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What the Happiest People Know About Work
April 21, 2016
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470761319Hard work and skills will only get you so far. The most successful people also find joy in working life. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Here are the top habits for people who are happy at work by Lisa Evans.

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10 Secrets of Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
April 7, 2016
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ThinkstockPhotos-479386451 SuccessWhat does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur and how should an entrepreneur define success? Read this Top 10 List by Naveen Jain.

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6 Startup Tips from College Entrepreneurs
March 24, 2016
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86496317Starting a business as a student is not easy, so two college seniors that have been through the process were interviewed for tips to help future student-entrepreneurs succeed. Here is their advice.

Create a Business Plan With a Competitive Advantage: A business will fail without a thought-out plan and defined competitive advantage. Penn State senior John Rice co-founded Noterz, a college note resale business. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to do competitive research. If you don’t, he says you can end up wasting time and money because of a later unnecessary change of course. Paige Toppert, Texas A&M senior and founder of Lightwell, a vintage light rental business, also believes in the importance of competitive advantage. “The idea does not necessarily have to be brand new, but at the least, it must be a more efficient version than what competitors offer. No idea is perfect, so it is important to be flexible. Start with a plan, but be open to change as you develop your business,” said Toppert.

Know Your Customers: In order to effectively target and sell a product or service, an entrepreneur must think about your target market. To be successful, a business must know what their customers need and want, often times before the customer even realizes it. Secure Necessary Financing is often the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs, especially college students who are balancing tuition costs with startup costs. Rice encourages students to check out websites like Kickstarter, indiegogo, and Quirky, all specifically developed to financially help get business ideas off of the ground. Work Your Network When it comes to details like figuring out your legal structure, necessary licenses and taxes, college students can be in for a real challenge.

To cover all of the bases, both Toppert and Rice stress the importance of connecting with the right people in your current network. Many universities and communities have resources for student startups. If entrepreneurs connect with these resources in the beginning, it can help save money and eliminate confusion in the long run.

Here are some other things to think about before starting up:

It Is Never Too Soon: Rice advises starting as soon as possible. “As a senior in college, I am now busy with harder classes, extra-curricular leadership commitments, and full-time recruiting. Starting my business earlier in college would have allowed me more time to develop Noterz before graduation. Starting early also gives you more time to decide whether or not a start-up is even right for you. If you start early and soon realize that it isn’t, then you still have time to focus on pursuing a traditional career,” said Rice.

Know What You’re Getting Into: Starting a business takes a lot of time, especially when you are a full-time student. Toppert stresses the importance of time management for student-entrepreneurs. “Developing and running a business is going to take three to four times more time than you initially budget for. It’s possible to balance this and school, but just know what you are signing up for. Be conscious of the difference in investing your time and spending your time. There are a lot of things you can justify doing ‘for your business,’ but ultimately, the time spent won’t pay off. If you invest your time, you’ll be better off.”

Jordan Knesek is part of the college associate program at FOX News.

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4 Tips to Stop Impulsive Spending
March 10, 2016
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492966671[2]College is not only about preparing for your career; it’s also about preparing for life. It’s where you learn how to organize time, focus on personal goals and manage money. The tricky part is this –exercising balance in all aspects of your life.

Check out these tips on curbing impulsive spending habits to ensure your money stays in your pocket and not in retailer’s hands.

1. Stick to cash or debit card — You may have heard this trusty piece of advice from your parents, but when you think about it, it makes total sense. Paying for items with your credit card doesn’t allow for immediate realization of consequences. Cash, and even your debit card, are tangible and call for immediate accountability. Once the money is done, it’s done. If you’re weekly budget is $100 and you’re standing in the store with a $60 pair of jeans in your paints, you will certainly reconsider purchasing them. Tip: Before a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I need this or do I want this? If I leave the store without it, will I be fine with it within the next 7 days?

2. Make a List – To avoid spending money on things you don’t need, make a list. This will help you avoid the temptation and also ensure you get everything you need from the store. Remember, the more often you go to the store, the more you will buy.

3. Track Spending Habits –  That $4 dollars you spend every day at Dunkin Donuts before class seems harmless, but when you view your debit card statements at the end of the month you realize it’s costing you $80 a month.  Pay attention to where you’re spending your money to come up with alternative choices. Perhaps, you can buy a tub of hot chocolate at the grocery store and make it each morning before class to save time and money.

4. Eat in Advance –  How many times have you walked into the mall with the intention of buying a pair of pants and ended up in the food court? How about the grocery store? When you walk into the supermarket, just about every item seems even more attractive and tempting on an empty stomach. Eat in advance so you can stay focused on the mission at hand.

5. Use coupons – With the help of mobile applications, couponing has never been easier. Download the app or visit the website Retail Me Not to find the latest discounts at your favorite stores! When in doubt, pull the newspaper out for extra coupons.

 

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7 Money Habits Every 20 Something Should Know
February 25, 2016
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177330844Your 20’s is the time to lay down your financial foundation. It’s never too early to establish healthy money habits. Incorporate these 7 money habits for a healthy, prosperous financial reality!

1. Establish a Clearly Defined Budget. Have a clear understanding of the amount you make and the amount you spend. Create a clearly defined weekly, bi-weekly or monthly budget that establishes clear guidelines for your money. Most people spend two-thirds of their income on food, housing and transportation. If you have $100 to spend each week, allocate the money appropriately to ensure your needs are taken care of.

2. Save 10% of Your Check. Whether you’re making $80 a week or $200 you should save at least 10% of your income. Taking $8 from an $80 paycheck may seem small, but it adds up over time. The key is to be consistent. This money will aid you in the future.

3. Track your Spending. Track your spending habits over a two-week period. You can utilize Mint.com, an awesome financial management tool, or your financial institution’s online site. In doing so, you’ll discover which spending choices were beneficial and which were unnecessary. $5 at Starbucks three times a week doesn’t seem like a lot, but at the end of the month that comes to a total of $180 each month and $1200 a year.

4. Live More Simply. Strive to adjust your lifestyle in small, creative ways. Challenge yourself to be frugal. Download coupon apps on your phone; discover free events happening in local neighborhoods, shop clearance, buy in bulk. The opportunities are really endless. It simply requires research and a willingness to change.

5. Comparison Shop Online. If you’re thinking about buying a high-ticket item, such as a television, cellphone or piece of furniture, do your research. Visit product review sites and online discount warehouses. Amazon is a perfect place to find new and used items for a variety of prices. With enough research, you can find the item you desire for a good price along with free shipping. All this requires is effort.

6. Cut Back on Pricey Products. To buy or not to buy – that is the question. Do you want or need $80 perfume or cologne? When it comes to products of pleasure, such as makeup, clothes or magazine subscriptions, think twice. There are alternatives to your favorite products. If you love Netflix – and I know you do – open up an account with 4-5 other friends. Together, the bill can be $4 a month each. Catch up on your favorite magazines at the library or in the grocery store. Like body scrubs? Research do-it-yourself recipes to make an awesome body scrub with items you have in your cabinet. The point is – place your money investments elsewhere.

7. Remember Your Goals and Dreams. It may seem like a hassle saving money now. The thought of paying for phone bills, gas or rent seems like a lot, but you’ll be grateful that you began saving now. You’re not living to pay bills. Reflect on your goals and dreams and think about how money will play a role in achieving them. An investment in your finances is an investment in your financial freedom. Take the path to your financial liberation.

 

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4 Money Tips for Fashion Lovers
February 11, 2016
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166771621Wouldn’t life be so much better if shopping for clothes didn’t require money? Sigh. While it’s nice to fantasize, we don’t live in such a world. If you love shopping like me, then you understand how expensive a new pair of jeans or shoes can be.
Check out these 4 shopping tips to help you save money, while looking stylish!

1. Buy basics: How many times have you bought something and worn it once? At least 5 times, right? Spending $40 on a shirt you wear once is not a great return on your investment. Instead, shop basics. You can never go wrong with a pair of dark wash jeans, a white button-up shirt, comfortable boots and oversized scarf. Think about it this way – it makes more sense to spend $40 on a pair of jeans you wear at least three times a month over a shirt you wear once every 6 months.

2. Shop with a plan and budget: This is every smart shopper’s rule – shop with a budget. Before you spend money, you must have a plan. This will help you avoid overspending or worse – spending money you don’t have. You don’t have to go into debt to look fabulous! Establishing a budget before you hit the mall will help you distinguish your needs from your wants. Before every purchase, ask yourself, “Do I absolutely need this item or do I want it? Can I live without?” Key: be honest when responding!

3. Shop seasonally: All stores, whether they’re selling clothes or electronics, go through sale cycles. For instance, as the end of the summer approaches, many stores place summer clothes on sale, while they begin pricing up their fall gear. Towards the end of each season, pay attention to the markdowns. That is the perfect time to collect your attire for next year at an awesome price.

4. Thrift: Not only is thrifting the latest fashion trend, it’s also affordable. Visit your local thrift or consignment store to score on affordable vintage pieces. The best part about shopping at thrift stores is you’re likely to be the only one of your friends rocking that item.

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Deadline Extended on Making a Difference College/Community College Scholarships!
February 1, 2016
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140090129NEFCU is proud to offer its Making a Difference College and Community College Scholarships! Up to five $1,500 and five $1,000 grants will be awarded respectively to student enrolled at an accredited college/university or community college who are either members, or have a parent or guardian who is a member of NEFCU.

It’s easy to apply! Students should review the eligibility requirements and complete the online application at www.myNEFCU.org/scholarships. The deadline has been extended through FEBRUARY 15, 2016. To learn about NEFCU’s scholarship programs, call 1-888-773-1457 or visit www.myNEFCU.org. Apply today!

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4 Habits That Are Emptying Your Wallet
January 28, 2016
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200397972-001Not only do we all want to save money, we all need to save money. Failing to plan for the unexpected and planning to fail the unexpected. From a flat tire to a raise in your tuition bill, you never know when you’re going to run into your next accident or unexpected cost. Prepare for your unfortunate moments by getting rid of 4 habits that are draining your bank account.

Trips to the Coffee Shops: Your daily Dunkin Donuts trip is taking a toll on your wallet. A $1.00 donut paired with a $3.50 medium hot chocolate seems like a little, but after 4 stops a week it adds up to $18. At the end of the month, $72 is missing from your bank account and a couple of pounds are added to your body.
Resolution: Make coffee at home and take it on the go. Studies show that we spend more money when we’re hungry. Eat breakfast before heading out. You’ll save a lot more money.

Serial Out-to-Eater: Many of us are repeat offenders of 2 habits – 1) eating out often and 2) indulging in pricey meals. Over 50% of Americans eat out at least once a week. Bottom line – you save more money when you eat at home.
Resolution: I hate to be a party pooper, but opting for affordable meals is the smart thing to do. Eat what you can afford, not what you’re craving at the moment. You’ll thank yourself later.

Indulging While Grocery Shopping: Entering the grocery store can be like entering a wonderland – especially when you’re hungry. I’m sure you know this by now, but all stores, from clothing to food, are strategically set up to encourage extra spending. Just think about it. Why are food essentials like milk or meat positioned in the back of the store? In order to get the items that you need, you must walk through aisles with items that you may want. This gives you enough time to reevaluate what you want to buy.
Resolution: Make a shopping list before you head to the store. This will help you prevent falling into any of the store’s strategic traps. Also, eat before you shop. Many studies show that you spend more money when you shop hungry. You overestimate the amount of food you need.

Weekend Fun with Friends: Friday comes and you’re ready to head out with friends. Between Friday and Saturday, you manage to spend anywhere from $20 to $100 on movie tickets, trips to the mall and a party.
Resolution: There are a lot of fun things you can do for FREE. Yes, free. All you have to do is your research. There are plenty of websites, such as NYCgo.com and TimeOut.com that are dedicated to providing you with the most fun for free. I’m not talking about boring activities either. There are plenty of events, shows and museums that offer free events. Aside from that, you can opt for a fun night in with your friends.

 

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4 FREE Activities for College Students
January 14, 2016
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480351583 Money SavIf the word “free” sounds like music to your ears, keep reading! When you’re a college student and you’re running low on money, you discover plenty of fun, affordable ways to have a good time. Here are 4 free activities you can take advantage of with your friends.

1. Go Museum-Hopping: Museum anyone? Museums across the country offer discounted prices for college students. All you have to do is show your student ID card to score big. It doesn’t stop there! Many museums have designated days for free admission. For instance, Fridays from 4-8 pm at the Museum of Modern Art and the first Saturday of each month at the Brooklyn Museum are free to the public. The next time you’re looking for something creative to do, search for the next free admission day at your favorite museum.

2. Spend a Day at the Park: This sounds self-explanatory, maybe even silly, but parks are wonderful places to spend the day. Whether you want to have an awesome picnic or organize a cool game day with your friends, visiting the local park is definitely something to consider. Let’s be honest – Central Park is a popular tourist site for this very reason. Be creative. A day at the park can easily become a memorable event with your friends. If you’re ever in NYC visit Highline Park – it’s absolutely gorgeous.

3. Visit Your Local Thrift or Book Store: Now, this isn’t an event per say, but visiting various thrift and book stores can easily become a fun activity. You don’t have to necessarily buy anything, but it’s always fun to go into these stores and check out the unique, odd and quirk items they have. The best part is – if you want to buy something, it’ll be at a great price.

4. Explore the Streets of NYC: Walking throughout New York City is an activity that never gets boring and always promises adventure. When you’re open and up to the adventure, you’re bound to find awesome hole-in-the-wall stores, discover interesting restaurants and happen upon cool stores. Dedicate your afternoon to unraveling one of the best cities in the world!

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5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
December 17, 2015
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ThinkstockPhotos-479386451 SuccessThe mark of the New Year inspires thousands to set awesome goals for the year ahead. But let’s get real – did you achieve your new year’s resolution set last year? Despite our high hopes, we often push aside or merely forget our resolution after March 1st. Just take a look at any Planet Fitness on January 1st versus March 1st. Whether your goal is to lose weight or achieve a 4.0 this semester, employ these 5 S.M.A.R.T. strategies to knock out your new year’s goals!

S pecific
Exercise 2 times a week vs. Lose weight 
You have a better chance of achieving your new year’s resolution when it’s specifically and clearly defined. Wanting to lose weight sounds like a good idea, but how often do we say that and do nothing? Goals that are generic and vague are hard to accomplish because they’re hard to pinpoint. Break down your new year’s resolution by establishing small, achievable tasks that align with your larger goal. For instance, exercising 2 times a week is a clearly defined goal that will aid your ultimate weight lost goal.

M easurable
Read the SAT study book four times a week for 60 minutes over 8 weeks vs. Pass the SATs
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Again, it’s nice to think of a great goal you’d like to achieve, but without establishing concrete criteria you won’t achieve it. When you’ve established the parameters, you can measure your progress, stay on track, reach target dates and experience the thrill of success!

A ttainable
Create a YouTube channel featuring singing videos vs. Win a Grammy award
Setting achievable goals is important. You don’t want to sign up for a race that you know you can’t win. This calls for honesty. Be realistic about what you want to achieve based on the circumstances available, such as deadline, job or financial status. Be flexible enough to adjust your goal to what you’re striving to accomplish.

R elevant
Save 10% of each paycheck vs. Become a millionaire by next year
Let’s be realistic – will you be able to achieve your resolution in 12 months? When creating goals you should consider the factors that both aid and block you from achieving your goal. Let’s be real – if you’re making $10 an hour and you saved every bit of your check, it won’t amount to a million – at least not in this century! Instead, you can consistently save 10% of your paycheck and end up with a considerable sum of cash at the end of the year.

T ime-bound
Study in the library three times a week for 2 hours vs. Complete homework
Every SMART goal needs a deadline or else, you may never get around to working on it. When binding your goal to a time period, consider your priorities and time constraints. A goal without a deadline is merely a dream. Turn your new year’s resolution into a reality with an appropriate deadline.

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