching. That, and it also helps that most universities offer teaching positions for most of their graduate students as a way to help pay for their tuition, pay for their books, and provides stipends for them to live on while they go to school and immerse themselves in whatever they’re majoring in. Similar programs exist for other professional degrees like healthcare, where you can sign up to work for a specific hospital or clinic for a number of years, and in return they furnish partial or whole tuition reimbursement.

5- Work Your Ass Off

Somehow in our culture we’ve become allergic to work – especially college students. Some young people think they are owed a “college experience” – which pretty much means getting wasted six nights a week at a frat party and waking up in the tub of an unattractive stranger. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. The truth is, students who work at least 20 hours a week actually see a slight bump in GPA, and typically report higher levels of satisfaction with their educational experience despite higher levels of stress (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Besides that, having some work experience under your belt when you graduate will have a more significant impact on your job placement than your GPA.

So there you have it. Some pretty self-explanatory options, but all almost certain ways to help you avoid going in debt to go to college.

5 Principles to Maintain a Good Credit Score: Start Adulthood on the Right Foot

Do you know your credit score? Not many young adults can answer that question, and even fewer know why it’s even important in the first place. Think of credit scores as an entrance exam test score for adults. It tells potential lenders, insurers, landlords, and even employers about the type of person you are. A higher score opens opportunities to better rates, apartments, and some careers. You’ve probably got a lot on your mind planning your future, with a little insight and common sense, you can learn financial responsibility. Here are 5 tips to help you maintain a good credit score.

1. Understand Credit Score Math

A credit score is a three-digit number used to estimate creditworthiness. It ranges from 350 to 850. The formula used to calculate scores vary slightly between different credit reporting agencies, and while the exact formulas are closely-guarded secrets, some factors are easy to understand. Some of the most important and basic factors to maintain a good credit score are:

  • On Time Payments – Solid payment history improves your score
  • Debt Ratios – Keep recurring credit balances as low as possible
  • Credit File Age – This factor always starts low and only time helps
  • Inquiries – Too many credit applications damages your credit score
  • Variety of Loans – Experience different types of credit to maximize your rating

Your score is a total of these factors, though some of the factors weigh a little heavier on your score than others. Know which factors impact your total the most, and adapt your habits to improve your score. Negative history items like collections, defaults, and bankruptcy penalize your result. Aim to keep your number above 720, because the higher your score is, the more financially stable creditors will see you.

2. Check Your Credit File Regularly

The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to a free credit report from each reporting agency once a year. This report contains details about you, your accounts, and your payment history. While you can read your file for free, scores can cost extra. However, there are independent credit monitoring agencies that allow you to see your score once a month or more. While some of these agencies charge a fee, others are free. By using a credit-monitoring agency, you can catch incorrect or fraudulent activity and report it. To maintain a good credit score, always know what’s on your report.

3. Create Your First Budget

Make a budget and stick to it. Following a budget teaches you about your spending habits and behaviors and will help you maintain a good credit score in the future. Before you start taking out loans, it’s best to test yourself using your own money. If you’ve never thought about tracking your spending before, you might be surprised at what you learn and the trends you see.

Carefully track your expenses for several months and look for patterns. Compare your results to your existing income. Never spend more in a month than you earn, and get into the habit of saving money now. Say no to things you don’t need. If you’ve done your homework, you know what you can afford and what you can’t.

4. Minimize Your Debt Burden

From a lender’s point of view, a high level of existing debt makes it more difficult for a borrower to manage new loans and pay off all their debt. This is why it’s so important to minimize what debt you have. If you don’t need to take out a student loan, find another way to pay for school, because even if you can make the monthly payments for the next five or ten years, the high principal will show up on your credit report and will affect your creditworthiness.

Avoid new debt and pay with what money you have available first. If you’re in college, apply for scholarships or work a part time job. Put high down payments on cars and only use credit cards for emergencies. Pay debt off quickly. The lower your debt ratio is (how much you can borrow versus how much debt you have), the less risky you appear to a lender and will help maintain a good credit score.

5. Use Cash Whenever Possible

Just about every commercial business looks for a way to exploit impulse buys. For example, the checkout lane at the grocery store is loaded with overpriced merchandise. Stores put these items within easy reach and hope you’ll grab them, and many people do.

Credit card companies take advantage of impulsive behavior as well. It’s a well-documented fact that people spend carelessly with credit and even debit cards. The convenience of plastic lends itself to high debt burdens, but if you’re handling physical cash, it’s often harder to let go.

With a little insight and some planning, you can keep your credit score high, even if you know practically nothing about finances. Stick to the basics, and over time, you’ll be able to maintain a good credit score and have no problem getting approved for any loans you may need later in life.

Sources
https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/help/5-parts-components-fico-credit-score-6000.php
https://www.gottabemobile.com/best-budget-apps/
http://www.creditkarma.com/
https://m.wgu.edu/online-business-degrees/accounting-bachelors-program.html
https://www.usa.gov/credit-reports

5 Ways to Avoid Bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy is one of the most negative life-altering events you can experience. For teens, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy can last well into early adulthood. Not exactly the best way to start your future. Below, there are five ways to avoid bankruptcy. They will help.

Live on a Budget

Budgets are super easy! At the top of the page, try to figure out how much income you’re going to get this month. Even if this number is the same every month, your expenses won’t be, so make sure you do a new budget every month. Now, you need to try and guess how much you’re going to need for all your expenses. These are clothes, dating, eating out, entertainment and recreation, savings, and any other expenses you are responsible for. Allocate every dollar of your income to these categories, and withdraw that amount of money and put it into an envelope. Try not to overspend in any category – that’s how debt happens! This process is even easier with tools like Mint or Everydollar that will help you figure out your expenses and can even deduct the money from each category as it comes out of your bank account.

Avoid Debt

We’ve done extensive research, and it turns out an astonishing 100% of bankruptcies happen to people who borrow money. Our culture and probably even your parents have always told you that there’s no way to get an education or buy a car without going into debt, but this is just not the case. Most Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck and using their credit card as their emergency fund. All of these things can be done much better by saving up and paying cash. “Building credit” is a scam that has sentenced too many young people to a life of financial servitude. Don’t get a credit card, don’t pass go, and don’t collect $200 in late fees.

Settle and Negotiate Your Debts

Essentially, debt settlement is making a deal with your creditors, and sometimes it takes some creative negotiating. If they are faced with never getting their money back or a reduced payment plan, lenders will obviously choose to create a reduced payment plan. Some creative negotiating tactics work well like asking for a waiver of current payments but agree to make larger ones later. If creditors are calling all the time and demanding money, there’s a high likelihood they’re actually violating federal laws. You may consider contacting Collection Bully – not just to hit back against abusive collectors, but sometimes they can even help get some of your debt forgiven!

Sell off Property

In Chapter 7 cases, the court appoints someone to pick property and sell it off to cover debts. Look at the bare minimum of what you need and sell off the rest. Then, use the cash raised to pay off some debts. Even if you are unable to raise a lot, at least it is on your terms.

When all else fails, remember that bankruptcy is not the end of the world. According to Eric Severeno, “When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all of the creditors who have been hounding you and performing collection actions against you will be legally forced to stop. All financial proceedings against you…will come to a halt.” Whether you can get current and pay off the debt, or whether you need to file in order to escape, either way the goal is to start adulthood with a fresh start. The important thing is for you to change the behaviors that put you here in the first place, or the whole cycle will start again.

Writing a Resume in 2017

Writing a resume is a critical life skill. Even if you don’t quite fit the job requirements, a good resume can get you hired, while a poor resume won’t get you more than a first glance. As the business world evolves, so do standards of resume writing. Below are a few key tips for writing resumes in 2017.

Know What You Want

There’s no such thing as a universal resume. When you apply to a new position, think about the experiences in your arsenal which make you a good candidate for the position. Every resume you submit should be slightly different and tailored for the specific job in question. If you want to be a nurse, for example, you’re not going to use the same resume you used to apply for a job at a video game store.

Get Rid of Dead Weight

A general rule of thumb for resumes is that shorter is better — 1 page is the general rule. This is only true, though, if you can still include the relevant information in that amount of space. Don’t skimp on things like job history just so you can get all of the ‘classic’ resume elements on one page. Look at sites like Twitter for inspiration when it comes to engagement — keep things short, sweet and punchy.

Make Sure You Highlight What is Relevant Today

Listing job history is important, but employers are becoming less interested in what you’ve done in the past and more interested in what you can bring to the table today. Omit any job references that are irrelevant to the position you are applying for and replace them with relevant skills learned during your education. The skills section has become incredibly important in a changing economy, so it would be advantageous to place that section at the top of your resume.

Know Who’s Looking

When past generations put together a resume, they were putting together something that a human being in a hiring position was required to read all the way through. When you put together a resume, though, the odds are that you’re constructing a document for a program to scan through before a human being will get anywhere near your resume. As such, it’s important to examine hiring advertisement for key terms and to use them in your own document. If there are specific terms about skills, abilities, or requirements, make sure to use that same language in your resume. It may help the program that sorts the documents to flag yours for human review.

handshake after job interview

Enhance Your Brand

Your brand is one of the most important assets your can bring to your potential employers (if relevant). Make sure that you add links to your website and (appropriate) social media handles for certain jobs. Omit these in fields that tend to trend older, of course, but make sure that you emphasize your ability manage your own brand. Instead of an objective section, add in the aforementioned links along with a connection to your LinkedIn page.

Make Your Resume Visually Engaging

“Visually engaging” does not mean that your resume should include a photo of yourself. In fact, some HR departments have a policy to immediately reject resumes with attached images in order to avoid the risk of being accused of discrimination. Instead, make your resume visually appealing with bold headers, crisp organization, and a skimmable layout.

 

The tips above can help you to craft unique resumes that will get your foot in the door at the job of your choice. Remember, you are going to be submitting just one of many documents that your potential employer will read, including the cover letter. If you can follow the basic rules, you should be able to make it past the first cut. What you do past that point will be up to your experience and your interview skills.

How to Make Money as a Teenager!

So your allowance (if you get one) is not enough and you want to make more money. Don’t we all?

While some of you can’t work yet until you hit a certain age, there are still other ways to get some extra cash. Read my wonderful list to see what kinds of jobs you can easily do!

First, a few tips:

Tip 1: Do Your Research

Doing your research is important. Nowadays, anything and everything you need more information on can be found on the Internet. Look for sites that will let you work from home or find local places that can be easily traveled to. Try to find something you can do over the weekend – as long as it doesn’t interfere with school. Be careful when looking on sites like Craigslist, though you may find something you’re interested in doing, make sure to share this information with your parents. Your safety is important, and Craigslist is full of weirdos. Better to try a site like WAHM.com, which features a lot of work at home jobs, such as blogging.

Tip 2: Keep your options open

You don’t necessarily need to stick to having only one job. You can babysit on the weekends and tutor during the day. Keep your options open and don’t be too picky either. No one said making money would be easy and sometimes you just have to sacrifice hanging out with your friends to do some chores around the house that your parents are paying you for.

Tip 3: Don’t be a quitter

So you don’t like mowing the lawn…it’s really up to you whether you want to continue doing it, but remember what you’re doing it for. If you’re really trying to save up, then you know what you need to do…don’t quit. Sure, if you really want to switch things around you can, but don’t drop something only because you’re too lazy to do it. Working hard earns great rewards – in this case you’d be earning money, which is exactly what you’re here to get.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty: below are some things you can do to earn money as a teen!


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Any type of “Sitting”

What I mean by that is housesitting, babysitting, dogsitting, plant sitting and whatever else type of “sitting” or “watching over.” Trust me, I’m sure you have relatives or neighbors who need you to keep an eye on their house, water their plants and babysit their kids while they are out for the weekend. This is a great and easy way to earn cash!

Sell stuff online – Ebay, Amazon, Poshmark

Selling stuff online is a great way to make some extra cash. On top of that, it helps de-clutter by cleaning out your closet! Sell things you don’t need anymore. Use sites like Ebay, Amazon or Poshmark to post your items. Take clear photos of your things, write a description for your item (use some great adjectives to describe it – entice your buyers), do some research of how much your item is selling for from other sellers, and then choose your shipping methods.

Garage sales

If you don’t have the time to sell things online, a great alternative is by having a garage sale. Start gathering your things, make and post flyers around your area (careful — some places forbid this) and on Craigslist. Timing is really important! People usually go to garage sales early in the morning to get the good stuff. You know what they say, “The early bird catches the worm.” Don’t forget to also have a lot of change since people tend to pay with small bills and quarters.

Blogging

You don’t have to be a “professional” writer to blog. You can write about almost anything and there will be sites out there where you can post and gain visibility. Do your research on sites that will pay you for your creativity and thoughts. One article I’d like to share is called  “20 Sites To Get Paid For Writing and Blogging.” Check it out!

Tutor/Lessons

Do you have a specific skill that you’d enjoy teaching? If so, tutoring might be for you! Whether its teaching your neighbor’s kid how to do algebra or teaching them how to play an instrument, you can easily make some money.

Background actor

Have you ever wanted to be on a TV show? Well it’s possible. You might not get to talk to the actors but you can definitely get paid to be on set as an Extra. Extras are those people in the background to help create the atmosphere or environment for the show or a particular scene. You can research places that hire background extras. You don’t need experience. If you have different skills and talents, they’ll definitely want to know that! It can be anything from juggling, riding a bike, gymnastics, playing the guitar and the list goes on. Who knows, you might become a featured extra meaning you’ll get paid a bit more than the standard rate. If you live in the Los Angeles area, try out Elite Kids Management, Kids Management or Central Casting depending on your age. You will need a parent or guardian’s permission of course.

Chores

Yes, I said it…CHORES! Simple enough right? Ask your parents and relatives if they need anything done around the house. You can wash dishes, vacuum the house, walk your neighbor’s dogs, do the laundry, throw out the trash, clean the gutters, wash the car, or teach your grandparents how to use social networking platforms like Facebook. Mowing the lawn is also an easy job to get because a lot of people own houses and believe it or not, some would rather pay people to mow their lawn instead of them doing it themselves. Take advantage of that and start asking friends, family and your neighbors!


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Kristen_MarquezBy Kristen Marquez.

Kristen Marquez graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10

How To Look Fabulous for Prom and Have a Great Time Without Spending a Fortune

Prom is just around the corner and it will be one of the most memorable and fun nights as a high school student. We get it, some of you want to wear the perfect dress (and the perfect guy)! A gown, shoes, a makeup artist, a hair dresser and a limo can definitely burn your wallet. You also want to continue the fun afterwards, even if its just to get something to eat.

All of this can add up money-wise! But don’t fret; I have some helpful tips for how to look fabulous and have fun without breaking the bank!

prom tips

Go shopping as early as possible

Dress shopping early and on off-season months will help reduce stress and anxiety compared to if you waited last minute to shop around. Don’t wait until a month before the big night to find your dress because you might not find your size or, even worse, you might end up with the same dress as another last-minute shopper.

You don’t need to shop at expensive stores like Jovani or Mia Bella Couture to find the perfect dress. You can still look like a million bucks by shopping at department stores like Macy’s or other dress stores like Windsor. Check sale item items and find coupons to use. Macy’s has great discounts and usually a 20% off coupon to go on top of it. Don’t forget to try stores like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Max as well.

Some California girls like to shop at Santee Alley, the famous open-air market in Downtown Los Angeles. If you decide to go that route, make sure you go months before and go on a weekday. It gets extremely packed on Saturdays and you will find yourself in crowds of girls fighting for the same dress. The great thing about getting a dress there is that you can haggle prices – if you pay cash, they might be more willing to accept your offer. If you find your dress in Santee Alley, make sure you LOVE it because most stores have a no return policy! You can probably snag some great inexpensive heels here too, but don’t expect them to last a long time.

L.A. guys can also find affordable tuxedos at Santee Alley, as well as department stores. Head over to your nearest JCPenny, Macy’s, or Sears. If you don’t want to purchase a tuxedo, there’s always the option of renting one. Another alternative is either borrowing one from someone you know that shares your measurements or you can head over to thrift stores such as Good Will. Who knows, you might find great brands hiding in those racks.

prom book

Watch Prom Make Up/Hair Tutorials

Getting your makeup done can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can learn how to do your own prom makeup by watching YouTube tutorials. It takes practice to create the perfect look, so start practicing early. YouTube Beauty Vloggers such as Michelle Phan and Kandee Johnson have many easy makeup tutorials that will help you achieve the look you’re going for.

Another thing you can do is head over to make up stores such as Benefit, MakeUp Forever, Mac, Sephora etc.. and ask for offers that they’re doing. Most of the time you can make a purchase for a certain amount and get your makeup done for free. This way you will get your makeup done by a professional for free by stocking up on products that you were going to buy anyway.

For hair, you can also look up YouTube tutorials of hairstyles you can recreate. Hairstyle vloggers such as Lilith Moon have easy to follow tutorials whether you have short, medium or long hair. There’s also step by step tutorials on Pinterest. If you really want to go to a salon to get your hair done, try looking on sites such as Groupon to find salon deals. Also, going to a local cosmetology school could save money as well since it will be a lot cheaper than going to an actual salon. Manicures and pedicures are also great finds on Groupon!

One line of products you might want to check out to look and smell your best is GLOW for a cause. The company creates a variety of beauty products using natural, high quality ingredients rather than the synthetic glop found in most cosmetics. The products are reasonably priced, smell great, and support charities. Glow for a cause donates to one of the following causes with every purchase you make:

  • Cowgirls vs. Cancer
  • Boston Firefighter’s Burn Foundation
  • The Red Sox Foundation
  • MaxFund Animal Adoption Center
  • The Gathering Place
  • Berni’s Journey

glow body butter

Share Costs (limo, Uber, dinner, prom pics)

Sharing costs with your prom date and friends is a great way to save money.

First, consider reducing ride costs. Have your parents drop you off or take an Uber (TRY CODE: UBERFREEFORYOU for a free ride if its your first time). For those who really want to make an entrance and drive in style riding in a limo, share the cost between a group of friends.

For prom photos, split the expense with your date. Or, skip the formal shots which can be pricey. You live in an age where you have the technology and high resolution on your electronic devices, so you can even take your own photos and selfies to record your memories.

Post-prom, most students like to head to places to eat dinner and hang out after hours. You and your friends can share desserts and have pancakes at inexpensive 24 hour diners such as Denny’s, Norm’s, Bob’s Big Boy etc.power bank

And, since you are going to be taking a lot of selfies and videos, you need some backup power. Nothing worse than running out of juice when the night is still young (and with no way of letting your parents know you are safe).

To solve this, carry along a Cheero Power Plus portable battery, DANBOARD version. Available in seven flower inspired colors and with an adorable face, Cheero is ready to charge Apple and Android phones and tablets. The 10050mAh battery is equipped with an AUTO-IC function, allowing the external battery to automatically recognize if a device is connected. The external battery optimizes the supplied power best suited for each device. Complete with two port outputs, there’s even room to charge more than one device at a time.

Its rated to charge an iPhone up to 3.5 times. We tested it with a Samsung Galaxy S6 and got two full charges plus a little extra. So this is plenty of juice to bring with you to prom — should last the whole night! And, its pretty small!

Available at select Nordstrom and at Amazon Prime for $39.99 at Amazon.com.

Enjoy Prom night knowing that you didn’t break your wallet!

p.s. Stay safe…check out this article about the X-Plan and talk to your parents or guardians about it.


Kristen_MarquezThis post was a collaboration between Kristen Marquez and Willie Pena (Editor in Chief)

Kristen Marquez graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10

7 Steps for How to Save a Lot of Money and Not Spend it on Useless Things

Wondering how to save a lot of money? Are you’re a big spender, with too many things that you bought for almost no good reason?

You’re not alone!

It’s normal for an average teen to spend a lot compared with what they make. It’s not bad to want things, but it is bad to buy things “just to have it” and with no purpose.

The good news is that you CAN control your spending habits. Follow these steps below for how to save a lot of money not spend it on useless things!

save money teenagers

Step 1. Put money aside FIRST

Putting money aside sounds pretty easy and it can be if you know how to let go and pretend it’s not there. When I say “put money aside,” I don’t mean to use for later. Keep it in a safe place and let it grow! Put away a dollar a day or 10-20% or more of your earnings somewhere safe in your home or in a savings account. It’s never too late to start saving! The earlier the better, and you won’t regret it.

One trick for how to save a lot of money is to “pay yourself first,” which means that before you spend money on anything else, make sure you put money aside or in your savings first.

Step 2. Set goals

Set reasonable goals for yourself on how much money you want to save. If you need a laptop for school, save money and set a goal to reach the amount you need to have. With that said, I’m sure you’ll still want to spend — but think carefully about what you want to spend your money on.

The worst thing is walking into a store and automatically thinking you need everything you lay your eyes on. Make sure you purchase something that’s worth having! If it’s just a phone case you want but yours is still in perfect condition, you’re fine without another one – resist and use discipline. You can do it!

goal setting teens

Step 3. Be realistic!

Be realistic about your goals and what you want to buy. You see a beautiful pair of shoes and you want them so badly! Do you need those shoes so much that you’ll die for them? If your answer is yes, then you’re going to need to change your mindset, because nothing in any store is worth having that much.

Remind yourself of all the times you bought the little things you just had to have – a new shirt, electronics, an expensive meal, a collector’s toy and the list goes on….those little things all add up!. Be realistic as to whether they were worth it in the long run. Probably NOT.

Step 4. Track your expenses

The next step for how to save a lot of money is to track your expenses. When you’re young, you don’t care about saving. I get it. You want the best and only the best, regardless if you can really afford it. One way to curb your temptations is to track your expenses.

Keep track of what you buy either on paper, a spreadsheet, or on a budgeting app. You might think you’re not spending a lot but wait until you see the big picture. If your parents give you an allowance, show them you know how to save and maybe they’ll give you a credit card. Maybe, maybe not.

Step 5. Ask yourself these 3 basic questions

  • Why do I want this? If it’s something reasonable like you need a sweater for the cold weather, then sure, get it.
  • How often will I use it? A sweater can be used all year round, so still a reasonable purchase.
  • Can I live without it? If you have a lot of sweaters already then maybe you can live without it. But if you need a good sweater and it’s affordable then yes, get it.

Be smart about it. Have more reasonable answers than just “it’s cute” and “it’s in.”

Step 6. Learn to appreciate what you already have

Nowadays, it’s easy to become materialistic with everyone wanting the latest trends or hottest gadgets. We always want the best of things in life and that’s fine. But as soon as you grasp the concept that you ALREADY have great things, especially when compared with teens elsewhere in the world, you will learn to appreciate your current possessions more rather than be obsessed with every new thing.

If you can discipline yourself to live without upgrading your iPhone, buying the similar shirt you already own just in a different color, or eating at the Cheesecake Factory every Friday night, then you’ll live happily with what you currently already have.

Now, I’m not saying avoid buying things you absolutely need like a new toothbrush, or shampoo and body wash! This step in how to save a lot of money requires that you distinguish your needs and wants.

appreciate what i have

Step 7. Last but not least, train your brain to wait

Train your brain to wait when buying. When we shop around, we make impulse purchases. Stores are designed to make us buy junk. It’s not fair; they really know what they are doing!

If you walk by something you want, remember to ask yourself the 3 basic questions from Step 5 above and also see how long you can go without it. Try to force yourself to walk out of the store, even if you know you are going to buy it no matter what. After a while you might realize that you don’t want what you thought you needed so badly.

Keep it up, and soon you’ll be sitting on some fat stacks or a nice balance on your bank statement thanks to your improved spending habits!


Kristen_MarquezKristen Marquez graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10