Getting a Job After University: Where to Begin

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of graduation? Check out this blog post where Cheap Students covers how to beef up your resume, and better prepare yourself for graduation.

Grocery Shopping Basics

An introduction on how to grocery shop better, save money and cut down on grocery bills in the future. Contains links to Canadian grocery flyers as well as prices to look for.

Textbooks: A How to Guide

A post covering how to purchase and sell textbooks at the beginning of each semester. Textbooks often cost quite a lot purchased brand new, use these tips to save money on your next textbook purchases.

Learning Tab

Check out the learning tab to view free online resources where you can learn new languages, develop your computer skills and find ways to further develop your resume.

Job Hunting

Check out the job hunting section, filled with resume, cover letter and job interview tips and resources all to help throughout the job hunting process.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Free Mobile & Computer Apps for Students

As University students we already pay huge fees for tuition, textbooks, laptops, rent, utilities...and it goes on. It's unfortunate that on top of all of those costs we have to pay for computer software and other programs in order to write class notes, call people, design and watch tv shows and movies. After checking out a few sites online, here's a list of the top applications for students, and best of all they are all FREE

For Note Taking-Evernote

For Protecting Your Computer- AVG Anti-Virus Free
  • This basic version helps protect your from virus' and spyware while keeping your passwords and credit car numbers safe

For Calling Mom and Dad - Skype & Camfrog
  • We all know what Skype offers, free video calling between 2 people anywhere in the world as long as they have internet and a Skype account. They have recently added premium features where you actually have to pay and I am not a huge fan of the iPhone app.
  • Camfrog allows you to do what Skype does, but also offers free group chat calling with video and can be downloaded for mobile phones including Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows.

For Saving 
  • Mint pulls all your financial accounts into one place and allows you to set a budget, track goals and make better use of your money and its all for free. Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets.  

For Downloading-BitTorrent & uTorrent
  • Use either of these torrent downloaders to get everything from TV shows to movies and books and music.

To Organize Multiple E-mail Accounts-Zimbra Desktop
  • Zimbra Desktop allows you to synchronize all your e-mail accounts (Zimbra, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!)  as well as social media onto your desktop. This is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and for all UofG students your gryph mail can be synced onto here as well!

For a Free Adobe Photoshop Replacement-GIMP
  • Probably the most well known illustration software is Adobe Photoshop, and it can cost you a ton of money that most students just cant throw around. Try out GIMP which is a Free program that works similar to Photoshop

For a Free Adobe Illustrator Replacement-Ink Scape
  • Another Adobe suite equivalent is Ink Scape, a vector graphics editor. Try it out, its a free open    source program and can allow you to test out the graphic editing experience before shelling out hundreds

For a Free Adobe InDesign Replacement-Scribus
  • Pretty self explanatory, save a TON of money by downloading this free open source software that performs tasks similar to or like Adobe InDesign

For Facebook Messenger on Your Desktop- Facebook Messenger for Windows
  • Pretty self explanatory, get Facebook messenger on your desktop..just like the good old MSN Messenger days I guess.

For Watching Videos in Any Format on Your Phone-Air Video
  • This application allows you to stream videos in any format to your iPhone, iPad or iPod and can even convert the video files while you watch them. Check out the Air Video site for more details

For Electronic Cue Cards-Free Flashcards Study Helper
  • Make free cue cards that you can view on your phone, and are an excellent study tool that you can bring with you anywhere

For Mind Map Creation-XMind
  • For those who think better in mind map form than hand written notes, this program will help you create mind maps that are function AND look good

For Awesome Word Cloud Creation-Wordle
  • A great way to create word clouds, these are great for presentations and plus they just look awesome.

For Turning Hand Written Notes into Editable Text-Paperfile
  • This is an excellent program that will help you to turn handwritten notes taken in class and turn them into editable text on your computer, this requires a scanner for obvious reasons.

For a Free Alternative to Microsoft Office-LibreOffice & OpenOffice
  • "Should be the first choice for anyone that wants a free alternative to Microsoft Office" an open source program; word processing, slideshows, calculations and statistics, draw, databases, and simple math. 

For Converting PDF's to Word- PDF to Word Convertor
  • This program helps you to convert PDF files to Word without losing the original formatting of the document and it can convert multiple files at once.

For Creating PDFs-Free PDF Creator
  • This program helps you to create free PDFs from non-PDF files, which is often requested by certain professors and is a great idea when sending out resumes and cover letters

For Reducing Ink & Paper Usage While Priting- iPrint
  • Helps to reduce ink and paper usage and save you money, since we all know how expensive printer cartridges are

Granola Enterprise Software Power ManagementFor Saving Power and the World-Granola

  • Helps individuals reduce their environmental impact and can help you reduce your carbon footprint by almost a tree a year
For that time you accidentally deleted your 20 page essay-Recuva
  • Recover files accidentally trashed or lost when your computer crashed
For recording everything on your screen-Camstudio
  • Great for class projects/presentation, this program records everything your doing on screen, this is often the program used for those how-to photoshop video's on youtube
For Watching any video format-VLC Video Player
  • A great multi-purpose video player that plays all formats of video, it avoids you from having to download 3 different video players just so you can possibly watch your newest video download
Some information obtain from PCmag

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Power of Daydreaming

Daydreaming was definitely something that was frowned upon when you were a kid, especially during class when your teacher was talking. Still it's not the greatest idea during certain activities ie. driving, but I often catch myself daydreaming a lot when walking places, especially home from work. It's the time when I get to think creatively, brainstorm and develop interesting new ideas. Daydreaming can help to ignite your entrepreneurial spirit, help you develop more abstract answers to problems and live your life more creatively.

So is there a benefit to daydreaming? Were we onto something when we were younger?
I decided to check out some sources, check out some scientific data and then develop a plan to make sure to give myself some time during the day to unwind, think creatively and let my mind do its thing. According to Amy Fries from Psychology Today, "Daydreams are far more than wishful thinking--they are our source ideas, energy, creativity, self-knowledge, and motivation". It's the time where you can brainstorm, develop ideas and discover your true passions, which can often stifled by higher education, long hours at the office or extremely stressful and busy schedules. Daydreaming is our most creative state of mind which can be explained by the following factors;
  • We are using the most complex regions of the brain, unlocking our minds from the tunnel vision of everyday life
  • We can see things, people and events through the mind's eye
  • The mind is uncensored, which allows us to explore far and wide without our internal criticism slowing us down
  • We are able to make seemingly random connections, which can lead to creative solutions
So what does this all mean?
Well for starters, we should daydream and make use of those daydreams. Creativity is important and not just for artists anymore, but can help a manager come up with a solution to an everyday office problem or even allow someone to come up with a brilliant business idea. 

What to do from here.
Have a journal, notebook or use a note taking application like Evernote to write down your thoughts/ideas
Make sure to take time to go for a walk, exercise and allow your thoughts to wander and think creatively
Figure out how/when you daydream and make the most of it. Don't sit and mindlessly watch tv for hours on end, it will prevent you from daydreaming

If you aren't a student or a recent graduate who has started working in an office and is feeling stifled, and that your cubicle is slowly killing you, I definitely recommend you check out Escape from Cubicle Nation I recently read the book, but didn't feel like I was at the right stage to start plotting my escape from a cubicle (I haven't even graduated university yet!)

Article Source
Image Source

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Twitter: Networking and Professionalism

Recently I read an article all about networking, and a topic definitely caught my eye. It was mostly related to networking through social media, and my first thought has always been to do so through LinkedIn, it's the obvious first option when it comes to networking online. 

Twitter is also an excellent way to network online and it can be done by following campus recruiters, companies of interest and other twitter members who are working/recruiting in your field of interest. By doing so you have given yourself the option of being followed back by these individuals, and provided yourself with a closer link to the company (able to see current openings, job postings, as well as interesting and often helpful career related articles). 

Before you begin networking on Twitter it's best to clean up your twitter a bit, fortunately it's a lot easier than cleaning up your Facebook since you probably have a lot less photo's and personal information. After reading a blog post by Lauren K. Gray I have learned a few tips and thought I would pass them a long to you. 

When it comes to tweeting “keep it 80% professional and 20% personal”

If you are actively searching for a job, make sure to not tweet about any of the following;

  • Wanting to work for x and x companies
  • Topics around the subject of sleeping naked in your bed
  • Being trashed every weekend
  • Posting pictures to twitpic of rowdy weekends
  • Every single tweet about what your cat is doing
  • Direct insult tweets – do NOT start an online fight
  • Anything to do with #teamfollowback – it’s annoying
  • Depressing tweets over and over
  • What you are doing every single minute of the day
  • Tweets just to be tweeting
And then most importantly "When in doubt, don't tweet it out"

Also a great way to make your Twitter profile more professional, is to have a "classy" photo and profile description. Twitter is more "casual" than LinkedIn so this doesn't have to be an image of you wearing a business suit, but keep it classy.
Something like this probably wouldn't be the best....
 Also make sure to keep your twitter bio geared towards the school you go to/the job you hold as well as possibly writing about your hobbies and interests, you can also add a link to your LinkedIn account or other personal website that will help showcase your credentials as well. 
Check out this how to guide from

Tips on finding the right people to follow;
  • Find a reputable twitter member who is involved in career related advice, job postings etc. they are often following reputable individuals on twitter who can be great to network with
  • Go through LinkedIn and check out job postings in your related field, see if you can find the recruiter's profile on Twitter
  • Check out the websites for companies your interested in, they will often have a twitter account

Saving Money on Fast Food: Buy and Don't Buy Edition

Just a post to keep you thinking about eating out vs. making your own food. Often it's a lot cheaper to purchase your own food, make it and eat it. There are a lot of options including oatmeal and making your own bagel and cream cheese that are super affordable.

Buy: 6 pack of bagels, cream cheese & a folgers coffee
Plain Bagels $1.50
Cream Cheese $3.50
Coffee $4-6
Total about $9 = 6 Breakfasts (at least)

Don't Buy: Tim Horton's Bagel and Coffee
Bagel with Cream Cheese $2.00 Medium Coffee $1.30
Total about $3.30 = 1 Breakfast
Other Options: Making your own muffins, tea etc.

Buy: Yogurt, Milk, Frozen Fruit
Frozen Fruit $5
Yogurt= $3 (1 tub)
Milk=$4 (4 litres)
Total about $12 at least 4-5 smoothies

Don't Buy: Booster Juice Smoothie
1 Smoothie at least $6

Buy: 1kg of Oatmeal, Frozen Fruit, Cinnamon
Oatmeal- $3 for 1 kg bag
Frozen Fruit=$5
Cinnamon= $3-4 (last you forever)
Total=$12 At least 10-12 servings of oatmeal (works out to about $1 a serving)

Don't Buy: Oatmeal from a Fast Food Restaurant
Total=$2-3 per serving

Grocery pricing based on No Frills Price Comparisons