iTunesLP.net Teaches You to Create, Lets You Download Free iTunes LPs

Web site iTunesLP.net details how to create albums in Apple’s new iTunes LP format. The site also offers free downloads of iTunes LP albums that aren’t already available in iTunes.

When they released iTunes 9, Apple introduced a new music format called iTunes LP aimed at bringing the album experience to your desktop. The catch: They’re expensive to buy (around $14+), especially if you already own the album.

That’s where iTunesLP.net comes in. Its tutorials step through creating your own custom iTunes LP (they’re mostly made up of HTML, CSS, and a little JavaScript—the stuff that makes web sites go-round). It’s probably not for complete novices, but the instructions will teach you to roll your own iTunes LP if you’ve got the patience and some background in web design.

If you don’t, you’re still not entirely out of luck: iTunesLP.net also hosts free DIY iTunes LP files for download—provided you’ve already got the music on hand. Currently their list of iTunes LP downloads is limited to Walt Disney’s Fantasia, but it contains “a faithful reproduction of the original 1957 3-disc LP and its 24 page full color program. This LP was the first release of the soundtrack of the 1939 Fantasia with specially commissioned artwork inspired by the motion picture.” Not bad, but like I said, if you want to use it in iTunes you’ll need to already have the music for that album; you’ll also need to make sure that the album name is an exact match in your metadata.

The site’s still young, but we’re excited to keep an eye on it and see what kind of user-created iTunes LPs can enrich our iTunes library without breaking the bank.

iTunesLP.net [via Hack a Day]

Spotlight: CareerBuilder.com

Sort of an unpaid endorsement but hey, I give props where props are due and I have found a gem among stones with Career Builder. Life is what you make of it, and so is a career. I guess this is a sort of review of the site, it’s basically my personal experience and I thought I would share with my fellow frugal pupils.

I signed up a few weeks ago, took a little while to fill out my profile and whip up a killer resume and generic cover letter. Anyway, I had signed up on snagajob, indeed, yahoo, hotjobs, everywhere and I was oh so skeptical of this career builder hullabaloo.

I don’t know how it all works but after I did all the formalities, I got a pretty nice list of prospective jobs and the hands-down, best thing about Career Builder was the fact that most jobs could be applied to with just the click of a button. At first I was thinking, yeah right, it probably wasn’t sent, but within minutes I received a confirmation email, and even beyond that, days later I get phone calls for interviews. Another nice thing is the even further customized “Quick Apply” list you get when you apply for a job; in other words, there are other jobs along that line where you can apply to all at the same time.

Another cool thing is that you can see how many searches and views your resume generates, and if you want, you could pay to upgrade your account for your resume to be moved further up the “stack” I guess. Either way, Career Builder is the BEST job site I’ve ever used, and I’ve been a full-time job seeker for months now! As always, this is not an obligatory message, I’m just passing on some useful info, which is, try it out…it’s worth your time!

Chegg.com Textbook Rental Service

Does it bother you when you spend hundreds of dollars at your local college bookstore on books for your current semester? Does it bother you even more to find out that you get pennies back during the buyback period for what you paid so much for? Well if you are like many other college students who buy books and get frustrated when they find out that the book they paid $150 for is only worth $20 at buyback, then maybe renting textbooks would be an option for you.

I recently had the chance to try textbook rentals out for myself. Of course, since I was so use to purchasing textbooks, I was hesitant to try out rentals, but I gave it a shot anyway. I used Chegg Textbook Rentals for my books last semester. Overall, my personal experience with Chegg was positive. There were only a few things that bothered me about them, however it was not bad enough to make me stop doing business with them.

How Chegg Works

So how do textbook rentals work? With Chegg, you go onto their site and enter your ISBN number for the book that you need. They will display the book information if they have it in their inventory for rental. Keep in mind that they do not have every single book available for rent, however so far I have not had an issue with lack of inventory. Once the book information is displayed, you have the option to rent the book for a semester, quarter or summer session. You can even alter the dates to match the class dates for your school. Once you have the book you want, you do the traditional checkout by entering your credit card information for payment of the rental. You will receive your book within seven to ten days. You will also be given the return date when you are due to send your book back to Chegg. There are no shipping charges for returning books back; you just log on to Chegg, print out a label and return the book(s) via UPS.

Money Saved

When I first checked out Chegg’s rental prices, I was a little skeptical. The prices were so cheap that I thought it couldn’t possibly be right. I just did not understand how a brand new textbook at my college bookstore cost $160 but Chegg was going to rent it to me for a semester for $55. However I ordered the books anyway and my total rental for four classes was $232. I rented books for four classes. The cost of the books for me to purchase brand new from my college bookstore would have been $562.

Customer Service

Chegg’s customer service department is excellent. I had an issue where I did not receive a specific book that I ordered. I sent an email to Chegg through their ‘contact us’ link on their website. Within twenty-four hours, I received a phone call from one of their customer service representatives offering to help resolve my issue ASAP.

Going Green

Chegg has jumped on the going green bandwagon and for every book that you rent, they plant a tree to try to preserve the environment. It is true that we are destroying our planet and Chegg is trying to do their part to save it.

Other Important Notes

  • Chegg has a buyback program. If you have college textbooks, you can see if Chegg will purchase them. You will receive cash or a Chegg credit.
  • The books that Chegg rents are in excellent condition. The ones I had even looked brand new and there was no writing or highlighting in any of the books I used.
  • Chegg has a purchase option. You are able to convert your rental to a purchase by paying additional charges.
  • There is a thirty-day refund guarantee, just in case you drop a class or your class is canceled for some reason.
  • Chegg does charge late fees for late returns so keep that in mind when renting your book. However in my experience, the return date for my book was three weeks after the last day of the semester so there was no reason for my book to be late getting back to Chegg.

My only complaint with Chegg was that they send some of their books via third party shippers. So you may order five books and receive two from Chegg, one from another company, and the other two from another company. They do advise that you may receive multiple shipments, however they try their hardest to be sure you have tracking information for each of the shipments.

Overall, Chegg is a great alternative for students on a budget. It is perfect for students who do not keep their textbooks for reference and for students who do not write in their books. Before you buy, check out Chegg for rentals. You may save yourself a chunk of change simply by doing what people have been doing throughout time: borrowing.

Saving Money: 50 Tips for College Students

Being a college student usually means living and surviving on a cheap budget. Some of you may be pretty good at pinching your pennies and getting by, while others take out student loans and get themselves further into debt. Either way, all of us could use some additional advice and ideas on stretching our dollar just a bit further.

Check out these 50 ideas on ways to save money:

    FOOD & DRINK

  1. Learn how to cook your own meals, it’s healthier and you’ll save money.
  2. Don’t get a meal plan, the cafeteria food isn’t usually that great anyways.
  3. Bring your own snacks/water to class instead of buying them on campus. Stay away from vending machines.
  4. Bring your own lunch to school. If you do it right, you can usually make it a healthier lunch than what is offered in the cafeteria.
  5. If you have a meal plan, actually use it.
  6. Eat Ramen Noodles.
  7. Don’t get soda when you go out to eat.
  8. Don’t go to Starbucks.
  9. Buy food in bulk. Get a Costco card with your roommates and get bulk discounts.
  10. Find events on campus that offer free food for attending. Follow those “Free Pizza” signs!
  11. HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES

  12. Have a roommate (so you can split expenses).
  13. Shop at Walmart, Dollar Stores, and thift stores.
  14. Shop at garage sales on the weekends for any household items you may need.
  15. Put on more layers of clothing instead of turning up the heat.
  16. Buy generic brand items.
  17. TEXTBOOKS

  18. Buy used textbooks.
  19. Buy textbooks online. Maybe even consider buying the e-book version of the textbook.
  20. Check the library for your required books, you may get lucky!
  21. Sell back your textbooks.
  22. TRANSPORTATION

  23. Use public transportation. Being a college student, you can usually ride for free or at a reduced rate.
  24. Don’t get a car. They are a huge expense and cost a lot in insurance and gas.
  25. Ride your bike. Except for commuter students, no one needs a car on campus for daily use.
  26. Live close to campus and use the campus shuttles to save on gas.
  27. ENTERTAINMENT

  28. Instead of hitting the clubs, try and find house parties.
  29. Keep an eye out for free activities on campus. Most college campuses have free entertainment almost every night. For example: some colleges have a weekly movie night that is free to all students.
  30. Borrow movies from the library. The library has a large collection of movies for students to check out.
  31. COLLEGE EXPENSES

  32. Fill out the FAFSA every year.
  33. Take a look at your college bill. Certain fees are optional. If you won’t be using your college’s fitness center, remove the fee.
  34. Depending on dorm prices, it may be cheaper just to get an apartment. (See: Most Expensive College Dorms)
  35. Don’t buy anything from the school’s bookstore. Some of the prices they charge are outrageous.
  36. Go to a community college and get your core classes completed, then transfer to a 4-year college for required classes for your degree. Make sure all your credits will transfer.
  37. Do not use student loans for anything that is not school related. It’s tempting to rack up your credit and loans, knowing you’ll eventually pay it back. However, you have no idea how the economy will look when you graduate and you don’t want to be in massive debt while job searching.
  38. Test out of classes. For a small fee you can usually take a test to fulfill certain class requirements. Think of the cost you’ll save on tuition.
  39. Finish in three years if you can.
  40. Apply for financial aid early.
  41. Get good grades so you qualify for certain (typically merit-based) grants and scholarships.
  42. Work as a Resident Advisor and get free room and board.
  43. Take as many credits as allowed every term.
  44. Research your school for scholarships. That means taking a look at the website, contacting the admissions office, scholarship office, and faculty to see what’s available. Use every resource you have to get the big scholarships while keeping your eyes open for smaller, but still substantial ones. Look for scholarships in the area of your major. Most professional organizations will have scholarships to encourage students to stay in that field.
  45. Take advantage of student services. There are plenty of free programs that assist you while going to school. From health care to transportation, there are many different ways to save money.
  46. Take advantage of things that are already paid for, such as on-campus meals and library services.
  47. Get a job first and have your employer pay for your schooling.
  48. Don’t go to these colleges.
  49. MONEY TIPS

  50. Only buy what you need. Don’t buy on impulse.
  51. Don’t get a credit card. It’s not necessary and you’ll end up paying a high interest rate.
  52. If you do decide to keep a credit card on hand, pay for things with cash as much as you can. Don’t run up credit card bills for trivial things.
  53. Open up a savings account that earns interest.
  54. Keep track of everything you spend. It really helps to know what you have coming in and going out.
  55. Take advantage of student discounts.
  56. Not only should you try to save money, but you should also try to make money! Get a campus job. There are several jobs that have very little responsibility, believe it or not, and many times you can do your homework during this time. There are typically many jobs available on campus and most are pretty flexible with your class schedule.

iMake Money: They Want Your Blood

Introducing a new series: iMake Money, which, as the name implies, will dish out some info on how you can pick up a few extra bucks.

Donating plasma – If your area has a plasma donation center, check it out. Commonly found in big cities, these places take blood donation a step further by withdrawing plasma from your system. Some people don’t take well to plasma donations and some can’t give due to health issues. You should be in good health and have a relatively high iron count to be considered. Call a center in your area for specifics. These centers will usually pay at least $20 to $30 and some will pay more depending on the location. Though some find it a little shady because they’re getting paid, donating plasma is like donating blood. Someone in need will receive what you’re willing to give and you’ll come out with a small reimbursement for your time.

Tuition is Recession Proof!

With many colleges and universities raising tuition by as much as 30 percent this year, how does this play in with the “recession” that you and I are facing today? Also, if you remember, back in February $17 billion was appropriated to federal student aid, yet in light of this, why is my fee bill from this year significantly higher than that of last years?

Recent studies have come to the conclusion that increase in federal financial aid actually causes an inevitable increase in tuition, so in a sense, colleges are raising the cost of tuition in an effort to compete with the “charitable” efforts of government. The government actually subsidized these tuition hikes, after all a college is not different from any other business that wants to maximize its profits. For example, if the government guaranteed that anyone who wants to buy plasma televisions from Best Buy would get aid from the government, you can bet that Best Buy would raise the price of plasma televisions, in order to make as much money as possible.

“The $17 billion that will be appropriated to federal student aid will continue to fuel skyrocketing college tuitions. Federal financial aid has created a catch-22 for those trying to help students and their families pay their way through college. The goal of federal aid is to reduce the cost that students have to pay to attend college, but the irony is that more federal aid leads to an increase in tuition.
The reason this happens is supply and demand. More aid means more demand. Higher demand leads to a higher price.  Suddenly students that might not have been able to afford college can suddenly afford to pay. Colleges can raise tuition because they know that the government will give more aid if tuition becomes more expensive.”

To back up these claims, I went to the actual College Board website to do some research….of course I had to do some snooping around to find the two different pages that deal with increasing tuition and increasing aid…funny they don’t put them on the same page. They say that “both total grant aid per undergraduate and total federal loans per undergraduate increased by about 5.5% in 2007-08, after adjusting for inflation,” however, just a few clicks over, they also say, “private four-year [tuition is] $25,143 (up 5.9 percent from last year) [and] public four-year [tuition is]$6,585 (up 6.4 percent from last year).”

And so with all this going on, I have made it my duty to bring such news to the average college student….and not just bad news, but good news as well from smart ways to make money to smart ways to save money.

“Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do, and with them everything.” Benjamin Franklin