April may be Financial Literacy Month, but we can do financial wellness all year!
Financial literacy is the ability to understand and use financial skills, including budgeting, spending, saving, borrowing, using credit, and more! The sooner you understand basic money management ideas, the sooner you can build a positive relationship with your money!
Learning financial literacy skills could help college students understand how to stay on the right financial track (including getting the most out of their financial aid). College is a great time to get started building your literacy or build on your existing skills. Here are some tips to get you started —
- Get in the habit of budgeting: creating a budget and sticking to it will help you get the most from your money, especially your financial aid! The 50-30-20 rule is a good start – 50% of earnings spent on bills like rent, groceries, gas; 30% of earnings spent on the fun stuff like going to the movies, taking a vacation, eating out, etc; 20% goes into the savings! Don’t forget to SAVE!
- Save for a rainy day: life happens, having a savings can help during stressful times, i.e. job loss or long-term illness. Having a 6-month to one-year savings will help pay the bills during stressful times!
- Borrow responsibly: you may be considering student loans or a new credit card. Hold ON! Did you know there are “good” and “bad” kinds of debt? “Good” debt is an investment in yourself and your future, while “bad” debt will lose value quickly like new clothes or the newest techie gadget. Beware of your debt and seek debt that brings you financial value over time. A college education may increase your lifetime earning potential, an investment in your future!
- Get control of your debt: pay off higher interest rate debt first, understand your credit report and how it can help/hurt you, safeguard your identity.
- Plan for your financial future: think about and make plans to meet your short-, mid-, and long-term money goals. Although buying a home or retirement may seem far off, it’s never too early to start planning because money you invest while in college has plenty of time to grow!
Additional financial literacy and wellness resources