Financial Wellness (Blog Posts)

As members of the Financial Wellness Task Force, each of us has chosen a topic involving financial wellness to write about.  Enjoy!

Student Savings – Noah Lapointe

Student money

Photo Source:  Pixabay

A huge aspect of financial wellness, especially for college students, is using discounts whenever they’re available.  This blog is going to be a list of several student discount codes for sites that everyone uses all the time, and may not be aware of.  Using these can save you a lot of money if you need new shoes, textbooks, or other things.  

Amazon Prime Student:  50% off & Free 6 months!

Spotify: $4.99 per month with free Hulu and Showtime, along with the first three months free!

Bestbuy:  Create a My Bestbuy Account and sign up for an array of student deals.

Microsoft:  Students and Parents save 10% on select Surface products.

Nike: 10% off!

Reebok:  30% off!

Apple Music$5/ Month

These are just a handful of the useful codes available to help students save money.  For countless more, you can visit RetailMeNot, as they have a larger list.  Happy saving!

-Noah Lapointe

Banking the Right Way – Elizabeth Dion


Preparing for going back to school creates a list of things to do that seems too long for anyone. From dorm shopping, to buying textbooks, and evaluating your class schedule, it can be daunting to try and check off everything you need before returning from summer vacation. So, with that long list of tasks, it seems that the last thing you would want to do is figure out your banking situation.

Stepping into adulthood and being responsible for your finances can seem like a challenging task altogether. Walking into a bank can seem like a maze these days. With so many offers and plans being thrown at you the second you walk in the door, it all just feels like walking into a dead end.

But have no fear – we got you covered. Here are some tips to help you step in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right banking plans for your college lifestyle.

Finding the Right Bank

For the easiest luck with banking, start by finding the place that is right for you and your financial situation. First, let’s look at the initial decision you will make: bank, or credit union? The broadest difference here is that a bank is a for-profit firm, while a credit union is a non-profit. Each has their own pros and cons and can help people in various ways. If you’re looking for a more convenient option with perks like 24-hour banking, online checking and a greater amount of locations, a bank is the better choice for you. However, if you want a bit more of a personal experience, greater forgiveness for overdraft fees, and live locally, you may prefer a credit union. No matter the reasons, starting at this point will give you the best banking experience that you would personally like for your cause.

ATM – The Right Way

ATMs. The definition of convenience. But only to a point. We could all do without those pesky ATM fees we sigh at every time we take money out of the bank. Are there ways to avoid it? Most certainly! At UNH we have a selection of several ATMs on campus that are tied to banks within the area. If you are planning to open a new bank account, I would recommend checking out the list of ATMs on the UNH campus so you can take money out without the extra cost. Banks such as Bank of America and People’s United Bank have ATMs on campus, as well as local options such as First Seacoast Bank, Kennebunk Savings Bank, and Service Credit Union.

I chose a bank – now what?

Once you choose the bank that checks off the marks for your perfect fit, it’s time to think about the right accounts to open. Let’s start with the two basic accounts – savings versus checking. Simply put, a savings account usually receives deposits and is rarely withdrawn, while a checking account is usually where you will purchase from. It’s important even at a young age for you to save a good chunk of your money. Yes, we all have a way to impulsively buy something of our choosing, but it’s essential to look towards the future and save up some of your money. Make sure to plan a budget, spend appropriately, and save up!

Online Banking – Try it out!

It’s common law that we are in the digital age, and the same can be said for the practice of banking online. A 2015 study shows that 67% of people ages 18-29 now bank online, so definitely take advantage. Many banks and credit unions have apps you can download on your phone, so you can bank right at your fingertips. Many apps have features such as purchase history, mobile check deposit, and account transfers. These features make it convenient for any student to bank, wherever they might be.

Heading to college and entering adulthood is a tough gig. And adding on making your own financial decisions sure isn’t easy, either. But it’s important to take this time in your college career to lay the foundation for your banking future. It’s time to start off your planning track in the right direction. And that requires a good banking situation, too. So, enjoy your freedom, but take the time to bank wisely, and soon enough, you’ll clear the maze to a successful financial future.

Dinners on a Budget – Kersten Mercurio


Making your own meals can seem like an expensive and daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to avoid eating Ramen Noodles every night without breaking the budget. Living in an apartment as a college student is often thought to be too expensive; the amount of money that you can spend on healthy food can get out of hand. However, I have some tips on how to make healthy meals for less.

One way to avoid spending unnecessary money is to buy the brand of food that is made by the store, such as the Market Basket or Hannaford. Buy the generic brand tortilla chips versus the Tostitos brand. These generic brands are often less expensive. Fresh produce is key to a healthy meal, but prices can often set the grocery bill over the edge. Compare prices at different stores for produce items; there are often different items on sale at different locations. Strawberries may be $5.00 per pound at Hannaford, but may be $2.00 per pound at Aldi. Be open to shopping at a variety of locations in order to get the best deal. Keep an eye out for weekly sale listings both online and in newspapers. When these sales do happen, buy and freeze extra items that you can pull out at any point during the year. This will help you save money and you won’t have to go shopping as frequently.

While these are some shopping tips, I found an article by The Food Network with 10 cheap and easy dinner ideas under $10.00. These are examples of just how easy it can be to make a healthy dinner on a budget.

Click here to find!

How to Save Money on Textbooks – Julianne Edwards


Disclaimer: The advice in here is what I have found based on my experience and those of the people I have asked. It may not be perfectly accurate or true to your experience, but this is what works for me.

As college students, we know the struggle of emptying our bank accounts to pay for textbooks. Their cost piles onto the already overwhelming price of college, and we know very well that the money would be better spent on gifts, trips, food, or not spent at all. However, thanks to the wonderful tool called the internet, we can alleviate this burden, even if only by a few dollars.

Tip 1: Figure out if you prefer reading from online or physical copies of books or if it doesn’t matter. Also, notice how you take notes: if you like to write in the margins, write in a notebook, highlight lines, and if there are certain methods of note-taking you need to do in order to absorb the information. How you take notes can affect if you should buy an ebook (online textbook) or physical copies.
● I have found that some online textbook services, like Chegg, will allow you to highlight and take notes as you go

Tip 2: Before the semester starts you can check the course materials for your classes by putting the departments, course numbers, and sections of each class on the UNH Bookstore website.
1. You can look at the prices and purchasing and renting options on their website.
2. I copy and paste the ISBN for each book into Google and see what other places are selling the same books and if their options are cheaper. Some places have it cheaper, but then you have to pay for shipping which ends up making it more expensive
3. Note the cheapest option. Ebooks tend to be cheaper than physical textbooks and renting is often cheaper than purchasing to own. Renting used from the UNH Bookstore I have found tends to be the cheapest if you prefer physical copies. If you like or are okay with using ebooks, renting them on Chegg is what I’ve found to be the cheapest.

Tip 3: You can either buy the cheapest books as you find them online, or you can wait until the first week of classes to hear from the professor what books are needed, what format or version of the text they would prefer you to have, if you need an access code (the bane of everyone’s existence), and how often you will be using certain texts. If the professor does not tell you everything you need to know, ask them.

Tip 4: Many professors will put the required books on reserve in the Library. They may not tell you, so ask them. This means you do not need to buy the book at all and instead can check out the book you need as you need it from the main desk for up to four hours for free.

Tip 5: Rent textbooks when you can! It saves the hassle of having to figure out what to do with your books after the semester is over. Chegg, Amazon, the UNH Bookstore, Durham Book Exchange, will buy them back, but rarely for a decent price. If you know you will need to refer back to the book another time while you are in college or during your career, I would recommend keeping them. In order to find out what textbooks you should keep, I would ask someone who is a year or two ahead in your major.

Tip 6: If you are taking the class with a friend, you could split the cost of the books and share them. Chances are you can organize when each person uses them for reading around each other’s schedules. For your friend’s sake, don’t highlight or write notes in the book. It will probably confuse them.

Tip 7: Especially for COLSA and CEPS people and any course with a big textbook. Books often have many editions and your professor will have a specific one selected for your class. You probably can purchase the books you need a few editions older and still get the same content. If you need an access code, you can also buy the older book and then the access code separately through the bookstore or another vendor.

Tip 8: Places to look for your textbooks
The UNH Bookstore
Durham Book Exchange
Amazon: Amazon has a textbook rental program where they cover the book shipping to and from.
Chegg: Chegg sells and rents ebooks and physical copies and covers the cost of rental shipping. They also have a study and homework help program you get a trial of with your purchase.
● For full reviews on other online sellers click here

Tip 9: If you are trying to sell back your books, look at the places mentioned in tip 5 and review their policies to see which one works best for your specific book.



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