We’ve all been there before. You’re cuddled up in bed at 3 in the afternoon, already wearing PJ pants and well into yet another Netflix marathon. The snow is falling hard outside, making it difficult to even leave your room. An open bag of pretzels leans up against an empty jar of Nutella. As the credits roll, your finger hovers over the “Next Episode” button…
Well it’s time to get moving! Though the gym may be a far trek from your room, it’s easy to stay active in one room. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your body healthy, even with a 12×12 foot room.
1. Get the Heart Rate Going!
This chart is perfect to add some cardio after sitting for so long. Luckily, none of these exercises require any weights or equipment. It’s easy to do and is a perfect alternative to running outside or on a treadmill!
2. Tone Those Muscles!
This month-long routine is perfect to tone your muscles in a smaller space. It only lists crunches, sit-ups and squats, but if you stick to it for the whole month, the results are awesome! Do this first thing in the morning or right before being to bed and you’ll be getting fitter – in the comfort of your own room.
3. Put in a Movie – No Really!
Another great idea on how to stay fit in a small space is simply pressing “play”. Look on YouTube or purchase a workout DVD for some heart-pumping exercises that can be done only a few feet away from your TV. It’s like having a personal trainer right there in your own home!
Be sure to check out WSU’s Wellness Pinterest board for more ideas on how to stay happy and healthy during these dreary winter months!
While I’m not one who lives paycheck to paycheck, I know the value of living frugally. I budget carefully and think through my purchases. Sometimes though, it seems like buying eco-friendly products and living green are too expensive for a college student’s budget. For instance, there’s no way I could afford to drive a hybrid car or put solar panels on my apartment roof. But there are ways to have the best of both worlds: this is a student’s guide to sustainable frugality, saving you money and the environment too.
1. Using a Glass Water Bottle Instead of Buying Plastic
The average 24 pack of your basic, glorified tap water is around $3. Let’s say that you go through one of these packs each month. In a year you will spend $36 simply for the convenience of water in plastic bottles. This isn’t too bad for your bank account, but it is bad for the environment because you alone have added 288 plastic bottles to landfills in a single year. Think about how many plastic bottles would be wasted if all the students at WSU, let alone the entire US population went through a 24 pack of water a month! Alternatively, you can get a glass water bottle for about $12 at Target. After four months of reusing the glass water bottle, the bottle has paid for itself and now you are saving $24 a year, plus there is zero plastic waste.
2. Make Your Own Cleaning Products with Natural Ingredients
When you want something really clean, your first instinct is probably to reach for the product with disinfecting chemicals cooked up in labs. But in fact, Mother Nature already perfected two powerful cleaning solutions: white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Mix either one with water (on a 50/50 ratio) or use hydrogen peroxide on its own, and you have a natural all-purpose cleaner for counter-tops, glass surfaces, carpets and even your toilet bowl. You can get 128oz of white vinegar for $3 and 32oz of hydrogen peroxide for just $1 at the grocery or drugstore. Let’s compare that to spending $2 on a 24oz bottle toilet bowl cleaner and $3 for a 26oz bottle of counter-top disinfectant.
On the surface, it doesn’t look like much of a difference, but the savings are apparent when you drill down to price per ounce. At $2, the commercial toilet bowl cleaner comes out to $0.08/oz and the commercial disinfectant at $3 cost about $0.12/oz. The vinegar costs $0.02/oz while the hydrogen peroxide comes out to $0.03/oz. The commercial products are 4 times as expensive as the natural ones! Remember, too, that you have to dilute the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide with water so your purchases will go even further. Over a year, you will spend a bit less on cleaning products by making your own natural recipes, but the real savings come from avoiding harsh chemicals that can actually make you sick even while your house is spotless.
3. Switch Incandescent Bulbs Out for CFL Bulbs
This is a well-known energy saving tip but when you see the sticker price at the store, you might think otherwise. It’s true that you have to spend some money upfront to purchase CFL lightbulbs but you will save energy and money overall. Let me take you through the math. At Target, you can get two GE 60-Watt Incandescent Soft White Light Bulb for $2.50 while two GE 60-Watt CFL Soft White Light Bulbs will cost $8.79. Say you need 10 light bulbs for your entire apartment, so your total bill would be $12.50 for incandescent bulbs and $43.95 for CFL bulbs. That’s a big price difference! But you can see the savings already when you look at how long the bulbs will last. GE claims that the CFL bulbs will last 13.7 years while the incandescent bulbs will only make it 1.4 years. With the cost of replacement, you would end up spending $9/year on incandescent bulbs, but only $3/year on CFLs because they last so much longer. That is a yearly savings of $6.
Now let’s factor in energy usage. The average Minnesotan uses 793 kilowatt hours (kWh) each month and the average cost for residential electricity in Winona is $0.11/kWh. At that rate, your average monthly electricity bill is about $87. Now, each incandescent bulb uses 60 watts, and if you used one bulb for 10 hours a day, that one bulb would use 0.6kWh. At ten bulbs for 10hrs/day, you would use 6kWh each day. Using 10 incandescent bulbs for 10 hours a day for 30 days would equate to 180 kWh/ month. The total cost for all that energy is $19.8/month. Meanwhile, each CFL bulb uses a mere 15 watts, so 1 bulb for 10 hrs/day would use .15 kWh. At 10 bulbs for 10hrs/day, the energy consumed would amount to 1.5kWh, and at 10 bulbs for 10 hrs/day for 30 days the total would be 45 kWh/month. The total cost is just $4.95/month. That is a savings of $15 each month—your $90 bill is now $75. In a year, you’ll save $180. As you can see, the savings add up quickly!
4. Eat Seasonal and Local Foods
It’s the dead of winter and we’re all longing for spring to arrive. While at the grocery store you might reach out for a nectarine or some grapes just to remember that there is warmth world. But hold up—those warm-weather fruits clearly aren’t in season here in Minnesota. No, they had a long journey to your local Hy-vee from California, Mexico or maybe even Chile, an expense you’ll see at the register when you pay $3-4 per pound for those nectarines and grapes. Even though eating fresh produce is healthy for you, eating produce when it’s in season helps the environment by lowering emissions produced by shipping foods thousands of miles and saves you money too. Not to mention that that oranges, strawberries and peppers taste better when you get them in season. Eating local produce is even better because again there are reduced shipping costs—both monetary and environmental—and you keep your dollars in the local economy. Supporting local farmers at the Winona Farmers Market is an important way to build community, which in turn supports your life as well because all businesses thrive when people have money to spend.
5. Cut Down on Food Waste
Speaking of food, let’s talk about how much money you lose by wasting food. In the U.S, 40% of the food produced gets thrown away each year at every stage of production from insect damage to commercial “beauty standards” for produce to spoilage in your fridge. All this wasted food costs Americans $43,052,480,000. That is a huge number to wrap your mind around, but think about it this way. If the average American family of four spends roughly $1,252 per month on groceries, as a single college student you might spend about $300 at the most. If you threw out 40% of the food you purchased, you would basically toss $120 in the trash—that’s some serious cash! A big reason people throw away food is because it spoils before they can use it. Here are few apps that can help you help you eliminate your own food waste and save money:
Even if food isn’t actually spoiled, most people will still toss it if the expiration date has passed. While expiration dates have good intentions to reduce food-borne illnesses, the fact is that any bad bacteria is already present regardless of the date printed on the package. Expiration dates are really more of guidelines for grocery store shelf-stockers—for you, the consumer, most foods are still perfectly good to eat even if the expiration date has passed.
These are just a few ways to be sustainable on a budget. If you’d like to learn more about frugal living, come to “The New Frugality” presentation by economics expert Chris Farrell on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7pm in the Vivian Fusillo Stage in the Performing Arts Center.
As Valentines Day quickly approaches, I’m sure most of us single people can’t help but dread it just a little bit. What’s the point of Valentine’s Day with no significant other to spend it with? Your plans might be something along the lines of getting a tub of ice cream and sitting down to watch a romantic film by yourself, but I would like to share a little piece of advice that I learned awhile ago: Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the lovebirds.
Valentine’s Day is really just about love and luckily for us, love isn’t an emotion reserved for those with significant others. Think about it: you love your parents, you love your siblings, you love your grandma, your roommates, your best friend, your dog – the list could go on and on. Valentine’s Day should be about showing all the people in your life how much you care about them.
So here’s a few things you can do instead of watching that movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
If you surround yourself with the people who mean the world to you, I can assure you that you won’t spend February 15 regretting the fact that you ate an entire tub of ice cream and cried for 2 hours over The Notebook. Furthermore, you should revel in the fact that you are blessed with people who love you every day of the year and not just on February 14.
So, you can either choose to be the Valentine’s Day Scrooge or sit back and realize that, yes, not having someone to go on a romantic date with may be disheartening and at times very frustrating, but there are so many other people in your life to love and they all want it just as much as you do.
To all those broke college students—this post is for you!
Of course, this post is also for me because even though I have a job, I still feel pretty broke. This is mainly because I have all these bills to pay and purchases to make like tuition, textbooks, groceries and gasoline. I am sure at least some you are feeling the same way.
Now, we have all heard about the “amazing deals” we can get through our school IDs and even student email addresses. But I bet you figured that it was all fake or that it was too much work to get the discounts. Well, I did a little research and discovers that not all of them are fake and the discounts really aren’t that hard to collect.
Here are 8 student promotions that you can benefit from in our area and online:
So that’s all I have for today, but I’m sure there are a ton more legitimate college student discounts out there. I certainly will be using the ones I’ve found and looking for more. That way, hopefully I can turn this broke college student into a college student that has more than $4 in her wallet every month. Good luck to you too!
When making New Year’s Resolutions or just goals in general, my number one mistake is making goals that are out of the ballpark huge. For example, am I really going to go to the gym seven days every single week? The answer is a definite and capitalized NO. Another time I made it my goal to read all the great literary classics like Ulysses, Anna Karenina and 1984, over the summer. I didn’t even make it through one classic novel in the three months.
I have learned that the key to sticking to a resolution is making one that you can really accomplish. Say you’re a C-average student and you want to improve your GPA. Don’t set your goal at getting a 4.0 next semester. Instead, set your goal as completing assignments on time, going professors during office hours or going to the tutoring center. If you make a realistic goal, you’re much more likely to stick to it.
Here is how you do it:
1. Make Small Goals Along the Way
Another important part of achieving a goal is making small goals that add up to your final goal. This year, my resolution is to exercise more and eat better. I’ve set small goals such as beginning with running only one mile at the gym and will work my way up to 10 miles. When you achieve your small goals, the big goal will seem a little less looming.
2. Make yourself accountable.
Sometimes we need more than our own sheer self-motivation to stick to a resolution. I know I certainly do. So make yourself accountable to those around you. Tell you mom to call you once a week and ask how your goal is coming along. Ask your roommates to encourage you in your goal. Simply having others around you to remind you of your resolution will give you the extra motivation it takes to stick to it.
This year, reach your goal by creating a realistic one–that is, one that seems achievable and maybe even enjoyable. Good luck!
It’s heeeeerrreeee. It’s the week before finals week and, as I write this, I can feel the campus slowly descending deeper into insanity. The weight of the semester has finally come down on us at once and everyone’s stress levels couldn’t be higher. We’ve lived in denial over mounting to-do list for too long and now it’s time to start replacing homework with vital components of daily life like eating, showering, or breathing. Now it’s time to roll out a mat on the second floor library and fight off the mounds of papers as theyinnevitablytrytoCONSUMEUSALIVE….
Whoa… Let’s just slow down for a second and take a breath. Finals can take a lot out of you, but they don’t need to take your sanity. I think we need to spin the dial to the safe where we’ve locked away our joy, and I when stress from my daily life keeps dragging me down I have always turned to comedy for relief.
It’s no joke when people say, “laughter is the best medicine.” In the short term, comedy can lighten the load mentally and actually lead to physical benefits by increasing endorphins, lowering blood pressure and acting as a muscle relaxant. But you didn’t come here for a biology lecture. All of these facts that I ripped off from the Mayo Clinic are here to make it clear that comedy simply makes you feel better.
Comedy has always been something I have been passionate about, and I feel there is no better outlet for stress relief than laughter. Below are my personal favorites of every comedy medium I could think of that can act as an easy resource for you. If the stress from exams is starting to bring you down, I encourage you to take 20 minutes away from your work and rifle through the lists. These albums, books, movies and websites have never failed to make me laugh, even in the toughest times. Feel free to disagree with me and get your own list going! You are by no means bound to what I think. There are thousands of others that I wish I could put down, but I would take up the whole week that you should be studying.
Note: Most contain some explicit material, but we’re all adults. Please listen to what you feel comfortable with.
Caleb’s Top Comedy Albums (Free on Spotify)
Favorite Comedy Websites:
Caleb’s Funniest Movies
Good luck and don’t forget to laugh every once in a while!
Disconnect. A word that’s meaning has changed drastically with our generation. It has become a very scary word to some people. There are so many questions around the action of disconnecting: How will people reach me? How will I know what’s going on in the world? What if something important happens?
We are the digital generation; our devices have become a way that we define ourselves. In a way they have become how we see ourselves as well. We view ourselves through the lenses of our cameras and we soak up information through screens of tablets, computers and phones.
In our free time what are we doing besides uploading, scrolling through posts or “liking” things? Most people document their lives through status updates, tweets or Instagram photos. We feel that posting things will help us connect to people and help them connect to their lives.
But what would happen if we all disconnected? Even for a week? Nothing. You would not die from lack of information. People would still be able to reach you. The world would not end.
When you disconnect from technology it gives you a chance to see your life in a new light. You can’t edit real life, there are no filters to make things seem better. You can always delete or edit posts or pictures on the internet, but in the real world you don’t get those privileges to rewrite and edit what you do or say.
With the holidays coming up what better chance is there to disconnect and reconnect with your family and friends? There is nothing wrong with creating memories with photos or posts, but when you just take a picture to take a picture what substance does that have?
Technology doesn’t hurt us and in so many ways it brings us together and helps us stay close to people. But it also doesn’t hurt to step away and take a break to remind ourselves that life is moving by so quickly–things are happening here and now and we need to pay attention.
Stepping away and disconnecting to reconnect with our family and friends can give you opportunities to create new memories with no filters.
So over this holiday break I challenge you to disconnect from your devices and reconnect with those around you.
Most college students go to school full time–meaning they take at least 12 credits each semester–and fill their time with homework, projects and classes. Others, however, decide to get a job or more than one job. The reasons people get jobs vary: needing to pay for college, wanting personal spending money, getting job experience or for some other reason. Now, balancing college and a job can quite challenging and takes some planning. But I’m here to tell you that it can be done.
If you are considering get a job while taking a full course load of classes, the first thing you need to understand is that school should always come before work. And then you need to make sure that your employer understands that and that they respect that. On-campus jobs will accommodate your class schedule but off-campus jobs can be a bit trickier. However, most businesses in college towns are pretty flexible with the college students who for them.
Another thing you need to think about is your time management. You should not let your grades slip because you are working too many hours. What’s the point in making a lot of money while in college, failing your classes and not getting a degree? Try to limit yourself to working 10-15 hours per weeks to give yourself time to go to class and do your homework. When you get up to 25 hours per week or more, you’ll have to really push yourself to get your school work done.
I personally work two jobs, as a receptionist at the WSU Admissions Office and as a CNA at Lake Winona Manor with Winona Health. They are both flexible with my classes, allowing me to create my own work schedule rather getting assigned certain shifts, which is a pretty sweet deal. Both of my employers understand that my school work comes before my work for them. School is more important, but I’ll readily admit that it is nice to work to get some spending cash. Everyone deserves to splurge every once in a while.
Working during college is not for everyone, but it is a good way to get some extra money. You can always get a job with only a couple of hours a week to start with and then increase your hours from there if you find you have extra time in your week. But if you discover working in college isn’t for you, then you just explain that to your boss. It is hard work balancing school and a part-time job, but worth it in the end.
Sometimes it seems like Winona State is its own mini-city. We’re all part of WSU in some way, whether we just go to class, visit the gym regularly or are super involved in campus organizations. It’s quite the little community we’ve got growing between Mark and Wabasha streets. But as busy students, we often forget that we’re also part of a larger community—the Winona community. And guess what? That community is pretty frickin’ cool.
Even though most of us are here for a few years at most while we finish our degrees, I think it’s important to make Winona your home away from home. Here are few ways you can start getting more involved in the Winona community outside of WSU.
When you need to study, give your boyfriend (a.k.a. the Darrell Krueger Library) a little space for a bit. Don’t worry, he’ll understand. Hey, maybe the space will even strengthen your relationship.
There are plenty of other places to study that are both college-student friendly and involve members of the community outside of Winona State. The Acoustic Café, the Blue Heron and Blooming Grounds are all great places to study. If you’re the type that needs somewhere really quiet to study, you can always use the Winona Public Library. Plus the public library is actually a beautiful, historic building, so if you haven’t been there I recommend you check it out.
Another way to be more involved in the Winona community is to volunteer. I volunteer at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum once a month and the last time I was there, one of the docents (that is, people who give tours of the art) remarked to me that it was so nice to see a younger face volunteering at the museum. To me, this says that Winona residents are excited about students from WSU being more involved in the community. Especially since campus is smack dab in the middle of town, I think we should really work to foster a stronger relationship between the students and the Winona community.
You could also search for jobs outside of campus. I have two jobs, one on-campus and one off-campus. I am the editor of the Wellzine with a shared office in the IWC, and I also write for the Winona Post. While jobs on campus are really convenient and flexible, I’ve met a lot of cool people of the Winona community through my job with the Winona Post. For instance, I was at the last Live at the Levee music night and saw one of the artists I’d interviewed this summer. He remembered me and we ended up having a nice conversation about his art.
Just because most of us are in Winona temporarily for school doesn’t mean that we can’t make it as much of a home as the towns we grew up in. By getting outside of our little campus community, we have greater opportunities to meet new people and make connections. Even if it’s just someone you share a passing wave with, becoming more connected in this beautiful community we live in is really fulfilling.