How to Save Money at College | Sponsored by Regions Bank

College is stressful enough.  Leaving home for the first time, surrounded by smart peers, missing your family and friends.  Just typing this is practically causing me to hyperventilate from the memories.  On top of all of that is the worry about money.  Money before, during and after.  So when Regions Bank approached me to write this article, I was thrilled to discuss the money matters I wish I’d known back when I was a broke college student.


The syllabus and course outline are passed out at every student orientation or first class, but there’s almost no discussion about budgets and hidden costs.  Everything I knew I picked up in the hallways like some sort of illicit conversation. Regions Bank has you covered with advice so that you don’t find yourself relying on the equally clueless in your classes.  Here’s an outline for students out there:

1. Make a budget.  Seems basic, but how many of us actually wrote out a budget before college?  Sure we learned Excel spreadsheets, but I thought of those as a way to keep track of my outfit options and as a way to keep track of who was coming to parties and what everyone was bringing.

2. Get creative when it comes to vacations. Welcome to college and the real world where getting creative is more than learning Adobe and Instagram filters. For example, Regions Bank is always looking for great ways to help with finances and even has some really interesting thoughts on low budget vacation ideas. Hostels are traditional, but there’s also and staying with your new college friends. Facebook is a great way to look for friends of friends who might let you stay with them for a short while. I have a friend who recently travelled across the United States, just by reaching out via Facebook to see who had a friend in the next town that she could crash with. It doesn’t cost anything (except a small thank-you gift to your host(s)) and you meet new people.

3. Look for scholarships. You’d be surprised by how many random, narrow-focused scholarships there are out there that few people know or qualify for. I’ll bet there’s even one for left-handed, red-headed, ferret-loving women under 5’. My cousin applied for and got so many scholarships that he ended up making money during college. And don’t just look for scholarships your first year, keep looking. Sometimes a student drops out and their scholarship opens up, and some are just for sophomores or juniors. No need to stop looking for free money.


4. Get into habits you’ll maintain the rest of your life. And no, I don’t mean “beer on Fridays.” I mean learn to:


I’d love to hear anyone else’s tips – I’m sure I could still use some, and I know college kids who should be all ears. Regions Bank has more ideas than the above and you can find them all on their site here.

Now I’ve gotten to thinking about all the other things I wish I’d known before college. Such as how to get coffee stains out of denim, the best alarm clock, how to deal with obnoxious housemates, when fabric softener goes in the laundry, and am I ever going to use what I learned in “Introduction To Gothic Literature.”

#SuccessinStilettosSeries: Manage 2 badass businesses and look fabulous doing it.

Learn how this seasoned entrepreneur tackles everyday life while managing her two successful ventures.


speaking event

On this week’s Success in Stilettos series, The Ambitionista features

Jenny Q. Ta, Founder & CEO of, the

first-of-its-kind social networthing platform and the inventor of an

interactive multi-player game Squiggy Piggy, she is also the Co-Founder of

VCNetwork.Co with

Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, a virtual “Shark Tank” for startups that bridges the

gap between modern entrepreneurs and forward-thinking venture capitalists


What did you want to do when you grow up?

Change the world.

Which women do you admire in your life?

Margaret Thatcher.

Name one activity that you do every day without fail

Say my prayers.

How long is your working day?

How long is your working day? At least 12 to 15 hours, or even


How much sleep do you get every night?

I try to get a minimum of five to six hours, but on average it’s

probably less.


If you really want to dress to impress, what do you do?

Depending on the occasion or event, but I would just visit a mall and

grab a new outfit to fit that occasion. This is always the case.

What are your favorite brands for workwear?

It depends, but I’d say Zara. It’s simple, modern and they have small


What’s your favorite everyday beauty brands/products?


What was the biggest obstacle you have faced that in the end

helped you?


How often do you check your emails?

After every meeting. Most of the time, my daily work schedule is

back-to-back meetings..


Ambitionista Jenny Ta

How do you stay sane and on top of it?

Have a few fun chats with good friends or run for hours on the


What do you carry with you all the time in your purse?

An iPhone and a Samsung phone.

How often do you check your emails?

After every meeting. Most of the time, my daily work schedule is back-to-back meetings.

What do you splurge on?

A bit of fashion and travel.

What does success mean to you?

Seeing more women leaders with equal pay and respect in the


If you could meet a younger you from 10 years ago, what would

you have told her?

Keep on going and don’t ever stop.


Caught between a strong mind, and a fragile heart.” – UNKNOWN

In Bloom With Banana Republic

Floral Suit By Banana Republic

Like many women, I juggle a number of lives every day.  I can go from a corporate business meeting to a casual lunch to running errands and then a dressy event in the evening. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the clothing budget to have a different ensemble for every facet of my life.

This is where having a split personality comes in handy.  I look for pieces that can play as many roles in my wardrobe as I have to in my life.  And that doesn’t just mean a pair of black pants or navy blazer that goes with everything.

Floral Print Suit By Banana Republic
White Strappy Heels

This year floral is in fashion.  And I live in drought-ridden California where only the fake-grass is still green.  So I’ll take flowers wherever I can get them.  Which is why I gravitated to this amazing print at Banana Republic.  Look how versatile it actually is.

Here I paired the blazer with the pants but added their monotone (but with a great silver sheen) sweater. The button-up collared shirt underneath really pulls the outfit together as a formal suit.

Later I removed the blazer and shirt, leaving just the sweater and crop pants. It’s casual, sporty and fun.

Banana Republic Floral Pants
Floral Slacks
White Leather Tote

I wore the same earrings with both outfits (“cat’s eye” stones!  Need I say more?  They had me at “cat.”)  Changing up my hairstyle took the looks from reserved to relaxed.

Banana Republic Cat Eye Earrings

I find it ironic that the store is called “Banana Republic” which was a phrased originally used to refer to a country that relies on only one exported crop to survive.  The actual Banana Republic store has such a wide range of attire and their pieces can be used in so many different ways. That’s not one crop – that’s the entire produce department!

OK, maybe I don’t technically have a split personality, but I am starting to sound bananas…

Heidi Nazarudin for Banana Republic

Shot on location at the beautiful Culver Hotel Los Angeles
Photographer Sabrina Hill.
Makeup and Hair by the talented team at StyleBee 
What’s your favorite Banana Republic piece?

Success in Stilettos : Shirley Yang

The Ambitionista is proud to feature Shirley Yang, Vice President of Social Strategy at StyleHaul​ Founder of SOFFICI, a fashion for philanthropy brand among our #SuccessInStilettos Series. Get some insights on a day in the life of a certified girl boss, pursuing her passions with her new line of luxury bag accessories while running strategy for one of the leading Style networks.

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What Is Your Work Wear Go To?

“I like to wear dresses, a form fitting dress, preferably black. The material is key. Winter time I add a fur vest, summer time I wear a light blazer outside of the dress.”

How do you stay sane and on top of it? 

“Deep breaths and good bedtime reading.”

Which women do you admire in your life? 

“Too many. I admire women who are brave, kind, and authentic.”

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What ​are​ your Everyday Favorite Beauty Products?

“My regular routine is good moisturizer. I also LOVE jojoba oil for good hair.”

What do you splurge on? 

“Good shoes and good food.”

What did you want to do when you grow up? 

“Inspire as many people as I can. Leave the world a better place – that’s the Millennial in me talking.”

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced that in the end helped you?

“I’ve had people try to put me down in the past, it definitely made me stronger. It is very true what they say, I want to look back and thank them.”

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What does success mean to you?

Success means balancing the Science of Achievement and the Art of Fulfilment. It’s when I do things larger than self and and inspire others to also be successful.”

If you could meet a younger you from 10 years ago, what would you have told her? 

“Don’t worry so much, get more sleep.”

What Is One Activity That You do Everyday without fail?

“Hug and kiss my little chihuahua.” 

What Is Your Favorite Quote?

“Chance favors the prepared mind, the more you practice, the luckier you become”

– Richard Branson

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

This year, as always, I’ve put figuring out holiday logistics on the back burner. As the emails pile up at work, I tell myself that I have more than enough time to sort out Christmas shopping, travel plans and party dresses. Yet as the weeks between now and the new year inch ever closer, I find myself (unsurprisingly) panicking a few days before Christmas, scrambling to simultaneously please everyone’s wish list and book last minute NYE plans. To save myself from the headache this year, I jotted down a quick holiday survival guide for fellow procrastinators.


Know your shipping deadlines.

Below are USPS and UPS shipping dates for Christmas day deliveries below. I recommend memorizing these by heart, scribbling them on the back of your hand and setting obnoxious alarms on your celly.

For anyone ordering dresses from, the NYE due date is included too. I’ve had my eye on this divine Open Ceremony number, so here’s crossing my fingers that I don’t wait until the last minute. Again.

PS: the dates below are for domestic shipments, so double check if you’re international.


Save the tedious tasks for TaskRabbit and PostMates

Confession: I’m terrible at wrapping gifts. I end up with tape in my hair and a pile of clumsily packaged presents after a 3-hour gift-wrapping binge. TaskRabbit and PostMates are lifesavers when it comes to getting the more time-consuming duties out of the way. Both TaskRabbit, which lets you outsource errands — and PostMates — which delivers goods from any restaurant or store in less than an hour — have downloadable apps.

This year, I had Tim from PostMates deliver my wrapping paper, while Holly from TaskRabbit neatly wrapped the presents. Like I said, absolute lifesavers.


If you’re flying for the holidays…

Of course, getting your presents to the mailing office on time is only half of it. Chances are you’ll need to buy a last minute flight home for the holidays, but before you succumb to the devastating prices of the airline gods, keep these three things in mind:

Avoid popular days and times to fly

Naturally, the most expensive flights are the most convenient. Flights that depart on the weekends and at a comfortable time in the afternoon will carry the biggest price tag. If you want to save some cash, look for flights departing early in the morning or very late at night. Since we’re already well into December, your best bet for a reasonably priced ticket home is to fly out during the week on a Monday or the day of Christmas, returning home the next morning.


Expand your options to “nearby airports” 

Picking an alternative airport nearby may offer cheaper flights. Definitely make sure that there are reliable forms of ground transportation to get you to your destination, however. You don’t want to land in the middle of nowhere and pay a ridiculous taxi fare.

Do Your Homework

Rather than blindly grab at the first flight home, spend an hour comparing prices on different sites. Bid for tickets on platforms like Priceline, check out aggregators and keep the above two tips in mind while shopping.

If you have any tips to help ambitionistas survive the last few days of the holidays, do let us know in the comments.

Beauty & Style Note:
PIOL custom LBD dress.
Nina Ricci black cat-eye sunglasses
Dior black patent leather heels
Chanel Rouge lipstick

Photos taken by Sabrina Hill of