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Hidden Costs of Attending College

Posted by Ne[x]t on 09.15.15

The cost of going to college continues to increase year after year and it’s not strictly tuition that is rising. Housing, food and entertainment prices are also increasing which means figuring out ways to cut some of those costs is of the utmost importance. If you’re living away from home for the first time and you fail to handle your expenses while in school because you’ve never learned to manage money intelligently, college can be a time of worry, debt and increasing financial difficulty. Here are some hidden costs you may not associate with college:

Housing

Room and board in a dorm can cost more than $1,000 a month and rent at an apartment can be just as much. Living on campus may look more expensive at first, but you’ll be provided many services you wouldn’t receive off campus, such as utilities and furnishings. You may find cheaper alternatives off campus and if you have a roommate or two, you’ll be able to split many of the expenses. Each school has varying costs, so be sure to research the particulars before deciding.

Food

Meal plans on college campuses can get quite expensive and more than likely, you won’t be able to eat what you pay for. If you have a kitchen available, try cooking your own meals. Also, many organizations on campus offer free food, so take advantage of those. While it’s fun to eat out when you’re on your own, limit the number of times you visit a restaurant. Take advantage of restaurant.com and Groupon to enjoy savings for dining out.

Entertainment/Fun

Let’s face it, we know you’re not going to be studying 24/7, though you may say you will. A night out with friends, tickets to support your team and sorority and fraternity dues add to your budget. Other daily expenses like TV, internet and a cell phone can fall into this category as well. Try getting a job to supplement these expenses or dial back on attending every single event.

Transportation

Having a car during your college years can be advantageous when you need to get places, but it can also come with a few unexpected expenses. Parking passes on campus can add up quickly, even if you don’t park there on a daily basis. If you live on campus, take advantage of transportation provided by the school. If you must have a vehicle, look to supplement parking costs by getting a gas-friendly vehicle and get the best loan rates available to you.

Equipment for Class

Textbooks are essential to be successful in college. Some classes, however, have additional books or a piece of equipment that’s not “required,” but if you don’t have it, you’ll be in a tough predicament. Reduce your textbook budget by buying used books or purchasing e-books if available. Lab equipment may be more difficult to cut costs on, so just make sure to plan ahead by researching each class.

Additional Tips

While on campus or attending events, you may need some cash on hand so you’ll have to hit up an ATM. If you’re not smart about which ATM you use, you could be paying extra just to get your money. With Georgia’s Own having over 85,000 Surcharge-Free ATMs, you can avoid those fees.

Another way to get extra savings while in college is to take advantage of any scholarships that you can, such as the Georgia’s Own What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship. This scholarship application process opens at the first of each year and is available to all members 25 and under attending college.

You can find even more ways to save during college by visiting our blog!

Source: usnews.com


All-Star Guard Jeff Teague

Posted by Ne[x]t on 06.02.15

The 2014-2015 season for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks was a magical season. The Hawks went from winning 38 games and first round playoff exit in 2013-2014 to winning 60 games and making it to the Eastern Conference Finals this year. Much of the success of the team can be attributed to All-Star guard, Jeff Teague. Teague, however, is quick to point out he wasn’t the only reason for the success in a recent chat with us. He also shared with us about his career as a basketball player and how he became the player he is today.

ne[x]t: At what point did you realize that being a professional basketball player was a real possibility?

JT: When I was a freshman at Wake Forest was the first time I thought that if I worked hard enough, I might have the chance to play in the NBA.

ne[x]t:Can you talk a little about the work you had to put in as a high school student to become the player and person you are today?

JT: I worked hard on and off the floor in the gym so that I could be the best player I was capable of being. I always had goals, but they were my own goals and I didn’t let anyone else define them. I also wasn’t a highly-recruited player and my AAU team was full of great players.

ne[x]t: For any young athletes, what’s the best advice you can give them to help them reach their dreams?

JT: Don’t let people tell you no. But at the same time, create your own motivation.

ne[x]t: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

JT: My family.

ne[x]t: What is your best memory so far in your basketball career?

JT: Probably getting drafted was my best memory so far.

ne[x]t: What team or player do you enjoy playing against the most?

JT: Every player in the NBA is good, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. But I definitely enjoy the challenge of playing and competing against the best. It’s hard to pick one.

ne[x]t: How was this year’s Hawks team different than teams in past years and what led to the success of this year’s team?

JT: We had a very unselfish team that shared the ball and played very organized and with a common purpose. We all had the same goal and it was just to win games. No one here cared about individual accomplishments. We believed in Coach Bud and we all listened to him.

ne[x]t: Is there one specific moment or game that made you realize you had a special team this year?

JT: I think when we got into training camp and started playing together as a unit, we saw that we could be successful if we played the right way. Once we started the season, we saw the positive results. We stayed hungry by taking it one game at a time.

ne[x]t: Hawks fans really showed up in a big way this year. Can you talk a little about the fans and how they made an impact on home games?

JT: The fans have were amazing. They lifted us up when we needed it all season. We have one of the best home-court advantages in the league now.

ne[x]t: Who’s your favorite sports team other than the Hawks?

JT: I root for my hometown Indianapolis Colts of course.

ne[x]t: Do you have interests in other sports?

JT: I like playing Monopoly and Uno with my teammates, friends and family.

ne[x]t: If you weren’t playing basketball, what type of profession would you see yourself being in?

JT: If I wasn’t playing, maybe I’d be a coach or work with kids in some way.

ne[x]t: Here at Georgia’s Own, we like to stress the importance of making smart financial decisions to our young members. Before you reached the NBA, how were you at managing your finances and how has that changed? Do you practice any smart money habits?

JT: I definitely know that my NBA career won’t last forever, and I’ve always felt it was really important to take care of my finances. I save a lot of what I earn, and I’m really interested in the real estate business.

ne[x]t: We also speak greatly about the importance of giving back to your community. Are there any charities or organizations with which you currently work?

JT: Through my Foundation, I work with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding. The last couple of years, I’ve made a donation for every assist I had to the hospital. I also challenged local businesses to join me in donating.

Through much hard work and dedication to his craft, Jeff Teague  helped lead the 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks to one of their most successful seasons ever. We hope you join us in congratulating Jeff and the team on all of their accomplishments and we look forward to see what next year holds!


Smart Holiday Spending

Posted by Ne[x]t on 12.09.14

As the holidays approach, many of us begin to wonder how we’ll be able to afford everything that goes into making the holiday season memorable. Gifts and travel to see all of the loved ones in our lives and hosting parties can quickly add up to an expensive couple of months. Instead of it being an enjoyable time like it should, it can become stressful. So instead of piling up the debt this year, try some of the following tips to protect your wallet.

Set a Budget

This seems like the most obvious thing to do, but most people fail to set a budget and end up spending way more than they anticipated. List out all of the items you plan to spend on and set a realistic limit for each one.

Plan Ahead

Know what you want to buy ahead of time by doing research. Then, determine where you can find the most reasonable price on the items you’re looking to buy. Check your newspaper for coupons, look online and take advantage of free shipping for additional savings. Sticking to your plan will help to keep you from impulse buys that don’t fit into your budget.

Shop Early

If you’re like a lot of people (talking to you, men), you’ll probably wait until the last minute to go buy your gifts. Last minute shopping can cause several headaches, including long lines; the stores may be out of the items on your list causing you to buy on impulse. It also leaves you less time to shop around for the best deals. Waiting until the last minute to shop online will cost you more with higher shipping fees.

Be Creative

If your budget is tighter than normal, think about giving your time instead of material gifts. A gift for Mom, Dad, siblings, nieces and nephews can quickly add up so a visit and a card may be more than enough. For your spouse, pick a set of chores they usually do and commit to doing those for a couple of months.

Potluck Meals

While a lot of the holiday expenses come from shopping for gifts, cutting down on your dining expenses is another way you can save this year. Instead of dinner out at an expensive restaurant, host a gathering at your house. Ask your guests to bring their favorite dish to share so that you aren’t stuck with providing the entire meal.

These are just a few ways that you can have an un-expensive, yet unforgettable holiday season. Try some or all of them out and let us know what works best for you and your family.


College: The Ins and Outs of Planning Ahead

Posted by Ne[x]t on 08.25.14

Deciding to attend college is one thing, but choosing which college to attend is a big decision. Many students make the mistake of waiting until their senior year to prepare for and select a college, but the sooner you can get started, the better. There are multiple factors that must be considered when picking a school.

Types of Colleges/Universities

One of the first things you need to know is the difference between the many types of colleges and universities that exist so that you’ll have a better understanding of the school you would like to attend. Colleges and universities are different things. Usually they are all lumped together as “College”, but there is a difference. In general, a college offers education in one specific area, while a university is a collection of colleges. When you go to a university, you attend one of their colleges, such as the business college or college of engineering. Universities are often larger and offer more majors and degree options (bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees). Also, some colleges/universities are public and others are private. We’ll help you sort through the basic types.

Public Colleges and Universities
Public colleges and universities are funded by state governments to give residents of each state the opportunity to receive a public education. Class sizes and the number of degrees offered are usually larger. At public universities, class sizes can sometimes reach 200 students. In-state students applying to their public colleges or universities are admitted in far greater numbers and pay lower tuition than students applying from out-of-state.

Private Colleges and Universities
Private colleges and universities don’t receive funds from state legislatures and rely heavily on tuition and private contributions which generally means tuition rates are higher. At private colleges, class sizes are typically smaller and access to professors is much easier. State residency isn’t a major factor at private colleges as tuition remains the same for all students.

Four-Year and Two-Year Colleges
Four-year colleges offer programs that lead to a bachelor’s degree in four years. These include universities and liberal arts colleges. Two-year colleges offer programs that last up to two years and lead to a certificate or associates degree. These include community colleges, vocational-technical colleges and career colleges.

Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities
Literature, history, languages, mathematics and life sciences are some of the courses offered at liberal arts schools. Most are private and offer four-year programs that earn a bachelor’s degree.

Community Colleges
Community colleges offer two-year associate degrees that prepare you to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree. They also offer other associate degrees and certificates that focus on preparing you for a certain career. They are an affordable option with typically lower tuition.

Vocational-Technical and Career Colleges
If you’re looking for specialized training in a particular field or industry, vocational-technical and career colleges may be for you. Culinary arts, medical-records technology, hair-styling and dental hygiene are possible programs of study.

Arts Colleges
Arts colleges offer specialized training in areas such as music, theater or fashion design in addition to traditional course work. Most of these offer associate or bachelor’s degrees in the fine arts or specialized field. These colleges usually offer certificates or associate degrees.

For-Profit Colleges and Universities
For-profit colleges are educational institutions that are operated by private, profit seeking businesses, and typically prepare students for a specific career. Many are online, but some have physical locations as well. For-profit colleges have no entrance requirements and give you more flexibility with your schedule (great for parents or people currently employed). Some disadvantages include questions with accreditation for online schools as some of your credits earned may not transfer to another institution and negative association with some employers towards online degrees.

Paying for School

Planning ahead for the cost of college sounds like a daunting task. If you’re lucky enough, your parents may have already started the process with a college savings plan (for any parent who may be reading, start saving as soon as you can, even if it’s just a little at a time – every little bit helps). But, if you’re like a lot of young people, you’re going to have to figure out how to cover the costs of an advanced education on your own. With the average student debt for the class of 2013 at $29,400 according to CNNMoney, the best advice for students is to begin saving and preparing as early as possible. If you don’t have a way of earning income, try getting a job in the summer or after school. Saving just $50 a month can become $600 in savings that can go a long way towards paying for college.

Another option to pay for school is through scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships available from academic to athletic scholarships. Don’t worry however, if you’re not a star athlete or at the top of your class academically, there are still plenty of scholarships available. Start by looking at local companies and institutions (such as Georgia’s Own) and then move your search to the internet. Scholarships.com has a large database of available scholarships that you might be able to win.

If you don’t receive enough money through scholarships and are still short, student loans can help fill the remaining void. Millions of students rely on student loans to pay for some or all of college, so you won’t be alone. When searching for financial assistance, you should always start with scholarships and grants, which cost you nothing and do not have to be repaid. Once you have minimized how much you’ll have to borrow through scholarships, grants, and savings, you can begin applying for student loans.

Research Costs
Knowing what you’ll be paying to attend a college or university plays a huge factor into what type of school is right for you and where you’ll be attending. Once you start thinking about possible destinations, you’ll want to research everything from tuition (in-state vs out-of-state) and room & board to books, school supplies other fees associated with each school. A great place to get started on this research is: http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/index.aspx.

Admissions Requirements

Some colleges have certain ACT or SAT score requirements or specific course requirements, so be sure to research those well in advance. If you wait until your senior year, it may be too late to take the required courses or you may discover that your scores aren’t high enough to meet their standards. During your junior year, try to pick out a few colleges you think you may want to attend so that you’ll give yourself enough time to insure you’ve done enough to get into those schools. It may require that you take tougher courses such as advanced math and science. If you take a solid high school curriculum, not only will it help with admission, but college course work will be an easier transition.







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