3 Tips for a Lower Electricity Bill Over Winter Break

by Danielle Meltz, Student Blogger

1. Turn down the water heater

There’s no reason for you to continue to have warm water over break. That price can increase especially over winter break because of the cold. If you have control over the temperature over your water, try and set it on the lowest temperature, and then re-set when you get back.

2. The house doesn’t need to be warm either

It’s easy to forget to adjust the thermostat throughout the week, but make sure it’s also set to the lowest temperature to save you a couple dollars over break.

3. Unplug in appliances that you’re not using

Appliances which are plugged in use up energy even if they are switched off. Unplug any lights or power outlets before you leave to avoid the unnecessary expense.

  Turn Off Lights

Money Tips I Wish I Knew While Studying Abroad

by Danielle Meltz, Student Blogger

Being a political science major and curious about the world, my biggest goal in life is to travel. It’s no surprise to the people who know me that while I just got back from a summer studying abroad in France, that I’m gearing up to study abroad in Tunisia next spring. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to get carried away with being in a different country and not acknowledging how much money you’re actually spending. While I prepare for my next trip, here are a couple things I’m going to look out for.

Planning trips in advance

A big part of studying abroad is weekend excursions, or even day trips to a nearby city. Especially in Europe, where it’s so easy to take a plane, bus, or train to a different country for the weekend. However, the longer you wait the more expensive it is. If there’s a city or a country nearby that you know for sure you want to go to, don’t be afraid to book it into your original trip plan with a multi-stop plane ticket. It will save you money in the long run and you can guarantee visiting all the places you planned on seeing.

danielle study abroad 1

Deciding what you want to spend more money on

Choosing what you buy is one of the biggest challenges while you’re abroad. For me, I would choose to spend $100 to go paragliding, and then live off of bread and cheese for the next week. You might think jumping off of a mountain is a bad idea, and instead eat out every day of the week. Figure out what you think is most important about being abroad, and minimize your spending on everything else.

danielle study abroad 2

Spending money before you leave

Whether it’s trying all of Starbucks new winter drinks, or that new winter clothing item, you probably don’t need it. This is definitely something I wish I had realized before I left last time. Strip down your expenses to what you truly need, and save the rest.

Say you usually buy two Starbucks drinks a week. If you stopped buying them for 3 months, you would save $120. Speaking from experience, $120 could buy you a train ticket, a hostel room, and food for a weekend if you were visiting a neighboring city.

Over packing

I am the queen of over packing. Send me away for a weekend and all of a sudden I think three sundresses, two winter coats, and that pair of shoes I never wear are suddenly my prized possessions. While you’re abroad you will buy things, and you will return with more than you left with. For my next trip I’m packing a week’s worth of clothes in a normal sized suitcase. That way I don’t have to pay for extra weight or a bigger suitcase on the way back.

Ask anyone who’s ever been abroad, the less you can bring the better.

  Hostels

Here’s probably the only time I’m going to say to spend more than you normally would as I have definitely learnt my lesson about booking the cheapest hostel available. In one of the cities I stayed in, the hostel lobby had all of the owners things piled up on the furniture and the whole building smelled like old Chinese food. When looking for where to stay consider two things.

1)      Location

Look for as close to the center of town as possible, otherwise you’ll spend more money commuting anyways.

2)      Average priced

I’ve found that most medium priced hostels near the center of town are filed with travelling college students. Read the reviews and see how youth friendly it is. These strangers will become your best friends in a matter of hours.

Hostel World is a great website to use when searching for places. When I landed in Barcelona I realized my hostel had never gotten my reservation, I hopped onto their website and found somewhere to stay that night.

Living and traveling alternatives

When it comes to where you stay, hostels are a great way to meet new people and find someone to go on an adventure with. However, if you’re looking for the cheapest place to stay, a lot of countries have websites where you can rent out someone’s apartment or a room for a couple days. Airbnb is a website that has places almost all over the world, and you can read people’s reviews of houses they’ve stayed in before.

Traveling has similar options too. Europe has this great option called Blablacar where you put in where you are and where you want to go, and it lets you know if anyone is driving in that direction. It’s usually a lot cheaper than trains or plane tickets, and if you’re learning the local language this is a great way to practice.

Another great website is Rome2Rio, where you can see how much it costs and the time it takes for you to get from one city to the next by train, car, plane, or bus.

The biggest money tip when it comes to studying abroad is focusing on what you want to get out of it. Whether its adventures, food, clothing, or weekend trips, think about what you want to remember when you get back home. You might start off wanting to try every restaurant in town, and then quickly realize day trips are a better expenditure. Create a budget and stick to it. Studying abroad is a rare experience; make sure you get everything out of it that you want to.

 

Winter Bucket List

by Danielle Meltz, Student Blogger

With the weather cooling down, most outdoor activities are coming to a close and some college students may be on the hunt for inexpensive winter activities. After being in Colorado for two years, here’s my winter activity bucket list on a budget.

Ice Skating

Nothing makes me think of winter more than ice skating, and luckily I have two affordable options for you. The first, which is the cheaper and easier of the two, would be the ice rink at the rec center. Not the most magical, but at $2 for rental skates it’s a pretty convenient daytime event. The second option is Winterskate in Louisville. Ice skating outdoors in the winter time makes the twenty minute drive from campus and $7 for a ticket and rental skates worth it.

Sledding

As someone who didn’t grow up around snow, I’ve never actually been sledding. But this is the year for me. You can go tubing or sledding while you’re at a ski resort such as Keystone for a little extra money, or you can join me in my makeshift sledding experience.

From cardboard to cushions here are some suggestions on homemade sleds. And if you want a good place to go, the incline at Chautauqua is supposed to be a pretty good spot.

sledding

Art Museums

Escaping the cold into a warm art museum where you can spend hours looking at local art work is always on my winter bucket list. For a free and nearby art museum, check out the CU Art Museum on campus. Their exhibitions are always changing, so you might have this on your bucket-list more than once this year.

Snowshoeing

Now this I’ve never done, but have always wanted to. Your love for hiking doesn’t have to end just because winter started. You can rent snowshoes at Fleet Feet for about $15 a day and $32 a weekend. You can pretty much snowshoe anywhere you like including Keystone, Estes Park, and Steamboat. Rocky Mountain National Park even has maps to show you where the dozens of trails you can explore. If you’re a first timer like me, here are some beginner snowshoeing tips.

Theatre performances

The CU Theatre and Dance Department has a show this year called ‘A Broadway Christmas Carol.’ With tickets less than $25, this is a local and cost-efficient way to get you into the winter spirit. Since I try to see one CU play a semester, I’ve been eyeing this one for a while and can’t wait for the show to open.

cu theatre a christmas carol

There’s a ton of winter bucket-list activities to do in Colorado, so what’s on yours? Whatever you might fancy, winter is coming and so are some of the best activities Colorado has to offer.

Visit the CU Money Sense Holiday Table

On Wednesday, December 2-Thursday, December 4, CU Money Sense will be hosting a holiday information table at the UMC (across from Baby Doe's) from 11:00am-1:00pm. Students can stop by our table to pick up a holiday budget, shopping and planning guide, and events calendar. We're also giving away free mini gift bags for signing up for our monthly e-newsletter. Additionally, students can enter to win a holiday gift bag filled with gift cards, books, CU apparel, and more! Let us help you get organized this holiday season--and maybe help you save some money, too!

Holiday Tabling

Holiday Tabling enter to win sign

Happy Holidays!

Tips for how to save on Thanksgiving

by Danielle Meltz, Student Blogger

Thanksgiving is the holiday everyone’s stomachs look forward to…and everyone’s wallets dread. Whether you and your roommates are planning on making a dinner together this year or your returning home to the family, here are a couple tips to help save some money on this year’s Thanksgiving:

Food

Turkey vs no turkey

The ideal image of a Thanksgiving dinner generally revolves around a HUGE turkey. But is it really worth it? From buying right turkey (free range? organic?), making room in your fridge for it, defrosting it, and then cooking it for hours, there’s a lot of work that goes into a turkey. Perhaps this year trying a ham, roast beef, or a couple small chickens will make the dinner a lot easier—and more enjoyable.

Buy what’s in season

Asparagus might be a family tradition, but it’s nowhere near the season for them. Buying vegetables that are in season will not only save you money, but they taste better. Not to mention the option of canned or frozen goods. Pumpkin in a can is cheap and saves time, as is buying your ingredients in bulk.

What you can’t craft, eat

I’m definitely not the craftiest person around, but from hand shaped turkeys to eccentric turkey decorated cookies, the fall options are endless. Crafting edible goods allows you to worry less about perfecting them, and look forward more to eating them. And eating is such a large part of Thanksgiving.  happy thanksgiving with turkey cookie

Activities

Get rid of the Black Friday tradition

As much as it sounds like a great idea to save some money, waiting outside in the cold and then dealing with hundreds of shoppers probably isn’t what you want to be doing after a day of giving thanks. Cyber Monday is where I did my shopping last year, and it was well worth it. Anything you can find in a store, you can find from the comfort of your own home while you snack on some thanksgiving leftovers.

Avoid the mall in general

Thanksgiving break is a great time for families to spend time together. Instead of spending money at the mall, maybe get the family together and watch the Macy’s Parade, play touch football, or volunteer at a soup kitchen.

And finally, with all the pressure of having the perfect thanksgiving, try and remember what the day is really about. If eating Chinese takeout with your roommate in your dorm room constitutes as the perfect thanksgiving, go for it!

Relax and have fun with Thanksgiving this year, it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Pumpkin Pie with Pastry Leaf Crust