Navigating Life’s Financial Transitions (Recorded Webinar)

Whether it is going to college, moving, dating or getting a new job, all of these major life changes can cause periods of financial transition. How you deal with these transitions can seriously impact your finances in the long run. Do you have the necessary tools to manage life’s financial transitions?

University of Illinois Extension, along with the University of Illinois’ Student Money Management Center, hosted the webinar “Life Transitions” on January 27, 2015. The FREE webinar focused on resources for making major financial decisions at various points throughout your life and the tools necessary to stay on track towards your goals. Watch it below!

Spending badgeThis is a Spending Badge eligible program, so make sure to take the quiz after watching to get credit!

“Life Transitions” is part of the Get $avvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar series.

 

Written by Andrea Pellegrini, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center

Spotlight on Library Resources: Spending

CliffsNotes Graduation Debt [electronic resource]: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life by Reyna Gobel

CliffsNotes Graduation Debt: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life is a guidebook for managing a significant debt load after college, yet the author takes a positive approach to personal finance, emphasizing frugality and spending money wisely in order to still live well while paying off debt. It is possible to take vacations and have extra spending money even while repaying loans! The book even ends with sections on Eating Out, Moving into a Nicer Place, and “Earning” a New Car.

The focus of this ebook is not exclusively spending. However, as it does take a positive approach to personal finance and gives serious attention to spending as a part of living your life, this book can be read at least in part as a manual on budgeting and spending wisely. Chapter 5, “Budgeting for Your Lifestyle and Your Loans,” and chapter 9, “Budgeting During Inflation,” contain practical advice about spending and budgeting, including such tips as keeping a financial diary and choosing budgetary cutbacks. The book even provides, in a sense, “financial self-help” throughout by, for example, reminding the reader not to dwell on past financial mistakes but instead problem-solve when mistakes or overspending are discovered.

The ebook is divided up into many small subsections making it easy to read. In typical CliffsNotes-style, the book is effectively a “cheat sheet” for personal finance, making the topic accessible to readers least inclined to seek out resources on personal finance otherwise. The rewards it promises, too, are enough to make this resource enticing to any new grad knee-deep in debt!

Note: this ebook can only be accessed on campus or off campus with your University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign net ID. If you do not have access to this ebook, please request a print copy through your local public library.

Written by Heidi Johnson, University of Illinois Library

Online Expense Tracking

There are so many ways to track your expenses: traditional pen & paper, mobile apps, computer programs, envelopes, online apps, and many more. No matter which method you choose, tracking your expenses is key to maintaining your spending plan. How do you know if you’re sticking to your budget if you don’t know how much you’re spending? It’s also a great activity as you’re developing a spending plan, because it allows you to see what you actually spend on items and inform how you may need to re-prioritize your budget. You might be surprised where your money is going.

Tracking your expenses online is not only convenient but it’s less time consuming than more traditional methods. Thankfully, there are several different websites that offer free, high-quality expense tracking systems. LearnVest, Mint, and GoodBudget are three expense-tracking platforms that offer mobile applications as well. These websites make it easy for you to track what you spend, because they sync to your bank accounts, allowing you to see all of your expenses in one place. LearnVest offers step-by-step guidance and, for an extra fee, the option to work with a financial planner on creating a spending plan that can help you meet your financial goals. GoodBudget takes the traditional envelope budget system and transforms it into a virtual system – very helpful for those that do not wish to sync their accounts to an online system. Mint, a fan favorite, allows you to customize your budget and presents your data in an aesthetically pleasing way!

When choosing an online expense-tracking tool, consider these 3 things:

  • Security – Make sure that the tool you use, whether paid or free, uses bank-level security to protect your financial data. Install any updates ASAP to reduce security issues.
  • Usability – If you do not find the tool useful or don’t check it often, it’s not going to be helpful. Choose a tool that you feel comfortable navigating and will be motivated to use.
  • Lifestyle – Your budget, as well as the tools you use, revolves around your lifestyle. For example, if you have limited access to the internet, using internet apps might not work for you.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to select a method that works for you and your lifestyle. For more information on expense tracking, check out this great resource from GetRichSlowly.

Written by Alex Ziskind and Andrea Pellegrini, University of Illinois USFSCO Student Money Management Center

I spend a lot of money on eating out. How can I reduce those expenses?

While it’s true that one of your biggest expenses will always be food, there are many ways for you to cut down on those costs. Buying groceries and cooking at home can be less expensive and much healthier than eating out, but we all have busy schedules and sometimes don’t have the time or resources to cook. Here are two ways that you can save money when you want to eat out!

  1. Coupons are not just for families. If you live in an apartment or house (and sometimes even in the dorms), many restaurants and chains will send coupons in the mail that can save you a good amount of cash. For example: One national pizza chain’s large cheese pizza regularly costs $12. Use a coupon that was mailed (or even one you found online) and you can get a large pizza plus two toppings for $8!
  2. If you don’t have coupons or need a good deal in a pinch, there are also websites that offer deals in the area. For example, EatCU.com offers deals from over 100 restaurants including “weekly specials” that can help you save even more money. Another online local coupon source is campusspecial.com. You can search for deals at UIUC specifically, or if you’re visiting someone at another university (they have deals at over 500 schools), you can enter that school and get coupons even when you’re in an unfamiliar place.

Even the smallest amount of money saved can add up to something big. Don’t hesitate to spend a little extra time trying to save on your meal–it could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run!

Written by Sophia Mohamed, Financial Wellness Peer Educator, University of Illinois Extension

Establishing Your Roots – Getting Started with Financial Services (Recorded Webinar)

Checking accounts, prepaid cards, debit cards, savings accounts and more! Which financial tools are best for you? Now’s the time to learn which financial tools can help you move forward financially and help you grow your money. Behavioral economists have found that mental accounting – when you put money into a category – can help people save money or cause them to lose sight of their financial goals. You can use financial tools to make mental accounting work for you!

University of Illinois Extension, along with the University of Illinois’ Student Money Management Center, hosted the webinar “Establishing your Roots: Getting Started with Financial Services” on September 16, 2014. The FREE webinar focused on understanding the pros and cons of different financial tools available to you. Watch it below!

spending badgeThis is a Spending Badge eligible program, so make sure to take the quiz after watching to get credit!

“Establishing Your Roots: Getting Started with Financial Services” is part of the Get $avvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar series. Tune in for another Get $avvy webinar on January 27, 4:00-5:00 p.m.! Learn how your finances play a role in “Life Transitions.” Register here.