5 Things Every Successful 20-Something Knows About

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Ella Ceron at Thought Catalog posted an incredibly insightful post into what successful 20-year-olds think when they are deciding what to wear in the morning – and we wanted to share it with you. Even though we are Broke-Ass Students, this doesn’t mean that we can’t dress to impress.

Before getting to the incredible article, we wanted to add our thoughts on what is great to wear. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and good – don’t try to overdo what is fashionable if you don’t feel good in it. Confidence is the key to looking fantastic – and we think that if you love what you wear, you will own it.

Our other tip on this subject matter is you should dress like you, not just like the fashion world tells you to. Unless the fashion world is your thing, then go for it!

Remember Broke-Ass Students – don’t spend too much money on clothes you are only going to wear once. A dress that you’re only going to wear once to a 21st doesn’t warrant the $250 price tag! Be smart with your choices and buy dresses you can rock more than once. We believe you can do it!

1. Fit is more important than size. The day the number on the label in the back of your pants matters is the day when every brand decides on one standard sizing pattern…Which is to say, it’s never going to happen. You could be a 4 in a shirt from Old Navy but a 6 in jeans from the Gap and a large in that one coat at Forever 21. Buy what fits instead of what the label says will fit you. A well-fitting size medium is going to look way better than the minor ego boost that society says comes with fitting into a small. (Besides, you’re the only one who’s going to know what the label says, anyway. Nobody goes around championing their size to everyone who will listen (because really, nobody else cares all that much).

2. The more you spend on staple items, the less you spend in the long run. A $60 button-down is going to last you way longer than three $20 button-downs will, and investing in a coat that sees through a few seasons is more practical than buying one that wears out from three months of everyday wear. You don’t have to blow your entire budget on designer labels, but searching for key pieces that have a great fit and solid construction is clutch.

3. When in doubt, create a uniform. Stick to a certain color scheme, or buy things of a similar cut and fit as frequently as you can. (If you know it works, why fix it, right?) Hell, buy 10 of the same shirt if you find one you really love. Cutting those 30 minutes you spend deciding what to wear out of your morning leaves more room to cook your breakfast, buy your coffee, get to work early— or just, y’know, sleep in..)

4. Work is not the place to be taking fashion risks. Well, unless you work in a really creative environment, all those mesh crop tops, plunging necklines and crazy accessories are probably best left for the weekend. Spend less time trying to see how you can bend the office rules, and more time in doing your best work at the office. (It’ll show, and you can go and blow your hard-earned bonus on the weekend in whatever crazy clothes you want.)

5. Dressing for the job you want is not a completely ridiculous adage. There’s an old office trick that says you should mirror what your boss wears; it’s less of being a copycat and more of an emulation. While it might be impossible to match what they wear with your smaller salary (and if you’re an intern, you might not even have that salary at all), take mental notes of a few details here and there, and then polish up your look so that you look capable, presentable, and like someone who is hirable or promotable. We all take cues from appearance, and doing your part to present the picture of someone who has their look together won’t hurt in the eyes of the people who have your future in mind.

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Broke-Ass Student Essential: The Art of Budgeting

budgeting, money, savings, students

I can already see you yawning but believe me Broke-Ass Student life is SO much easier if you know how to budget what little money you have. You may even be able to SAVE (gasp, save money?!) yes save.  Budgeting sounds like a lot of work right? Wrong. Technology has made it easy for us, there are so many different websites that offer. Mint.com is a website that literally does the entire thing for you: it keeps track of all of your spending, categorizes it for you, analyzes it and alerts you if anything is amiss, like if you’re spending more than you’re earning (Guiltyyyyy). If you use the full functionality of the site, it can keep track of everything from where most of your money is going to on your credit card and rent. And it’s FREE.

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https://www.mint.com/ makes it so easy it so easy to keep of every dime and make money decisions you feel good about! You can set goals, whether it be a new car (you’re obviously not that broke) or get out of debt (that’s better) just enter how much money you need, set a date and link your goal to specific accounts so it’s easy to stick to your plan. It has visuals as well so you can keep up to date and track your progress.

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Goals give you something to look forward to, so you keep saving money, creating new goals and enjoying the rewards.

Mint.com provides you with so much detail!! It will automatically separate a $102 ATM withdrawal into $100 cash and $2 fee. And you can easily separate out purchases from one transaction into different categories, just in case you buy groceries, clothing and gifts all at one store.

And these are just SOME of the tools available, you can track your investments, set alerts for bills, you can also get the app which means you can see where you’re money is going while out and about.

Watch the tutorial video below to get a little more insight:

And remember it is FREE! Happy budgeting y’all.

-KL

How to make the most of your university life as a Broke-Ass Student

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Hey Broke-Ass Students! We’ve compiled a list of our most effective tips and tricks for you to make the most of your student life. We’ve found that there’s nothing worse than being unprepared for an assessment or exam, so from our own personal experiences we have written this comprehensive list for you.

  1. Get a calendar and a diary

In order to be organised for the semester, you’re going to need to write down all your important dates somewhere where you can see them. Not only will this help you to keep the important dates fresh in your mind, but you’ll also be able to schedule your life around them. We recommend putting the calendar above your desk where you study, and keeping your diary in your bag. The best diary’s for uni are the ones that display the week as opposed to those that have entire pages for a day so you can keep track of what’s going on.

  1. DO YOUR READINGS

This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how much they help you organise your ideas and thoughts prior to assignments. If you can’t do an entire week’s worth of readings, write down 10 key points from that week’s work (including lectures). This will help you easily find notes from that week when it comes down to exam time.

  1. Start thinking about your assignments early

Nothing worse than the night before an assignment where you have no idea what to write, as well as no creative ideas. Be prepared and jot down a few ideas two weeks before your assignment is due. This will ensure that you have a clearer flow when it comes to crunch time.

  1. Make the most of your time at uni

Ask questions, go to lectures and join societies. If you find it hard to physically make yourself go to lectures, organise to meet your friends for coffee and lunch. Get a lecture buddy and force each other to go!

  1. Have a good time and enjoy yourself

Uni isn’t forever, and we’re all here for each other during the good times and the bad. Make the most of your free time and relaxed timetable while it lasts. Being social and friendly will ensure you make some great uni friends for life.

-GL

Easy Ways to Earn Money Online

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Classic Stock photos of people earning money online. That could be you, don’t you want that to be you? 

  1. Online Surveys

An increasingly popular way for students to make money is to fill out online surveys in their spare time. Research companies are always recruiting new members to answer surveys and test new products.

For a few minutes of form filling, you can make a couple of dollars which is paid as cash or in rewards. You can make up to $5 for some surveys!

A few good ones to try are: Toluna, PineconeVivatic, The OpinionPanel, MySurvey, Valued Opinions, SurveyBods, Your Word,Global Test Market, Hiving, PanelBase, Harris Poll, Opinion Outpost,iPoll, YouGov, New Vista.

Also sign up for Swagbucks.com which rewards you for surveys as well as simply surfing the web, watching videos and playing games.

  1. Start a blog

Starting a blog can give you a chance to make some extra cash just by writing about something you love. Make your blog specialise in something you love and are interested in. You can review products that relate to your subject and if the blog gets popular these companies will begin paying you for reviewing these products. These are called sponsored posts. Who knows, you could eventually get to multimillionaire status like these bloggers: http://addicted2success.com/news/the-top-10-famous-multi-million-dollar-bloggers/

  1. Ads on your blog

When starting out you can choose to put Google Ads on your blog, earning you around $3 to $4 a week. Doesn’t sound like much but that’s with lame content and no followers, if you put some effort into your content and promotion you could earn up to $5 a day ($35) a week after a few months. And like mentioned it #2 this might snow ball and you could be losing that Broke-Ass Student status and become Multi-Millionaire Student.

  1. Sell stuff on Gumtree/Ebay

Everyone’s best friends when it comes to getting rid of junk are eBay and Gumtree. Online auctions on eBay are a sure-fire way to turn that sleeveless jacket (which came in and out of fashion in a week) into hard cash.

Some eBay sellers look at trends and try to predict what will be big ahead of the market. If you are good and don’t mind taking a risk then you can buy early in bulk and sell on when the craze hits. Gumtree allows you to set the price and generally people are happy to pick it up in person saving you a trip to the post office.

  1. Review music for money

If you love music, make it your business by reviewing unsigned bands and artists for cash. I know… we couldn’t believe it either. It can take a while to build up your reputation but some users of the site have said that they have earned $70 a month. This may not sound like much but if it’s something you enjoy then it shouldn’t be hard work and is another thing for your CV. Money you earn will be in $US but anyone can sign up and review.

To get started, head over to Slicethepie now .

-KL

How to land that coveted job

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1. Before you even begin the search, clean up your social media accounts

Yes, that is right fellow Broke-Ass Students. We strongly suggest you trawl through all your old tweets, Facebook photos and even Google your name a few times to see what comes up. We suggest using the rule ‘What would Grandma think’. Unless Granny is a party animal herself, you can probably untag yourself from those sweaty club photos from last week at 3AM.  The company will look you up, so make sure your pages and accounts are all squeaky clean and professional.

2. Do some thorough research on your company

Not only will this help you write your cover letter and the first interview, but it will help you gain a better understanding of what the company values are – and whether you would be a good fit. It will also help you to answer questions such as ‘why do you want to work for us’. Additionally, you will be able to use your research into how to present yourself. You should look up the company pages, as well as the executives and employees in your desired team. LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start for this.

3. Make sure your resume and cover letter are error-free

Nothing screams ‘Do not hire me’ more than a resume full of spelling mistakes! Although this seems painfully obvious, recruiters say that nothing will make them throw a resume in the bin faster than one with errors. If you need help, get a friend that is highly attentive to detail and spelling to look over it for you.

4. Reply to all communication promptly

If the recruiter e-mails you saying you have an interview (hooray – congratulations to you!) reply as quickly and efficiently as you can to set up a date. Make sure that you confirm the place and time of the interview a few days prior to the date, just so you don’t get caught out at the wrong place.

5. Be immaculately (and appropriately) presented for the interview!

Make sure that for whichever industry you are applying for, that you are dressed appropriately. Don’t wear a suit to a barista interview (unless it is a specifically tuxedo-only exclusive coffee shop – but we doubt it) and don’t wear a t-shirt and jeans to a paralegal interview. Make sure that your hair is well groomed, that your clothes are ironed and you are wearing your best smile.

6. Ask lots of questions!

Asking questions demonstrates that you are interested in the company. Questions we suggest asking are:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • What is a challenge I may face in this situation, and what is the best way to overcome it?
  • What do you enjoy about working for this company?
  • What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
  • What does an average day in this position look like?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in the company?
  • Where is the company headed?
  • Are there any weaknesses in my application? How could I overcome these?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?

Don’t forget to ask some industry-specific questions. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time.

6. Follow up

Ensure that you follow up directly after your interview. Remind the interviewer (or HR recruiter) of your main points, and state that you look forward to hearing from them shortly.

7. What’s next?

If you do get the job (Or have a second interview)- CONGRATULATIONS! You have moved past Broke-Ass Student status and are now into the real world!

If you don’t – Don’t feel disappointed, you tried your best. There will be other opportunities. Make sure to e-mail the company, thank them for their time and notify them that you would definitely be open to any future career opportunities with them. You are awesome and an opportunity is sure to arise soon!

-GL

Our favourite 11 TED Talks for students in their early 20’s

broke-ass students, inspiration, ted talks, thinking

Here is a link we wanted to share with you all. It contains 11 TED talks all 20-year-olds should watch.

Your twenties are a time period of discovery, and fast change. We understand the difficulties as you move away from certain friendship groups, wondering whether you should continue to do the degree you’re doing, and the intermittent question – ‘what are you going to do after uni?’

This scary time period is full of excitement, learning and experiences. So go out there and live life to the fullest.

These TED talks will hopefully inspire you, and help you think about the greater meanings of life. And it’s good procrastination too – we guess!

Why Poor Students Struggle – A reflection

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On a slightly more serious note: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/opinion/why-poor-students-struggle.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

All Broke-Ass Students should have a read of this Vicki Madden opinion piece in the New York Times. Although the piece references the American higher education system, many low-income Australian students also struggle to finish university, whether it be due to work commitments affecting their ability to study, academic reasons or feeling a sense of alienation or loneliness.

Madden mentions the inadequate student aid system where a slight increase in the parents income can lead to a reduction in the financial aid given to the students. While many might not think an extra $20 per week would make a substantial difference, when you are trying to buy groceries for $50 a week – it make the struggle much harder.

She speaks of the obstacles faced by students from low socio-ecomonic backgrounds to students feeling alienated from their hometowns when relocating and starting university.

If you feel alienated, depressed or just need someone to speak to, Headspace provides a range of counselling services for people between the ages of 12 – 25 at http://www.headspace.com OR we encourage you to call Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 OR go to your university counselling service.

If you are struggling with academically with your studies speak to a tutor or lecturer as they can often help or point you in the right direction.

-KL