3 Ways to Save Money in the New Year

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With the New Year comes a clean slate. Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions, and as college students saving money will probably be one of them. The thing of it is that we may or may not actually stick to our resolutions throughout the year. So I have a couple of tips and tricks to help us budget and save this year.

 

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Make it a game

It can be hard not to want to buy something that you really want or need to have. So try making it a game: in January, you challenge yourself not to buy any new clothes but to wear a different outfit every day. That way, not only is it a smaller amount of time not to spend – a month versus a year – but you’re also not focusing on new clothes, rather the clothes you already have in your closet and ways to combine them to make new outfits. In February, try something different such as only buying items that are on sale. Not only will you get a better deal, but you’ll learn how to better spot future sales. Then in March, try not to spend any money eating out. If you switch it up each month and make it a challenge you will be more likely to accomplish the goal of saving money because you are never full deprived of buying any one thing.

 

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Make it a reward

Each semester brings a set of complete new, different and often challenging classes. So, think of something you really want and then decide you can only purchase it if you get x grade on a big test or paper in class. Not only will it help motivate you to do really well in class, but when you do purchase the item, you know you really earned it because you got the grade you wanted.

 

Get a job

This one is pretty straight forward. If you are tight on funds it can be beneficial to find a part time job somewhere on campus to make a bit of extra money to save and spend. Large campuses are full of opportunities to find jobs like the library or coffee house. Places on campus are always looking to hire students so if you make an effort to look for and get a job it can be a lot easier than you think.

 

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Hopefully these tips can help us all save a little bit of money this year! Cheers.

Easy Formal Event Outfit for Collegiates

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With winter right around the corner that means colder nights and the last social events of the semester.

Here at the University of Illinois, winter means countless date events and semi-formals. And, if you’re like me and you’ve got a formal event right around the corner you’re probably going to need something to wear! When I look at all the dresses in my closet I feel like I have exhausted all of my options in terms of what to wear. But at the same time I’m so torn since I want to get a new dress but I don’t want to break bank!

So I’ve found a solution with minimal costs involved! To put a budget friendly and super stylist outfit together start with a form fitting black long sleeve dress like this one from H&M. Not only is it less than $15 but also the long sleeves will help you too keep warm in the cold.

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Now, I know that the dress is pretty simple, but that’s the point. This way you can dress it up in any way you like. Maybe go with a statement necklace like this one from Francesca’s. Or if you don’t want to spend any money, borrow one from a friend!

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Or, if don’t really like necklaces, go for a statement earring and bracelet. The sparkle doesn’t have to always be around your neck! Bauble Bar is the perfect place to find the perfect statement earrings and bracelet on the cheap, and you even get 15% off your first order!

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As far as shoes go, you’re definitely going to want to be in heels because that’s the nature of these more formal events. And sometimes it’s fun to wear heels out because they can really elevate an outfit. Depending on the accessories, I would go with either a nude or black heel. Really it’s just whatever you prefer.

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All you need now is a purse and a jacket and you are good to go! Personally I would go with a simple and small black purse that fits all the necessities. That’s it! Now you have the perfect and inexpensive outfit that’s perfect for the dressy events that are right around the corner.

Cheers!

2 Beauty Hacks Collegiates Don’t Want to Miss

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With beauty products being pretty a #1 interest in my life I thought I’d share my two favorite beauty hacks. Yes, I know that there are a lot of so called “beauty hacks” out there but trust me on these two. Not only do they actually work but they are worthwhile and super easy. And I mean super easy.

My first trick is to always finish blow drying your hair by using the cool temperature setting. You know, that little weird button on most blow dryers that when you push it sends out a gush of cool air? Well it’s not just there for the sake of being there. By finishing with the cool setting on the blow dryer it gives your hair this incredible natural shine. I can actually see the difference in shine from when I use the cool setting versus when I don’t or when I let my hair air dry.

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I normally give it about one or two minutes on the cool setting. However, I have to warn you, be careful when you are using the cool button. A few months back I was using it and the button got stuck. This resulted in the blow dryer only releasing cool air. Believe me, I was not happy, as the blow dryer wasn’t even a year old.

If you are in the market for a new blow dryer look for one that has 3 temperature settings versus 2, with a separate cool air button. That way you won’t run into the same problem.

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But, moral of the story is use the cool setting. Trust me, you will thank me later when you’re hair looks better than before and you didn’t have to put any extra product in it. Take advantage of the setting that is already there,  your hair will be softer too!

My second trick is to finish your makeup by spraying your face with hair spray. Yes, hair spray. I know it sounds really crazy but it actually works and it works really well. It’s basically the same thing as using a makeup setting spray expect it’s about ten times cheaper and might even be more effective.

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A nice makeup setting spray costs about $30 and you can get a giant bottle of hairspray for $3 or $4.  Because I use it every day on my hair, I just close my eyes and do a layer or two over my face. Once it settles on your face you might feel it but give it a minute or two and you won’t even know it’s there.

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If you don’t believe me, listen to this, a few nights ago I went out with some of my girlfriends and the next morning I woke up and my makeup was still perfect, completely untouched from the craziness that is sleep. My friends saw and they couldn’t believe it. They wanted to know how it stayed so well…it was the hairspray! While you shouldn’t wear makeup to bed, this illustrates the hairsprays staying power. If you end up trying either of these beauty hacks, let me know!

~Meesh

What beauty hacks do you like to use? Let us know! 

My Favorite Ways to Fall into Fall!

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It seems like just yesterday we were relaxing poolside soaking up the summer sun and now the cooler weather is on it’s way. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to put your social life on hold and lock yourself in your dorm. There are a ton of fun things to do to celebrate fall. Because let’s be honest…it is the best season by far! Today, I’m sharing my favorite things to do on and around campus during fall.

GO APPLE PICKING

I had never been apple picking before I came to college and now we go every year! It’s the thing to do with your friends during this season. Even if you don’t have a car, there are tons of clubs on campus that make trips to the orchard throughout the fall, so you can easily hitch a ride with them. It so much fun to just go out and wander through all the apple trees and try to find the best apples. And because you are buying them straight from the source, they tend to be cheaper too!

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CARVING PUMPKINS

It’s seems to be impossible to not carve a pumpkin during the fall. The best part is you can pick up a pumpkin just about anywhere, so they should have them at an on campus grocery store. And with Pinterest there are literally so many different ways to decorate and carve them. The options are endless! Plus you can then bake the seeds if you have access to an oven, which is my favorite part.

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COFFEE DATES

Pretty much every college girl I know loves a pumpkin spice latte during fall, so what’s better than grabbing your best friends and stopping at the local coffee shop in between classes? It’s a great way to take a little time out from the craziness of classes and just relax and unwind. Sometimes all you need is your girlfriends and a pumpkin spice latte to get your mind off things.

Happy October!

3 Ways to De-stress before Midterms

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With school in full swing and midterms soon upon us, it can be really stressful to balance all the various tests and class work along with the extra clubs and activities. With that in mind, I wanted to share the three things I like to do when I get really stressed to help me relax and take my mind off everything for a little while.

1. Go to the Gym

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Sometimes the best way to relax is to just sweat it out. The gym is the perfect place to take out all your frustrations from classes and it’s good for you too. Try a fitness class or grab a friend and walk the track. My personal favorite is the sauna, you can just feel the weight of any stress you may have lifting off your shoulders. So if you’ve hit a road block in your studying or just can’t talk it out anymore, head over to the gym and distract yourself. You’ll be sure to feel rejuvenated afterwards.

2. Have a Girls Night

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A girls night is another great way to take a break from all the hustle! Invite all your girlfriends over, load up on sweet and salty snacks and pop in your favorite film. Being with the girls is instantly relaxing because you know that you can vent to them and they will listen and comfort you. And in most cases they have some the same classes and tests as you so they can relate. When you all get together it makes for a relaxing and fun evening.

3. Call Home

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When I get super stressed or don’t know what to do, I always call my mom. Even though she might have the answer, just hearing her voice and getting to talk things through with her helps ten fold.  Sometimes you just want to feel like you at home even though you can’t actually be there.

Hopefully one of this things will come in handy as midterms get going! And good luck on all those tests too!

Cheers.

The Best App for Finding Deals on Campus

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It’s really been a crazy week getting back into the swing of things! Classes at the University of Illinois have officially started. I forgot just how exhausting it is when you spend all day on campus going from class to class.

Now that I’m not living in the dorms or participating in a meal plan, I’m on my own in terms of feeding myself. Sometimes my busy schedule doesn’t allow me to come back to my apartment in between classes to grab a meal. Even though I can easily pack a lunch, sometimes I just want to pick something up on campus.

I also try to meet up with different friends during my longer breaks and sometimes we may want to grab coffee or a snack. Unfortunately, being on a college budget restricts the amount of times I can eat out. As someone who enjoys finding good deals, I found the perfect solution for saving money on eating out! I wanted to share this awesome app with all of you that has tons of great deals for the various places on campus.

Hooked is a food app that streams a live feed of exclusive deals at restaurants on campus. It doesn’t have every campus, so be sure to check if yours is one of them.

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Once you download the app and enter your school, simply scroll through the feed to find the different deals. If you find a deal that you want to use, just select and show it when you go to pay. It works just the same as a regular coupon because you pay the business directly (not via the Hooked app).

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I was just scrolling through my feed now and how can you pass up buy one get on 50% off on froyo and free small fries from Mcdonald’s?

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It’s a great app and now I can get deals whenever I eat out so I can save a bit of cash. Be sure to check it out and see if Hooked is on your campus!

Cheers.

Back to Campus Essentials for Collegiate Fashionistas

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Since I was young, I loved back to school shopping! Being a senior in college this year, I have a pretty good grasp on how people should and should not dress on campus. This can vary from school to school, but generally class attire is pretty laid back. I compiled a list of essentials that could work in any collegiate’s wardrobe. These will fit in on any campus, no matter where you are! 

Go-To Sneaker

Nothing says “new year” like a fresh pair of kicks! We all have our gym shoes/trainers, but you don’t have to wear those to class. Instead, make a (comfortable) statement with a pair of fashion sneakers you can throw on to go with any outfit. For me it’s a pair of converse high tops. They are cute, light weight and choosing a neutral color goes with anything. Pick the shoe that speaks to you whether it be Converse, Keds or Vans!

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The All-Inclusive Book Bag

Getting a new book bag each year is like a right of passage. The whole idea of back to school just isn’t complete until you have that brand new bag to put all your stuff in. Since being in college I’ve found it harder to pick just one bag to use all year…I tend to switch back and forth between a couple of different options depending on what I’m carrying to class. The perfect bag for me it something that can fit all my tech gadgets in. Just pick one (or a few) you will get good use out of and is, most importantly, comfortable!

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Classic Blue Jeans

You can’t start school without that perfect pair of new blue jeans. It is super important that the fit is just right. Right now, I’m loving the boyfriend style because they exude comfort and a laid back feeling. They are perfect to throw on for class because you’ll look cute but still be comfortable. Pair them with a plain white tee and you’ll be good to go, check out how I recently wore mine here. With so many different styles, cuts and fit for jeans, you must try a bunch on to find the pair that’s right for you!

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Cheers to the best first day of school outfit yet!

Three Pieces of Advice for Incoming College Freshman

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With my senior year fast approaching, I’m feeling all sorts of emotions. It’s crazy how fast time has gone by, and I reflect back to my early college days on how far I’ve come in almost 4 years.

There are a lot of things I did my freshman year that helped me make friends and succeed in my studies. With move in day right around the corner, I figured I’d share my best pieces of advice for incoming freshman:

1. Get to know your floor mates

When you move into your dorm, make an effort to get to know the people living on your floor. Either go door-to-door to introduce yourself or introduce yourself at the 1st floor meeting. It’s really your first opportunity to meet new people.  And if you and your roommate don’t turn out to be best friends, you have other people nearby you can hang out with. One of the best friends I made in college lived across the hall from me. If I had not been involved with floor activities, I would not have made such a lasting and wonderful friendship.

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2. Join at least 1 club

Clubs are a great way to explore something new and make more friends with similar interests. If you are attending a big school it helps make the campus feel a lot smaller because you have a group of people to relate to. For me, I decided to join a sorority on campus. Though it can be a nerve racking process, in the end it worked out! Joining a sorority gave me the opportunity to build friendships across the entire Greek community. Whether you decide to join Greek Life is totally up to you! Either way, make a point to join a club whether it be a sports club, an art club, or a squirrel lovers club. Get involved, you won’t be disappointed!

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3. Make friends in your major

Having friends as resources to study and work on assignments with will make your life infinitely easier. It also ensures that you will always have someone to sit with in class; which might just making a boring class a little bit more fun!

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There are probably a million other pieces of advice I could give you as you get ready to start your college career, but these are just a couple key things to keep in mind as you anxiously await move in day. Wishing all you incoming freshmen the best of luck!

Cheers.

Also if you are a female interested in going Greek or are unsure if you’d like to do so, feel free to contact me with any questions at justmeeshblog@gmail.com. I’ve been on all sides of the recruitment process and am happy to give advice or answer any questions you may have about the process.

“Revised” Study Abroad Packing List

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With fall semester quickly approaching and my spring study abroad trip still on my mind, I thought I would put together a “revised” packing list for those of you getting ready to head abroad in a few weeks. Previously, I put together a packing and essentials list before I headed across the pond back in January. Now that I’ve returned from the experience, I wanted to make a few adjustments to my packing list and essentials based on what I found was really necessary compared to what I thought I needed before I left.

A Journal and/or Blog

For me it was super important that I documented my experience. Because I already had a blog, it allowed me a platform for my travel posts. Blogging about my travels was beneficial in a couple of ways: not only was I able to share everything easily with my family and friends, but I also have a collection of entries I can go back to and relive. If you don’t have a blog you can easily set one up at WordPress or Blogspot for free.

Along with the blog I think it’s really important to keep a journal as well. There were a lot of emotions, feelings, and opinions I had about certain things that happened that I didn’t want to share publicly on my blog. In my journal I could write down everything without having to worry about censoring it. The journal then becomes very personal, it recounts your true experience and raw stories.

If you don’t want to do both, at least do one or the other. You’re going to want to remember your time abroad and the best way to do that is by writing everything down.

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Photos from Home

When I got to my room, it was completely bare. I didn’t think to bring anything with me to put up as decorations. Thankfully my family sent me lots of cards so I was able to put those up to create a “homey” feel. When all the other girls brought photos from home and put them on their walls, I really wished I had brought some too! Keep in mind they are easy to travel with. Because a photo is flat, they don’t take up much space in your suitcase!

Camera

When traveling, it’s important to have a separate camera aside from your phone. Since cell service is spotty, there is almost no need to have a cell phone out at all. Depending on what type of camera you bring, it can produce better quality photos with more control over settings. I always had my camera hanging around my neck; it became a part of me. Now I have all these wonderful pictures to remember my travels by.

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Clothes for Layering

It can be difficult to know what to pack in terms of clothes. My best advice is to bring options that are good for layering. I found that while traveling you should be prepared for any type of weather. For example, we encountered an unexpected snow storm in Prague when it was mid April! My favorite layering piece during my travels happened to be an oversized denim button up. It was super comfy and still looked cute for photos, so it’s a win-win.

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Gum and Favorite Snacks from Home

Lastly, it is important to remember they don’t sell some of the same products abroad as they do in the States. Take gum for example…it’s just not the same over there! I went over with a lot of gum to begin with because I chew at least a piece a day. Eventually, I was starting to run out and I caved. I purchased a pack there and it was the worst decision I made…it was gross, horrible, repulsive! Definitely buy  gum to bring with you!

Also, if you like ranch dressing or peanut butter, you better bring that too. Commodities like these are hard to come by, and when you do, tend to be much more expensive.

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Those are some of the key things that I’d be sure to pack if I was heading back abroad! What will you be packing for your trip? Happy travels!

Cheers.

DIY Postcard Display for Dorm Rooms

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Those of you that read my last post will know that I brought back many different things from my trip abroad. Because we would travel for fairly long periods at a time, it was really hard to bring back things that weren’t flat and didn’t take up much space in my bag.

With that in mind, I brought back a handful of postcards from places because they are flat and you don’t have to worry about them breaking. I don’t know if I can technically call this post a DIY because I didn’t really do much myself, but, we can definitely file this under room decor ideas!

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I have all these beautiful post cards and I don’t know what to do with them….I took a trip to Target, the first time I’ve been since coming home, and as always it proved to be a magical place. While there I happened to find floating glass frames, and I really liked them so I figured I could buy a couple. They were also under $5 a piece and you can’t beat that price.

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Turns out, they were the perfect type of frame to put my postcards in to display. Though they are floating glass and my postcards are different shapes and sizes, they still fit! The only problem I had was the frames themselves were black. I don’t like black frames at all, I prefer white.

This is where the ‘DIY’ part comes in. Because I didn’t like the black, I went out and bought some white spray paint and went ahead and spray painted. I’ll admit my spray painting ability is not up to par, but they still turned out pretty good, and I can always retouch them if they get chipped.

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The spray paint was only a couple bucks from the local home improvement store, and really you can pick any color you like. That’s the beautiful thing about DIY, if you don’t like a particular element about a piece you can always change it to better suit your style. I like white frames so I chose white.

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All I did was spray the frames on both sides and let them dry overnight. Then popped them back on and I was in business. Overall I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. I’m just glad I found a great way to showcase some more things from my travels in a simple, yet elegant way. I can’t wait to get these up on my walls.

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And for more on my travels check out my personal blog, Just Meesh.

Cheers.