Student Tips for Success: Budgeting Your Time


Time is precious, especially for us college students. It takes keen time management and organizational skills to be able to do all of the exciting things we want to do while in college, while at the same time maintaining a decent GPA. Plus, trying to sneak in that afternoon nap between class, or enjoying a fun and stress-free weekend can be a chore in itself. Unfortunately, time management skills don’t necessarily come naturally to everyone; it can be a struggle for some. But, there’s an easy way to juggle all the different aspects of college and find success: create a time budget.


Start by gathering all of your schedules you have available; class/test schedule, work schedule, intramural sports schedule, volunteer schedule, sorority/fraternity schedule, club event dates, and so on. Instead of having a million different pieces of paper on your hands, the best way to stay organized is to compile all schedules into one big master calendar.


I like to use Blank Calendars and Calendarpedia, or you can create a template by hand. When filing out your weekly calendar, use a color system to fill in the appropriate times you have something to do. Assign a specific color to represent your multiple activities. For example, blue = work, orange = practice, specific colors for each class, etc. Labeling the time blocks will make it easier for you to see what you have going at certain times of the day. To see an example of a calendar, click here.


Once you have all your mandatory activities and events scheduled (class, work, and extracurricular activities), take a look at where you have open spaces on your calendar. This is where you can determine weekly study times and leisure breaks, like hanging out with friends, going for a walk, or diving into a Netflix series at the end of the day. And don’t forget to add in time for meals, errands, and chores. It can be surprising how often our hectic schedules leave us forgetting to make time for our basic needs.


By creating your master agenda, you’ll learn how to budget your time more effectively, which will help you tenfold during the school year. Referring to your agenda everyday will reduce that stressful feeling of impending doom around your school, work and personal demands – and hopefully clear your brain of unwanted clutter at the same time.


The biggest challenge here is making sure you have your priorities straight. College is a busy and rigorous time for most students, and our future is riding on this pivotal point in our lives. But creating a master agenda is a great method of organization and time management that isn’t only useful to students. After college, life promises to only get busier as we take on more responsibilities. Juggling doesn’t stop after the diploma, so be sure you continue to use this helpful method as you transition out of college, to minimize your stress and maximize your success.

How to Avoid the Insane Markup on Restaurant Food

We all know that going out to eat is expensive. The insane markup and high price is for both the good food and the experience. Though it’s clear that restaurant markups can be sky high, most people don’t realize what the highest markups tend to be on. Here is a quick run-through of the dishes that are best made at home.

  • Drinks – Drinks are the big moneymaker for any restaurants that has a bar. A typical bar drink like a beer or a glass of cheap wine might only cost $2-$3 a serving at home, but at a bar, that same drink can run to as much as $9 depending on the location. Even if you aren’t the best bartender in the world, it’s often best to BYOB or just have a glass of the good stuff at home if you’re looking to cut your dining budget. According to a Fool article, the markup for alcohol can be (on average) between 200% and 600% of what it would cost straight from the liquor store.
  • Pizza – This one may be a shocker for some, but think about it. The average ingredients for a large pizza pie will run you about $4 to $6. The price for an average pizza is around $10 to $20, depending on the location.
  • Pasta – A box of Barilla and some Ragu will run you about $7, and can feed you at least 10 to 15 times. Why are you spending $11 or more for a plate of pasta at a restaurant, then? Simple – because it’s one of those dishes that are a profitable staple for many chains and because of the way they are marketed.
  • Soups – In many cases, the ingredients that are used in soups in restaurant menus are also used in other dishes, so there’s not much issue when it comes to getting a special, lower price on extra ingredients. Since water tends to be one of the main ingredients in soup, the price per serving is lower than any other food item you’ll find on the menu. Thus, the markup will be a lot larger. Even so, it’s perfectly acceptable to want a bowl of hot soup on a cold day – particularly if you’re not good at making soup.
  • Vegetarian Items – Generally speaking, vegetarian and vegan friendly offerings will carry a higher price tag and markup than meatier options. Veggies are cheap – and so are fruits. The markup is done specifically because of the fact that they are diet-friendly, and therefore a better option for people who are worried about their weight.

In general, the price of the ingredients you’ll find on restaurant menu items is approximately 20% to 30% of what the restaurant is charging. That means that the markup is going to be high no matter what you get. Even so, you might as well enjoy a good meal that gives you the most bang for your proverbial buck.

6 Money Mindset Lessons for Any Generation

As a millennial, I dream big and everything I do is intentional and serves a purpose. I wasn’t always this way. It took years of professional success, financial distress and low personal satisfaction to get to where I am today. I am more mindful of the decisions I make and understand the implications my financial knowledge has had in my ability to live my dream lifestyle.

I am still on a quest for complete financial freedom and each and every day with the decisions I make I continue to lift the burden of the past mistakes.

This summer I went on a road trip called The Road to Financial Wellness. We met with thousands of people in the 30-day road trip and had deep meaningful conversations with hundreds of people from every generation. The conversations may have taken place in 30 different locations around the country but the conversations were very similar.

We are a purposeful bunch and we care a lot about social impact. We also understand the importance of financial freedom in order to do things of significant importance. However, many millennials are straddled with student loan debt, low wages compared to cost of living in the cities they reside, and difficulty in finding affordable housing. Older generations face concerns of their own with credit card debt, stagnant income and less than perfect credit with the added stress of retirement age approaching.

Many individuals in every generation is seeking financial freedom but the commonality across generations is the lack of awareness regarding their relationship with money. Ultimately, a lack of understanding their money mindset that’s perpetuating questionable financial decisions preventing them from achieving financial freedom.

What is financial freedom?
The answer varies. Some define financial freedom as having no debt or a million dollars in retirement savings. While others define financial freedom as the ability to do anything without financial constraints.

I define financial freedom as the ability to live a lifestyle devoid of the anxiety over having too little or too much. Financial freedom is the state in which I control money and I am not controlled by it. I don’t fear the scarcity of it or the temptations of abundance. Financial freedom means money is a tool not an end goal.


On the road trip, I focused the conversations on mindset and the relationship we have with money that hinder or help us achieve financial wellbeing.

Here are six money mindset lessons that truly resonated with every generation:

  1. Define the lifestyle you want to live. We’re often focused on financial goals but as millennials we need to understand how those financial goals contribute to the lifestyle. Many did not want to commit to a monthly car payment or plant themselves with a mortgage. It’s important to understand the life you want to live and then identify the financial goals that support that lifestyle.
  1. Money can by happiness. One thing I’ve learned from the wealthy is that money does buy happiness and those who understand that make better financial decisions. Knowing that money can buy happiness will make it easier to choose long-term happiness over short-term satisfaction. Money provides for the needs that allow you to use the rest of your time on creating.
  1. Pay yourself first and have a purposeful savings strategy. Make sure you identify how you plan to spend your money today and how you’ll spend it in retirement. Prioritize savings so you can retire sooner rather than later. The more money you have saved towards retirement the sooner you’ll be able to say goodbye to your job.
  1. Watch out for lifestyle inflation. We might tell ourselves that we’ll wait to save or contribute to our company’s 401K after the merit increase or promotion. There will never be a better time to start saving money. Lifestyle inflation causes us to spend at the same rate making $75,000 as we did making $30,000.
  1. Don’t keep up with the joneses. Spending your hard earned cash to keep up with someone else’s lifestyle will lead to financial disaster. Be mindful that when you’re keeping up with the joneses your money is spent to live another person’s dreams not yours. 
  1. The purchase of things and experiences are the exact same thing. Whether you decide to travel around the world or buy that luxury car, spend only on things and experiences that matter to you. For most of us, experiences trumps things but I can tell you that driving my BMW on the winding roads of Napa Valley was definitely an experience. Understanding what you truly value will make you spend on things that add value in your life.