Money and college students are often opposites that don’t attract each other. Students need money, but find it difficult to save. A lack of financial literacy may lead to making poor financial choices that can have negative consequences on your financial wellbeing. Financial literacy is the education and understanding of various financial areas, including personal finance. Personal finance includes areas like budgeting, insurance, student loan payments, retirement, etc. Budgeting is a great way to get started on your path to financial success and can be done while you are in school very easily.
The Five Steps
#1 Create a goal
Before you put any type of budget or plan in place regarding your finances, you have to have a goal in mind. Make it simple and attainable, but still challenging. As an example for a graduate student living off of loans: try not to use your emergency credit card for expenses (especially if the interest rate is higher than your loans), aim to reduce your expenses by $20/month, or stick to your budget for five months in a row.
#2 Get organized
Get a mobile app on your phone for all of your banking institutions. Access to your account information at your fingertips can increase your spending responsibility. Whether a physical budget planner or online resources, use something that is going to work best for you. Don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel, there are so many free budgeting tools/apps online you can find.
#3 Create a budget
Analyze your required monthly expenditures like rent, food, or tranSportsation expenses. Next, include your ideal expenses like a clothing budget, savings, or big-ticket items—things that are important, but can be skimmed if necessary. Don’t forget to include “fun money” in your monthly expenses because it’s an important category! You still need to enjoy life, but on a budget.
#4 Revisit your budget
Having a budget is great, but if it is not working then it is useless. Revisit your budget every couple of weeks to make sure you are on track and make changes as necessary. If you’re not utilizing your ‘utility’ funds entirely for utilities, reassign them. The more accurate your record-keeping, the better a budget will serve you.
#5 Use resources available to you
There are so many financial literacy resources available, especially for college students. Here are a few examples:
- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) Financial Aid Office (FAO): The Financial Aid Office at RMUoHP is full of Financial Aid professionals who will be happy to counsel you regarding your financial aid. Our advisors are knowledgeable regarding federal student loan acceptance, loan repayment, and private loan options. Please contact the FAO:
- Group email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Alexandria Jackson (last names beginning with A-K), email@example.com | 801-734-6788
- Krista McEntire (last names beginning with L-Z), firstname.lastname@example.org | 385-375-8797
- Mary Ah Mu (all students), email@example.com | 385-375-8657
- Student Loan Hero: This blog is a great resource for students! It includes accurate Federal student Loan and private loan information that is in verbiage that is easy to digest. They also have blogs containing ideas for repayment strategies and how to get on top of your finances.
- Money Management Resource Center at UVU: This center trains students pursuing degrees in the financial planning field. They are knowledgeable in topics such as student loan interest accrual and repayment strategies. To make an appointment, let them know you are an RMUoHP student and they will chat with you for free.
Your financial longevity is important to us at RMUoHP, because we want to succeed in all aspects of your future. Set yourself up now for financial success using the five steps above. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you. Also, keep in mind the Financial Aid Office motto: Live like a student now so you do not live like a student for the rest of your life.