One of the common questions students of the Outdoor Recreation Business Administration degree program are trying to figure out while they are in college at UMF is: how am I going to combine my passion for a specific outdoor recreation industry with the ability to making a living and afford my needs and wants? We have put together a short list of tips and tricks to help the person who is pursuing a career in the recreation/tourism/service sector answer this very question, and to help with their overall financial fitness!
- Taking advantage of the perks associated with a job in the recreation/tourism/service sector. Oftentimes, you’ll receive retail and restaurant discounts associated with the business/resort you work for. A common perk for the ski industry is receiving a free season pass for work at a resort.
- Budgeting for a seasonal career can be tough. Try saving a % of your paycheck rather than a specific amount, know your slow months of your industry so you can plan accordingly, and have side hustle opportunities to help get you some extra cash!
- Get certified! Certifications in these industries are huge and can be the thing that separate you from other applicants when you’re applying for the management/supervisor position. Being certified also gains you access to a number of pro deals, which lower your expenses on gear!
- Network, network, network. The service sector is an extremely tight-knit community and you never if a connection you make with someone will come in handy in the future.
- Volunteer for any and every opportunity you get. Showing initiative like this is an easy way to display to your management team how you would conduct yourself in a potential management role in the future.
The dreaded day is coming. As much as you may have convinced yourself that your loans aren’t real and as far away as they seem, the money is real. It’s all money you have to pay back, with interest. So here are the two biggest tips I can give you to own repayment. One, during the six month grace period after graduation save money like crazy, build up a nest egg that you can pay the principle of your loan. The less debt you start with in the beginning means less interest you end up paying out in the end. Two, you will end up with a loan repayment plan with monthly payments, generally over 10 years. If you can make 13 payments a year instead of 12, you will pay off the loan 10 months faster than the plan is financed for, and save yourself thousands in interest.
Real Numbers: UMF’s average student debt is $31,000. Over ten years with 5.05% interest (current rate) a student with average debt will pay out $39,547.40 over the life of the loan. By cutting the payment period down by 10 months the total amount drops to $38,791.29. Now let’s say the student saved $3,000 during the grace period and began repayment with only $28,000. If they also made an extra payment every year for 10 years, they would pay out in total $35,037.13 Saving themselves over $4,500 by following these two tips.
You hear it all the time: if you stop spending $4 a day on coffee you could be saving $100 or more a month!
But, as I’m sure my fellow caffeine fiends can attest…. WE NEED THAT COFFEE. Telling someone who buys coffee everyday to stop spending money on coffee is like telling someone to stop putting gas in their car or paying their electricity bill. Is that hyperbole? Maybe…but it’s true. Coffee keeps us going! You know what else it does? It makes you feel good, it’s a special treat, it gets you out of the office, it’s a reason to catch up with friends or coworkers. Coffee usually isn’t just about coffee…it’s a vehicle to fulfilling an emotional or social need. Maybe that $5.50 Starbucks latte makes you feel boujee because it’s the only boujee thing you can afford. Maybe you and your coworker walk to Dunkin’ everyday at 10:00am and vent about your boss. Maybe you’re so busy running back and forth from activities to classes to work that it’s the only thing that keeps you going and you don’t have time to make it at home. We all have our reasons. That being said, there are ways to still enjoy your hot bean water, get your needs met, and save a little bit of money:
1) Make your coffee at home. Investing in a good coffee maker and your favorite beans will save you money in the long run because it will ultimately cost you less per cup. If you’re buying a coffee or latte, you’re spending between $2 and $6 per cup. Meanwhile, brewing a cup of coffee at home costs you between 16 and 18 cents per cup. I personally prefer espresso over regular coffee so I asked for an espresso machine for Christmas. Two years later and I still use it every day. I spend about $12.25 a month on a pound of Carrabassett Coffee, plus coconut milk. Plus with an amazing variety of travel mugs available, you can keep your coffee hot or cold way longer than those crappy plastic cups (and you’re helping the environment!)
2) Make your coffee at work. A lot of offices have Keurig machines, coffee makers, or free coffee available. It may not be your favorite kind, but it will get the job done. Bring in your favorite creamer/milk option and your favorite flavoring (I keep a bottle of cinnamon powder in my desk) to make it feel extra.
3) Make everything but the coffee. Sometimes, you run out of coffee. Or you’re running late and ran out of time to make it. The most expensive part about buying a coffee drink can be the milk products and flavoring. At Starbucks, three shots of espresso cost you about $2.50, but a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte, which has the same amount of espresso, costs $5.25, and if you need to go non-dairy it becomes $5.75. Save yourself the $3.25 by mixing your own milk and flavoring options at home (I do coconut milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon over ice) and then stop at the coffee shop for the actual coffee.
4) Figure our life hacks. One of the best life hacks I ever heard was for getting yourself a much, much cheaper latte. This doesn’t work as well with a hot drink unless you will be visiting a microwave soon, but it’s perfect for iced drinks. Order a double or triple shot of espresso over ice in a grande cup. Then walk yourself over to the milk bar and just pour in milk from the carrafes that people usually add to regular coffee. There is cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and chocolate powder there as well, along with sugar. BOOM you just saved yourself $3.00 on an iced latte.
5) Harness the power of cold brew concentrate. Still too short on time to make coffee everyday? Don’t have the money (or counter space) for a coffee machine? The cold brew craze has led lots of companies to create their own cold brew in a bottle so people can have the latest trend anytime they want. The Trader Joe’s concentrate costs about $16 and makes 12 – 8 oz. cups of coffee, which comes to about $1.33 per cup. The great thing about cold brew in a bottle is that it’s super concentrated and doesn’t necessarily have to be COLD. You can add a little water and milk to it, nuke it, and BAM you’ve got delicious hot coffee for pretty cheap. Skip the “add water” step and pour it over ice with your favorite milk product and BOOM iced latte (sort of). Take it one step further and make your OWN cold brew by putting about 8 tbs of coffee grounds into 32 ounces of water and let it sit overnight, then strain it out with either cheese cloth, coffee filter, or a super fine sieve. It’s easy and requires no additional hardware.
When your emotional needs are being met AND you’re making smart financial choices that keep your wallet (and your soul) happy- that’s what we like to call being “fiscally fit”. Happy sipping!
You don’t use a credit card you say?
If you’re a college student, it is very likely you could be doing something just a bad for you finances without even realizing it. It is true that credit cards are one of the most severe traps college students can fall into. For many, the biggest problem is that in the moment the expense of a purchase isn’t felt. A credit card bill can pile up fast; coffees, a stop a McDonald’s, it’s like a snowball and before people realize it they’ve spent much more than they ever expected. And as dangerous as credit cards can be there is a bigger financial issue every aspiring and current college student needs to be aware of, that is accepting more unsubsidized loans than is needed.
Similar to credit cards, accepting a loan feels like free money in the moment.
It’s so easy when you’re filling out your financial statement for the upcoming semesters to click the accept button on more unsubsidized loans than needed because you want to have money in your savings account. I know how much it hurts to see the savings you have built up suddenly depleted over the course of your college career. Even though you aren’t required to make payments on the interest of an unsubsidized loan while you’re in college, the interest accrues everyday. That means daily the amount you owe can increase by as much as a few dollars. Like a credit card, those little increases in debt everyday add up quite fast, and over four years you’re loan bill could give you quite a shock. Pay everything you can right now and avoid accumulating any additional debt.
Interest Accrual based on a total of $10,000 over four of school in unsubsidized loans.
Year 1: $2,500
Year 2: + $2,500= $5,000
Year 3: + $2,500= $7,500
Year 4: + 2,500= $10,000
Have you ever felt like you were constantly working, but felt like your bank account stated otherwise? I started my savings journey when I was 15 years old, and I have still felt this way at times. As a college student, growing my savings account had seemed impossible. To achieve my savings goals and dreams has taken a lot of thought, patience, and hard work. Have you ever felt like you’re always spending more money than you’re making? Between buying books, paying for tuition, life’s expenses and bills, it can often times feel that way, as well as seem extremely challenging to begin, create, and grow a savings account. I promise you though, that even if you feel like it would be impossible to start your savings journey right now, that you are so wrong. There are simple steps that every individual can take to start a long term journey with savings. If you have a desire to start your savings journey, you’re going to want to keep reading.
Steps to Long Term Saving Success:
1) Open a savings account that is separate from your checking account. Having asavings account that is separate from your checking account will decrease your chances of spending the money you’re saving because you won’t see it as often as you would in your checking account (your primary source of spending). If you set up direct deposit through your main source of income (which I highly recommend), you won’t even see the money going into the account from your paycheck. It won’t feel like you’re missing money in your checking account because you yourself will not have to physically remove the money from one account to the
- Make a promise to yourself: When will you use the money in this account? What is this money for? How long do you plan on saving? What is your goal? Answer these questions and promise yourself you won’t break
- Mission Statement: Know why you are saving this If you don’t have a reason as to why you are saving this money, you will most likely be tempted to spend the money rather than if you knew you were saving the money for a laptop, a camera, a house, or an emergency fund.
2) Put a cushion in your savings account, try $100. It may sting taking out some hard earned cash from your current checking account, but putting a cushion in your savings account will lead you to success. It’s like starting a diet; you don’t start your diet by eating cake for breakfast. You usually start with healthy fruits, veggies, proteins, and then you might go for a run later that Kick starting a diet leads to success. Kick starting your savings account will have you feeling safe knowing that you’ve already started, and give you confidence that you will follow through with your plan.
3) Decide what percentage of each paycheck you can commit to putting in your new savings account. This one can be tough. You may have to sit down and budget to complete this step, but it’ll be worth it once you figure it out. You could sit down, see how much you make per month, and see how much you need to spend per month. You don’t need to be drastic, because you should remember that this savings account is a long term savings account. That means that just like when you were learning to walk, talk, read, play an instrument, or a sport, it will take time. It is going to grow, and become successful over time. You can start small and say that 5% of each paycheck goes into your savings account. Then, once you feel comfortable with that, you can choose to either keep it that way, or maybe bump it up to 10%. From my personal experience, I do 20% and it works for me. But, what works for me may not be what will work for you. It is all up to you, and the fun part is that you get the choice to save. You can experiment with your comfort zone, and see what works best for
4) When you fill out your direct deposit paperwork, put that percentage next to your savings account number. This one is important, and if you have made it this far, you already know You don’t want to have to physically cash your check of $200 and then see $15 of it go away. You might contemplate what you could spend that money on, or even make an excuse as to why you can’t fork over that money for this pay check. Then, it could be come a habit, and you’ve broken your promise to yourself and your savings journey has backslid. If you don’t see the money leaving your paycheck, you probably won’t think about it. There is an option on most direct deposit papers, where you can choose the percentage of each pay check you want removed from the original, and what account you want that money to go into. When you get your pay stub, you will see that $15 was taken out and put into a savings account, but you won’t have the physical cash. Plus, if it’s direct deposit, you don’t have to make the decision to put the money in your savings account through technology either. It’s already been done for you, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on that cash, nor will you be tempted to transfer it back into your checking account.
5) Keep your promise that you made to yourself. This last step is simple but crucial: don’t touch your savings account! Once you’ve made these promises to yourself, you have to do everything in your power to keep them. This will help you build trust with yourself and help you to know that you have what it takes to make long term commitments like this. Don’t get me wrong, life happens and things may come up where you really do need the cash you’ve been saving. If this happens, that doesn’t mean it’s an invitation to stop your savings journey You’ve just got to pick up where you left off and keep moving forward. You will feel happy when a year down the road, you’ve got a sum of money that you worked hard to make, and it’s been saved for all of your hopes, desires, and goals. I’m proud of you, you should be proud of you too. Welcome to the successes of saving money.
Gavin Pickering of the counseling center created this video as part of an informative series for First Year UMF students. Check it out to learn a little bit more about what we do:
Did you know that 73 percent of college students spent an average of $6,000 a year on basic living expenses such as groceries, rent, utilities, gas, etc? Did you also know that, on average, college students spend between $600-$900 on alcohol per year? These are some large numbers when compared to what is usually available in terms of income opportunities for college students. I can speak from personal experience, being an Outdoor Recreation Business Administration major and working in the ski industry for the past six years; the monthly income is usually very tight in comparison to the monthly budget. Here are five ways to decrease your spending/increase your income while you’re at college.
- FILE A FAFSA!! Getting financial assistance to help cover some of the costs of college attendance can free up some money to cover other bills/expenses you may have.
- Get a job on campus or in the local community. There are so many opportunities for student employment across campus and they can give those extra few hours a week that allow you to pay your bills and live a bit more comfortably.
- Put the time in to compare prices of items when grocery shopping. You’ll be amazed how much money you will save just by purchasing store brand items vs. name brands which have a higher mark-up price. Also, purchase only what you actually need at the best unit pricing to avoid overspending.
- By working over summer and winter vacations, you can earn upwards of $4,500. That kind of cash could help BIG TIME with some of those monthly expenses.
- Textbook shopping: explore all of your options for vendors (UMF bookstore, online retailers, etc.) as well as purchasing options (buy new, buy used, rental, e-book) For example, on average, a student can save between $250-$700 just by buying used versions of their textbooks for the semester.
Need help coming up with a budget that matches your income? Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a FinLit peer educator who can walk you through the budgeting process and help you develop strategies for healthy spending/saving.
– Austin French, Senior ORBA Major
Welcome to the #FinLitSquad Blog!
The Financial Literacy Peer Educators are excited to share their experiences and knowledge with you- whether it be a savings slam dunk or a financial fail, they’ll share their stories, knowledge, up’s, down’s, and experiences with you right here in this blog to better help you become fiscally fit.
But first, let’s take a moment to get to know them all:
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” —Ronald Reagan. As the Program Coordinator for the Financial Literacy Peer Education, my goal this year is NOT to sit in an office and build this program all by myself, but rather collaborate with the peer educators to create a financial literacy program that benefits not only the students of Farmington but students across the entire state of Maine.
Let me introduce myself: I’m Sarah Hinman, originally from Cumberland, ME, attended the University of Maine for my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and was hired April 2018 to develop this Financial Literacy Peer Education Program. Having gone through my own financial journey (filled with potholes and frost heaves along the way), I want to impart my knowledge and experience on the next generation of Maine students so they may have a smoother road to financial wellness. Having been a peer educator myself I wholeheartedly believe in its mission to connect students in a beneficial and meaningful way.
When I’m not in our second floor Franklin Hall office, you can find me on the slopes of Sugarloaf, on the bank of a river fly fishing, or gallivanting around Maine taking in all the sights, smells, and flavors this beautiful state has to offer.
Hey everybody! My name is Austin French and I am one of the Financial Literacy Peer Educator here at UMF. I’m a 21-year-old from South River, New Jersey, a senior at UMF, majoring in Outdoor Recreation Business Administration with a minor in Coaching and I’m enrolled in the Alpine Operations Certificate Program. I currently hold three jobs on campus: Program Supervisor for the Alpine Operations Program, Learning Commons Tutor for a variety of business classes, and, of course, a Financial Literacy Peer Educator. The main reason I am working in this program is because I find value in helping students better their financial situation, both present and future. I specialize in methods of saving, investments, and how to be an ORBA major without eating Ramen Noodles. Come and stop by the office on the second floor in Franklin Hall and let’s get your financial life on a track for success!
Heyyyo! My name is Abby Waceken and I am a senior this year at UMF (and a Financial Literacy Peer Educator, holla!). I’m double majoring in secondary education (with a focus in English), as well as English. I also work for the Admissions Office and am a TA while on campus. In my non-abundant free time, I also dance in the Bust-A-Move Beavers dance group. I’m quite excited to be a part of this program because I think that saving money while in college is SUPER IMPORTANT! While I love treating myself just as much as the next gal (Starbucks, anyone?), I do think that it’s important to learn budgeting and smart spending while still in the safety net of college. My specialties include grocery shopping on a budget, making cash off of selling things on Ebay, and thrift shopping (poppin’ tags). I want to teach people that it is very possible to be fashionable and wear expensive/name brand clothing while on a budget (Goodwill is my saving grace!). If you want to learn more about this stuff (or just want to come and say hi), look out for my blog posts or come up and visit me on the second floor of Franklin!
I’m Bailey Parenteau and I came to UMF in 2017 as an English major following a two-year break from higher education. After graduating from Biddeford High School in 2015 (and subsequently dropping out of college later that year), I gathered work experience in the fields of IT networking and retail management. As an Independent student, I’m familiar with many of the in’s and out’s of what it actually takes to maintain financial wellness while attending college, which can be daunting for families of all demographics; my specialties include budgeting, off-campus housing expenses,borrowing choices and debt repayment strategies. Like each of my fellow FinLit peer educators, I bring my own unique personality and background to this program. I also enjoy the challenge of working in a guerrilla marketing environment that will transform into something sustainable, and that will help young people across the state. If you find yourself in the Millennial (or Gen. Z) conundrum of suddenly needing “to adult,” chat me up.
Caleb Grover, I am from Norway, Maine. I am a Junior Majoring in Business Economics, and I think financial literacy is a topic students should really be well educated in, because it will play a huge role in their level of success during and after college. Around I help out with the journalism club and distributing the Farmington Flyer as well as playing tons of intramural sports, I also love to fish!
What’s up guys?! I’m Isaac Michaud and I’m a UMF Financial Literacy Peer Educator this year. I am from Presque Isle, Maine and a senior working towards a degree in Secondary Education with a Concentration in Social Studies. When I am not in my Peer Educator role, I am working as an Admissions Ambassador, represent UMF students as the Student Representative to the UMaine System Board of Trustees, and the Chair of the Maine Federation of College Republicans. I am your go-to guy this year about budgeting. Whether you are looking to make a short-term budget for the Fall semester or a long-term budget that will extend out into adult life, come see me and I will help set you up. I am looking forward to working with you this year and don’t be afraid to come visit me on the second floor of Franklin Hall!
Hi guys! I’m Jake Leonard. I’m an undeclared sophomore and UMF Financial Literacy Peer Advisor. I’ll be starting in the 2018 spring semester. I’ve been conscious of my finances from a young age, working for my family business. Over the past few years I’ve been budgeting, saving, and investing so that I can be as financially stable as possible, and I can’t wait to share my experiences and use my knowledge to help you all!
My name is McKayla Marois and I am a Junior studying Secondary Education with a focus in English and a minor in music at the University of Maine at Farmington. My financial journey has mostly consisted of saving my money. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money on the things I enjoy, like coffee, clothes, and food. But I’ve often worked enough so that I can budget my money accordingly so while I can still do those things and have fun, I can save my money at the same time. If you ever need help making a budget, I’m your girl! I find it to be a fun task and I have great tips and tricks for saving your money while still living a happy and healthy fiscal life. 🙂
I’m Sarah Veilleux and I’m from Waterville, Maine and will be going into Middle and Secondary Education to teach English. Working in this program is a privilege because it’s helping prepare me to teach students about loans and finances before they go into their adult lives, but it also means I get to talk about my relationship with money throughout my life. I’ve never been skilled at managing my money. As a child, I only had money in between buying whatever silly things I wanted and when I got older and started working, I would just hoard all of my paychecks when I cashed them, allowing myself only ten free dollars to spend every week. Even though much of my relationship to money has resembled budgeting, consciously being in charge of my finances, understanding my loans and path to paying for college, and managing my bank accounts is alarmingly recent. It’s not easy to admit that I basically put my dad in charge of my FAFSA and spent years with my head in the sand about my finances, barely managing my own bank accounts, but I think that being able to admit that I was clueless and aimless means that I’m the kind of person others can open up to even when they’re embarrassed about how poorly they think they’re managing their money.
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