nola.com
Universities will suspend classes if budget cut, commissioner says
Louisiana's higher education commissioner said all of the state's public colleges and universities will have to suspend classes immediately if the governor and Legislature don't find additional revenue by June 30. Joseph Rallo said in a letter to Gov. John...
sltrib.com
Many Utah cities blocking new liquor stores, leading to lack of funding in Herbert's budget
Studies have said that Utah needs far more liquor stores to meet demand, and the state had said it planned to build one a year. But Gov. Gary Herbert chose not to put that in ...
By The Salt Lake Tribune

Because grown ups in Utah can’t be trusted to be grown ups and make their own decisions…nanny state.

I have been seeing a lot of posts and questions about how it’s hard to keep up with the “studyblr aesthetics” and I’m disappointed that being a studyblr has become synonymous to owning expensive stationery and having impeccable organization skill. As a broke college student, I understand the concerns of many studyblrs who cannot keep up with the mainstream contents that showcase such things. Let’s be honest, studyblring can hurt your bank account. So I have come up with some alternatives + tips & tricks that can give you the same aesthetic feelings and function without breaking the bank:

Disclaimer: This post, by no means, is meant to depreciate the use of common “studyblr aesthetic” items. I will admit that even I use the “mainstream” items sometimes. Once in a while, it’s okay to give into the craving of buying all these nice stationery for the sake of self-happiness. Please also note, some of this may be biased and is solely reflected on my opinions; you are free to discuss your standpoint.

An eternal reminder: Being a studyblr has nothing to do with what stationery you have, rather it’s about actually studying. So get off Tumblr and hit the books. For some people, stationery is a means of motivation to get started on said studying.

Stationery

  • Muji Notebooks: Need cute notebooks that look really nice and aesthetics like those Muji notebooks? Buy a composition notebook and cover up the marble print with scrapbook paper or washi tape (just leave the black binding alone for a complete look). Trust me, it will not only look cute and unique, but your going to love using it. Spiral notebooks are just as great to decorate! (Update) Some notebooks are really cheap from JetPensDIY Custom Notebook Covers by @studyquirk
  • Five Star (*updated): The Five Star 5-subject notebook is pretty durable, but unless your book bag happens to be a battlefield, you probably don’t need to spend the extra money on the Five Star when you can get a generic 5-subject notebook. In the meantime, there are also several notebooks out there that also have the same poly-covers and pockets inside the notebook, for those who need that extra protection and space.
  • Mildliners: I admit, those Mildliner highlighters are gorgeous to look at on those notes. But…Crayola markers (especially the tropical/pastel ones) can do the same thing and give the same clean look on your notes. Tap into your inner child (don’t worry, they’re washable)! 
  • Staedtler/Stabilo/Copic Markers: You don’t really need 20 different colors to color-code your notes. Three different shades of greens and blues is not needed. Instead, Papermate flair pens are a good alternative, same colors, more ink, less money. Sharpie Pens are also a good alternative if you want nice thin strokes. 
  • Muji pens (*updated): I admit; writing with the 0.38mm Muji pen is like euphoria because it makes your notes look so pretty. Pilot Juice: same 0.38mm/0.5mm gel pen, and it comes in colors (and much cheaper)! It even has a clip thingie! Ah, Paper Mate InkJoy is also a beautiful set of colored pens for a cheap alternative as well. See @fuckstudy’s stationery review. 
  • Kipling 100 case: Let’s be honest, what are you going to do lugging around enough pens to supply the entire lecture hall? You do not need that many pens (unless you chronically loose all your pens). A simple minimalist pencil case or a medium size makeup bag can serve the same capabilities of holding all your utensils. 

Organization

  • Get a small succulent plant for your desk. It brightens up your desk space and makes it look more pleasing to the eye.
  • Tea light candles + succulent plant + coffee mug (throw in your notes for extra effects) make the absolute trio of deskspo.
  • Pin-boards are great for putting up syllabi, class schedules, and calendars. Don’t like poking holes on your paper? Hang binder clips on push pins.
  • Woah! There are so many nice people on Tumblr that post free printables. Maybe you can use one of those calendars to stay on track with everything?
  • Use post-it notes for reminders, deadlines, and inspirational quotes. Black sharpie usually makes things stand out nicely on the post-it note.
  • Redecorate boxes (e.g. shoe boxes) with wrapping paper for some cute organization space/bins. 
  • Clipboards. These magical boards with a spring clip can keep all your loose-leaf papers in one place and still look nice, instead of a chaotic mess. Plus, that back support when you want to write notes on your bed/lap.
  • You can customize your binders/file folders with washi tape. 
  • Use Mason jars as stationary holders! The washi tape-covered metal can pencil jars are cute as well!
  • Binder clips. Mini staplers. File holders.
  • Yes white desks are perfect for getting the perfect picture of your notes. But, wooden desks are just as classy. Black desks makes things stand out nicely too. 
  • Don’t clutter your desk. You just need your bare essentials to study.

Textbooks & Tech-y stuff

  • Paperback is cheaper than hardcover. This goes for textbooks, novels and books in general.
  • Ebooks are cheaper than paperback. Sometimes they’re even free online. You just have to know how to google for it. 
  • Buy used books. Can’t buy? Rent it! 
  • Here’s a guide to buying textbooks
  • If you gotta buy tech stuff, see if you can buy them with a student discount. 
  • Wait for back-to-school sales or tax-free holidays or Black Friday to buy stuff, especially tech-y stuff.
  • Always consider university program specifications before buying an OS versus Windows.

Apps, Extensions, Etc.

  • VSCOcam app. Yes, we do filter our pictures to make it look 100X better. Natural light also makes the picture look really nice, so sit next to the window or something. 
  • Note taking on your laptop? Google Docs, Microsoft OneNote and Evernote are free note taking websites that allow you to sync your notes across several platforms. 
  • Pomodoro with Flat Tomato (free on iOS)
  • FocusNow is an alternative to Forest on iOS. 
  • Lanes is a to-do app, week planner and pomodoro timer extension
  • Momentum is a Google Chrome extension that is a personal dashboard for to-do list, motivation, etc.
  • Minimal New Tab Clock is a minimal clock extension (light and dark theme) for new tabs on Google Chrome
  • See more here and here
State of NASA

Over his tenure, President Obama has now invested $147 billion in America’s space program. Our elected leaders, on a bipartisan basis, have chosen to make this investment in our Agency, because they believe in our Journey to Mars and recognize that investments in NASA’s present are investments in America’s future.

Because the State of our NASA is strong, President Obama is recommending a $19 billion budget for the next year to carry out our ambitious exploration and scientific discovery plans. Here are the areas in which we’ll continue to invest:

Solar System and Beyond

As we explore our solar system and search for new worlds, we look to answer key questions about our home planet, neighboring planets in our solar system and the universe beyond.

Journey to Mars

We’re developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s. Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system. Its formation and evolution are comparable to Earth, helping us learn more about our own planet’s history and future.

International Space Station

Earth Right Now

We use the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. Our Earth science work also makes a difference in people’s lives around the world every day.

Technology Drives Exploration

Sustained investments in our technology advance space exploration, science and aeronautics capabilities. We seek to improve our ability to access and travel through space; land more mass in more locations throughout our solar system; live and work in deep space and on planetary bodies; build next generation air vehicles, and transform the ability to observe the universe and answer profound questions in Earth and space sciences.

Aeronautics

Thanks to advancements in aeronautics developed by NASA, today’s aviation industry is better equipped than ever to safely and efficiently transport all those passengers to their destinations. 

The President’s FY 2017 budget provides $790 million to our Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. This investment will accelerate aviation energy efficiency, advance propulsion system transformation and enable major improvements in aviation safety and mobility. The future of flight will: utilize greener energy, be half as loud, use half the fuel and will create quieter sonic booms.

State of NASA Social

Today, we have opened our doors and invited social media followers and news media to an in-person event, at one of our 10 field centers. Guests will go on a tour and see highlights of the work we’re doing. You can follow along digitally on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASASocial/lists/state-of-nasa-all1

Check our Twitter Moment HERE.

Did you miss NASA Administrator Bolden’s remarks? You can watch a full recap HERE

For all budget related items, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

My Budget Template

~ Download My Budget Here

Yup, it’s true. I used to be one of *those* people. One of those people that never looked at bills, budgets or money. I just sort of trusted it would all work itself out. And? And, well, it did not

When I graduated from Queen’s University in 2007 I was left with a whack load of debt; $48,000 of debt to be exact.  Sure, a lot of that was student essentials - tuition, housing, books, but a lot of that was also “bar tops” and “rounds of shots.”

It was probably the worst and best thing that ever happened to my piggy bank - having debt, that is - because it showed me how HARD and AWFUL paying back money you’ve already spent is. Seriously, it sucks.  

I ended up paying off my debt in 2010 (here’s an overly excited post about it) and then and there swore to be better with my money. Although… truthfully? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. I have a tendency to be very good at budgeting, and then forget about it all together. Or to save money, and then spend it on a ridiculous purchase or a trip (hi NYC!). 

I’m now 31 and reality has set in that I better be able to support myself when I’m older, and I should have started planning for my retirement yesterday.  I’ve also always thought I would buy a house, start seriously saving, create a plan with someone else. But now I see how ridiculous that is. I must plan for my future with or without someone.  And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. 

Budgeting is tricky. There is A LOT of information how there with templates and guidelines and holy hell, let me just close my browser and do this later. It’s overwhelming, and easy to look away. Easier to not call a phone company and fight. Easier not to wait on hold to get an interest rate down. Easier not to take the few minutes a week needed to keep an eye on your money. Easier not to plan. 

Over the past ten years I’ve probably created ten different budget templates in Excel. And none of them really worked for me. I would set budget goals way too extreme, quickly break them, and then give up (similar to weight loss, eh?). Then, a few months back when I sat down to create yet another budget, I thought I should probably figure out where my money goes before I create a set percentage budget goal for myself, and that’s exactly what I did. 

And it’s been AMAZING. It’s so interesting to see and understand where your money goes.  I’ve drastically stopped spending as much as I used to because I clearly see how $12 here and $17 there add up fast and fiercely.  

And on that note, here my personal tips for getting a handle on your money: 

  • Understand your spending habits today. As I noted above it’s incredibly hard to suddenly say I’m only going to spend 20% of my income on food, when I have no idea how much I spend on food today. Understand your money first. 
  • Buy everything, and I mean EVERYTHING on debit or Visa cards. Ban cash from your life. Really, there’s pretty much no need for cash anymore. From subway tokens to meals out, swipe and tap away. Budgeting is significantly easier if everything is tracked online for you.  If you do use cash, keep receipts until you’ve logged it in your budget.  
  • Take a few hours and figure it out. Commit the time to it.  The initial setup of a budget is the hardest. Once it’s set up it’s incredibly easy and quick to pop in and update it. 
  • There are many fantastic tools out there like Mint.com, but I find they’re almost too automatic. Everything is done for me, so I don’t need to go in and track and look and see it, which means I ignore it. And because it’s automatic, I don’t learn and understand it. Therefore, start with a manual process to really understand your money. 
  • Keep your budget simple. Screw what you learnt in school - fixed expenses, variable expenses, balance sheets, assets, etc. Follow a budget that you understand. Something clean and simple. If you download mine, you’ll see it’s simple: Money-In (my income) minus Money-Out (everything I spend money on). 

On that note, here’s my Excel Budget Template Link. 

Other people’s Excel Templates are always a little challenging. So I’ve tried my best to make the majority of the template automatic. I’ve also added simple instructions.  You will need a basic understanding of Excel to use it. 

First, you need to know there are five tabs in my Budget: Budget, Summary, Jan - June Graphs, July - Dec Graphs and Year End Graph. 

ALL of the tabs are automatic, except for the first one “Budget” tab. 

After you download it onto your computer, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure this budget reflects your life. Review al the blue squares and edit them to reflect you. For example, within the Transportation category, if you have a car, you could add “Gas,” “Insurance” “Parking,” and/or “Maintenance” and remove “Uber” and “Rentals.”   Edit over “Bootcamp/Weight Watchers etc.” if that doesn’t apply to you. 

The goal is to have the blue categories reflect EVERYTHING in your life. 

All the graphs reflect the major categories (in white), so try not to edit those, but rather edit my already existing lines, or add/insert lines within the category. 

The budget is done monthly.  I created an example month to show you how it works. 

After you’ve edited the blue categories to your liking. You’ll need to update the yellow boxes. 

This is the tedious part. But I promise you once you’re up to date, it’s very easy to do.  I pop into my budget nearly every day and now look forward to it. 

Enter your income into cells E9 and/or E10 (I set it up by paycheque). 

For example in the month of January each pay cheque is $1,000. The person’s rent is $900. And they spend $30 on Internet, $37 on Cable etc. NOTE: All the totals are automatic. You do not need to to touch the red sub-totals.  

Those are the fairly common bills, but for expenses that come up frequently, like groceries and shopping. I do a quick Excel equation: “=8.99+9.20+6.0″  (the Excel sum will add those numbers up.   And yup, I am looking at my Visa or Debit statement to find those numbers. 

For example, here’s my bank statement:

Which means I would go to the February month, and then go to my Uber category and add “+6.63″ to that cell. Then I’d go to the February Grocery cell and add $104.92, and then my lunch category to add Subway, and my January pharmacy category to add the $21.32. 

Only the initial start up is hard. If you do this every few days, it’s very easy. Some Excel cells’ formulas look like this. (So every few days I just go in and add the new “+$2.99″ (for example).)

That’s why it’s so important to not use cash. Cash is evil and disappears on you, so swipe and tap and get a record of everything.  

Once you fill in all your numbers, you’ll be able to see at the bottom whether you saved any money that month. The cell will turn green if you saved, or red if you did not. 

Also, if you click on the next tabs you’ll see your Summary starting to form, which shows you the percentage within each category. Including savings. (And to the far right is the annual summary adding everything up.)

If you click the next tabs, you’ll see the fun pie graphs starting to form: 

(These are all made up numbers, so this one looks a little unrealistic!). 

And with that, there you have it. The budget I created and use all the time. I like it a lot because I know no matter what I have to add the dollar value into the appropriate category. So when I’m debating buying something I always think, “do I want to add $33 to the clothing cell?” And the answer is often NOPE. 

I hope this is helpful to someone out there! I’d love any feedback you have (or broken formulas you find.) 

Please leave a comment if you have any questions - I’ll be happy to help where I can!

Happy money tracking! 

youtube

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer– Budget edition

Entirely amazing.

2

For less than 7 dollars you can make breakfast for 2 for 6 days!! This has helped me so much! I’m always on the go and on a budget! So I get a healthy breakfast and stretch my money! I make the breakfast bagels for myself and my fiancé but if it’s just you, it will last longer! The eggs are 2.79 at trader joes and 2 bagel bags for 1.68 from winco. (I personally add spinach ( 1.99 at trader joes) and 1 diced sausage (4-5 dollars for a pack from winco) to my eggs) This is the recipe:

http://www.efficientlifeskills.com/make-a-weeks-worth-of-healthy-egg-breakfast-sandwiches-in-15-minutes/

I got this recipe from @vinceyface and it’s been helping me so much and I want to share it for people who are on a budget and want a healthy breakfast!

6

Energy on the public lands in 2017: Turning potential into promise

The Bureau of Land Management manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the Nation’s renewable energy portfolio. 

This gives the BLM a leading role in fulfilling the Administration’s goals for a new energy economy based on a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy. The BLM also manages Federal onshore oil, gas and coal operations that make significant contributions to the domestic energy supply as the Nation transitions to a clean energy future.  

The President’s 2017 budget request will enable the BLM to continue supporting the Administration’s energy goals. The budget request includes a net increase of $19.9 million in program increases so that the BLM can continue to do its part to contribute to conventional and renewable energy production. 

Read the full press release here.

ncpssm.org
Seniors Applaud President’s Proposal Allowing Medicare to Negotiate for Lower Rx Drug Prices
It’s long past time for Congress to acknowledge the hard truth that the sky-rocketing cost of prescription drugs is hurting average Americans and our federal budget.

Medicare spends billions providing Part D drug coverage each year while beneficiaries including seniors, the disabled and their families also face rising out-of-pocket costs and higher premiums.

via NCPSSM.