Wundertots Review

Wundertots Review

When I had my first child in 2013, I had all sorts of delusional ideas about his childcare. Like many first time moms, I had serious plans to have it all – a small classroom, multiple teachers, video monitoring, organic meals, plenty of outdoor time…

Instead, despite over 50% of my paycheck going to said childcare, I got none of that.

Teacher to Parent Communication Failure

While there were many frustrating moments surrounding my son’s daycare, it all boiled down to a serious lack of communication between the teachers, the director, and the parents. Now I’m incredibly fortunate to no longer have to deal with such things, given that I now work from home as a blogger and business strategist, but the sting still remains.

The idea that there is such disconnect between families and those put in charge of watching their children just breaks my heart.

So when a lifelong friend of mine mentioned to me that he had created an app meant to bridge said disconnect, I couldn’t wait to hear more!

Enter: David Jones with Lite Injen Labs

lite injen labs story

David is the founder of Lite Injen Labs and a father of three, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to creating a brilliant app that meets the needs of parent and daycare alike. There are certainly quite a few apps now on the market that allow for streamlined communication between childcare center and parent, but David wanted to take things a step further.

Thus Wundertots was born.

Wundertots Review

Unlike the “one stop shop” apps that many childcare centers may use these days, Wundertots is a custom built solution that allows the user to craft a tool specific to their needs (and the needs/desires of the parents!)

For example, should a childcare center or preschool be special needs oriented, Lite Injen Labs can customize the app to allow for additional features that similar apps fall short on.

Just imagine how nice it would be to remove the fear that your child is still crying an hour after drop-off! Instead of spending the day filled with dread, you could open up an app and see in real time just how your child thrives, even when you’re not around.

Unique Features

While I’m obviously all about the parent-focused features, there’s also a number of great behind-the-scenes that are greatly beneficial to those working at our childcare institutions. Not only do you get 3 months of back-end support, but there’s a backoffice feature that instructors can use to build a profile on each student.

I love the idea of being able to quickly and easily look back on my child’s growth and milestone achievements with just a few swipes of the finger!

Another personal favorite feature of mine is that Wundertots includes a fingerprint scanner function that does away with needing to remember what forms are due to be signed and when. No more worrying about forgetting to turn in a field trip permission slip or crossing your fingers that it makes it from your child’s bag to the teacher!

Wundertots App Spec Sheet

Invest in Wundertots

This app is perfect for any childcare institution – preschools, daycares, Sunday schools, camps, the list could go on and on. Basically any institution that wants analytical monitoring plus a way to better communicate with their parents should be looking to Wundertots. Not only will it make lives easier all around, but it’ll provide parents with serious confidence in knowing their children have been left in the best of hands.

If you want to be the best, you have to have the best – and that’s Wundertots.

Should you be interested in learning more about Wundertots (or being part of a case study for it) I definitely encourage you to contact Lite Injen Labs at 855-464-6536 or shoot them an e-mail at Support@liteinjenlabs.com.

wundertots mock up image

Do you have experience with similar apps introduced to you via your childcare institution?

I’d love for you to comment below and share with me!

 

Decluttering With Kids: Helping Them Let Go of Stuff

Decluttering With Kids: Helping Them Let Go of Stuff

Every time you step on a minefield of Legos, you probably think “these kids have too many toys”. You’re also probably right, but telling a kid that they have too many toys is…well just try it. Our kids are the first to talk about what they’re going to get for Christmas while the birthday wrapping is still on the floor.

The point is, it’s hard to convince kids that they should maybe get rid of some of their stuff. Their frame of reference is far shorter than ours as adults, so to them, this is ALL their stuff. But as they get new toys and games, there’s got to be some compromise lest your entire house explode like a cartoon.

Going into the conversation in the right mindset, with the right tools and a solid plan will help you immensely. Your kids might be resistant at first, but if you follow these steps you should be victorious in the long run.

How to Get Kids to Help You Declutter

get kids to help declutter

Ask them how they feel about the idea

If you approach it with a “it’s time we give your toys away” attitude, they’re going to balk. Talk to your kids about how they would feel about giving some of their toys away. They’ll still probably be quite resistant, but a discussion is better than an ultimatum.

Address each of their concerns thoroughly and don’t dismiss them. Again, these are their things, and when you’re 5, ownership is a weird concept. Explain that there are some toys that they simply don’t play with anymore, that giving anything away would be their choice and that you’re not forcing anything. This will allow them to consider and come to their own conclusion at first, making it more likely they’ll be receptive to the idea.

Appeal to their sense of being “grown up”, and that letting go of old toys is a symbol of that.

Explain to them that if they DO give away toys, you will donate them to kids who don’t have any. Especially around the holidays when there are kids who won’t get much of any presents, your kids will feel good about helping other children.

Reiterate that it will still be their choice and that you won’t get rid of anything unless they say it’s okay.

Bust out the totes

Once your child agrees, the best thing to do is to get a handful of big storage totes and sit down in their room with them. You can go through their toys with them, sorting them into a “keep” and a “donate” tote. Once you’ve gone through everything, take the “donate” tote and put it up somewhere; your garage, attic or a closet are best. Leave it there for a few months just in case your child changes their mind about something. If they haven’t said anything about the toys after a few months, you can safely donate them.

Embrace sentimentality (to a point)

If you have a stuffed animal that was yours and you gave it to your child, then obviously that can stay. Their first blocks, or their favorite pacifier can still be used for any other kids you might have, so keep them, too.

If your kids are getting into the trenches about a Ninja Turtle they found in the back of the closet they haven’t seen in 3 years, that’s a different story. Additionally if they have a lot of baby toys that hold a lot of emotional weight but that won’t get used, store them in a safe place until your kids have kids of their own. I personally have multiple books that were owned by my mom when she was a kid that she read to me, that I now read to my babies.

Storing – not donating – of sentimental objects functions similarly to decluttering, but without the emotional loss of donating.

Make them into little entrepreneurs

If you are planning on having a garage sale, explain that they could make money on their old toys by selling them. Make sure they know that by selling a lot of old stuff they don’t use, they can pick up new stuff. While the ultimate goal of decluttering is to get rid of extra stuff, selling old toys to buy new ones has a distilling effect. Rather, the volume of stuff they get rid of will be much larger than any new stuff they buy. This also gives them some control over their domain which is always new and exciting.

Establish a “too big bin”

My daughter loves clothes – she changes outfits more than a Superbowl halftime singer. The problem comes when we go to dress her and every outfit I pull from her dresser is too small. The solution for us was a “too big bin”.

Essentially as your child goes to get dressed and finds that the clothes they’re putting on are too small, they take them off and into the bin they go. This can be a clothes hamper, box or (if you’re like me) a tote. The clothes can then be donated or sold. It keeps clothes that don’t fit from popping up when you’re 15 minutes late to dance.

Plus selling clothes is a great way to then re-invest in “new” ones, thereby getting kids’ clothes basically free!

Click for More Ways to Save on Clothes

Give them options for where to donate

The blanket concept of “donating” your old stuff is pretty broad, and it’s especially broad when you’re 5. Sit down and explain the many different places and people that can use their toys and clothes and why. For instance:

– Hospitals

– Preschools

– Family shelters

– Homeless shelters

– Resale stores that employ the homeless, disabled or other at-risk individuals

– Churches that have programs to serve the less financially stable in your community

You can also suggest they sell their stuff like we talked about above, but then show them charities to which they can donate the money. Programs for animals and kids are the ones our children are drawn to, but there are as many charities out there as there are causes to champion. You’ll find one that appeals to your kids.

Enable empathy

Your kids are little blank slates; if you show them that hoarding wealth and possessions is good, they’re going to grow up believing that. The same thing goes with showing them that they can help other people by donating their time, money and stuff.

We’re a family that’s big into volunteering with children, including making blessing bags for the homeless every year.

Most children look at their possessions as simply what they are, and they interact with them accordingly. If you show them that they can help other people, make money or contribute to the housework by donating or selling their stuff, suddenly they gain a new level of autonomy over their lives. You’d be surprised at how motivating a feeling of control and efficacy can be, especially for kids.

Have you decluttered your kids’ room? Did they help, were they resistant or did everything go better than expected? Let us know in the comments what worked for you!

Is Euzema Revival Cream Worth Using For Eczema?

Is Euzema Revival Cream Worth Using For Eczema?

Natural ways to fight eczema aren’t easy to find – at least not ones that actually work. My daughter and husband both suffer from eczema, so we’re always on the lookout for something that can help with the itching and rashes. We’d picked up various skin calming lotions from Walgreens or other pharmacies and it always worked just okay to relieve itching. My husband has shampoo specifically for flare-ups that again does an okay job at relieving his symptoms.

I’m not a fan of “just okay” though, so when a family member recommended Euzema Confidence Revival Cream as a better solution, I decided to check it out. Right off the bat I noticed that they’re really pushing that it’s all natural and traditional ingredients that they use. I’m not suggesting this is good or bad, but it is their focus.

I picked some up and decided to do some experiments to see if it really was worth using compared to the stuff we already had.

Consistency

The first thing I noticed is that it’s got an interesting smell. It’s not bad, but it’s very potent. There’s frankincense as an ingredient, but it doesn’t come across as strongly once applied. The consistency of the cream is something like paste, but it goes on silky smooth without an oily residue. A little goes a long way on rashes, as my husband used what he thought was a conservative estimate and found that it was almost too much.

The jar we got is small, but realizing it doesn’t take much made me feel better about the product size.

Is Euzema only for eczema?

The package claims to be useful for psoriasis, rashes, bug bites and allergic reactions, including just dry, flaky skin. While I wouldn’t want to use it just as a lotion for dry skin, it does appear to be useful if you’ve got an eczema-similar skin condition and need something. We wanted something without steroids, especially for our daughter and Euzema’s all-natural formula was a big selling point.

The fact that it’s supposedly useful for things other than clinical skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis is great. We have terrible mosquitoes around our neighborhood and we’re not without bug bites every evening during the summer. Having another tool to in our arsenal to combat the mind-numbing itching from summer bugs is always welcome.

But DOES it work?

Euzema Confidence Revival Cream Review

Purple and white box with Euzema written on it

Does Euzema actually work?

We did a couple of experiments to make sure it was:

1 – not going to cause a reaction itself and

2 – would actually work for rashes, bug bites, eczema, etc.

First my husband and I both tried it on our normal, non-itchy skin. We rubbed in a pea-sized amount on our arms and waited and had no adverse reaction.

Next, my husband put some on an eczema flare on his face, and this was where he started with too much. It wipes off easily without a gross residue, though, so we finally dialed in the perfect amount. He said the itching calmed down almost immediately and within a few hours the redness had subsided significantly. The next morning it was starting to clear up, which put a smile on his face because flares are unbelievably itchy and obnoxious.

We tried it on my daughter’s itchy, dry eczema patches next and again, it quickly stopped the itching. The areas were significantly less red within a few hours. We also tried it on various bug bites we all had and it seemed to help calm the itching down.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) we didn’t have any other rashes or bites to try it on, but the small sample size we do have seemed to indicate it works!

What’s in Euzema?

There are many natural herbs used within Euzema. First, there’s licorice root – famously known for its use in traditional Chinese medicine. Licorice root is great as an antiviral and really helps moisturize the skin.

Next there’s something called Aquilara Agallocha. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to say that, let alone what it was before using Euzema. A bit of research, though, shows me that it’s another name for Agarwood. Agarwood is often used in incense and it’s bark is turned into a paste for many skin conditions, including eczema.

Another one I had to look up was Trichosanthes Kirilowii Fruit. As expected, this fruit is another one common in Chinese medicine. It has many anti-inflammatory properties and is known for treating ailments both outside and within the body.

Lastly there’s the bamboo extract (yay one I didn’t have to look up!) Bamboo extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties and contains minerals such as: iron, Vitamin C, and calcium. Euzema even utilizes the natural wax of the bamboo to create the base of this ointment!

euzema skin ingredients

Is Euzema worth the cost?

My husband said it was much more pleasant than the calming creams we have. He said they typically almost hurt when first applied to itchy, inflamed skin but the Euzema didn’t and worked almost immediately. My daughter’s itching stopped almost immediately, too, so she had no complaints.

It’s somewhat expensive, around $50/bottle, but the effective dose is small enough that the bottle should last you a while. It does seem to be more effective than over-the-counter creams, it’s all-natural. Given that it definitely does work, there’s plenty of “pros” to account for the cost.

As for cons, I’m not a big fan of the scent and again, the price is a bit steep, at least at face value. If it works for you as well as it appears to have worked for us, though, it’s well worth it. In particular if it works for psoriasis or for stubborn rashes, it’s definitely worth not having to use steroidal creams.

Euzema skincare claims that it also works on small cuts and pimples, and also on freckles by diminishing their appearance. The most useful aspects do seem to be on rashes, allergic reactions and chronic skin problems.

Have you been dealing with chronic, itchy skin problems and do you have a go-to product that helps?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments, especially if you have experience with Euzema yourself.

Hiring an Au Pair – Is It Worth It?

Hiring an Au Pair – Is It Worth It?

As much joy as parenthood brings, it also requires parents to shell out big bucks for childcare. In the United States, the average cost of Monday-through-Friday daycare adds up to a staggering $11,666 per year, or about $972 each month. Remember, that’s the average price tag — some parents will pay even more to have someone look after their child while they work.

Surprisingly, there’s another option, and it’s one that’s just as reputable as the local daycare center or a well-reviewed nanny. On top of that, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as traditional avenues — and your family might get a bit of a cultural experience out of it to boot.

What Is It?

Since World War II, Europeans have been enlisting the help of au pairs to help raise their children. The program started as women began coming into their own and seeking ways to make a living. At the same time, middle-class families struggled to find help because the number of available domestic workers decreased at the time. As such, the idea of an au pair came to be, and it helped both groups to get on their feet.

Nowadays, the idea of the au pair has made its way from Europe to the United States and beyond. Typically, families hire a childminder from another country who can provide great care while teaching the little ones another language or the culture of another country.

Saving Money with An Au Pair

hiring an au pair

What Does an Au Pair Do?

An au pair might, at first, seem comparable to a nanny, but they’ll come to your home through a government-regulated agency to ensure both you and the au pair are well taken care of throughout their stay.

For starters, an au pair is tasked with sharing his or her culture and language with the family with whom they stay. Let’s say you want your children to learn Spanish — hiring an au pair from Spain would be a great way to make sure. These assets are the most valuable that an au pair provides, and they separate them from a typical nanny. Of course, you can hire a nanny who speaks another language, but an au pair makes it part of their mission to enlighten little ones about other parts of the world while providing care.

Work Schedule

To that end, the rest of an au pair’s to-dos look a lot like a traditional nanny’s. In most agreements, the au pair will work for 45 hours a week, during which they can helm the childcare services you need — everything from infant care to cooking to light cleaning can be included. Don’t expect your au pair to do full-on house cleaning, however, as their contract will ensure that they’re only handling child-related cleaning. This duty list can include laundry and toy pick-up, for example, but they won’t be deep-cleaning any of the spaces in your home.

Au pairs are great resources for families on the go too. Since they’ll live with you — more on that later — they can come with you on trips to help you take care of your brood. All of these services come with a longer commitment than what you can get from some nannies. Your au pair will likely sign a one-year contract, so you can rest easy knowing that your employee won’t just quit and leave you in the lurch.

How Do I Get an Au Pair?

As previously mentioned, the state department regulates au pair programs to ensure that both families and hired childcare providers are safe. You’ll have to make sure your home has the potential to accommodate an in-house childcare provider. Au pairs will move in with your family for the duration of their contract, so they should have their own bedroom with a window and closet as well as access to a bathroom.

You’ll also have to provide him or her with a weekly stipend of about $200, full board and at least 1.5 days off per week. Some au pairs will come to America to learn English while they provide childcare — if your contract requires it, you might have to drive your au pair to and from such lessons as well.

Meet with an Agency

A slew of agencies exist to connect families with the right au pair. Most of the time, you’ll post online and share a bit about you and your family. Then, you can peruse available childcare providers — and they can search for your profile too. Once you find one with whom you connect, you can suss out the details of your contract with the agency. Usually, they charge application fees, and you’ll have to pay a bit more once you find the right person for the job.

Even with the agency costs, application fees and weekly stipend, hiring an au pair can be a much more cost-effective option than nannies or daycare centers. Plus, you and your children will benefit from the cultural experience — and you might just make a lifelong connection with the young man or woman who comes to care for your children. It’s a wonder that au pairs are so often overlooked as a way to care for children — now that you know the secret, you might just be ready to find a foreign caretaker to look after your little ones.

 

brown hair girl with glasses smiling wearing a blue shirtJennifer Landis is the Mindful Mama behind the blog of (almost) the same name – Mindfulness Mama. She hopes to help other mamas make more out of mom life by sharing her expertise in parenting, budgeting basics, and healthy living. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

To My Sweet Kindergartner

To My Sweet Kindergartner

How is it possible that in just a few short weeks, you’ll be taking that first big step into the real world? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you learned to walk, with your short, chubby legs and toothless smile?

It just feels really sudden. Like someone should have warned me how quickly this would approach.

I mean, I know…they tell you it goes by so fast, but it’s like I blinked and suddenly here we are: off to Kindergarten.

baby boy making silly faces

I’ll put on the bravest face I can, but please don’t be embarrassed if I cry. Heck, I can barely see the keyboard right now and school doesn’t start for another 24 days.

24 days…I’m just not ready.

But you are.

To My Sweet Kindergartner

There’s no doubt in my mind that you are ready for this. You are so strong, so kind, and oh-so-smart.

I hope I’ve taught you to lead by example. To stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. To know when to speak your mind and when to listen.

I also hope that you’re treated with kindness. To be honest, it scares Mommy to think of you braving it without me.

But I know you can and you will.

We’re in for a whole new “normal” now.

Picking out school supplies. Packing school lunches. Setting alarm clocks (gross).

A whole new normal for me, too. No more being pestered for snacks every 90 minutes. No more brainstorming activities to keep you busy while I work. No more post-breakfast cuddles while we watch Daniel Tiger.

I pray you’ll remember those cuddles, though, when things aren’t going quite right at school. When you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or just plain scared, I hope you’ll think of me and know that I’m sending all sorts of love and strength your way. Always.

Know that when I look at you, my heart aches and shines all at the same time. Because while the trepidation I feel at sending you to school is oh-so-overwhelming, I also couldn’t be prouder of the person you’re becoming.

I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have you as my child, but I’m grateful for you every day…yes, even the days when we don’t get along all that well. Let’s face it – we’re an awful lot alike, you and I, and goodness knows we’ll butt heads many times in the future.

So while your stubborn attitude and unwarranted confidence irks me at times, know that I also secretly smile about it behind your back. It shows me that you are ready to stand on your own two feet. It helps me let go…even just a little bit.

You are ready, my sweet Kindergartner. And even though I’m not (yet), know that I’ll always be here for you.

The Universe has many great things in store for you. Celebrate that, make new friends, hold onto the fun that is learning…and I can’t wait to hear all about it after school.

Love,

Mom

Money Saving Tips For College Students

Money Saving Tips For College Students

If you’ve got an incoming freshman to college this fall, understand that you’ll be crying. You’ll miss them, sure, but college is also one of the most expensive endeavors we engage in. Between books, dorms, computers, food and everything else, your little scholar will rack up a tidy sum.

That’s why it helps to save money in every little nook and cranny you can find. From saving money on textbooks to utilizing student programs, we’ve got a list that will help save your sanity (and wallet).

Money Saving Tips For College Students

money saving tips for college students

Never pay full price for textbooks

Textbooks are one of the most expensive parts of your college experience, after classes and housing of course. Who wants to buy a math book for $400 and sell it back to the bookstore for $25? Wouldn’t you rather get them at a drastically cheaper price and in turn help other students get them cheaply?

Amazon Textbooks

In a move that is true to its book-selling roots, Amazon has launched a textbook arm of its juggernaut online selling company. You can find textbooks new at markedly discounted rates, but you can also find used books for up to 90% off their sticker price.

In addition to textbooks for college students, they also have books for K-12 students, college prep guides, and ACT/SAT study materials. Finally, as we’ll explain further along, students get massive discounts on signing up for Amazon Prime, which gives you free 2-day shipping on nearly anything.

eBay

Another popular place to buy and sell textbooks, eBay will often get you the best price. There’s no MSRP when you’re a student trying to recoup some of your costs, so books are often severely marked down. In addition, if you know what books you’ll need in advance, you can avoid competing on auctions with other students who waited to buy their books.

Go digital

Textbooks are often enormous and heavy, so carrying around a bag full of them will destroy your posture AND your wallet. Digital copies are usually available for most books now, and are almost always cheaper. In fact, if you’re in say an English class and a lot of your textbooks are novels, you can often find digital novels for sale on the author’s website for a drastic markdown. Always looks for digital options first and save yourself a pain in the back later on.

Visit the library

The library isn’t just for sleeping between classes – who knew? Not only can you check out books, but many libraries now offer downloadable digital copies of books. In addition, most college libraries rent out more than just books, from e-readers to basic dormlife things like blenders. Libraries have evolved with the times, proving they’re still a wonderful resource for a cash-strapped college student.

Rent Books

Renting textbooks from the bookstore has become far more commonplace in the last 5 years or so. Renting works in a way that you pay far less than cover price for a book. If you return it in reasonable condition, you don’t owe any more money. Sure you can’t resell it, but you don’t have to shell out hundreds for a new copy and renting can even be cheaper than buying secondhand in some cases.

Online marketplaces

Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and LetGo are all online marketplaces that allow you to buy and sell pretty much anything. Check often to see if anyone has books you need. These are also great places to resell your books when you’re done with them.

The wait-and-see method

Lastly, you can always wait until your classes start to see if you really will need EVERY book on your list. Sometimes professors include books that just aren’t used that much in the class. Other times, they’re ones that you can find cheap or free access to online. Why spend $30 dollars on a book if you can find the same information in your library for free?

Get Free Stuff

We’re not talking about getting free ice cream on your birthday. No, there is a wealth of free (or cheap), extremely useful products and services available for college students.

Amazon Prime

Again with Amazon and for good reason – Amazon provides free 2-day shipping on everything with their Prime program. In addition, it’s pretty cheap and you can find just about everything you need on Amazon. The problem is that Prime costs about $115/year, which can be hard to swing as a college student.

The Prime Student is a free 6-month trial period for college students. After the free trial is up, you’re given Prime at a discounted rate for the 4 years of your college career. There’s not much to say other than go sign up now!

Microsoft Office

There are few programs that are as necessary for a college student or professional as Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, it’s also a very expensive program, running upwards of $250 or more depending on what version you buy. Luckily, college students have the option of getting the basic version for free.

Once Microsoft verifies your status (through a college email), you can download Office completely for free. Check it out and use it to write a thank-you to us later.

Deep discounts on hardware

If you need a new computer and let’s face it, you probably do, a lot of online retailers offer discounts to students. Newegg.com has great prices on high quality refurbished and new laptops for students. Dell.com also has “Dell University” which offers highly competitive pricing, free delivery, and loyalty rewards for college students.

Use Lynda to learn

Many instructors are using Lynda.com (which apparently has been bought out by LinkedIn) for teaching specifics on programs like Photoshop or CAD. While in most cases your fees will include Lynda, they offer a deep discount and free trial for students. It’s worth mentioning because Lynda has courses on virtually everything, so you can learn everything from coding to cooking for free.

48-Hour Flash Sale! Courses up to 40% off

Flex that student ID muscle

You would be surprised at the sheer amount of discounts your student ID will get you. Check with your school and see, but in most cases nearly every restaurant near a college campus will offer deals, free drinks, and discounts for students.

Open a student account

Many banks will offer some manner of free checking with incentives for college students. Even if it means setting up a new account, it’s worth it in the long run. Often if you have a job that uses direct deposit while you’re taking classes, you can find a bank running a deal where they’ll pay you to switch.

The same goes with student credit cards. Student lines of credit through your bank are great for building credit and often offer incentives for signing up.

One last thing, never pay for a checking account. If the bank you’re working with wants to charge you a monthly or yearly fee, or they have lots of little fees for withdrawals, avoid them. There are so many places that want to pay you for your business; it’s not worth your time to pay even $5 for a student checking account.

Schoola.com

Call your insurance agent

You should get renters insurance if you have anything of value, and while you’re talking to your insurer, get signed up with their student discount plan. Nearly all major insurers – Geico, Nationwide, Farmers, etc – all offer student discount programs for good grades. In some cases it can mean a drastic discount on your rate. It’s worth checking if yours offers it, and it’s worth switching if they don’t.

Figure out your fees

College comes with lots of fees. Some of those fees, however, will benefit you and you might not even be aware. Most colleges have on-campus gyms that are included. In addition, most campuses follow a great wellness model, including things like:

– campus counseling and mental health
– nurse’s station or clinic
– career planning and job finding assistance
– tutoring assistance
– printing and copying plans
– computer lab access

Talk to your school and find out what you’re paying for and make the most of it. A gym membership alone will run you $20+ dollars a month, whereas your health fee on campus is probably $70/semester and will give you access to a far better health center than the random Planet Fitness or whatever is in your town.

Public transportation is your friend

The literal worst part of using the bus is paying – tokens suck and carrying around loose cash is annoying, too. Otherwise the bus is clean, convenient, and will take you all over your city. The biggest benefit as a student is the incredible discount for a transportation pass that is available to you.

Most large cities have a “ride as much as you want” pass for a flat rate. As a student, you can expect to pay a fraction of that rate and the pass is usually good for a whole semester. For instance in Chicago, a 30-day unlimited ride pass is $105 but Ventra passes through the various city colleges are often less than that per semester.

Get a degree in being money savvy

College is expensive, that’s a known fact. It doesn’t need to be more expensive than it is, though. Through proper application of the methods above, and simply asking around about local discounts and special offers for students, you can save literally thousands of dollars a year.

If you have a recurring subscription, check to see if they offer a discount. If you’re paying for cable, stop paying for cable and just use a streaming service on WiFi.

Every bill you pay, every subscription you have, every place you shop, check to see if there are student discounts. It might feel awkward at first but if college is nothing else, it’s awkward, so get used to it and save yourself some cash in the meantime.

Oh and for the parents reading this (because – duh!) don’t forget to use Raise.com to score some discounted gift cards for things like gas.

You know your “little ones” will be calling home and asking, might as well load up now so you don’t have to pay full price later! Plus if you sign up today, you can get an extra $10 back on your first order – $10 that can then be used to pick up some tissues for that hard goodbye.

Did you implement any of these when YOU were in college?

Comment below, let me know!