Friday, November 14, 2014

The Key to Success

The Key to Success
If you're at all like me, you've often wondered what the secret is to success. Why do some people, who are so blessed with intelligence, physical talent, and/or social support, fail where others--who lack these advantages--succeed? I've never seen a satisfactory explanation for this.

Until recently.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jump in!

I found this article interesting:

Learning skills as you need them can increase both your motivation to learn the material (because you need it now!) and your engagement with the subject material. This increased motivation and engagement can lead to a deeper, richer understanding--and a quicker acquisition of that deeper, richer understanding!

This flies in the face of the advice that you usually hear about planning ahead and learning everything about a subject before doing it--but such advice does not account for constraints of time, motivation, and cognitive ability. This advice to "jump in and learn on the fly" does.

How does this apply to personal finance? Well, I'm a big proponent of keeping things simple. So, if you start out keeping your budget (and your investments) as simple as possible, and only learn about new things when they come up, you'll be more likely to actually accomplish something (rather than putting it off for a day...or a year). And who wouldn't like to accomplish more?!

Definitely an interesting idea, and a great read!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Great App Debate

Confused about the debate over Apple's locked-down ecosystem vs. Google Play or Windows Store's open--but potentially more hazardous--ecosystems?

Here's the deal:

Developers for apps must go through a laborious and slow process to develop an app or program for iOS or OS X. The app is reviewed by programmers at Apple, and may be denied permission to go on Apple's app store. Apple uses this process because it ensures a better user experience and ensures stability in the operating system (assuming Apple's programmers review the programs carefully, which they generally do).

However, this approach limits developers who may want to do something that Apple doesn't allow. It also limits a user's choice, as some reputable developers or companies do not release their app for iOS, due to the extra time and effort it takes to go through their screening process.

Microsoft, on the other hand, essentially didn't screen admissions to their app store, resulting in many buggy--or just plain dishonest--apps and programs. Microsoft is working on cleaning up this mess, but it's going to take time. Google strikes a pretty good balance with Android, as there are more apps on Google Play than there are on Apple Store or on Windows Store, and the majority of the apps for Android are useful and honest.

People often complain online about Apple's "locked-down ecosystem." It's essentially a philosophical complaint more than anything. Apple will restrict others' freedom in order to ensure that their products work well. Google and Microsoft allow a much greater degree of freedom for both developers and users, but the tradeoff is that users have to know a little bit about computers (and scammers!) to take advantage of that freedom.

Personally, I balk at someone telling me what I can and cannot do, particularly if they're trying to sell me really expensive stuff like Apple does. But there is a good argument to be made for Apple's procedure (for example, Microsoft's messy Windows Store. There's a good article about it here:

Okay, nerdy tech talk for the week complete.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

I've already revealed that I'm a Marvel geek, and I've been looking for this trailer for several months, after an audio-only bootleg was released after Comic-Con 2014. I'm glad to see it's finally been released officially! [I wonder why it took them two months to release the final version. Just waiting for the marketing hype to build...?]

UPDATE 10/29/2014: The above trailer is the full one shown at San Diego Comic Con 2014

I'm not the hugest fan of the way Ultron's final form looks here, but that's a relatively minor quibble with what looks like it'll be another fantastic Marvel movie!

By the way--this trailer was released yesterday, October 22nd. It's already got over 9.3 million views! I'm obviously not the only one who's excited about this movie, due to be released on May 1, 2015!  :)

I think this comic book image is a more menacing one, but that's just me...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tax breaks for college grads

In a post on the helpful TwoCents blog at Lifehacker (, Kristin Wong shares a couple ways to get some tax relief. For example, if you're paying interest on your student loan, you're eligible for up to a $2500 tax credit, based on your income and marital status.

If you've already graduated, this is a good way to help ease the burden of your student loan payments. As always, however, I promote living the 'broke college student lifestyle' that Kristin mentions in this article, even if you don't have to.

A link to her article is here:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

25,000 'Thank-you's!

Thanks to all my readers! This site has gotten 25,000 pageviews since the beginning of May--that's five and a half months! Let's keep spreading the knowledge, and create a more financially literate population!

In the meantime, enjoy these symbols of prosperity:

Friday, October 10, 2014

The dangers of prediction

Prediction isn't inherently dangerous. Any model is only as good as the data it's fed, and the person who developed/implemented the formula. However, the danger comes in when you put too much reliance on the predictions generated by a model--which may or may not be built on faulty assumptions. Furthermore, any model will always be based on past data, so the model may or may not be representative of future trends.

Find out more about the dangers of prediction in a good article here:

The line "You can't predict. You can prepare" rings all too true!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And now, for something completely different...Windows 10!

For those of you *cough everyone! cough cough* who didn't like Windows 8, Microsoft just announced a developer preview version of Windows 10 (entirely skipping the "Windows 9" name).

Screenshot from

There are many articles about this release; one of the better ones is at The Verge:

Monday, September 29, 2014

More helpful links, 9/29/14

As always, I try to bring you the best content! Sometimes, other writers make a point so well that I have nothing to add!

Without further ado, here are some of the best articles I've found recently:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Froogal Consumption

Froogal Consumption

As promised in my previous article on Why Being Cheap Costs More, I expound here on how to shop frugally. Whereas conspicuous consumption focuses on image and flash, Froogal consumption focuses on getting the maximum value for a quality product.

Value, rather than price, is a critical concept here!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why Being Cheap Costs More

Think being tight-fisted will save you money? Think again!

The difference between frugal and cheap is all in your head.

Well, more accurately, it's in your mindset!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

College Hacks to Save Money

Froogal College Hacks to Save Money

Did your jaw drop when you looked at your bill for the semester? Have you wondered how you can save money on college expenses? Stressing over how you're going to pay for college?

Don't let this be you! 
Image courtesy

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014


Wow! Thanks to all my readers for the 10,000 pageviews I've gotten! We've come a long way since the beginning of May 2014, when this blog opened shop. Together, we can spread the word even more, and empower a whole generation to take charge of their finances through smart thinking!

Thanks again to all my readers! Happy saving!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A new perspective on student loans

A Yahoo! finance article (link at end of this post) describes a pretty clever way to picture your student loan debt. Rather than some relatively large, abstract figure like $20,000; think of it in terms of what your monthly payments will be when you graduate.

"Old Economy Steve" may give you advice that was fine for his generation, but not so good for yours

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The problem with a Roomba

If you have a pet that sometimes does its business in the house, don't get a Roomba. Here's why:


Monday, June 30, 2014

'Just a few easy payments!'

Aaron’s is a particularly well-known and successful example of the “just a few easy payments!” method of ownership. You pay the store a monthly payment for a set period of time; say, 12 months--and it’s yours! You take it home, use it, live in it...and, at first blush, this may seem like a good idea--particularly for expensive stuff that you don’t want to purchase up front, like living room sets, TVs, fridges, and so on. You pay a seemingly reasonable rate for a few months, instead of dropping over a thousand dollars all at once. 

But it’s really an insidious way to make more money off of unsuspecting consumers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The 14 best value headphones

Best Value Headphones

*Note: this page is frequently updated to reflect changes in pricing, 
and/or which headphones offer the best value.

As promised in my earlier post, I would feature a post with some Froogal-approved headphones. The criteria? They must represent a good value, they must have good reviews overall, they must be durable, and they must feature good sound quality. It also helps if I have had good experiences with them.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

5 appalling violations of consumer rights

I've found a few links to some appalling examples of rising prices and failures of consumer protection; including one of the only places we're not supposed to worry about money: hospitals. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act will not fix matters.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Example of the Millionaire Mindset

Keira Knightley apparently understands the Millionaire Mindset. According to an article at (of all places) Us Weekly, she only pays herself around $50,000 per year!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Headphones for less

Since the recent acquisition of Beats Audio by Apple (a perfect marriage of too-expensive, overhyped consumer products!), Beats is once again in the public consciousness.

A great Lifehacker article (link at the bottom) suggests some bass-heavy alternatives to the expensive (and not-so-great-quality) Beats headphones that many young people seem to own these days. However, even these alternatives are pretty expensive; there are better-value alternatives that I've listed here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Billionaires Know

What Billionaires Know

Since I spend so much time talking about The Millionaire Mindset, it's only appropriate that I discuss what wealthy people understand about finances--and about life!

Image from a blog post at

Friday, June 6, 2014

About this blog

About me:

Contact info:

Privacy policy:

In order to make this abundantly clear: I will, from time to time, make product recommendations, at which point I will provide links to Because I don't like to work for free, The Froogal Stoodent is now a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Now that the above legal formality is out of the way, I will only recommend products that I believe represent a good value. Additionally, I will tend to recommend products that I have owned, currently own, have experience with, or is by a brand that I trust. Essentially, I refuse to recommend things that I wouldn't buy with my own money. Though it would obviously benefit me financially to recommend expensive stuff, or recommend lots of stuff, I won't do that because I'm promoting--and living!--a frugal lifestyle. 

Why provide links to Amazon? Because I shop there myself, and I frequently (though not always) find the lowest prices on Amazon. Amazon is a company that I trust, which is reputed to have good data security, and provides a popular hub for good deals on a wide variety of merchandise. 

Free laptop-cooling mat!

I present to you an outstanding example of The Millionaire Mindset:

Being inventive with stuff you already have around is both thrifty and eco-conscious. (Note: this does NOT mean you should be a hoarder and collect everything in case you might possibly use it for something someday. It's merely making use of something that would otherwise be thrown away, to solve a problem you have now. If you don't have an overheating laptop, don't use this trick).

It's a great alternative to purchasing a laptop-cooling mat for $5, $10, or $30 (the prices of some such mats that I've seen).

This is a true "lifehack," in the best spirit. Gawker Media should be proud of this (and similar) posts!

Got any of your own lifehacks that you'd like to share? Leave a comment below--I'd be happy to share any other great ideas!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Helpful links, 6/5/14

I've included a roundup of good articles relating to money management for young people, obviously with a focus on college students--in line with the purpose of this blog.

"How to live on $20,000 per year."
This is a great illustration of living below your means, as I advocate in The Millionaire Mindset, but it doesn't necessarily apply to current college students.$20,000%20Per%20Year

"Before I Knew, I Bought It New."
A great post on the virtues of buying used.

"Financial Independence and the College Lifestyle"
This is a post on how difficult it can be to establish yourself as an independent (in the government's eyes, for financial aid purposes). Very apropos for a lot of college students wondering how to make ends meet.

"What Americans Don't Know About Student Loans: A Lot"
An article describing what people don't know about student loan debt. What you don't know CAN hurt you! Be informed!

"Top 3 Ways to Make Your Money Work for You"
This post describes how rich people approach money. Once you have money, it can be leveraged into various types of investments that earn you more money--so think of money (if and when you have some) as a tool.

"Life After Graduation--Advice to My Past Self 5 Years Later"
A brief, thoughtful look at what the writer thought she should have done differently after graduating college.

Any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below, and it'll make my next "Helpful links" post!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


On May 23 (3 weeks after my very first post), I made a post thanking you, my readers, for giving this website 1000 pageviews. Now, 10 days later (June 23), we've hit 2000 pageviews! Keep checking The Froogal Stoodent for more great advice like this--and thanks again!

Food for thought

Here's some food for thought: these are some milestones to shoot for by age 30, according to the folks over at Money After Graduation.

It's important to be debt-free (one of the suggestions here), as the more money you have in loans AND the longer it takes to pay those loans back, the more interest you'll be paying. Obviously, you want to make that number as small as possible, unless you want to make your lender rich.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Interesting site

I found an interesting blog that has a lot of great tips and interesting posts: the Two Cents blog is a Lifehacker website, where there is a post pretty much every day (and sometimes multiple posts in one day!). It's definitely worth checking out--enjoy!

Happy saving!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

'Afford' vs. 'Can pay for'

Many people are afraid to say it, or can't find words for it, or assume that people implicitly understand this concept. It is absolutely the underlying principle necessary for financial responsibility, and for your personal financial well-being. 

And it is this:

Just because you have the money to pay for something, does not mean that you can afford it! 

Image from website; the 2014 Ford Focus costs around $20k

Monday, May 26, 2014

Social media

I've caved in...The Froogal Stoodent is now on Twitter! Follow me at  or @FroogalStoodent if you prefer.

You can also find me on or on Reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, or Google+ by searching for Froogal Stoodent (you may have to run it together into one word).

I can also be found on, though that's not necessarily a social media site--but it does have lots of great information! (And despite the similarities in our names, I'm not affiliated with

I recently got a Bloglovin and Pinterest account: Check them out!

You can find my Facebook at
Facebook suspended my activity for using the Froogal Stoodent name, instead of making a "Celebrity Page," which must be linked to an account with a real name. If you have an unusual name, they may do it to you, too. So I won't bother trying to reinstate my Facebook account.

Happy saving!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day all! Of course, it's a day to commemorate the individuals who lost their lives in the struggle to bring freedom to our country, so it's not necessarily a happy occasion. But we take this opportunity to celebrate our freedom, and enjoy the company of our families and friends on this day--as I'm sure those soldiers would want us to do. So, in their memory, I offer this tribute:

Image from

To all who have served in the military, or fought for freedom and human rights in any capacity: 
Thank you. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The benefits of credit unions

There is a great post by the blog at, a website dedicated to giving people practical financial advice. The post (link at the bottom of this page) deals with the topic of credit unions.

I wanted to take the opportunity to chime in on the topic myself. In case you don't already know, a credit union is a financial institution similar to a bank. The difference is that banks are established to make a profit; credit unions are not-for-profit institutions, as established by federal law. So you can go to a credit union to open a savings account, take out a loan, open investments like a 401(k), and so on. Anything you can do at a bank, you can do at a credit union. The only restriction on membership for many credit unions is that you have to live in a certain geographical area.

The benefit of using a credit union is that the loans usually feature a lower interest rate, and the savings/checking accounts sometimes pay higher interest rates as well. Granted, this varies from institution to institution, as well as from one point in time to another. But the general trend holds--since credit unions aren't out to make a buck, they can be a little more generous to their members.

1000 views--thanks!

Image of unknown origin, found on
*on a semi-related note, handwritten notes are a genuine, thoughtful way to communicate gratitude--it takes more time than buying a Hallmark card, but it's a lot cheaper! It's obviously difficult to put a handwritten card online, so this picture is intended to communicate the message instead :)

Just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone--as of yesterday, May 22, there were 1000 total pageviews--less than 3 weeks after my very first post!

So thanks a bunch for all your support, and I hope you'll continue to visit The Froogal Stoodent for tips on how to save money and adopt the Millionaire Mindset! (Try bookmarking the homepage, at, so that you'll be reminded to see the latest posts).

Stay tuned--within the next couple days (once I've recovered from my sunburn!), I plan to put up a useful new post about what it really means to be able to afford something.

Happy saving!

-Zach B, The Froogal Stoodent :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The "Don't buy stuff" budget

This SNL skit is both funny and accurate:

I'm tempted to say things are more complicated than that, but it really isn't. Unless you're buying a house, if you can't pay for it--right now--and still have money left over to pay your bills, don't buy it!

How 'saving money' really works

Along the same lines as my post on the Millionaire Mindset, I want to make the notion of saving quite clear. What a lot of people do to save money is actually doing the opposite! Despite what retailers will tell you, buying a product at a discount does not mean you are saving money!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Thanks to StumbleUpon, I found a great site that you may find useful:

They list free offers on a variety of things. Each category is separated on the homepage (categories include free mobile phone stuff, free Internet access, free samples, free software, "family freebies" (i.e. household/family stuff), free graphics, prizes and contests, miscellaneous freebies, and more), so you can find free stuff for whatever specific category you're looking for.

For some more ideas to save money, check out my lists at or  

I really like the idea of organizing these links into categories; it's useful for people who have a specific need and want to find free resources quickly.

And who doesn't like free stuff?!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Wal-Mart Trap

Bargain hunters beware!

Though Wal-Mart has great prices on certain items, they're not always the cheapest option around. They built a very successful business based on advertising their low prices, and then having such a wide selection that people don't bother to go anywhere else for their other goods.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why Samsung doesn't deserve your money

I just happened to run into this, and it's shocking:  It's infuriating that Samsung thinks they can put conditions on a warranty for a defective product, and use legal bullying to get someone to remove a video that states a fact about that defective product!

How to $ave big on your phone bill

*For an up-to-date list of my smartphone recommendations, please see this link.*

As promised in my earlier post on The Millionaire Mindset (, here's a tip for those of you who are paying too much for your cell phone bill (pretty much everyone!): get a prepaid monthly plan.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More great sources of information

I found two links that have great information, and I found them to be very helpful, so I figured I'd pass them along.

They're both written by Kraig Mathias of Create My Independence. He's promoting the same lifestyle I am in my post on The Millionaire Mindset.

The links are here:

The Millionaire Mindset

The Millionaire Mindset

I want to get this idea out there now: your mindset is far more important than your income level. Many people think a large income leads to financial security...and they're dead wrong. I'll show you why. 

Monday, May 5, 2014


Image from imgur
I just found this meme, and I thought it was both funny and applicable to this blog :)

I think this serves as an example to illustrate a larger point about planning ahead, and having the self-control to say 'no' to products or services that you see as a poor value. With all the stuff that's available in this world, all the different manufacturers offering products, companies offering services, charities, and other organizations each trying to get some of your money, it's up to you to be a smart and discriminating shopper. 

6 (+5 more) simple ways to save

If you have your own apartment (or house) and you're responsible for paying utilities, there are simple ways to cut waste and save $$$. Here, you'll find 6 that you may not have thought of:

A way to make (a little) ca$h on the side

Just ran across this article, which advances a new idea for making a little money:  I didn't know this was even possible, but it holds a lot of promise! Just a thought for those of you with experiences to share.

But be aware that it will probably require good writing skills. So if your teachers have told you that you have trouble communicating an idea clearly and concisely, or if you hate English or writing composition classes with a burning passion, this may not be a good money-making method for you.

How to listen to the music you want, for free

I found the following web page thought-provoking:

This is an interesting analysis, but is a false dichotomy (i.e. that you have to pay to stream vs. pay to buy a song). There are other options, as mentioned by a few people in the comments. For example, Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify, and are well-known free music streaming services. Lesser-known ones are listed on Lifehacker, along with strengths of each:

YouTube is also an overlooked option: it offers auto-playlists based on certain songs or bands that you like, or you can create your own playlists and add songs to them. You'll have to put up with ads on some of the videos, but it does allow customization and a high degree of user control--all for free!

Interesting story

Though this doesn't necessarily apply to college students, it's a good tip if you're wondering how to make ends meet: Try re-considering your 'must-haves.' (Story found courtesy the +Financial Literacy Google+ community)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tips for college students

Despite what books, TV ads, financial planners, and others would have you believe, there is no big 'secret' to being financially successful. There are, of course, lots of tax loopholes, complicated investment methods, and other such tricks to making money.

Unless you are a CPA, tax lawyer, investment banker or otherwise want to be involved in studying the myriad financial laws of this country (and possibly others, as well), a simpler approach probably sounds good to you.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Hello world, and welcome to the new Froogal Stoodent blog! The purpose of this blog (in case you couldn't tell from the title!) is to provide tips and advice on saving money. This is aimed directly at college students and graduate students, though the advice could be useful to anyone.

I will largely draw ideas from my own experience and expertise, but input is encouraged! This site will work best as a forum for people to discuss ways of saving money and living frugally. Learning how to live below your means is certainly an ongoing process, but it's up to you to make the commitment to do so. As with most things in life, the results you get will reflect the effort you put in.

So if you want to learn how to lead a frugal lifestyle that will yield benefits for many years after you graduate, you've come to the right place! After all, who doesn't want to save money?!

As difficult as it can be sometimes to sit at home while your friends go to concerts, parties, and dates to the movie theater or posh restaurants, consider how those same friends will feel when they graduate with $30,000 or $60,000 or $100,000 of debt--or even more! If that thought isn't enough motivation to seek alternative ways to have fun, go on dates, and eat well, I don't know what is!

Before we get into the heavy stuff, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zach, I'm 25 years old, and I'm pretty easygoing. I'm a graduate student in Cognitive Psychology at a university in Ohio, but I'm originally from central Pennsylvania. My father has worked in a warehouse for about 30 years, and my mother retired from her work helping people navigate their medical insurance benefits (a minefield, to be sure!) when I was born in 1989. She has not worked since.

So, it probably goes without saying that I've never been particularly well-off. Because of this, I'm fortunate enough to have been taught the value of living below your means, so my meager pay as a grad student is actually more than enough to meet my needs--but only because I do without some things that a lot of people take for granted.

Since so many people talk about having money issues, I figured a blog such as this one would be a good way to share my knowledge and provide a forum for other people to do the same. While a grad student like myself can't increase his income, he CAN decrease his expenses--and that goes for just about everyone who doesn't make more money than he knows what to do with!

My own tips and ideas will be coming along in future posts. But for now, here's a link to a site that I found:  It's got some good ideas that you may have thought of, or you may not have. In any case, there's always more to learn. So, let the savings begin!