Welcome back to campus, Ducks! It’s that time of the year when the excitement to be back on campus dies down (only a little bit) and students and faculty get settled into their new apartments and classrooms. All of us here at the financial aid office want to make sure that as faculty that deal with financial literacy every day we are providing students with tips and tricks. We connect with students not only through meetings in our offices, but with workshops put on by our Financial Flight Plan team. Here is a brief recap of the Budget More, Borrow Less workshop that kicked off the term on October 4th.
The first emphasized tip that was shared with students was about setting goals. It’s important to know where you stand and what you are looking to achieve. Whether it is a long term goal or a short term goal, it is up to you to know your limits and what needs to be done to get there. Start off with a personalized financial plan. On a piece of paper write down monthly expenses, other payments that do not occur regularly, and any activities you plan on doing during that month. Now make sure to have a solid idea of how much money you are making monthly. You’re budget is half way done at this point! The hard part now is making sure all your bills and extracurriculars fit into your monthly income – and if you can still have a savings.
Remember during this process to not compare your financial plan with friends. Make a plan that works for you, everyone’s situation is different.
Did you know that professionals in financial literacy recommend your savings should be able to cover at least three to six months rent? That may be a bit far fetched for students, who are generally on a low budget, but graduating ducks should keep this in mind as they are on the job search planning their jump out of college life. Current students should try for having at least one month’s rent in a savings account.
Minimizing your dependency on credit cards can also help you save money, but we all know that in a pinch or tight situation a credit card may be your only life saver. If you’re interested in credit cards or gaining interest on your savings account refer to nerdwallet.com for actual ratings and secure credit card profiles. Do your research.
Financial situations can change every month and are not always consistent for a student worker or a student living off of their financial aid refund. Are you able to put money in a savings account each month? Are you spending money every day? The emotions of going back to college got the best of your emotional spending and you went overboard? These are all crucial to think about frequently. Keep re-evaluating to keep yourself on track to your financial goal. Maybe your budget should include paying off interest that accrues on your unsubsidized loan each month?
Wherever you end up with your financial plan and no matter how large or small your financial goals are make informed decisions about budgeting, savings, and maybe even investing in yourself. Knowing your options is financial freedom. To help educate yourself ask questions, create a SALT account for free at saltmoney.org/uoregon, and come to the Financial Flight Plan workshops.