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Financial Mistakes You Can Learn From

Do you know how to handle your money in college? Photo courtesy of espensorvik. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.Lifehacker recently posted an article listing the author's top five mistakes she made regarding money while she was in college. Hopefully most of you know not to open up five credit cards as soon as you get on campus, even if the companies offer you a free t-shirt and a water bottle, but in case you or your friends need a reminder of some very bad things to do with your money in college, here are some absolutely "do nots."

Don't Ignore Those Who Know Better

Your parents probably know a thing or two more about financials than you do. I'm not saying that you take after their financial views, but the first couple of years that you're in school, ask their advice. Which bank should you use? Which credit card should you apply for? What should you be using it for? As you get older and enter your junior or senior year, you'll start to form your own financial ideals and break off from your parents. But in the beginning, take your cues and advice from your parents.

If you find yourself unsure about your parents' advice, do some research and educate yourself. Read up on some financial literature and magazines. You'd be surprised at the amount of literature that's geared at the college demographic. Being independent and finding your own way is part of the college experience. It's just best to not rack up debt and make stupid financial decisions on the way.

Don't Be Stupid About Your Credit Card

I know, you've heard this a billion times, but there's a reason for it. Unlike in the past, avoiding credit cards altogether can actually do more damage to your financial situation. You have to build up credit in order to go on to bigger things, and that usually means using a credit card. However, you have to make sure that you're doing it in a smart way. Use your card for smaller things that you know you can pay off or for emergencies only. Don't just pay of the minimum on your credit card balances-- pay off all of it. When in doubt, don't buy it.

Don't Assume It Will Work Itself Out

If you do manage to get yourself into a tight spot, it's not just going to figure itself out without you doing anything about it. Get in the habit of budgeting your expenses so you don't end up spending 2/3 of your monthly income on clothes and have only a couple hundred bucks for rent and groceries for the next four weeks.

Creating a financial plan or at least thinking about your future goals will help you figure out your spending habits early on, and position you for success in the future.

For more financial tips for college students, check out the original article here.

What financial tips do you have for younger college students? Let us know in the comments!

[via Lifehacker]


Sick Day: Make a DIY Shot Glass Neti Pot

Gross? Yes. Satisfying? Totally. Image courtesy of Flickr user Debris Design. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

There is no more unpleasant feeling in the world than having a stuffed-up nose. Particularly if you get sick in the next few weeks--the middle of midterm season--you're likely to have to suffer through the sniffles while sitting through lectures. However, cold medication can take a while to work, and can be ineffective if your nose is really and truly stopped up.

It's these sort of problems that a neti pot is designed to solve. For those not familiar with the device, its basically a tea pot designed to (gently) shove saline solution up your nose and through your sinus cavity in order to flush out whatever grossness is in there.

However, most college students don't own a neti pot or want to shell out for such a single-use device. Luckily, a shot glass and some patience can produce much the same effect.

The way the shot glass neti pot works is pretty simple. Fill a cereal bowl or microwaveable cup with a mixture of water and non-iodized salt. Microwave it for 20 seconds, until the salt is dissolved and the water is warm. Standing over the bathroom sink, take a shot glass full of the mixture and pour it slowly into your clear nostril. Make sure to breathe through your mouth so that you don't feel like you're being waterboarded, and stand over the sink so that any spilled solution doesn't get you wet.

Once the mixture has gone in, blow the solution out of your nose and into the sink. Repeat it a few times in each nostril, and you will be feeling 100% less awful, along with having the grim satisfaction of seeing what comes out of your infected head. Though it's gross, the shot glass neti pot is really quite effective at making you feel less horribly ill before class or sleep.

Research actually backs up claims as to the neti pot's effectiveness. For college students, non-medical sinus clearing can be a godsend--cold medication is surprisingly expensive and may make you feel like a zombie in class. Even more worrying, most cold medications contain acetaminophen, which (because it is processed through the liver) is not recommended for heavy drinkers.

Hopefully no one in the audience is routinely drinking in the range that's contraindicated for the drug. However, you may be up a creek if you get sick within a day or two of heavy drinking, when your liver is not at its best. If that's the case, try the neti pot and see if you can't at least get through the night before zombie-walking to CVS.


How To Tackle Huge Projects With the Dash Method

Sometimes getting started on massive projects feels like this. Photo courtesy of danalipar. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.I don't know about y'all but this is the time of year where big projects, papers, and tests are already starting to creep up on me. It's far enough in the semester where we've learned enough material to be tested and apply our knowledge, but it's still not even October, and I'd like a few extra weeks to not think about these big projects. I'd much rather just push it to the back of my mind and deal with smaller, easier tasks.

However, that's not really an option. So if you're in the same position as me and need some help getting motivated to start working on those projects, here is a great method that you can try. Lifehacker calls this the dash method.

To start off, grab a timer and set it for ten minutes. You've got to start somewhere on your big project, so start with just ten minutes. That's not very long at all. You're essentially tricking yourself into getting started by limiting yourself to working for only ten minutes. When your timer goes off, congratulations! You've just stopped procrastinating and actually started. And here's something even better-- you get a break! Go walk around, get a drink of water, just something for a few minutes. Because next, you're going to do it again.

After you've done a couple of ten minute dashes, you'll start to realize, "Hey. I am actually getting some of this stuff done." And instead of wanting to go for only ten minutes, you'll find yourself on a roll. So now, adjust your timer to go for longer and longer dashes. The goal is to work yourself up to 30 to 60 minute dashes. It depends on your energy, attention span, and your own personal preferences.

According to Lifehacker, what you're doing is creating self-imposed deadlines. The deadlines in this case aren't to stress you out, but they're to help you make and create goals for yourself. This short time span to work on a specific project will keep you focused, and you'll be surprised about how much you can get done in those dashes.

Meeting your goals in the form of these dashes will further help you in finishing those huge projects because you're creating milestones for yourself. Every one you accomplish gets you towards your bigger finish line and the smaller sense of accomplishments will give you more and more motivation to keep going.

On your next big project, use the dash method to see if it can help you stop procrastinating and get on with it.

What do you do to help you stop procrastinating on big projects? Would you try the dash method?

[via Lifehacker]


Transform a Wii Into the Ultimate Dorm-Friendly Entertainment Machine (Part 1)

The Wii is great for foolish-looking gaming, but with a little work it can be a great all-around entertainment machine. Photo by JoshBerglund19 and licensed under CC BY 2.0 The Nintendo Wii is a fun, cheap choice for a video game system, but it isn't usually thought of as a media powerhouse. But with a few fairly simple hacks, it can be the hub of all of your entertainment needs. 

If you don't have a game system yet for your dorm room, you won't have much trouble picking up a used Wii for under $100 on eBay, but a new system (in black!) bundled with Mario Kart can be had now for under $150, so that might be the way to go. You'll also be needing a small SD card; 2GB should be plenty. For certain applications you'll also want a Gamecube controller for navigation. There's no reason you should spend more than $160 or so on this project. 

Disclaimer - This walkthrough involves hacking a Wii and installing unauthorized software. Though I've never had any issues, it's possible that you could end up with a bricked Wii. Attempt at your own risk.

If you want to unlock you Wii's full potential, read on.

Click to read more ...


Man on the Street: What is Intel WiMax? (Presented by Intel)

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Intel Core i5-powered Samsung Series 9 Notebook!


Deals of the Week: 10/3/11-10/9/11

Find out how to get a year of Evernote Premium for free and more in 'Deals of the Week!' Image from Evernote.

Need a laptop? We've teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you'll be entered to win a Intel Core i5-powered Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

Welcome to the third week of "Deals of the Week," a new series where we will be giving you the inside scoop about the hottest bargains on the web. The deals we feature will be relevant to college students in some way or another, whether it's a price drop on a note-taking app or a coupon for groceries. We will focus on online promotions and discounts so that everyone can take advantage of them, no matter where you attend school. Keep looking out for new "Deals of the Week" every Monday!

  • iPhone/iPad TV show tracking app TV Schedules is now free, previously $1.99. 
  • MyContactsKeeper, a utility to back up your contacts to your DropBox account, is free for a limited time in the iTunes App Store, previously $0.99.
  • OtterBox is offering 10% off + Free Shipping after code: AMTB201109 through 10/31.
  • Slysoft, which makes Windows utilities for DVD's, CD's and games, is offering 20% off on all products until 10/9.
  • To-do management service Producteev is offering their premium plan to college students with a valid .edu for free. 
  • Get $5 off any order of $30 at AccessoryGeeks with Coupon Code: TECHGEEKOCT, through 10/31.
  • Looking for a Halloween costume? Buycostumes is offering 10% off any order over $40 with code: HALLOW10 through 10/31. 

OS Tips – How to Take Screenshots in Windows 7

If you're curious about how to do this in Windows 7, read the rest of the post!Last week, I covered how to take screenshots in Mac OS X. For all you Windows users out there who felt left out, here’s all the information you’ll ever need on how to take screenshots in your preferred OS. It’s important to understand that you’ve essentially got two options: 1) Print Screen and 2) Snipping Tool.

Print Screen: Print Screen is a button on your keyboard usually tucked away in the far upper right hand corner. The key is also often abbreviated to PrtScn or something similar. In any case, once you hit it, you should notice your cursor flash for a second. That indicates that the system successfully copied over the entire contents of your screen to the clipboard. From there, open up your image editing program of choice (I usually just use Paint), paste with Ctrl+V, and presto – you’ve created a screenshot in Windows 7. If you want to just copy the contents of one window to the clipboard, place your cursor over the window you want to capture, hit Alt+Print Screen, and paste wherever you’d like.

Snipping Tool: If you look in the Accessories folder within your Start Menu, or type Snipping Tool into the Start Menu search box, you’ll open up this neat little application. In addition to Print Screen’s functionality, Snipping Tool also allows you to capture a rectangular or free-form snip, similar to Mac OS X’s Shift+Command+4. After you capture whatever you want, Snipping Tool presents you with a preview of your image. From there, you can save it as one of four file types, edit it with annotations or highlights, or even email it to colleagues. It even disappears when it’s within your capture area! Snipping Tool really is a very robust utility, and I use it all the time for producing screenshots for HackCollege.

How have screenshots helped you produce better work? Are there any additional tips that I missed? Let us know in the comments!


App of the Week - Quickly and Easily Clone your Mac’s Hard Drive with Carbon Copy Cloner

If you read HackCollege, you probably know all about the volatility of hard drives and the importance of backups. It really is a matter of when and not if when it comes to hard drive failure, whether it be software or hardware related (I’ve personally dealt with corrupt permissions that couldn’t be repaired twice in the past year). There’s nothing worse than spending hours writing a paper, only to have your hard drive randomly die on you and have all that hard work go down the drain if you don’t have a backup. While it’s easy to remedy this solution for mission-critical schoolwork files by keeping them in the cloud with a free Dropbox account, 2 GB isn’t enough to backup your entire hard drive. After all, wouldn’t it be just as devastating to lose your photos, music, and movies as your schoolwork? In order to ensure you don’t lose anything – all the way down to that one preference in a program you’ve only used once, clone your hard drive with Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and make sure you experience almost zero downtime if case something actually does happen to your hard drive.

Platform Availability: Mac OS X 10.4 and up

Cost: It’s free donationware! Download it here!

What it is: CCC is a lightweight program to clone the entire contents (every file, every preference, literally everything) of your disk block by block to another location – another hard drive, another Mac on your home network, or even a location across the Internet.

What it Does: Easy and intuitive cloning. Choose a source and a destination, then hit clone. That’s it! CCC will take care of the rest.

Features: Bootable Backups – In case something does happen, you can use your Mac OS X Install DVD to transfer contents from your CCC backup to your hard drive, restoring everything perfectly to how it was when you last modified the backup.

Incremental Backup – Save time and hard drive space with this great feature. After your initial backup, subsequent ones only copy over items that have changed since your last backup

Scheduled Backup – Easily make backing up a regular habit with this great feature. Instead of having to remember to initiate this process every week, have CCC take care of it for you. I would even schedule it to run while you’re sleeping so it doesn’t hog system resources and hard drive performance.

The Competition: SuperDuper - $27.95 - Mac OS X 10.4 and Up

ChronoSync - $40 - Mac OS X 10.4 and Up

Disk Utility - Free – Built into Mac OS X; find it in your utilities folder

Why the Featured App is Best: Honestly, CCC really doesn’t do anything revolutionary, and there’s a ton of competition in the Mac disk-cloning field. But where it holds an advantage is in the fact that it does the one thing it’s supposed to extraordinarily well. Sometimes, backing up can be such a complicated and tedious process, but CCC aims to make it as easy as possible. You can clone in literally just three steps! There aren’t any preferences to fiddle around with if you don’t want to – the developers really have made it as easy and intuitive as possible. Despite the simple nature of the program’s UX, CCC still creates robust and full-featured backups. Unlike Disk Utility, CCC creates a true block-by-block copy that you can actually use to boot your Mac. CCC also includes features like incremental and scheduled backup for free that you would have to pay for in programs like SuperDuper. ChronoSync has some really great advanced features like file comparisons and data filters, but you’re paying $40 for functionality you probably don’t need. If you want the most intuitive and full-featured Mac backup program on the market, get CCC.

Summary: Backing up your data is just like brushing your teeth – tedious but necessary. To make this important task as seamless as possible, use CCC. After you create your first backup, create a weekly schedule to let CCC do its thing and sleep easy knowing all your data’s safe in case anything ever does happen.

How do you manage your backup process? Is there an even better program/method I forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!

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