How to Build Your Resume – The Basics

Filling out a simple application may have been enough to snag that part-time summer job at the ice cream store during high school. But now that you’re in college, it’s time to graduate to a more advanced job-finding tool: the professional resume.

Creating your first resume can seem daunting, especially since your professional experience may be limited. But the sooner you master this skill, the sooner you’ll have a document you can easily send out whenever you happen upon an internship or employment opportunity.

When starting out, don’t be intimidated. No one expects a student resume to contain long lists of accomplishments, but you should have at least one or two. It should also convey your interests, goals and potential — all within one page. Use short, declarative phrases and action verbs instead of full sentences and try to keep the tone positive and upbeat.

Start by including your name, city of residence, email address and phone number — typically centered at the top, with your name in larger, bold font. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can include that, but be sure to leave out any other personal social media accounts. This is a professional document, not a showcase of your social connections.

You can also include a summary statement outlining your goals, but it isn’t necessarily required. Perhaps you’re an art major looking for a chance to develop your graphic design skills, a computer science major interested in work as a programmer or a marketing major seeking a chance to work on marketing campaigns. The key here is to demonstrate you already have some knowledge in a given field and are looking to expand it by gaining practical experience.

Stick to a traditional resume format, using a commonplace font such as Calibri or Arial. Save the crazy, hard-to-read fonts and wild colors for your art projects. Sure, you want your resume to stand out, but you want it to stand out for the information it contains, not its oddball appearance.

Next, add an education section. Make the entries reverse-chronological, beginning with your current studies. Be sure to include your degree objective and your planned date of graduation. Don’t forget to add your extracurricular activities, particularly teams and clubs. Employers want to see how you have been involved and what you do with your free time. Skills and accomplishments aren’t the only reasons people get hired. Employers also want to connect with their employees as people with talents and interests, not just robots to do a job. You can also add a bullet point about projects you completed at school. Don’t feel like you need to include every single one, but try to include projects that show specific skills you have acquired that are related to the job you are applying for. Maybe you led the planning of senior prom, or maybe you did market research for a local business. Those are examples of the accomplishments that set you apart and show what you can do if you professional experience is limited.

After education, add the professional experience section. This is the place to list any jobs you’ve had, even if they were babysitting or summer jobs. Include the beginning and ending dates and briefly list your main responsibilities. The idea is to demonstrate that you’re responsible, conscientious and can follow directions.

Including an accomplishments section can help paint a fuller picture of who you are. This is the place to note any awards or distinctions you have received. You can also include any high grade point averages, projects you completed at school or volunteer experiences. Basically, list things here you’re proud of or which would reveal aspects of your character to a potential employer. Try to use quantifiable support whenever possible. If you increased sales by 4% for your sales team over the summer, be sure to add that concrete, quantifiable number.

You may also include a skills section if you think it’s warranted. This is the place to list any computer software proficiencies you’ve used or office skills you’ve developed. Make sure the skills you list relate to the types of positions you’re seeking. For example, forklift driving would not be a useful skill for a sales position unless you’d be selling forklifts.

Finally, take time to edit and format your resume. A resume filled with typos and formatting errors does little to convey that you’re careful and conscientious. Have a friend or your parent proofread your resume to make sure you didn’t miss any typos and to get their opinion.

View your resume as a work in progress. It will remain an important professional tool throughout your work life, evolving and growing as you graduate college, get your first full-time job, and progress in your career.

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What Causes Home Loan Rates to Move Up and Down?

The Federal Reserve (Fed) monitors the U.S. economy and, when necessary, takes steps to address inflationary concerns to avoid economic recession. When the Fed discusses interest rates, it is primarily concerning the Fed Funds Rate, which is the rate banks use when lending money to each other overnight.

Home loan rates, on the other hand, are dictated by the trading of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS or Mortgage Bonds), which are a type of bond.

At the real heart of home loan rate movement is the dual relationship between Stocks and Bonds, as they compete for the same investment dollars on a daily basis. Inflationary pressures, economic conditions, and geopolitical events all influence the direction of Stocks and Bonds.

When economic reports are weak or disappointing, investors often move their money from riskier investments like Stocks into Bonds, which are considered safer. Since home loan rates are tied into Mortgage Bonds, this helps home loan rates improve and go down.

In contrast, strong economic news often causes investors to move their money into Stocks to take advantage of any gains. This can cause Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates to worsen, or in other words, the home loan rates go up.

Inflation also plays a role as it reduces the value of fixed investments like Bonds. This means that a low inflation environment tends to be good for Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates (think lower rates), while high inflation can cause both to worsen (think high rates).

Political turmoil or economic crises around the world can also cause investors to move their money into the safety of the Bond markets, helping Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates improve.

If you’re trying to decide if now is a good time to purchase a new home, visit with our Mortgage Center or call your neighborhood mortgage expert! We’ll analyze your financial situation together and create a plan that’s right for you.

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Mother’s Day On A Budget

Along with the blossoming flowers, the blazing sunshine and the tinkling bell of the ice cream truck come ideas and plans for celebrating Mother’s Day.

Our moms are always there for us, as a sounding board, a virtual treasure trove of advice and to dote on us when we need a little pampering. Mother’s Day, then, is when we show them how much we appreciate all they do for us throughout the year.

However, between purchasing the perfect gift, buying mom flowers and dining out, Mother’s Day costs can quickly add up to a small fortune. How do you keep within a reasonable budget while still showing mom how much she means to you?

Fortunately, with just a bit of forethought and careful planning, you can save big while still celebrating Mother’s Day in style. Here’s how:

1.) Frugal flowers

Nothing says “I love you” quite like a vibrantly colored bouquet, but those beautiful blossoms can cost a bundle. Start your savings on mom’s flowers by doing some of the work yourself. Instead of relying on the florist to provide the perfect base for the bouquet, bring your own basket from home. Alternatively, you can pick up a cheap but pretty vase at a craft or thrift store, adding a strand of ribbon to customize it to mom’s style.

Also, consider shopping your local grocery store or sidewalk stand before visiting a florist. You might find significant savings – such as a bouquet for as little as $10 – by cutting out the middleman.

Lastly, if you’re shopping at a floral shop, be sure to call first to find out when their flowers are delivered so you get the freshest of the bunch.

2.) Gift it right

More difficult than dreaming up the perfect gift for mom is scraping together the money for it. Solve both problems by getting creative. Mom would love something you personally crafted, like a decorated framed photo of a shared memorable moment, or a scrapbook of your best childhood memories. You can even make your mom a playlist of songs that both of you love.

If you’d rather purchase a gift than create one yourself, remember to shop early so you don’t feel pressured into buying something you can’t afford. Also, don’t forget to carefully mine coupon sites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com and Couponcabin to see if you can snag a deal.

Remember, gifts that show effort and thought matter a lot more than how much you spend.

3.) Dining out (or in) for less

Of course, celebrating Mom’s special day won’t be complete without sharing a wonderful meal together. But restaurants can be expensive, so don’t book reservations without carefully considering if they’re absolutely necessary.

Maybe Mom would enjoy a home-cooked meal more than an evening out. You can whip up her favorite foods, set the table with long candlesticks, your finest dishes and best silverware, and enjoy a deluxe, sumptuous dinner at home.

Or throw together a family barbecue. Load the car with Frisbees, balls and kites, pack up a cooler and stake out a corner at the local park. Then, get the grill fired up for a delectable dinner that’s fun to prepare and even more fun to eat!

If you’ve got your heart set on taking mom out to a restaurant, shop around for the best Mother’s Day deals. It’s worth making a few phone calls and checking out sites like Groupon or LivingSocial before making reservations.

Once you’re at the restaurant, save money by checking the left side of the menu first. Restaurants usually put their pricier dishes on the right side of the menu since that’s where most people’s gazes automatically land. Also, consider sharing a few bigger portions instead of ordering individual plates for every diner. Lastly, be sure to wait a bit between courses so you don’t end up with a table full of leftovers that you’re too stuffed to eat.

4.) Plan ahead

It’s never too early to start saving, and it’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s Mother’s Day. While you obviously can’t buy mom flowers that far ahead of time, shop the post-Mother’s-Day sales for fantastic deals on greeting cards, wrapping paper and gifts for mom.

It isn’t that hard to save on Mother’s Day expenses. And it’s worth it. After all, no one will be happier to see you saving money than dear sweet mom!

Your Turn: How do you show your mom how much she means to you while sticking to a budget? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

SOURCES:

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Tomorrow's Millionaires: Don't Bust the Budget!

Girl Shopping Facebook

This challenging activity is the perfect way to constructively fill those bitterly cold winter weekends.

Did you ever wish there was some way to get your fashion-conscious 11-year-old to realize all those things she’s asking you for actually cost money? Try this activity with your child this weekend, and your wish will be granted!

Take your child on a trip to the mall and give her a task: She can purchase a specific item she’s been asking for (a new pair of boots, a gym bag, etc.) with a set amount of cash. She cannot spend a penny more than that amount, and cannot ask you for that item again this season. Tell your preteen that you’re only going to accompany him around the mall – you will not tell him which store to choose for making the purchase, or which item to buy. As an added bonus, allow your child to keep any change left after buying the item. The freedom to spend as he pleases will thrill your child, and the offer to keep the change will motivate him to spend as little as possible.

On the way to the mall, give your preteen a quick briefing on what to look out for when choosing the item – things like quality, overpriced brand-name merchandise, hiked-up seasonal items, etc.

Then, as promised, keep your mouth closed as you accompany your child around the mall and watch in amazement as he learns invaluable lifetime skills such as comparison-shopping, saving, peer pressure and more. It all happens in one productive afternoon at the mall!

Your Turn: Have you given your child a budget for a specific item and then watched with pride as he or she carefully calculated every penny to make the perfect choice? Share your success (or your own lessons learned) with us!

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How to Build Good Credit in College

Credit - 1MB

You have most likely heard people talk about the importance of having good credit. It’s also likely you were never taught what “credit” even means or how to improve it. Let’s face it, you probably didn’t learn about it in high-school, and you probably didn’t learn it in college either!

Simply put, credit is your ability to buy things now, based on the trust that you will pay for it later. Of course, you can cross your heart and hope-to- die that you will pay for that 70-inch TV later, but without a proven track record, no one can believe you.

Credit is developed by consistently fulfilling that obligation on time (like your monthly credit card bill, car payment, mortgage payment, etc.).  Credit is expressed on a numerical scale from 300 – 850 (850 being a perfect score).

Don’t worry, no one is perfect, but the optimal score that banks and credit unions want you to have is about 720-740. The higher your score, the more a financial institution can trust you. What this means for you is higher trust equates to better benefits.

You might be tempted at some point to simply ignore the whole credit game altogether and go through life on your debit card. I know I was, and sometimes I still am! However, poor credit scores can make health, car, and life insurance more expensive. It can become difficult to get a cell phone contract or even an apartment!

Good credit is important to avoid problems while moving through life, but it is absolutely necessary to progress financially. You don’t want to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life or drive that beater multi-colored Honda Civic your dad drove while he was in college. Good credit is necessary to make big purchases like a that 70-inch TV, a new car, or a house.

Okay, so it’s important, but what should you even do?  Here are 3 things college students can do to build good credit.

1. Get a credit card. 

Get a credit card and stay on top of it. Getting a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) helps get your credit score into the 700’s and enables you to apply for car loans, house loans, and others.Try to find a credit card that offers no annual fee that also has a low interest rate.

Use your first credit card to pay for small, frequent purchases like gas and groceries instead of big purchases like a mattress or the TV. Using the credit card for the frequent little purchases makes it easier to pay off every month because that is money you would spend no matter what.

What if your credit is too low to even get a credit card? Don’t worry, there’s a way out of that.

Most banks and credit unions offer secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are low limit credit cards meant to help those with bad credit recover. They are similar to prepaid credit cards – you pay a certain amount to open the card, that amount is now your credit limit.

Then you pay off the balance like any other credit card, allowing you to rebuild your credit. That amount you paid to open the card in the first place is the collateral the institution holds in case you fail to make payments. That is how the institution protects itself.

Utah Community Credit Union offers a special “Build Good Credit Loan” for those looking to recover from bad credit or strengthen the credit the already have. To learn more, come into to any of the 15 locations http://www.uccu.com/home/uccu/locations.

2. Keep debt low 

When you have a credit card, keep the balance well below the limit. Most financial institutions recommend staying below 70% of the credit limit, but staying around 30% of the credit limit is optimal.

You may have heard the term “maxed out my credit card.” Maxing out a credit card means using your credit limit, and this can make it very difficult to pay off. It can also get the credit card locked, which will deny any further use until it is paid off.

Keeping the balance low (by paying it off frequently) shows that you are living within your financial means and that you could handle more responsibility (like a car). Credit Cards will have a minimum monthly payment required on all standing balances. Be sure to pay more than the minimum amount in order to pay off debt faster.

Tip: If you are unable to afford the minimum monthly payment, you have taken on too much debt and need to curb your spending.

If you already have a credit card, you are paying it off, and you are keeping the balance low, the next step is to get another credit card. Two credit cards working to improve your score is better than one. The same principles apply to the second credit card as the first. Keep the balance low and pay it off every month on time.

Don’t become a credit card collector- don’t get a second credit card and then never use it, an inactive credit card can actually push your credit score down.  You could buy a pack of gum, then pay it off that next day and the credit card will stay active and keep building your credit.

Many credit cards offer special benefits like miles or points for airline ticket purchase and other products; shop around a bit to find the best one. Start your search by visiting the UCCU credit card page here: http://www.uccu.com/home/loans/visa

3. Stay consistent 

Stay at the same job for longer periods of time. Financial institutions want to see reliability and stability. If they see that you change jobs every couple months, you will look too risky. While still in school, it is not uncommon to change every 5-6 months. After college, however, it is best to stay for at least 1-2 years.

Stay in one place. Again, the goal is stability and reliability. Moving apartments every few months looks risky. You could be moving for perfectly legitimate reasons, but the creditors won’t know that. Frequent moving could indicate inability to pay rent, as well as other financial irresponsibility.

Of course, the most important way to stay consistent is to pay all bills on time and in full. Late payments on things like utilities, phone bill, credit card, and other loans can all negatively impact your credit score.

Your turn: What are some other tips and tricks for building good credit? Be sure to share this article with your friends and family so they too can progress financially!

By Kelby Gatrell

Kelby Gatrell is the Social Media Marketing Intern at Utah Community Credit Union. He currently attends Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is double-majoring in Business Marketing and Russian Studies.

Sources

http://www.uccu.com/home/loans/visa

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-Good-Credit

How to Build Credit

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Best Times to Buy 2017

Sales Calendar

When you’re mulling over a major purchase, the right price can often tip the scales. If you’re patient, willing to research and time your buys just right, you can save quite a bit of green. Here are the best things to buy during each month for the rest of the year!

February: Prepare for winter

Now’s a great time to take stock of your existing cold weather gear. If you’ve got a coat that’s seen its final winter, now’s a great time to replace it. Retailers are looking to clear out the last of the season’s merchandise to make room for spring clothes, so you can snag a deal on thermal clothes. You can also find a bargain on heaters and humidifiers to make your house more comfortable.

March: Get in shape

If you’re looking to reboot your New Year’s weight loss resolution, March is a great time to pick up exercise equipment at a discount. Treadmills and ellipticals are past their peak buying time, so retailers are looking to get rid of them. Sports equipment, like golf clubs and athletic wear, are also facing deep discounts.

April: Tech out!

Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal year ends in March, so they’re typically ready to roll out new product lines. If you’re OK with being a year behind the latest and greatest, you can pick up a fully functional digital camera, laptop computer or big-screen TV in April. Tax refund-themed sales may also make it cheaper to upgrade your technological goods.

May: Around the house

Now that the weather’s getting nicer, many home improvement shops will begin running sales on tools and other supplies. It’s also graduation time, which means dorm-stocking essentials will get some discounts. Check out basic pots, pans and cooking appliances in May.

June: Think thrifty

Everyone’s gotten a chance to get their spring cleaning done. That means thrift stores are stuffed with donated second-hand goods. Be on the lookout for bargains of all sorts, but especially for used furniture and clothes.

July: School supplies

The end of July marks back-to-school time, which means this is the month retailers start to gear up for school shopping. Look for promotions, like tax-free days, if you’re in the market for a computer or peripheral. Otherwise, you can stock up on pens, paper and other standard office essentials.

August: Beat the heat

If you’ve managed through the heat of the summer with a busted AC, August may provide some much-needed relief. Major appliance retailers are looking to shift their inventories from cooling to heating. Look for discounts on window AC units, dehumidifiers and other cool appliances.

September: Big-ticket

The new models of most major appliances start to roll out in October and November, making September an excellent time to grab last year’s model. If you need a new dishwasher or refrigerator, try to hold out until September. Also, new Apple accessories, like iPads and iPhones, typically come out in November or December, so September can be a great chance to upgrade your device, too.

October: Cars and cruises

The new model year begins for cars toward the end of summer, so there are a lot of leftovers from the previous year that need to go. Dealers are desperate to move inventory, so you can get a good price on the current year’s models. October is also a quiet season for cruise lines, so many of them run specials and sales during the month.

November: Game on

Christmas season is in high gear, and major retailers are competing for gamer bucks. Expect to see the best bundles with the hottest games for the lowest prices in November. Whether you’re trying to surprise a gamer in your life or just get the newest games for yourself, November is the time to buy.

December: Threads

After-Christmas deals are almost as legendary as Black Friday deals, so why not get out and snap up some of those clothes that are up to 90% off! Check out stores like Nordstrom Rack, and Nike for clothing stores just don’t want any more.

Your Turn: What’s your best deal-nabbing tip? How do you find the lowest prices for the best stuff? Share your bargain hunting wisdom with us in the comments!

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Don’t Panic: Filing Taxes As A College Student

Frustrated Student

Imagine skipping a day of class, then coming into the next session and seeing a test. You open the packet and see what appears to be gibberish staring back at you. Everyone else around you seems to have a perfect grasp of what’s going on, but you’re just stumbling in the dark.

That can be what the process of preparing your taxes can feel like the first time you do them. You’re given a big pile of paper and expected to sort it out yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Before you start to panic, though, take a deep breath. There are a few questions that might make your life much easier. Grab that big stack of paper and ask yourself …

1.) Do I even have to file?

There’s an easy way to short circuit this whole process. If you didn’t make much money last year, you don’t have to file taxes. If your earned income (wages and tips) is less than $6,300 and your unearned income (interest and dividends) is less than $1,050, you probably don’t have to file taxes.

Of course, you might still want to do so. If you had a summer job, your employer took taxes out of your paycheck as though you’d been working all year. You might be able to get a little bit of a refund for your effort.

2.) How hard does this have to be?

If your tax situation is relatively simple, you may be eligible to use a form called the 1040-EZ (as in easy). It’s a much more straightforward document. You just enter your wages, your filing status (married or single) and the taxes you’ve already paid. It’s all laid out on your W-2, the form you got in the mail or online from your employer.

The 1040-EZ lives up to its name. It’s one page long. Once you put your name, address and Social Security number on it, you’re about halfway done. You don’t get to claim any tax credits, but there aren’t a lot of tax credits available for college students in any case.

3.) Where can I get help?

You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re feeling antisocial, you can (and should) use an e-filing service. The IRS has a tool to help you pick the best one. It’s available here: https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/wizard.jsp?ck.

TurboTax is a popular e-filing tax service we suggest using that simplifies and explains the whole process from start to finish. If you are in college, you are most likely able to file through TurboTax completely free. TurboTax offers this free service for those who:

  • Made less than $100,000
  • Don’t own a home or rental property
  • Didn’t sell investments
  • Don’t own a business or have 1099 income (usually for independent contractors)
  • Don’t have major medical expenses

People who don’t fit in the free TurboTax requirements can still use Turbotax for a fee. Fortunately, TurboTax has partnered with Utah Community Credit Union (UCCU) and offers discounts of up to $15 for members of UCCU. Members can access the discounts by following this link:

https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468350029&cid=all_0utahco1_aff_3468350029

There may also be additional tax help available. A program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is available on many college campuses. Business students looking to bolster their resumes will frequently volunteer to help with taxes for free. This is especially important if your tax situation is more complicated, like if you’re paying for college on your own or have self-employment income from a side hustle.

Your Turn: Are you stressed about taxes? Tell us about it in the comments, or pop down and help your fellow students out!

Sources:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers

http://blog.taxact.com/1040-tax-forms/

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-does-your-child-have-file-tax-return.html

https://turbotax.intuit.com/

https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468350029&cid=all_0utahco1_aff_3468350029

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5 Tips for an Affordable Wedding

Man proposes to woman at lakeside

According to a new report by a leading wedding magazine, The Knot, the average American wedding cost has eclipsed $35,000. That’s more than half of the yearly median income! Most of that spending isn’t on lavish luxuries for bride and groom – it comes from the guest list. Couples are inviting more people and doing more for them, trying to create an unforgettable experience for their loved ones.

If you’ve got an event planned for the coming year, read on. Your bill doesn’t need to be that extreme. Here are five ways to save on the cost of your big day!

1.) Schedule smart

Saturday is the most common day of the week for weddings. It’s automatically attractive, since everyone has the day off and most churches aren’t available on Sundays. Because of this popularity, venues are often more expensive on Saturday than on other days.

While the appeal of a weekend might not apply to a random Wednesday, you can pick a date that offers some of those same benefits without paying the Saturday premium. Try setting up your special day before a holiday, like July 3, or on the Sunday of a long weekend, like Labor Day. Your guests will still have time to enjoy themselves, and you can save as much as 15% on the cost of your venue.

2.) Untether yourself

When it comes to picking a venue, the first obligation should be to find a place that speaks to who you are as a couple. Practically, though, there are several important factors that should influence your decision. Most importantly, pick a venue that allows outside vendors for food, music and photography (or negotiate with the venue you already selected). Places that do a lot of business in weddings may have existing relationships with businesses that can charge more because they’re not competing.

If you can get this kind of flexibility, shop around for better prices on some of the more costly parts of the wedding. You also gain the flexibility to get exactly what you want out of these services. If you want a signature cocktail instead of a full bar, for example, contracting with an outside party may be a necessity.

3.) Keep the ‘W’ word to yourself

From cake decorating to flower arranging, everyone has a “special” wedding price. Many vendors know they can get away with charging more for a service if it’s wedding-related than if it’s for another occasion. You can catch some savings if you keep the reason for the occasion to yourself.

For example, when shopping for a dress, buying a formal gown that’s not specifically labeled as a “wedding dress” can translate to savings. Getting a custom-decorated sheet cake (or buying a big cake and decorating it simply yourself) can save a few hundred dollars. By not mentioning the word “wedding,” you can easily save 30% at various vendors.

4.) Put your guests to work

The biggest costs for most wedding-related items is in labor. When you pay for flower arrangements, you’re paying about 10% for the flowers and 90% for the florist’s time. The same is true for cake decorating and place setting. Instead of hiring professionals, consider putting your guests to work.

It may seem awkward, but many wedding guests would love the opportunity to feel like they contributed to your special day. They get the feeling of participating actively in making your event a success, and you get to save a few bucks on nearly every service. It’s a win-win!

5.) Spread out the cost by using a savings club account

One of the biggest challenges for newlyweds is coming up with that much money all at once. All the wedding bills come due at the same time. For many couples, that means using consumer debt to finance the whole cost of their wedding. Doing so can make your dream wedding all the more unaffordable, as interest and financing charges add up.

Instead, consider setting up a club account to help defray costs. Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account into a dividend-bearing savings account. When the bills start coming in for the big day, you’ll have money set aside to defray the costs. Remember, a dollar you don’t have to finance is a dollar you don’t pay interest on. Even if you can’t absorb the whole cost of the event out of savings, why not borrow less?

Your Turn: What are your best cost-saving wedding hacks? Share your wisdom in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-clever-ways-to-save-on-your-wedding-2.aspx

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/top-10-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding-3.aspx

http://www.realsimple.com/weddings/budget/save-money-wedding/venue

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/insanely-smart-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding?utm_term=.nh9zY22pG#.ulOdbrrz8

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Romance On A Budget: How To Woo For Less

Man and woman smiling at each other.

Romance On A Budget: How To Woo On Less

It might feel like spring is far away, but love is still in the air. It’s almost St. Valentine’s Day, and that means it’s time to do something special for that special someone in your life. How can you show someone you care without breaking the bank? Here are five low-cost Valentine’s dates you can use to give your sweetheart (and your wallet) a great time!

1) A home-cooked meal

Food is love. It’s one of the most traditional ways to show you care. Paying restaurant prices for it, though, can add up fast. A typical meal out costs an average of $13 per person, excluding tip and drinks. Worse yet, unless you act quickly, getting a table on the 14th may be a non-starter!
Instead, try making a meal yourself. For added fun, try cooking together! The meal will taste better with the knowledge that you made it yourself, and you’ll save the time and expense of going out to a restaurant.

2) Ice skating

Once a staple of courtship, this date idea may seem a little old-fashioned. There’s a lot to love, though. It’s a chance to be close together, hold hands, and it comes with a wonderful cup of cocoa at the end! Best of all, costs are low, so it’s a bargain-priced way to build memories. You’ll form lasting memories from the bumps and scrapes of falling down, and picking each other back up again will bring you closer than ever.

3) Picnic a meal

Somewhere between dinner at a restaurant and home cooking lies a pre-packed meal you can take with you to a special spot. Scope out some place with a view, then pack up light fare – sandwiches, cheese and crackers, or even just some fresh fruit. Pack up your blanket and your basket and grab your sweetheart. If the weather turns foul, you can even move your impromptu date to a campus common area or other public indoor space.

4) Discount theater

Movies have always been a traditional date night trope, but a new release at the theater can cost a pretty penny! If you look, you can almost always find a nearby theater playing slightly older movies for dirt cheap prices. You can get the whole theater experience, down to the shared bucket of popcorn, and see a good movie you’ve both been dying to see!
For local options in Utah County, the Provo Cinemark Movies 8 offers movies for close to a dollar. If you’re up for a drive the Water Gardens theater located in Pleasant Grove has more recent movies for only a couple dollars more. If you end up going to one of these this Valentine’s Day please share a pic with us on Instagram and tag @uccufans!

5) Learn something new

This doesn’t mean following each other to classes for a day, although that might be a great bonding experience. Instead, find a new skill or activity you want to find out about and take a class together. Many colleges offer cooking, dancing and other romantic activities, but learning to play a sport or a fitness class could be a great fit, too. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s something just outside both of your comfort zones! Nothing builds relationships like shared experiences.
Your Turn: What’s your go-to for dates on a budget? Share your best ideas with us in the comments below!
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Meet the Smart Family

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Follow one family’s hilarious journey to becoming MoneySmart

Whether you’re a parent, a baby, a teen or anywhere in-between, BeMoneySmart is the perfect way to learn together, as a family, how to save and spend money wisely. Simply visit BeMoneySmart.org, where you can watch the adventures of the Smart family, a series of short, hilarious videos that your whole family will enjoy.

They’re also educational, but don’t worry… we won’t tell your kids if you don’t. It’s all at BeMoneySmart.org right now!

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