Month: April 2014

Summer Fun on the Cheap!

By: Vincent Mortensen

Spring Semester is finally over which means the summer fun can officially start! If you’re a starving college kid like me, every penny counts when it comes to entertainment during the break. Here are five different ways you can save money while having a great time!

1. Use the Utah Wilderness Wisely – We Utahn’s have been blessed with some of the best outdoor activities due to our beautiful mountains, crystal clear lakes, and stunning deserts (if you want to travel south). Take the opportunity to go hiking or biking with your friends. I am a firm believer in creating memories with friends, regardless of how much the activity will cost.

2. Free entertainment in the Salt Lake City Area – Salt Lake City holds a bunch of different free or inexpensive activities during the summer months including farmer’s markets, the Twilight Concert Series (http://www.twilightconcertseries.com/), and more. If you take the time to do a little research, you’ll be surprised what events you can find that are little or no cost to you.

3. Go on a “Staycation” – Skip Disneyland this summer. Instead, explore what Utah or surrounding states has to offer. Take an overnight trip to Park City, drive north to Crystal Hot Springs, or take that hiking trip with friends mentioned above. Not only will you have a great time, you’ll save a lot of money in the process.

4. Summer Sports Leagues – Summertime is the best time to play your favorite sport with your friends or some new people. For example, Beehive Sport and Social Club offers a wide variety of summer sports including sand volleyball, flag football, kickball and dodge ball for as low as $50 a player. Considering how many games you play, this is a great deal. For more information, visit http://www.beehivesports.com/.

5. Hold a Block Party – Block Parties have gone the way of the Dodo Bird. No-one does them anymore. No-one except you! Invite your neighbors on your street, in your apartment complex, or wherever to a potluck, games, and other forms of entertainment. If everyone brings a dish and one game idea, you will connect and even meet some of your neighbors in a friendly atmosphere.

When I was younger, I lived near a cul-de-sac that had a party annually. To this day, it is one of my fondest memories. I played basketball, hanged with neighbor kids I rarely saw, and ate some great food in the process (there was an elderly women that always made the best cake!)

Throw a Block Party and meet your neighbors!

Throw a Block Party and meet your neighbors!

Many people believe summertime activities have to be pricey to be fun. Of course that’s not the case. If none of the above ideas interest you, do some research and find free or inexpensive activities that you love!

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Finals Week Stress

David goes to dentist--finals

With finals coming up many of us are going to be very stressed for the next couple of weeks. When we get stressed we tend to spend most of our money and break our budgets. Yes, I am talking about stress spending. Here are a few tips you can use to help get you through this stressful time while keeping up your budget!
1. With the weather getting nicer and warmer outside give yourself a break from studying and go outside. To save some money just go on a walk around your block, find a nice hike or if you’re a runner find a new place to run. There are so many things we can do outside to relieve some stress without breaking your budget this finals week.
2. Study with friends. Rather than paying for a tutor to help understand that tricky material you cannot seem to wrap your head around don’t be shy and ask some classmates to join a study group. Studying with other students benefits everyone involved, whether you’re the one helping them understand or vice versa you are getting practice by teaching someone or being retaught the material.
3. Break up your study sessions. It has been a proven fact that longer study sessions (let’s be honest those night before cram sessions) are not as beneficial as the quick 1 hour study sessions throughout the week. I know this one doesn’t have a lot to do with finances but I thought it is just a good thing to know.
4. Do the grocery shopping early before your finals week so you are not tempted to over spend during the week. Buy foods that you know will help you study and help concur your cravings through the week. By going to the grocery store and planning your meals ahead of time you can also save yourself trips to those fast-food places we turn to during stressful times.
5. I know it is a cliché but just step back breathe. Close your eyes inhale and exhale deep breathes for ten seconds clearing your thoughts can relieve some stress. This doesn’t cost you anything and can give you just the right amount of motivation to finish what you’re doing feeling much less stressed.

Finals Baby
So good luck with finals everyone! I wish you all the best for a less stressful week and happy studying!

Facts You Didn’t Know About Taxes

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Facts You Didn’t Know About Taxes

            We are all taxpayers here in the United States and with April 15th coming closer and closer, I thought I would give you guys some random information about those taxes you are paying!

  1. Nobody really knows the U.S. tax code because it is nearly four million words long! That is equivalent to about 5,000 single-spaced, 12pt font pages! Nobody has time to study all of those tax laws.
  2. With taxes, there really is no black and white. Thousands of people over estimate will thousands underestimate their return. According to Money Magazine, when 50 tax professionals were asked to file the exact same return, they came up with about 50 different answers! So don’t be too worried about making a huge mistake
  3. What would you think is the third highest tax in the United States? It is actually cigarette tax! I guess all of us Americans are a bunch of smokers!
  4. Everyone is dreading April 15th, in fact there are more traffic accidents on and around that dismal day! Be careful when you are making that hurried trip to the post office!
  5. Although it seems like you have been paying taxes for an eternity, Americans only started paying taxes at the end of the 18th century and only on land property. Lucky them… Personal income taxation arose when the government needed money for the civil war.
  6. Hard copies of anything nowadays are very outdated, especially for tax returns. About 20% of hard copy returns have errors in them will eFiling returns only have 1%!
  7. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a pretty important organization to the U.S. but the IRS actually has more people working for them! Go taxes!

 

***Alright, these facts aren’t necessarily important but they sure are interesting!