Thursday, July 30, 2009

5 Back to School Savings Tips

Every year thousands of parents grab a cart and engage in the age old tradition of back to school shopping. There is a level of excitement in the air as students consider new school supplies and what clothes they will wear back to school. All parents can do is look at their pockets and try to find a way to stretch a dollar. Many parents start their shopping without a plan and that’s where money is lost. Have you ever noticed how things are strategically placed around the store so that you will make random purchases? There are all kinds of pencils, notebooks and paper right within your grasp.

There are some things that you can do to resist the temptation to spend too much. First make a list of the most expensive items that you need to purchase. Check the internet and advertisements in your local newspaper. This is important especially when you are purchasing electronic products like lap tops, Ipods and digital recorders. The money that you save from these purchases can add up to hundreds of dollars. Recognize that every product that has a sales tag can be bought cheaper if you are willing to do your research.

The second tip is to watch for the best day of the week to purchase clothes and other items. Some stores have sales on certain days of the week. This is done to increase the number of parent’s and students who are coming into their store. As you shop for sales it may be worth returning on another day. Talk with your relative who works in a retail store. They may have a discount that they can use on your purchases. There could be an additional discount in addition to the sale that is going on in the store.

Third there are numerous websites where you can purchase books at a discount. Search Google for discount book websites. Purchasing books online is real convenient today. Books that you order usually arrive in 3 to 5 days. Still it is better to purchase books well before they are needed. If your son/daughter needs the book to write a report the book will be available to get started early. Also consider purchasing reference books so that your son/daughter will have books to look at when they do not understand a particular definition or subject.

A forth back to school saving tip involves purchasing shoes and sneakers at a reduced price. There are stores that sell hundreds of shoes. You need to keep an eye on the prices several times a week. Sometimes local stores want to move inventory so that they will lower their prices. Ask your child how often he/she talks with their peers about where they get the best sneaker discounts.

A fifth tip is to form a group of parents who can each purchase some items in bulk. Pencils and paper can be shared by parents. Create a supplies storage container where you will keep all of the items. This is one way that you can avoid purchasing too many items that you already have. Before you go shopping go to your storage draws and take an inventory of all of things you need. You will be amazed at how much you have in storage from last year,

Now that you’ve saved hundreds of dollar focus on your child’s education. Decide on something that you will do to make education fun this year. Load up your students book bags with good snacks. Even high school students need snacks because they can loose their energy during the day. Remember a healthy body will boost a student’s performance on tests. Make your back to school journey one that is full of good expectations. You can control your back to school spending and have a great new school year too. Dr Stephen Jones is an education expert, consultant and author of three books the Seven Secrets of how to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Military Veterans Need a College Success Plan

The Veteran’s Administration is providing additional funding to encourage more veteran’s to attend college. This is a great financial commitment but many veterans are intimidated by the thought of attending college. Most veterans fall into the adult learner category because most of them are over 24. Sitting in a class with much younger students can seem awkward. Some veterans have graduated from high school and they have right into the armed services. There was no time to think about college. One way that a veteran can prepare for college is by having a college success plan.

A college success plan is a set of activities that a veteran can use to improve their chances of graduating from college. Just the thought of submitting a college application can cause some veterans anxiety. It may not be fun to sit in classes where the students view you as an outsider. This is one reason why it is important to have a college success plan. Veterans need time to adjust to college life. They must work on their own perceptions that they are not ready to enroll in college. There is no need to be fearful about the amount of work that will be required for each veteran. Colleges have many resources such as advisors, tutors and counselors who can make the adjustment to college life a lot easier. You can call a local college to determine the different types of services that they offer.

One of the important things that a veteran can do is to work on study skills. This is one area where students of all ages have difficulty. Each veteran can benefit from learning how to study prior to starting first year classes. For example a good study habit is taking time to read all chapters before classes start. The chapters should be read several days before a class begins. It’s important to get your mind ready to absorb the information you are studying. By studying early you eliminate the stress of needing more time to read your textbook. When you are listening to a lecture the important facts from your textbook will be familiar. If there is something that you don’t understand don’t be afraid to talk to your instructor.

Planning to manage your time is a vital element of a veteran’s college success. Veterans who learn how to manage their time have much greater success. The management of your time will help you to set priorities for your week. Getting control of your time will enable you to do an accurate time management schedule. It is far better to plan your test preparation than to wait until the last second. If you have a plan to study several hours you can also put time in your schedule to enjoy yourself. You will experience less stress because you have a road map to meet all of your assignment deadlines.

Veterans should get ready for every test early. Students who have success on their tests know that starting test preparation early yields good results. Take time to clear up any missing information in your notes. Use 3 x 5 cards to memorize important facts. You can have a stack of cards for each class. Then set aside some time each day to memorize your 3 x 5 cards and important facts presented by the instructor. This is just one way to organize your study sessions. Recognize that you are in control of the amount of knowledge that you obtain each day.

Veterans need to spend time getting to know what the instructors require for each class. An important place to start is reading the syllabus. The syllabus is a guide to the important topics that your teacher is discussing. Compare notes with other students who are in your class. Creating time to form groups with other students is beneficial. Organizing a study group can be a very easy way to get to know people in your classes. During each session you can find out information that is missing from your notes.

It’s important for each veteran to take time to identify which classes are interesting during the first semester of attending college classes. You can position yourself for success during your first semester just by dedicating yourself to learning and eliminating distractions. The fact that you have decided to go to college is a great accomplishment. More veterans need to take advantage of this opportunity. This country needs more veterans who will use their minds to improve the global competitiveness of this country.