5 Tips To Help You Start Saving Money

5 Tips To Help You Start Saving Money

Your very first job is exciting isn’t it? You’ve already got butterflies in your stomach and several ideas about how you’re going to spend your first paycheck.

The last thing you want to think about is your retirement. However, before you receive your first paycheck is the best possible time to create your budget checklist.

The sooner you start saving the better off you’ll be in your later years, and you don’t have to just save for your retirement either. It’s wise to start saving now for those big-ticket items like your first car, your first home, or perhaps even your wedding.

Do I Really Need to Create a Budget Checklist to Save Money for My Future?

Here’s our first tip for saving money: Create a budget checklist, right from the word go and make sure you follow it. If you set aside money for savings from your very first paycheck, you’re not going to miss that cash at all.

A good place to start when creating a budget is to make sure all your regular bills are paid first. These include rent, utilities, phone, internet, food, travel, insurance etc. After they’ve been paid, you can put aside money for things like entertainment and clothes.

We’ve found 5 of the most helpful tips that you need to include in your budget checklist if you want to be able to splash out every now and then or buy that luxury condo for your retirement.

Turn the Television Off

press turn off of tv remote

Obviously, the first money saving advantage of turning your tv off is that you’re going to save money on electricity and cable subscriptions, but there are others you might not have considered.

Spending less time watching television will give you more time to pursue other interests. You could start a side hustle, for example, and who knows, it may even turn into a full-time business for you.

Another advantage of turning off your tv is that you won’t be bombarded with commercials every seven minutes or so. Commercials tempt you to spend money, that’s what they’re for and often, particularly during meal times, those commercials are encouraging you to buy food. And we all know that’s not usually healthy food.

Turn your television off and use the money you save to invest in training or a small business venture.

Customer Reward Programs are Your Friend

popcorn

Today’s retailers know the advantages of offering customer reward programs to their customers. It may take a while to earn enough points to receive a substantial reward, but if you’re going to buy those products anyway why not buy them from a retailer that’s going to reward you for being a loyal customer?

Host a Swapping Party

cocktails

This tip is a two-for-one. Swapping parties can be enormous fun and they’re a great way of saving entertainment money.

Add the cost of nibbles to your budget checklist and once a month, host a swap party. You’ll save on “going out” money, you’ll spend some time with friends, and you can all take turns at hosting a party.

What kinds of things can you swap? The list is endless: clothes, books, video games, CDs, DVDs, sports equipment are all possibilities. You can even swap skills and services.

Do you need to create a website for your new side hustle? Ask your IT genius friend to do that for you while you do their housework.

Learn how to Do-it-Yourself

girl kayaking

We don’t advise doing your own electrical repairs, however, there are a lot of other things you can do yourself instead of paying someone else. Why don’t you borrow your Mom’s sewing machine and repair or alter your clothes?

You could grow your own vegetables and if you don’t have enough space for a garden you can always grow herbs in window boxes.

Making your own gifts is a great money saver and everyone appreciates the amount of time and thought that goes into creating them. And don’t forget that anything you make, you can also sell.

Buy Generic Products Wherever Possible

apples in the market

Your friends don’t care if you use a $5 moisturizer rather than a $40 brand name. And if they do care? Get some better friends.

Despite what the commercials tell you, cheaper products often work just as well as more expensive ones. There’s also no need to buy a separate cleaning product for every different household surface.

There is very little in this world that can’t be cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar.

Why Shouldn’t I Enjoy My Money for a While Before I Start Thinking About Saving?

Because that will make it so much harder. The earlier you start saving money, the more you’ll have available when you need it. This life is an unpredictable thing and you can never be sure when you’re going to be hit with an unexpected expense.

Bankrate.com recommends that your emergency fund has enough money in it to pay your essential expenses for 3 to 6 months. Keep that in mind when you’re creating your budget checklist and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises in your near future.

Best Graphing Calculator: Top 5 Picks

Best Graphing Calculator: Top 5 Picks

Are you in the market for a new graphing calculator?

 

 The options can be overwhelming as technology becomes more and more advanced, so it is a good idea to know exactly what you are looking for and what you should watch out for.  

 

This product is necessary for pretty much all highschool and college math (and some science) classes at this point. Lesson plans and curriculums include how-to advice for them, and problem solving is often primarily taught on them. Because of this, owning one is incredibly convenient and preferred for most students.

 

These learning tools come in all sorts of designs, brands, sizes, qualities, and price ranges. There are also options that are better for certain types of math and science as well. Once you know what you are going to be using it for, and what you are able to afford, the search for your perfect graphing calculator becomes much easier.

 

Let’s get started!

How We Chose Our Ratings

black and gray graphing calculator

To make sure you choose the best option for your needs and price range, we strive to be as accurate with our reviews as possible.

 

By going over customer’s testimonies and reviews, we are able to choose which items have been the most well-received and why. This provides us with a wide range of people from different walks of life who are using the calculators for different things-allowing us to be as varied as possible with our choices and reviews. It can also provide insight into issues that multiple people are having, which can stop you from purchasing something that has widespread problems.

 

 We also make sure to be as honest as possible with our product choices, by researching data about the products and knowing what users are saying about them. Nothing is excluded from these reviews- good or bad. Knowing both what makes a product worth buying and its possible shortcomings is vital for a well-informed purchase.

 

To make sure that the technical features of each graphing calculator are covered, we also do intensive research on what each product offers using reliable, technologically savvy sites. That way you will be well-educated on what each model offers whether you are a complete expert or a novice.

 

These are all incredibly important for our trusted, reliable, honest, and accurate reviews.

It’s very important for us to make sure that you are getting the best graphing calculator, as well as the exact product you thought you were buying. By making sure we are as transparent as we can be, you are sure to get exactly what you researched.

graphing calculator on a red cloth
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Casio fx-9750GII Graphing Calculator, White
  • Quick Pie Charts & Bar Graphs
  • USB connectivity for file sharing
  • High-resolution LCD display

If you are looking for a calculator on the cheaper side, and just want it for more basic functions, the Casio fx-9750Gll is a great option.

 

This product has the option to make pie charts and bar graphs, has an interactive equation solver, has a high-resolution LCD display for the screen, and also offers AP Statistic features.

 

In addition to those qualities, the calculator allows you to connect to it through USB. This means that you are able to easily share data with other calculators, or even connect it to a PC. It is also allowed on most tests for high schoolers and college students, including the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and ACT college entrance exams and AP tests.

 

The software for the graphic calculator is fairly simple. For a learning tool, Casio has made sure to make it comfortable for students of different ages and capabilities.

 

Now since it is a simpler model than some of the other products we will cover on the list, it does not have all of the options and tools that other graphing calculators have.

 

If you are a highschool student, the reviews do mention that a teacher may have a more difficult time teaching someone who doesn’t have a Texas brand calculator. Often times those are the calculators used in specific lessons, so keeping up to date on the user’s manual and comparing its functions to a TI model may be an important part of owning this product.

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Texas Instruments Ti-84 plus Graphing calculator - Black
  • Real and complex numbers calculated to 14-digit accuracy and displayed with 10 digits plus a 2-digit exponent. Graphs...
  • Sequence graphing mode shows time series plot, cobweb/stair-step plot, and phase plots. User-defined list names. Lists...
  • Interactive analysis of function values, roots, maximums, minimums, integrals, and derivatives. 7 different graph...

This is one of the most popular and well-known options on the market. Texas Instruments makes many varieties of graphing calculators for students in all different math classes. The Ti-84 Plus is well-loved by both kids, parents, and teachers alike- a lot of classes are even taught with the calculator’s steps ingrained in the curriculum.

 

You are given almost endless choices for what this calculator can be used for. Between sequence graphing mode, horizontal and vertical split-screen options, real and complex numbers being accurate up to fourteen digits, and mass amounts of matrix operations and plot definitions- this is one of the best graphing calculators for the average student.

 

The price is moderate for this design-it doesn’t have the full-color display, and you would not be able to use it for mechanical engineering, differential equations, electrical engineering, or any detailed science work. However, for any major math classes like calculus, statistics, etc. this is a fantastic, affordable model.

 

For a few dollars more, you can actually get it with the Frustration Free packaging as well- making it easier to open with way less packing material.

 If you are looking for something in a similar price range as the last product on this list, but you want a color screen as well- the HP Prime Graphing Calculator is a fantastic choice.

 

The aesthetic of this calculator is a little different than a lot of other options that you will come across. For example, this learning tool is completely encased in metal, giving it a more sleek, modern look. It is also backlit, making it useful in any sort of lighting.

 

It also has many unique features, including the ability of pinch-to-zoom on the screen, buttons that allow you to switch between different types of graphing (symbolic, numeric, graphical), and built in apps for Spreadsheet and Statistics as well.

 

 In addition to that, you are also able to connect wirelessly and download a mobile app for the tool, making it effortless to switch between them and solve problems on the go.

 

Another unique feature to this product is the ability to upload personal photos to it- allowing you to manipulate a function to it and connect the math problems you are doing to real-life situations. Just looking at a plain graph can make math problems difficult to apply to scenarios you actually come across, so this is an excellent feature for someone who learns visually.

 

If you are worried about replacing it after years of wear and tear, you can also add either a three or four-year protection plan for only a few dollars more! The 3-year plan comes out to $. And the 4-year plan will cost you $. That way you are not stuck buying a completely new product if something happens to it.

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Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator
  • Ideal for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Trigonometry, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Statistics, Business & Finance, Biology,...
  • Full-color screen with backlit display.
  • All the functionality of the TI-Nspire CX handheld plus a built-in Computer Algebra System (CAS)

Looking for something more suited for engineering? The Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS may be the best graphing calculator for you.

 

With this tool, you are able to graph and use all kinds of science and math concepts on either digital images or your own pictures. The brightly colored, backlit display also makes it incredibly easy to use no matter where you are.

 

Geometry is made much simpler on this design as well. You are able to create and explore figures and design your own animations for the problems you are solving.

 

You also have the capability to add in your own notes or instructions next to the math being done on the calculator. This makes it very easy to keep track of what you are doing and teach it or show it to someone else if necessary.

 

The outside of this calculator is also a very convenient and useful design. It is actually the lightest and thinnest TI calculator ever made at two inches thick and weighing only 15.2 ounces. The screen is 3.2 inches across diagonally and has a screen resolution of 125 DPI.

HP G8X92AA LA Prime v2 Graphing Calculator
  • Engineering; Computer science; Surveying; Trigonometry; Statistics; Geometry; Biology; Chemistry; Physics
  • 2-D Function, Polar, Parametric Plot; Differential Equation, Bar Plot; Histogram, Scatter Plot; Find: Intersect,...
  • Decimal hrs/hrs min sec conversions; Polar/rectangular conversions; Angle conversions; Base conversions and arithmetic;...

The HP G8X92AA LA Prime v2 is fantastic option for those of you looking for the best of the best in scientific calculators. This product can pretty much do anything your mind can come up with when it comes to a math or science problem.

 

You are provided access to Advanced Graphing, Dynamic Geometry, CAS, and many other useful applications at your fingertips. Also included are-2-D Function, Polar, Scatter Plot; Find: Intersect, Extremum, Slope, Trace, Co-ordinates, and display and printer graphics, along with many other awesome features.

 

With a very similar keyboard to previous calculators by this company, users of HP’s older products should have little trouble adapting to this new design. The screen is a little larger than the other learning tools we looked at- this one gives you 3.5 inches across diagonally.

 

Another neat and unique feature of this calculator are the extra accessories that you are able to add to your purchase. For $$, you are able to McAfee Total Protection (premium antivirus software) to the device. The other optional choice you can purchase is a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 (offering you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote), which adds an additional $$$ to the price of your calculator.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Graphing Calculator Choice

graphing calculator monitor

Now that you have seen some of the best choices out there-how do you actually make the decision on which one to buy?

 

Above all else, it is important to think about what you will be using this for.

 

If you are simply using this for an AP Calculus class in highschool, and want something basic for it, the TI-84 Plus or the Casio fx-9750GII may be the best fit. However, if you need something more intricate and complicated for something like engineering-you might consider the Texas Instruments Nspire CX CAS Graphing Calculator. You may also want to consider what your curriculums or tests allow you to use.

 

Another important aspect to consider is what you can afford. The prices of these calculators range from about $$ and $$, so you have a lot of variety to work with.

 

Lastly, do not forget to think about the features and qualities that you want most in a calculator. Really wanting one with a colored screen? Not all graphing calculators have one of those. Making a list of what you want and need can be a huge help to finding the best graphing calculator for you.

Last But Not Least

To conclude, your graphing calculator will be an extremely useful learning tool for many years to come. While technology does advance quite quickly, these particular choices will stay relevant and helpful for the foreseeable future.

 

Balancing prices and qualities are much easier when you have considered all the factors of purchasing a new calculator. We are confident that there is an affordable, helpful choice on this list for everyone.

 

Which one of these looks like the best graphing calculator choice for you? If you already have one of these products, what do you like best about it? Which one would you personally recommend?

5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies have erupted over the past year.

 

These currencies are nothing new.

 

For years, people used these coins to trade goods and services (mostly illegal drugs) on the Dark Web in places like the late Silk Road.

 

Those days are gone, dozens of new cryptocurrencies emerge every day.

 

While many people rushed to purchase crypto when the Bitcoin price skyrocketed in November, most don’t understand the risk and many other factors.

 

As the price crashes, many people find themselves asking “wait, what is Bitcoin (BC) and how does it work?” It’s too late for some of them. Advocates will tell you now is the time to buy – but is it?

 

Here’s what you should know about the Bitcoin value, Ethereum price, and cryptocurrencies in general.

 

  1. What Is Bitcoin Exactly?

BC is what’s known as a cryptocurrency. Unlike traditional monies, BC and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized (well, kind of) through the use of technology called blockchain.

 

Blockchain is an interesting system created by a notorious – and elusive – figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knows much about Satoshi or if he (?) really exists. It’s generally understood that Satoshi is, rather, a concept for the group of people who created blockchain.

 

Confused yet? It gets worse.

 

Blockchain is a series of blocks or digital records which are all linked in some way. Cryptography ensures these blocks stay secure through a special form of encryption.

 

Crypto-currency: get it? What is Bitcoin? A specific type of cryptocurrency secured using blockchain technology.

 

  1. Where Does Bitcoin Value Come From?

That’s a great question. Unfortunately, there isn’t one correct answer.

 

Crypto advocates will tell you that since BC is independent from the global dollar system, it’s value is determined by this decentralized network: users determine the value.

 

This is somewhat true, but what defines value?

 

In one sense, the only value that BC holds is as a method of exchange.

 

But what is being exchanged? Traditional fiat currencies which you’ve acquired through labor and other methods – all of which rely on the global dollar system for their value.

 

There are two ways to acquire BC and cryptocurrencies: purchase them with “real” money, or mine it. In order to mine BC, you need a heavy-duty computer system that solves complex puzzles (this is an over simplification).

 

Most people purchase BC with their country’s traditional currency. Although advocates tout crypto as a competitor to the global dollar system, these currencies are measured against fiat like the U.S. dollar. Plus, in order to purchase crypto, you need a standard bank account to transfer funds.

 

In fact, cryptocurrencies are very reliant on governments and economies for determining their number values. When governments impose regulations or large corporations announce they will accept BC, this makes the value fluctuate – and drastically.

 

  1. Beyond Just Bitcoin Price: Transaction Fees are Completely Unaffordable for Both Users and Businesses

If you’ve never purchased Ethereum, BC, Litecoin, or any other cryptocurrency, you may not realize how much it actually costs.

 

An average transaction fee costs $28 – average.

 

Want to upload fiat funds to your digital wallet? Pay a fee. Want to purchase BC with funds from your digital wallet? Pay another fee. Is it time to sell because the price skyrocketed? Yep, another fee.

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase charge a lot of money for moving even small amounts of monies. In many respects, this is holding back potential progress in the industry.

 

It’s almost impossible for businesses to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment method for this reason.

 

  1. Think Income Inequality is Bad? The Cryptocurrency World Isn’t Better

In the “real world,” 1% of the population control more wealth than the entire 99% combined. In the cryptocurrency world, 1,000 people control 40% of all BC. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to calculate exact figures for inequality so this is more of an estimate.

 

This inequality doesn’t help the argument that BC is “decentralized.”

 

Combined with other factors, those 1,000 people can drastically influence the value of cryptocurrencies. If all 1,000 decided to sell everything tomorrow, the price would plummet. This would leave folks who invested their last $500 (or sold their home to purchase BC) out in the cold.

 

  1. The Ethereum Price is Low, Could This Make You Money?

Perhaps. Ethereum is one of the up-and-comers of the cryptocurrency world along with BC Cash and Litecoin.

 

If the Ethereum price is low, you could buy a little, but don’t invest your life’s savings. At the time of writing this, Ethereum costs $530 – down about 40% for the month.

 

If you’re looking to make money in crypto, you’re better off buying something like Ethereum and riding it out. However, there are dozens of cryptocurrencies: nearly every state government and major company is developing their own.

 

Deciding which one to purchase is just as much – if not more – risky than the traditional stock market.

 

Invest wisely, just don’t lose your home.

For The Student: The Best Scientific Calculators Available

For The Student: The Best Scientific Calculators Available

If you’re entering middle school, or high school, and you’ve been told you need to get a scientific calculator for your math classes, you might be freaking out about now. All those buttons, and functions, and things you can’t identify are kind of overwhelming. We’ve pulled together information to help you not only better understand using a scientific calculator, but to help you find the best scientific calculator for your needs, as well.

 

First, let’s start with an understanding of what a calculator is, and why they came into existence.

A Short History of the Calculator

The long history of the calculator can be traced back to the abacus, a hand operated counting machine that uses beads on rods. This device was first employed by the Egyptians and Sumerians around 2000 BCE. This revolutionary tool sped up the counting and subtracting process by using multiple rows of beads to represent tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on. This concept was so effective that people found no need for the technology to change from nearly 3,600 years.

 

The next development towards the modern calculator came about in the 17th century AD. This development was called the slide ruler. The slide ruler is a sliding stick that uses logarithmic scales to allow the user to do rapid multiplication and division. Later developments with the slide rule allowed for its use in square roots, exponents, logarithms, and trigonometry. The first calculator that made use of mechanical function was created in 1642. This device was invented by French mathematician Blaise Pascal. This machine utilized geared wheels, and could add and subtract two numbers by direct input. By the utilization of repetition, the machine could be used to multiply and divide, as well.

 

The next innovation in calculating machines was that of a four-function device. This invention came about in 1820: Thomas de Colmar’s Arithmometer. The first commercially viable counting device would not be manufactured until 1851. The next great innovation in calculating machines came about in 1887, when Dorr E. Felt made a calculating device that could be operated by push buttons. Next, electronic calculators began their life in the 1930s, as the world faced the impending likelihood of another war. Two war time needs really drove the development of an electronic computing device. The first need was making the use of anti-aircraft and bombers more effective. The second reason was the growing challenge of code breaking. These needs led to the first all-electronic computer called Colossus.

 

Then, in 1948, a pocket-sized version of the mechanical calculator was released. This new machine was called the Curta Calculator. The world’s first completely electronic desktop calculator was released in 1961. This device was called ANITA, which stood for A New Inspiration To Arithmetic/Accounting. The calculator used push button key technology mixed with vacuum and cold cathode tubes. For three years this sold without competition until transistor driven calculators appeared. At this point, numerous companies around the world released a series of transistor driven calculators. Innovations came from different companies in different countries. Toshiba, for example, created the Toscal BC-1411 which utilized an early form of RAM.  From the Italian manufacturer, the Programma 101 could read and write to magnetic cards and used a built in printer to display computations.

 

These innovations led up to a company called Texas instruments releasing a landmark device in 1967. This device was called the Cal Tech. This was a calculator that could do a multitude of functions while being compact enough to be hand held.

Types of Calculators

There are a number of calculator types.

 

  • Financial
  • Graphing
  • Scientific

There are, of course, also a variety of online calculators with specific functions, such as pregnancy, BMI, water, and calorie calculators. Each of these specifically functional calculators meet very specific needs with algorithms programmed into them to find the correct results. While all types of calculators can serve incredibly important functions, today, we’re focusing on scientific calculators.

What is a Scientific Calculator?

sci cal

Scientific calculators are hand-held calculators which are designed for aiding in solving problems in mathematics, science, and engineering. Commonly, most people are first exposed to these types of calculators in middle and high school, while taking various mathematics courses.

 Defining features commonly found in scientific calculators include:

 

  • Logarithmic functions
  • Trigonometric functions
  • Scientific Notation
  • Floating Point Arithmetic
  • Roots and Exponential Functions beyond the square root
  • Fraction Calculations
  • Calculus
  • Unit Conversion

 

They are designed for use in various math types such as:

 

  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra 1 and 2
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry

How to Use a Scientific Calculator

When taking higher level mathematics, students will find that a scientific calculator becomes an important tool for time efficiency. However, if you have previously only used a standard, or “normal” calculator, you may feel a little intimidated by the various buttons and functions on a scientific calculator. For help with overcoming this intimidation, you can look online for help. A tutorial, or step-by-step manual would offer ways for you to become better acquainted with, and proficient with your scientific calculator.

1. Identify the Functions on Your Calculator

2. Understand the Order for Use

3. Test Out the Calculator

The Best Scientific Calculators on the Market

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to use a scientific calculator, the next step is finding the right one for you. We’ve pulled together a list of options. Each calculator is ranked highly among real life users on sites like Amazon.

 

Peruse the list, and see if any of the calculators spark a particular interest.

Casio fx-300ES PLUS Scientific Calculator, Pink
  • Easy to use
  • Good for all math
  • Approved for use

The Casio fx-300ES PLUS is a highly rated scientific calculator that’s designed for students in middle and high school. It’s got a solar-plus battery that’s supposed to give the device an extra long calculating life. The Casio fx-300ES PLUS also features over two hundred features and calculations. This calculator is approved for use on the ACT, SAT, AP, and PSAT/NMSQT exams.

 

Other features included in this calculator include simplified fractions and roots, a repeating decimal display and prime factorization. This calculator from Casio also allows the user to perform combinations and permutations. The display itself is designed to show expressions and results exactly as they would appear in a textbook. Another great feature of the Casio fx-300ES PLUS is a multi-replay function which allows the user to backtrack step by step through the calculation processes allowing for the ability to change expressions and recalculate answers.

Casio fx-300MS Scientific Calculator
  • 2-line display
  • 240 functions
  • Multi-replay function

Another highly rated scientific calculator is the Casio fx-300MS. Features include:

  • A two-line display
  • A multi-replay function
  • 240 different functions
  • 9 variable memories.

With a solar panel strip with backup battery, you won’t need to change on the Casio fx-300MS even after prolonged use at school or work. Reviews of this product were very positive. The reliability of this particular model was praised by a customer who had bought the same model 19 years ago and still used it till today. Whenever they needed another calculator this is the model they would turn to purchase. Several other customers had stories of having a copy of this product for over ten years and putting it to daily use with no issues. Repeat customers, and those using the same product for nearly two decades speaks pretty highly of any kind of product, let along a mechanical device that gets used often.

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Casio FX300ESPLSWE Scientific Calculator, White Display
  • Scientific text book display WHT
  • Design that delivers High availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility and price/performance
  • Made in China

Casio FX300ESPLSWE is another highly rated scientific calculator from Casio. It’s a calculator that’s designed to deliver on maximum function, flexibility, and affordability.

 

A major feature of the Casio FX300ESPLSWE is that it has a natural textbook display where expressions can be entered as they are written in textbook. This can be used with a wide range of coursework such as general math, biology, statistics, and geometry. Reviewers of the product gave the calculator five stars and praised the calculator’s features. One reviewer said that this calculator was perfect for a middle school program. Another reviewer said that they were excited to have a calculator that utilized variable logic.

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Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator
  • Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides fractions entered in traditional numerator/denominator format
  • Performs trigonometric functions, logarithms, roots, powers, reciprocals, and factorials. Polar/rectangular conversions
  • Battery powered; slide case included

The Texas Instruments TI-30Xa has an “old school” keyboard that will enable you to properly calculate the various equations you’re working with. The TI-30Xa has been called handsome, durable, and excellent, for the reasonable price found online. The TI-30Xa is very adequate for trigonometry, algebra, chemistry, calculus, and physics, with the Sin, Cos, Tan, Pi, and Hyp keys easy to access and view.

 

Professors love this calculator for their students who need an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use machine that will do all the calculations needed. For those who have had issues with solar powered machines, the TI-30Xa is your solution on that, too. Powered by batteries, this calculator won’t let you down. If you need a user-friendly, durable scientific calculator with an excellent design, you definitely want to consider this one.

Casio fx-115MS PLUS SR Scientific Calculator
  • 2-line display, Fraction calculations, Integration calculations, Combination and Permutation
  • Base-n calculations / conversions, Logical operations, Complex number calculations, CALC memory, Engineering symbol...
  • Statistics(STAT-data editor, Standard deviation, Normal distribution calculations, Regression analysis)

The Casio fx-115MS PLUS SR is a highly rated scientific calculator intended for use by students of math and science at all levels. It’s intended for use at home or the office. The Casio fx-115MS PLUS SR calculator features a two-line display which exhibits ten digits in large numerals to help the user more easily keep track of what they are working on.

 

The fx-115MS PLUS SR also features 279 built in mathematical functions with the capability for the user to program custom formulas for future use. The layout of the fx-115MS PLUS SR makes this a pragmatic calculator to both use and own. Most reviews of this Casio calculator were positive, especially when it comes to durability and functionality. As with reviews for the other Casio scientific calculators, there were multiple reviews from people who had purchased the calculator over ten years ago and have had no issues with it despite day to day use.

Our Final Say on Scientific Calculators

As with most consumer products today, there are more options for scientific calculators than you could possibly sort through in a month.

 

So, ultimately, you need to understand what your budget is, and the types of functions you’ll need.

 

You should always read real reviews from genuine people before making any purchases, especially online, and verify that your top choice is the quality you require.

 

We think our suggestions for the best scientific calculators are top-notch, but we still encourage you to look on your own. Try searching Amazon or another retailing site for “the best scientific calculator” and  see what options you find.

Here’s the Secret to Saving for College

Here’s the Secret to Saving for College

College is expensive. How can you afford it?

 

You can’t pull money out of thin air or rob a bank.

 

As an adult, it’s nearly impossible to save money for school – but you have other options.

 

When it comes to kids, saving for college isn’t easy but it is very possible if you do the proper planning and budgeting early.

 

These options are as close as you can get to pulling money out of the sky.

 

Funding and College Savings Plans: What are Your Options?

 

Not all college savings plans are created equal. In fact, some can be a rip off.

 

It’s important to understand your financial situation and education goals before deciding which college savings plan is right for you.

 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

 

Before you look anywhere else, check FAFSA.

 

If you live paycheck-to-paycheck or are worried that investing in college savings plans is just not an option financially, you might be eligible for federal education funds. The level you receive is based on your personal and family financial history and college experience.

 

FAFSA has many benefits and the downsides are easy to manage.

 

  • The money is tax-free and you don’t need to pay it back.
  • The application is thorough but moves quickly and doesn’t require you to submit documents.
  • You can use the money at just about any accredited school.
  • You need to reapply every year.
  • If you’ve used FAFSA before and withdrew from your program, you may need to pay for an initial semester if you want to receive FAFSA again.
  • When you apply for FAFSA, you may also have the opportunity to receive federal student loans. (These you will have to pay back.)

 

Since FAFSA is essentially “free money” with no strings attached, check here before looking into a 529 plan or other college savings plans.

 

529 College Savings Plan

 

Not every 529 plan is the same. Deciding which one is best for you depends on your financial situation. Brokers often charge outrageous commission rates so beware.

 

  1. Prepaid Tuition 529 Plan: This allows you to pay for tuition at a two or four-year college or university upfront at the current rate. By the time the student is ready for school, their education is already paid for.
  2. 529 College Savings Plan: Earnings placed in a 529 plan are tax-deferred as they grow. Later, you can make tax-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses.

 

Every state offers different 529 plans – check with your home state first. If you find a good rate in your state, you may qualify for a yearly state tax deduction due to your investment.

 

You may, however, find a great rate in another state and that’s okay too. Check with an advisor to work out all the details.

 

Coverdells and Custodial Accounts

 

You might know Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) as their previous name: Education IRAs.

 

You can use these options for investing money for a variety of educational purposes including private elementary and high school in addition to college.

 

ESAs provide a variety of flexible investment options. Although contributions aren’t tax deductible, you can make tax-free withdrawals for tuition and other expenses.

 

The yearly contribution limit is $2,000 for an ESA if your income is under $95,000 per year.

 

Savings Bonds

 

Educational savings bonds are a great way to save tax-free money for college tuition and other qualified education expenses.

 

However, there are a few financial limits. Couples filing jointly must make under $116,300 per year while single filers need to stay under $77,550. (These numbers apply to the 2017 tax year so future investors should use this as a general idea.)

 

Although the concept seems simple, college savings bonds are anything but uncomplicated. When in doubt, talk to an advisor.

 

Scholarships

 

When people think of scholarships, they often imagine high school students playing sports or exceeding in other activities. The truth is, there are thousands of scholarships out there for all kinds of people – just like you.

 

If you have a specific degree or certification picked out, look for professional organizations in that field. The American Welding Society, for example, provides dozens of scholarships each year for students of all ages. Industrial gas distributor, Praxair, also provides scholarships to welding students.

 

Just about every industry has companies and organizations that give out substantial scholarships – many of them go unclaimed due to lack of applicants. One or two could pay for your entire tuition each year.

 

Putting it into Action

 

The hardest part about saving for college is taking the first step.

 

If you’re uncertain, look for a qualified financial advisor to help guide you through the process. Seek out second opinions: your money is important and you want to make sure it’s invested in the best way possible.

Top 9 Poorest Countries in the World in 2018

Top 9 Poorest Countries in the World in 2018

In general terms, the wealth of a country can be assessed by reviewing their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This metric is best defined as a country’s total market value of goods produced during a specified period of time. But can this be an indicator of the poorest country in the world?

This number is divided by the country’s population to provide the overall Gross Domestic Product. Of course, there are other things that contribute to a country’s wealth, but this has been a universally accepted standard in economics.

Unfortunately, this metric varies greatly from country to country. There is a ton of disparity between rich and poor, and this challenge spans the globe. While there is no clear winner when it comes to the poorest country in the world, here are a few that top the list.

The Poorest Country in the World – 9 Examples

#1. Madagascar

some poor houses in Madagascar

This African island has received some publicity for their unique biosphere and attention to tourism. However, most of the country is drowning in poverty. The country has experienced political turmoil and unrest for many years. These constant challenges have left the country with little economic leadership or direction.

Also, most of the natives are trained in agriculture and make a living through this type of work. Unfortunately, the country is severely affected by climate change, and the weather can be unpredictable. This creates hardship for the locals who rely on agriculture to survive.

#2. Malawi

some people hauling water in Malawi

Malawi is another African state that tops the list when it comes to the poorest country in the world. It has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world with over half the country living below the accepted poverty line. Unfortunately, the country has experienced loss of aid due to corruption within their local government.

Without aid, the country has experienced turmoil and has not had the funding to contribute development. This change has led to even further poverty and destruction. Similar to other African countries, the Malawi people rely heavily on agriculture and farming for survival. Massive flooding in late 2015 devastated the country and their economy, and they’re still working to recoup the losses.

#3. Guinea

a poor family in Guinea

This country has experienced wealth in the past due to their massive local mineral mining. However, recent events have contributed to the slip. The country has not enjoyed economic freedom since the 1990s, and the country’s government has engaged in a series of sociopolitical conflicts which have rapidly delayed the country’s return to independence.

In addition, the country’s laborers rely on outdated equipment and processes for farming which has proved a massive handicap.

#4. Niger

several men with cattle in Niger

Niger is swallowed by the Sahara Desert, with 80 percent of its land mass lying in the stretches of this sandy oasis. Niger has often been touted as the poorest country in the world due to its large population and limited room for expansion and growth.

The country’s rapidly growing population and reliance on small-scale agriculture place it at risk for desertion. In addition, the country has a rough past of slavery, illiteracy, and disease. Mortality rates are extremely high, and while the country anticipates some relief due to ongoing oil projects, it continues to rack up debt to complete these projects.

#5. Liberia

a destroyed school site in Liberia

Liberia earns a look as the poorest country in the world. The African nation experienced a major hit to their economy with the Ebola crisis. Ebola caused many investors to withhold their investments until the disease was better contained.

In addition, the overall economy relies on exports like rubber, iron ore, and palm oil. This means the country is at the mercy of the global commodity markets. Overall, a whopping 85 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line definitely putting it in the running for the poorest country in the world.

#6. Afghanistan

some cute children in Afghanistan

This Middle Eastern country needs no introduction. After almost two decades of war and terror, the country definitely lacks structure and lands recognition on the list as the poorest country in the world. Unemployment in Afghanistan sits around 35 percent, and almost half the population survives on less than one dollar per day. In addition, the country lacks the support of foreign investment due to the constant turmoil and instability.

#7. Ethiopia

some children outdoors in Ethiopia

This African country is extremely underdeveloped and impoverished. Over 55 percent of the country’s population lives in city slums, and the GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Ethiopia is another culture where agriculture is the foundation of the country’s economy. Unfortunately, the country regularly experiences drought making progress a challenge.

#8. Burundi

several Burundi children on a field outdoors

This community has experienced the brunt of the infamous Hutu-Tutsi ethnic conflict. The conflict has created chaos and destruction throughout the country, and the European Union has cut funding to this impoverished country because of political corruption.

Also, the crisis has driven a recession and a ban on trade with neighboring countries. This experience has contributed to inflation making it difficult for the locals to find ways to put food on the table. All of these factors have landed Burundi in the mix as one of the poorest country examples in the world.

#9. Haiti

a crowded Haiti street

This country is still recovering from the devastating effects of recent earthquake damage. While the country enjoys the advantages of a free market economy and a good relationship with the United States, there are many factors contributing to the lack of economic growth.

Over 80 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, and seven out of ten people report living on under two dollars per day. Government corruption and lack of educational resources have really hindered the country’s ability to recover.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many areas of the world that lack the resources and economic conditions to truly thrive and prosper. Each of these countries has been labeled as the poorest country in the world at one point or another. Moreover, all of them still land on the list due to their low gross domestic product rating and high poverty levels. It’s important to acknowledge this disparity and understand the struggles that exist all over the globe.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10