How To: Build Your Own Loft Bed

The following is a guest post by Tom Dudeck of Campusloftbeds.com. He has some nice projects listed on his site along with loft bed plans you can buy. Be sure to check it out.

Dorm life can be difficult. It involves somehow fitting all of what once fit in multiple rooms into a space no bigger than a shoe box. To make matters worse, you have to share that shoe box with another person. So how do you make the most of a small space and still have room for all of your belongings? The answer is a loft bed. This article will review common mistakes and provide valuable information on how to construct your own loft bed.

Creating a Plan

Before you begin building, it is best to have a plan. Your plan can be fairly basic, but there are a few items to pay attention to. You should consider things such as mattress size, ascending and descending the bed, railings, and any other residence hall requirements that may exist. Some popular residence hall requirements include: clearance between bed and ceiling, leg size, and cross-bracing requirements. It is also important to remember that lumber comes in nominal dimensions. This means that the dimensions of lumber are not their actual dimensions. So for instance, a 2×4 is really 1 ½”x3 ½” in size. To view actual dimensions for a variety of different lumber sizes, see this lumber dimension chart.

Wood Design

Designing wood is a fairly difficult task. Instead of going through the rigorous process of design, some general rules of thumb can be used for your design. The first rule to remember is that even the softest of woods (e.g. Southern Pine) can carry a fairly substantial load. It is often unneccesary to design the loft out of anything than a wood such as Southern Pine. Most of your members that make up the bed can be constructed from 2×6 dimension lumber. This includes legs and stringers. Minor members that make up the loft such as ladder rungs can be 2×4’s or smaller.

Connection Design

Once all of your wood members are cut, you will have to decide how to connect them. The very best connection is made by a combination of a mechanical fastener (such as a bolt or screw) and glue. It is important to use wood glue and not the white stuff you use for gluing paper together. Wood glue can be bought at any home improvement store. It is also important to use bolts to hold together the members where connections are crucial. The most crucial connection is where the bed frame meets the legs. At these connections use a ¼” carriage bolt at a minimum, but preferably a 3/8” bolt should be used. Most other connections can be made with wood screws. The great thing about using screws and bolts is that the whole bed can be dismantled when the school year ends.

Purchasing Loft Bed Plans

Confused on where to begin or think the whole construction bit is over your head? There are a variety of vendors online who sell loft bed plans. These vendors have quite a bit of expertise and offer pretty good solutions if you are confused on where to begin.

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Choosing the Right Credit Card

This article is sponsored by FindCollegeCards.com, a great resource to compare student credit cards.

Having a credit card of your own is an essential part of life. You are in college now, so you should at least have a credit card to start building your own credit (even if you do still use your mom’s Visa card).

Some people disagree with that and just use bank cards or debit cards. That is a great strategy to conserve money and know exactly how much you cash you have. The problem with this is that bank cards are not accepted in nearly as many places as credit cards (though this is changing), and that they won’t do anything to your credit.

As long as you are able to pay off your credit card each money and don’t spend hours shopping on Amazon.com like I did last night, you will be fine.

Now that you have decided you need to get a new credit card, which one should you pick? Let’s consider some important factors:

Credit Limits

If this is your first credit card, do not expect to get a high credit limit. Credit card companies are usually afraid of people with no credit history and will give you something between $500 and $1000 maximum credit. After six months or so, you should be able to increase your limit if you have been paying your card every month.

If you already have credit, you will have more flexibility in choosing. Choose one appropriate for your buying needs, not just the maximum limit you can get. I have not heard of a credit card that does not offer fraud and theft protection, but in case your card does get stolen, do not risk getting bad credit and don’t get a card with a $40,000 limit you would never be able to pay. Plus, you do not want to tempt yourself, do you?

As a general rule, be reasonable, but always leave a little room for those emergencies.

Interest Rate (APR)

Many student credit cards have high APR (annual percentage rates) or interest rates. You want to try to shoot for something less than 11% per year, but if you do not have credit you will probably end up with something closer to 18%. This is not a problem if you plan on paying your credit card every month since you will not have a balance to receive interest on.

Annual Fees

Generally I stay away from any type of annual fees. AmEx (American Express) and high-paying reward cards are well known for this. For rewards cards, I generally find the rewards are not worth the fees you end up paying. If this is your first credit card, stay away from those.

Other Fees

Pay special attention to other fees associated with your credit card. If you are planning on doing a balance transfer, try to find a card that offers 0% interest at least for one year. Make sure the penalty rate is reasonable and what triggers the penalty (late payment, over limit, etc.). Be sure to also get a card with a low interest rate and standard fees on cash advances, if you ever plan on getting one (remember: emergencies happen).

Rewards

There are many great rewards programs available. I generally go for the cash rewards program as my spending is diverse. If you spend a lot on gas or airfare, then check out rewards programs which give you free airline tickets or more reward points at gas stations.

Where to Get a Credit Card

You can apply online to all major cards, you can apply at your local branch, or you can go to a small local credit union at your university and apply there. Applying online is easy. Applying at a bank you already have a checking or savings account with can be convenient when it comes time to pay your credit card bill (you can also usually apply online). And, going to a small local credit union will usually give you a credit card with low fees and APR.

Good Credit Cards to Consider

Some good low-rate, low-fee cards:

Capital One Platinum Prestige: no annual fees, no ballance transfer fees, 7.9% APR

American Express Clear: no fees, 0% APR for one year, 5.99% APR on balance transfers, free annual credit report with credit score (you can get a free annual report from the top three credit bureaus, but they will not give you your credit score for free)

Some good cash back cards:

Chase Freedom: no annual fee, 14.99% APR, 1-3% cash back on all purchases (what I use)

Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards: 14.9% APR, 2% cash back on gas and groceries, 1% cash back on all other purchases

Discover More: 0% APR for 6 months, 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers, 5% cash back restricted purchases, 0.25-1% cash back on all other purchases

American Express Blue: no annual fee, 0% APR for one year, 4.99% APR on balance transfers, 5% cash back (with restrictions)

Some good rewards cards:

Chase PerfectCard MasterCard: no annual fee, 0% introductory APR, 3% rebate on gas, 1% rewards on all other purchases

American Express True Earnings Card: doubles as a Costco card, no annual fee, 14.99% APR, 3% cash back on restaurants and gas, 2% cash back on travel, 1% cash back on all other purchases

Citi PremierPass: no annual fee, 10.99% or more APR. one point per three miles you fly and/or for every dollar you spend, no blackout dates

Now, it your turn. Which card are you going to pick?

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Date Raped

Girls (and guys dating stronger women): Date rape is more common than you might think. Most women do not report them. Besides never leaving sight of your drink, you need to be a little defensive if going out with someone you do not know. Just keep that in mind.

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Friday Funnies: Penis

One day when the teacher walked to the black board, she noticed someone had written the word ‘penis’ in tiny small letters. She turned around, scanned the class looking for the guilty face. Finding none, she quickly erased it, and
began her class. The next day she went into the room and she saw, in larger letters, the word ‘penis’ again on the black board. Again, she looked around in vain for the culprit, but found none, so she proceeded with the day’s lesson.

Every morning, for about a week, she went into the classroom and found the same word written on the board, and each day it was written in larger letters.

Finally, one day, she walked in, expecting to be greeted by the same word on the board, but instead, found the words, “The more you rub it, the bigger it gets!”

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Simplify Your Life: Turn Off the Cell Phone

As I was walking home from class today, I noticed a group of three people huddled together. They each had their cell phones out and were looking at them. You could tell they were friends, but you could also tell how distracted they were with their shinny new phones (one of them had the new iPhone, I noticed).

My two friends

I had a friend that came up to visit me for a weekend. During that entire time I saw more of the top of her head, as she was looking at her Sidekick, than her face. It was annoying.

I have another friend who does not even own a cell phone. Can you believe that? She just has a home phone and Facebook and we still seem to see her all the time. She is a much happier person than the first.

Why not turn off the cell phone?

When you’re with your friends, your loved ones, or in class do you really need your cell phone on and answering every text message you get? It reminds me of those workaholic business men that forget about their families (but that’s still better than my dad who always wanted to “hang out” with me and my friends when we went out to the movies).

Why not try turning off the cell phone every once in a while. Start off slow so people can get accustomed to it. They will eventually learn how to reach you once you train them properly. Then, life will be simpler.

Seriously, why not?

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