Tag Archives: fall

5 Online Resources for Autumn

Crisp breezes, breathtaking displays of fiery-colored foliage, pumpkin spice lattes — what’s not to love about autumn? To help make the season that much better, here are five online resources that can help you enjoy it to the max.

Fall Foliage Prediction Map (website)

If you’re planning a road trip this autumn or just wondering when the foliage around you will hit its peak, you need to check out this map. The foliage prediction map uses statistical models to predict when the foliage will be most striking in every county in the country. It’s all you need to enjoy the best of fall.

Corn Mazes America (website)

What better way to spend a cool fall afternoon than by getting lost inside an enormous corn maze? This incredible website has taken all the guesswork out of corn mazes with its massive database of corn mazes from all around the country. You can browse corn mazes by state or town, find one on a map and download directions for easy travel. Corn Maze America will help you find the maze you need for an epic autumn adventure.

KOA (iOS) (Android)

Get ready for the camping trip of a lifetime! With its wide selection of campsites, complete with search tools, directions to each location with built-in navigation and several filter options for each search, the KOA  (Kampgrounds of America) app will help you bring your fall camping trip to the next level. Many of the app’s features function offline as well, including campground information, search tools and driving directions, making the app the perfect accompaniment for a trip out into the deepest wilderness. The campgrounds await you!

BigOven (iOS) (Android)

The dwindling sunlight and falling temperatures of fall make it the perfect time of year to break out the mixing bowl and whip up some hearty homemade goodies. And if you need some tried-and-true recipes to make it happen, there’s an app for that! Download BigOven for access to more than a half-million recipes that will help you bring autumn into your kitchen. On the super-popular app, you’ll find the secret to making delectable pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes and gravy and so many other fall favorites. Don’t forget to check out the other fun features; like money-saving hacks for using up your leftovers, a grocery-shopping organizer and so much more.

LeafSnap (iOS) (Android)

Are you a genuine tree-hugger who always wants to learn more about the beautiful foliage around you? The info you need is just a download away! LeafSnap  is a free app that can identify 90% of all known species of plants and trees. Just snap a photo of a leaf and the app will identify the kind of tree it came from in seconds. Your nature walks will never be the same!

Steps to Ease Stress in Heading Back to College

Getting ready to head back to college after a long summer break can be stressful on both a personal and financial level.

These tips can help make the transition as smooth as possible for both students and parents.

Calm the countdown
Packing enough for the better part of a year is a major undertaking, so it pays to start preparing three weeks to a month ahead. Break this job into manageable segments by creating a dorm-room checklist with categories such as clothing, furniture, schoolwork and personal hygiene needs. Unused items during the summer months, including fall/winter clothes and school supplies, can be packed up early, while daily necessities such as shoes, socks and a toothbrush may have to wait till closer to departure time. Try to find packing containers that can be stacked for on-campus storage or double as dorm shelves.

Reawaken that school mindset
To make returning to school a bit less jarring, commit to some lifestyle adjustments during the last few weeks of summer. If you’re registered for morning classes, begin to roll bedtime back to a reasonable hour. If you haven’t cracked a book lately, spend a little time each day doing some academic reading, whether this means starting your new textbooks or exploring related articles and books.

Control shopping costs
If you’re not careful, shopping for college gets very pricey, particularly for textbooks, which along with class supplies can easily top $1,000 a year. So set a budget for yourself, and stick to it. Although the college bookstore may be convenient, it’s probably your most expensive option. Instead, order books early from discounted sites such as CheapestTextbooks.com and Chegg, and consider purchasing used or e-book versions. Many websites, including Amazon, now also offer textbook rentals at a dramatic savings over the purchase cost.

Furniture, room decorations and supplies needn’t break the bank either. Take advantage of summer yard sales, thrift stores and dollar stores, and check out sites like eBay and Craigslist for bargains as well. To maximize savings, buy staples like nonperishable snacks in bulk.

Before shopping, gather up pens, notebooks and extra home accessories already on hand, and be sure to look for available discounts through coupon sites, text promotions and social media.

Create a cushion
Summer break is an excellent opportunity for students to find temporary jobs, which provide valuable work experience as well as extra cash to cover miscellaneous campus expenses. To help manage these ongoing costs, it’s helpful for students to set up a budget and open a checking account through a financial institution like USAgencies Credit Union. With the proper planning, getting back to school should be a breeze for all concerned, and students can look forward to a new year of learning and shared times with good friends.

By Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet