How to Ensure that You Enjoy Thanksgiving Break

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Thanksgiving Table Spread

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited. A short break is all we need to recharge our batteries before our final exams and get some much-needed home cooking. But breaks can be stressful too. With only a limited time to share with family and friends, you might find yourself wishing you were back at school. These seven tips will help ensure that you enjoy your Thanksgiving break and make the most of your time off.

1.     Set Your Expectations

Before you get on the plane or head out for home, be sure your parents are clear on what they can expect from you. This is especially important if you’re a freshman coming home for the first time since moving into the residence halls. You’ll want to let them know in advance if you’ve made plans with your friends or if you plan on spending your time locked up at a library to finish a term paper. Open lines of communication will save you the anxiety of your parents not being on board with your break plans.

2.     Schedule In Time for Yourself

This one is important for everyone. Even if you’ve had a blow-off semester, make time for yourself. Splurge on a mani-pedi, catch up on your favorite TV shows or go see a movie (even if you do it alone). Without a roommate to bug you, classes to get you up in the morning, and clubs to fill up your schedule, you can easily recharge if you plan ahead.

3.     Avoid Toxic Relationships

It can be tempting to go back to the people you have established relationships with who drive you crazy. This may be an old friend from high school, an ex, or a family member. When possible, don’t let these people ruin your break by giving them your precious time. Limit or cut off all interactions. Eventually, they will understand or change their ways.

4.     Plan for Some Wednesday (and Friday) Fun

The night before Thanksgiving has become a bonafide holiday in itself. It’s a day to get together with your friends, unwind, and give thanks for non-blood relatives. And of course, there’s Black Friday which is sacred for shoppers. But here’s the thing — if you’re not into either type of get-togethers or activities, just say no. Remember that this is your break and you’re entitled to not participate.

Enjoying the comforts of home on break

5.     Enjoy the Luxuries of Home

If you don’t have the budget to pamper yourself on break, you can still get the same kind of feel right back at home. Take a long bath (and add bubbles). Sleep on a comfortable, full-size bed. Bake your favorite comfort food dessert. Watch the big game on a large screen TV. These little things go a long way of refreshing your mood.

6.     Pencil in School Time, If Needed

Yes, we’re talking breaks, but if you need study time, you best plan for study time. Thanksgiving break, in particular, moves fast, and before you know it, you’re back at school taking exams. In the midst of turkey, football games, and shopping, force yourself to buckle down and get your school work or studying done. Even 20-minute sessions can go a long way and won’t interfere if you plan it at the right time.

7.     Know Where Your Priorities Lie

Everyone experiences breaks a different way. Some love being active and busy. Others want to sit around with a book and a candle. Whatever your style is, make it a priority. Don’t listen to what anyone has to say on how you should best use your time. This break is your break, and you should be thankful for it.

Layering Basics as the Temperature Drops

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the jacket and scarf combo. A staple for colder months

The cold is finally here, and we’re pulling out all our winter gear and clothing. From stylish sweaters to chic blazers and coats, we’re ready to rock the fall and winter wardrobes. But a fall outfit can go cold fast if you don’t know how to rock the multiple garment look. That’s why we’ve created this list of layering basics so you can stay warm and stylish at the same time.

1.     Master the Double Roll Sleeves

Long sleeves that hang over your wrist are the worst. It makes you look sloppy and not put together. But this fashion faux pas is hard to prevent if you don’t have model-length arms. Instead of looking less than your best, learn how to do the double roll sleeves. Start by unbuttoning any buttons. Then, turn the cuff inside out and fold back once. Use the length of the cuff to determine how wide to make the second roll, which should be near your elbow.

2.     Keep Your Whites Crisp

One of our favorite classic looks is a white t-shirt under a pop of color sweater or a great flannel shirt. The only downside is that white doesn’t stay white for long. Even if you’re not using your t-shirt or tank to work out in, every day, wear and tear can make this look go from neat, to cheap in seconds. Be sure to do a quick bleach bath of your whites about once every other month or so. That, or buy cheap and resign yourself to buying replacements when necessary.

3.     Know Your Textures

The varying of textures is an important part of any stylish outfit. Pairing wool with wool or cotton with cotton isn’t very fashionable, and it can come across as boring or lazy. Try mixing a leather trench with a polyester tank, a fuzzy sweater with a silk blouse, or ripped jeans with a structured flannel and undershirt.

Cardigan, jeans, and boots. A cold weather staple

4.     Add Layers With Oversized Scarves

Scarves have been making a comeback for years now, but they can’t get any hotter this season! While thin or infinity scarves were a thing last fall, this year is all about long, thick, and tri-point style is what you need to be rocking. The best thing about larger scarves is that you can make an entire layer out of them! Add them to a simple long sleeve shirt or tuck them neatly under a casual coat for a daytime look everyone on campus will love.

5.     Avoid Baggy

Oversized is the look to have this year, but it can be tempting to do too much on a smaller frame. The only way to make loose work is to understand how to balance big and fitted. Go with a tunic style dress and add a structured cardigan with pleats or leather cuffs. If you’re wearing gaucho style pants, make sure your layers on top are more fitted to your body to balance the silhouette.

6.     Fit is Key

No matter what you’re wearing, you need to be sure it actually fits. We’ve already talked too big, but an even worse mistake is squeezing into a sweater or jacket that’s too small. Buttons should sit flat, zippers should make it to the top, and fabric shouldn’t pull around your waist or chest. Before you buy or pick out of your closet, do a “sit, stand, and move” test in front of your mirror to make sure everything looks just right on your body.

With these layering basics, you will be ready to tackle those cold mornings and late nights with exceptional style!

Read This if You’re Having a Hard Time Making Friends in College

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Group of girls walking together on an adventure

You’ve made it halfway through the semester, so it probably seems like friend groups have already been established. But if you’re not feeling the love, don’t worry! Making new friends in college can be tough — much harder than in elementary or even high school. It’s totally normal to feel left out or alone when you’re at a new school. If you’re having a hard time making friends in college, we’ve got advice for you to help you establish a new friend group and build some great relationships.

Open Your Doors

One of the coolest parts of college is that, at most schools, dorms encourage an ‘open doors’ atmosphere. In other words, leave your dorm room door open and decorate. Dress up your room, get a cool focal feature, do something neat and fun with your door… whatever you can think of to draw attention to your space. The more open you are, the more likely friends will come to you!

Two friends after their climb

Join the Club

If you don’t want to be isolated, get involved! Find a club that interests you and fits your schedule. Don’t see anything that’s at your level? Look into forming your own group! It could be tabletop gaming or a group to travel into the city and watch plays. Think of what you love and what you want your friends to want to love too and go from there.

If it’s too hard to form an official club, you can always use Facebook events. Advertise around campus and invite your fellow students to join your group. Once in, start some events and see what happens. Even if only one person comes, it’s a win!

Volunteer Your Friend Time

If you’ve got a big heart, you’ll probably want to hang with like, loving minds. Volunteering for causes you care about is a great way to get out there and introduce yourself to new people. From walking dogs at an animal shelter to packaging goods for the holidays, there are endless opportunities for college students to get together, do some good, and build friendships.

Bond Over Food

For introverts, this may be the hardest piece of advice, but sometimes making friends starts with you initiating it. But it doesn’t have to be the terrifying, “Hey! Let’s be friends!” convo. Instead, it could be a simple, “I’m hungry. Are you heading to the cafeteria? If so, can I tag along?” If you’ve got the cash, you can also ask to buy a person a coffee in exchange for help with a difficult class or to talk a professor that’s annoying you. Food is an instant bonder.

Team meeting for group project with coffee

Embrace Group Projects

Is there anything worse than group projects? Probably not. But instead of groaning and whining, look at group work as an opportunity to open yourself up to others. It starts with being a great partner by pulling your weight, making time for the assignment, and listening to other’s opinions. Afterwards, you can all go out and celebrate being done with shared assignments.

Be Yourself Every Day

When you’re not great at putting yourself out there, it can be tempting to want to change your look or personality. But that’s a mistake. Who you are inside is who you should be embracing. People who can’t see how wonderful and great you are are missing out — not you. Continue to be out there, open to new experiences, and positive and the right friends will find you.

College can also be a time to redefine yourself. If you’re nervous or scared in social situations, it is okay. Chances are that many of the people there are as well. Once you are able to do it the first time, it will feel amazing and you will want to continue putting yourself out there. Soon, you will be the talk of the dorm halls!

The Nine Things Every College Student Should Have On Their Desk

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Female student taking notes from a book at library.

All you need is a computer, right? Wrong! Unlike high school or living with your parents, office supplies do not magically appear. Living on your own means stocking up on essential desk items. To make your shopping list easier, we’ve come up with nine things every college student should have on their desk in order to get through the rest of the semester.

     1. Stapler and Staples

Here’s a lesson all freshman learn real fast — your teacher will not have a stapler on them, and they will expect you to turn in stapled copies of your twenty-page paper! Come prepared by having a stapler and extra staples at your deskside whenever you need it.

     2. Printer, Paper, and Ink

Sure, you could print at the library, but that’s going to cost you, and there’s no guarantee the library will be open when you need it. A small-sized printer can run you around $30 on sale and ink can be cheap if you subscribe to regular refills.

     3. Pen and Pencils

We love the convenience of a computer, but you have to have a pen on you at all times. There’s no telling when you’ll want to make a quick note or write a letter yourself. And pencils are essential for majors that require a lot of drafting or revisiting of work — such as musicians, artists, engineers, mathematicians, architects, etc.

4. Paperclips

Like staples, you need to keep your paper in order or they’ll become a mess on your desk. And who wants that? With paperclips or larger file clips, attach and go. No fuss, reusable, and cheap to buy — you have no excuses not to have a small supply.

Planner with post it notes and highlighters

5. Sticky Notes or Journals

Sticky notes are great for telling your roommate to pick up more milk or that they need to clean their side of the room. But when you really want to get something out, a journal is a must-have. Check out these school-themed journals if you really want to impress.

6. Stamps and Stationery

Sending a letter may seem so old fashioned, but thank yous written by hand are impressive and classy. Grab a stack of cards, like these vintage university ones, for when the occasion arises. And don’t forget Forever stamps from the post office.

7. Organizer

You’ve got the little things down, but what about where to put it all? An organizer for the tiny desk objects that get all over the place can be a lifesaver — especially when you’ve got five minutes till class starts and you can’t find your favorite pen.

desk lamp illuminating

8. Desk Lamp

Your desk may come with a lamp attachment already, but those industrial bulbs can lead to migraines or poor study habits. Find one that matches your style and has the right kind of light for your work. This dimmable, portable one is the perfect size and look for most college students’ needs.

9. Power Cord

While technically for under the desk, a safe power cord that can support your laptop, printer, chargers, and a lamp cannot be forgotten. Get one that has a surge protector in case of electricity going out.

If you have these nine items, and a few more that we may have missed, you’ll be ready to tackle those study sessions and ace all your exams!

Move-In Checklist for Girls

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College Checklist for Girls

 

College may seem far off in the distance, but the reality is there’s only one year left. That means it’s time to start talking dorm rooms. And of course, figuring out your style and making sure you have the essentials ready to go is an absolute must. This OCM shopping list is the only one you’ll need. Here’s a breakdown of everything that’s on the move-in checklist for girls.

Bedding

Truth be told, dorm beds are kind of miserable no matter where you go to school. It’s almost universal that you’ll need a few things to make your sleeping space comfy. The first is the right kind of bedding. Extra-long sheets, comforter/quilt, and pillows are the basics. But also consider investing in a great mattress pad if you’re worried about a bad back or a thin mattress.

Bath

Communal bathrooms can be intimidating, but they’re a breeze once you’ve got the right gear. Of course, you’ll want your beauty products and favorite shampoos and soaps. We say splurge and get the best to make your shower experience more luxurious. What you really need is a pair or two of flip flops, a shower caddy to carry it all in, and a set of durable towels.

Home Essentials

Colleges do not give their students cleaning services for their rooms — you’re in charge of that. This means you need to stock up on cleaning supplies and gear. Broom or a sweeper are great to have handy, as well as paper towels and some basic sanitizing wipes.

Out of Sight

Small spaces means getting creative with your storage. Under the bed boxes are crucial, as are closet organizers that hang on the door. Trunks are great for being decor, seating, and storage, but you can also consider ottomans with storage built in as an option.

Dorm Cooking

Believe it or not, but you can cook when you’re living in the dorms. Most come with a small, communal kitchenette, and you’ll want a fridge and/or microwave for yourself. That means you’ll also need a few basics — pot, pan, mixing and measuring bowls, containers, mugs, plates, silverware, etc.

Desk Supplies

Keep yourself organized with everything you need — staplers, paperclips, pens, and pencils, together in a sturdy box or desk organizer. You may also want to invest in the must-haves of studying, like highlighters, notecards, notebooks, and other portable items you can take to and from class and study sessions.

Technology

A laptop or at least a tablet with a portable keyboard should be at the top of your list; it’s an essential in the digital age. But don’t miss out on other essentials like a personal printer, a surge protector, extra batteries, and a carrying case. A TV in your dorm is also a great addition that will let you have movie nights or just “veg,” and a pair of noise-canceling headphones will keep you sane if you get a roommate who snores.

Decorating

Now this category is where you can have some fun! Mix in some touches from home (like a favorite throw pillow or a picture of your BFFs) and add in some new, adult items like a potted plant or a gorgeous vintage mirror. The trick is to come up with a theme or particular style and work with it until it feels like home.  

Extra Essentials

Some things don’t fit into categories but are totally necessary. We’re thinking of first aid kits, umbrellas, lockboxes, and other frequently used items. Think about what you use around your house and add it to this category. You may be surprised what you need — and what you can leave behind.

Parents Corner- How Often You Should Check-In

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College Student stressed over textbook

Sending your child off to college can be an emotional time for everyone involved. As a parent, it can be especially hard to get into a routine of not having the student around. Setting boundaries and establishing rituals is important in maintaining healthy relationships with college-aged kids. Here’s how you can determine how often you should check in based on your student’s personality or situation.

The Homesickness Factor

One of the most normal phases of freshman year is going through some periods of homesickness. Even the toughest, adventurous, or independent students may go through this when first moving into dorms. Being in a stressful environment or having a lack of familial support only exaggerates it.

If your child is showing signs of homesickness, it may be tempting to increase your contact or encourage them to come home. However, it can harm the student if you tell them that you miss them, increase your phone calls, or pressure them to visit in order to feel better. Instead, ease back, encourage them to get out, and praise them when they find something new to love about living on their own. Set up weekly calls instead of nightly, and help them book one trip home soon so they have something to look forward to.

The Close-to-Homebody

When we think of living on campus, we think of living more than a few hours away from home. Today, however, many students choose to live in dorms not far from where they grew up which can make it hard to determine how often parents should initiate calls or visits.

For homebodies who frequently visit, making calls short and to-the-point will help establish boundaries. You want the student to be independent (and do their own laundry), so over communicating can make them feel like they’ve never left. And it can encourage them to treat dorm life like they are commuting instead of living on their own.

The Long-Distance Students

One of the trickier parent-student situations is when a child decides to live on campus hours away from parents. In this case, it can be terrifying to ease back and let a student be on their own without checking in often.

In this case, it’s important to be honest and have a conversation early on what your student wants and what you expect in terms of them reaching out to you. Depending on your situation (such as if you’re paying their tuition or not), you may be able to call the shots. But as parents of adults, it’s important to remember that your student may not be on board with daily phone calls and video chats. Instead, ask them what they feel is appropriate and find common ground. Same goes for visits.

The Solo Student 

A student who goes dark can be scary for parents. When you don’t know what they are doing or how they are feeling, it can be difficult to adjust to the new norm. But in many cases, a student wanting space is demonstrating to themselves and you that they are setting boundaries.

Using the same advice for long distance students, open the conversation. Ask them how much is too much when it comes to calls or texts. Ask if they prefer one way of getting a hold of them over the other. Suggest a code word for emergencies or a set day to have a check-in chat. They’ll love that you are respecting their wishes and you’ll feel better having a set routine to follow.

Fall Drinks you can Make in your Dorm Room

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Foggy autumn morning

Fall is for warm flannel blankets, fashionable checkerboard patterns, snuggling up by a cozy fire, and enjoying a frothy, spiced drink. If you’re not careful, you can end up spending a fortune at the grocery store or coffee shop on artisan or specialty drinks. Instead, craft your own fall drinks by trying one of these three amazing fall drink recipes — which you can easily make in your own dorm room!

apple hanging next to cider jar

Homemade Apple Cider

You don’t need an apple press or a ton of time to make apple cider. Really, all you need to do is have access to a large pot and a stove to make this recipe happen. Experiment with different varieties of apples and a number of spices until you find the recipe that works for you. We guarantee it’s much better than store-bought versions!

 Ingredients:

  • 10-12 apples, sliced or in large chunks
  • 1 ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. allspice
  • ½ cup sugar

 Directions:

  • Pour apples into a large pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water
  • Add the cinnamon, allspice, and sugar until mixed completely
  • Bring to a boil and keep it there for an hour
  • Cover the pot and let simmer for two hours
  • Strain the apple cider until all of the chunks are out and stir to ensure it’s mixed properly. Serve warm or cool.

Pumpkin Spice Latte in glass

DIY Pumpkin Spiced Latte

At $4 a cup, we’ll pass on Starbucks! This homemade version is easy and fast, and you can serve it up at a party or tailgate! The only equipment you’ll need is a coffee maker, a blender (or hand mixer), and a microwave. It’s so simple and delicious, and this recipe makes 3 mugs so you can share with your roomies!

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6-8 oz. coffee
  • Whipped cream (as desired)

 Directions:

  • Warm milk in microwave at ten-second intervals until warm
  • Place warmed milk, sugar, pumpkin spice, and vanilla in a blender and blend, or hand mix until mixture is foamy
  • Divide milk mixture among 3 cups
  • Add coffee and stir gently for a few seconds
  • Add whip cream and any extra pumpkin spice as garnish

Tailgating punch with fall inspired flavors

Tailgaters Punch

When you need a tasty, crowd-pleasing drink fast, you could stick with one of those pre-prepared sugar-laden fruit punch drinks, or even DIY the typically bland, overdone homemade kind. But none of those really says fall — definitely not like this seasonal version. Warm and full of apple and honey, it’s just what you need for cooler mornings and afternoons without missing out on that more festive feel. Plus, it pairs perfectly with tailgating foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups hot black tea
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 4 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • 3 cups orange juice, pulp-free
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  • Blend and stir all ingredients in large pot
  • Bring mixture to boil
  • Lower temperature and allow to simmer for 1-2 hours
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and serve warm or cold

These three recipes will help you sip on fall flavors all season long, without breaking your budget. Let us know which ones you make and what your favorite turns out to be!

Our Favorite Halloween 2017 Makeup Looks

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Clown with red nose

Your costume is only one part of your Halloween look. Where you should really spend your time is with your makeup. Using what’s already in your makeup bag, you can transform your costume using these awesome tutorials! Which one do you plan on trying this Halloween season?

     1. Basic Pennywise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9sNJhVyYaA

Everyone’s favorite horror clown is going to be the Halloween costume of the year. Getting the makeup right is essential. This vlogger shows how to get the job done and scare all your friends in the process.

     2. Disney Villians

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJfi2AN_rmY

Being evil never looked so good. With looks from Ursula to the Queen of Hearts, you can get in the spirit by recreating your favorite bad girl looks from childhood movies.

     3. Dark Disney Princess

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K1gLHmC7Bw

If you’re going to go Princess-y, you might as well go dark too. These reimagined princess looks will have you gasping at the site.

     4. Makeup on the Go

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a24nYM3tT8

Minutes to go and no costume? These easy makeup looks are so simple that just about anyone with a makeup brush and a small palette can do in ten minutes or less.

     5. Gothic Twist

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SjGZzyN81M

Witches, pirates, fairies, and other Halloween staples don’t have to be so innocent looking. With a little gothic makeup, you can paint a more sinister picture while still looking fantastic. You might even take some of this makeup advice to your regular look.

     6. Shining Skulls

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVgQV6v_QKY

One of the more classic makeup looks is to get down to the bone. Using shadowing techniques and vibrant colors, this neon skull is a great conversation look. Pair with an all black outfit or glow-in-the-dark costume.

     7. Dollar Bill Lace Skull

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shzxWIoQ7d0

It’s not hard to find skull makeup tutorials to fit your style. But we especially dig this one for the low cost makeup and the attention to details. It’s perfectly pretty and fits just about any outfit.

8. Basic Zombie

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7xQEG1JMKI

Zombie princess. Zombie president. Zombie football player. Zombie… you name it! Zombie-fy your costume with makeup looks that is as easy as it gets.

     9. Emoji Pro

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21otnaBvQ44

You don’t need makeup to look like the “whatever” emoji, but for the smiley faces, you could use some help from a big bottle of yellow and a tiny bit of creativity. This is a great costume idea, but make sure the person wearing the poop emoji knows what he or she is getting into.

10. Retro Girl

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dau67xQ7oA

Vintage is in and so are 1920’s-1960’s characters. Get your pin-up, flapper, and hippy vibe using makeup tutorials that match the era of your costume.

     11. Superheroes

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYiF_0VFVD4

Some of our favorite movie characters are the best ones to recreate in costume. This tutorial breaks down the Gotham ladies — Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. You can even find pop art and cartoon versions of these looks if you want to get even more artsy with your makeup!

That wraps up our list of favorite Halloween makeup looks. Hopefully, you are inspired to take your costume to the next level. Let us know which look you decide to go with!

Campus Style on a College Budget

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High-end fashion shopping spree

Staying up on fashion trends is one of our top hobbies. But paying for clothes off the runway, at boutiques, or through our favorite designers has us entirely at a loss. How can you be as fabulous as can be when you can’t afford to wear what’s in? We break down 10 ways we’re keeping our style within your budget — spending little (sometimes not even a penny) on the latest trends.

  1. Throw a Closet Party

We grow out of our clothes faster than we like to think. That’s why throwing a closet party with your most fashionable (and closest-in-size) friends is a fast way to find new clothing staples. The rules are simple: bring clothes to exchange and only take the number you brought yourself. Whatever is left over can be donated to a local charity.

     2. Rent Directly

There are a ton of businesses who make bank allowing you to rent high-end designer pieces. The prices can range from $20 to $100, but you’ll get a thousand-dollar (or more) look without anyone knowing it isn’t yours. For those very special occasions, this is one of our go-to options.

hangers found in closets or thrift stores

     3. Go Thrifting

Thrift stores are everywhere — and with good reason. Many of them specialize in designer pieces, specific sizes, and high-quality goods at unbeatable prices. Make an afternoon out of it, and visit a couple to score some great deals! Find one that fits your style, and most importantly your budget.

     4. Re-sell and Profit

Did you know you can sell your old clothes and then use the profits to buy new pieces? Sites like eBay and Polyvore are crazy-addictive, and they make a great side hustle for frugal college fashionistas with a good eye for what’s on trend.

     5. Borrow from a Fashionable Friend

Find your new BFF: Best Fashionable Friend. Your wardrobe will love the updating, even if temporarily, and you can bond over pieces you see in magazines or on your favorite celebrities. It’s a win-win!

clothes organized in a dresser drawer

    6. Build a Capsule with What You Have

Minimalists will tell you that capsule wardrobes are a must. Build a wardrobe with staple pieces that are simple and high quality. Once you check off the pieces you need, then you can use Pinterest and minimalist sites to make hundreds of outfit possibilities!

     7. Check Resale Groups

Facebook and Craigslist are awesome places to find a deal on new clothing. Just be safe about what you buy. Always use cash. Pick up in a public spot, even bring a friend. And do your research on if the piece is real or fake before you purchase.

     8. Become a Clothing Couponer

While extreme couponing for clothes isn’t as easy as it is for groceries, you can get good discounts on clothing when you know where to look. Ebates, for one, gives you cash back for online purchases. Loyalty programs can alert you to exclusive discounts. And don’t forget your college ID! Stores like J. Crew offer a percentage off when you show it at the checkout.

     9. Hit Up Salvation Army and Goodwill

The time it takes to double check for stains and tears is worth it when you can find pieces like gently worn Lululemon for 75 percent off or Kate Spade dress for under $20! Go on discount tag days for even bigger savings.

    10. Make Your Own

Who says you must wear only designers? Recreate your favorite looks by following patterns and buying a used sewing machine. A class, experienced friend, or YouTube tutorial can show you the basics. In no time, you’ll be designing your own wardrobe!

While in college, staying on top of the latest fashion trends is one of the most important things. Spending within your budget can pose some unique challenges. Let this list serve as a starting point for more creative ways to look fashionable and save money!

Setting a Budget for the Remainder of Your College Career

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counting quarters when budgeting

Welcome to adulting! It seems fun at first, but it’s also pretty risky. There’s a lot that can go wrong — especially with your money while you’re in college. The best way to protect yourself from debt or pesky fees is to set up a budget.

Here’s how you can make the best one possible in just a few easy steps:

  1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you get started, you’ll need your paperwork. Get a hold of a copy of every bill you pay regularly. Some frequent ones include your car insurance, phone, credit card, medical bills, debt to your parents, gym membership, Netflix subscription, etc. If you live in an apartment, bills would include your rent and utilities.

2. Categorize Everything

Then, if you use a debit or credit card, look at your complete spending statements from last month. Write it all down or print it out so you can categorize it. Our most common categories include Housing, Phone/Cable/Internet, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Insurance, Debt. Giving, and Savings.

Take those receipts or statements from your bank and start to give everything you spent a category. Eating out goes in Entertainment. The shoes you bought is classified as Lifestyle. Your credit card bill is in Debts. Do this until you’ve got a full picture of every dollar you’ve spent over the last month.

making a budget spreadsheet

3. Look at Your Income

Next, look at your paychecks, as well as any extra regular money you make from side jobs like babysitting or allowances from your parents. This is defined as income. If it’s not steady (say you work hourly or get tips), round down an average to be safe.

Compare your income and your total spend from last month. Does it cover your bills? If yes, then you’re doing great and proceed to step five. If not, move on to step four.

4. Get a Reality Check

Overspending in college is a huge issue and we rarely fail to see it until it’s too late and we’re short on cash. Now that you know you’re in the red, you need to act. Go back to those categories and see what you can cut. You can probably do without daily coffee or another new outfit in your closet every single month.

For example, if you’re consistently short $100, take $10 off of each category or cut out your shopping habit altogether. Can’t cut anything? Time to make more money with a side job or extra hours!

5. Give Yourself an Allowance

One great way to keep yourself within your budget is to ditch the cards and go cash only. I know — crazy! But it works, especially for overspenders! Having cash will make you think twice about those splurge night outs. And it will help you visualize your money. Use envelopes, clips, or even dividers in your wallet for your categories.

If you’re not comfortable carrying large amounts of cash, you can set up checking bank accounts or a reloadable Visa gift card for your big spend items (like eating out or shopping).

Start saving, even if it is just a piggybank!

6. Be Wise With the Extra

Now is the time to pay down your student loans. If you pay while you’re in college, even a small amount monthly, you’ll save HUGE on the amount owed when you graduate. No student loans? Get investing! Open a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA and save for retirement. Or open a traditional savings account and save for that future expense like a new car or your study abroad. When you know how to budget, you can afford to treat yourself.

Taking the initiative to establish a budget while still in college is one of the most important money-conscious actions that you can take. If you can abide by a stricter budget while in college, it will be a breeze post-graduation. Not only will you feel like a million bucks by having your finances under control, you will be well on your way to saving that million!