Financial wellness is your ability to live within your means and manage your money in a way that gives you peace of mind. It includes balancing your income and expenses, staying out of debt, saving for the future, and understanding your emotions as they relate to money. Qualities and behaviors associated with financial wellness:
- Having a basic understanding of how money works
- Living within one’s means
- Avoiding debt, especially for unnecessary items
- Saving for the future and for emergencies
The Importance of Financial Wellness
Finances are a common source of stress and anxiety for college students. Financial wellness is important because it equips us with the knowledge and skills, we need to manage money effectively. Keeping track of expenses and making a budget and sticking to it are important skills to have to be financially responsible and independent.
Tips for Students
Any Budget is Better Than No Budget
Does creating a budget sound like a chore? Keeping a monthly budget of what you earn and spend can make you more aware of where your money is going. This can help you avoid that awkward end-of-the-month situation where you really want to go out with your friends, but you’ve already spent all of your money.
A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
When it comes to financial literacy, reducing costs is a big concern. While in college, take advantage of free events and student discounts. The less money you spend, the more money you will have later.
Don’t Borrow More Than You Expect to Make
While in school, keep track of your total debt burden. If your debt balance stays below your expected annual salary, you should be OK. This should keep your payments under 15% of your take-home pay.
Start an Emergency Fund
Anything can happen. Having money for unforeseen expenses can lead to less stress and better financial wellness. Because this is money you want easy access to, it should be separate from your long-term savings. Like studying, you want to save smarter, not harder.
Pay Yourself First
After you graduate and start your career, make it a priority to pay yourself first. In the same way you pay bills each month, put a percentage of your check into a long-term savings account or other investments. Experts suggest putting 20% of each check into long-term savings.
- Financial Aid
- Student Accounts
- FAFSA is a free application for federal student aid.
- Manage your loans with the student loan repayment process.
- SUNY Smart Track financial literacy tools