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First off, what even is financial stress? This type of stress stems from the state of your personal finances or fear about the economy in general. Financial stress can negatively impact your performance in school or at work.
A good first step here is to get a handle on your personal finances. If you really have no clue what to do, that’s okay. You can learn! UW Credit Union has free seminars for members. There are also a number of websites and online videos to get you started.
Madison BCycle has a deal where any UW Madison student, staff, or faculty can get a year membership for only $20. Another transportation option is the free Madison Metro bus pass available to students via ASM.
With your wisc.edu email address, students can get 6 months of Amazon Prime for free!
You also have access to the DoIT Tech Store, where you can buy computers and other tech cheaper than other providers. DoIT also has free tech support and repair for many situations.
There are many free or cheap events hosted by the University. Check out the events calendar for up to date info on campus events.
What is credit? Credit is money you’ve borrowed to buy things when you need them. The money comes from somewhere, like your bank or credit card company, and you agree to pay them back over time with interest.
Are you deciding whether or not to open a credit card while in college? Check out this article from Forbes that talks about what to think about before doing so. In summary, it’s important to talk about responsible use of the card with your family, discuss the reason for opening the card, and think about the best time to open the card.
If you use UW Credit Union, you can get a credit consultation to discuss your loans and credit to find ways to save.
Working while in school can be a hard balance to maintain, but it can also give you great experience before entering the post-grad workforce. Working for the university is a great option as employer are often flexible with your class schedule. The University Job Center has job posting for campus employment. They also have postings from off campus employers who are looking specifically for students. If you are only looking for on campus jobs, try the Student Job Center.
With rising tuition rates, paying for school, books, and housing can get pretty difficult. And on top of that, applying for financial aid can be pretty confusing at times. Luckily for you, UW has a whole office dedicated to helping you through the process! The Office of Student Financial Aid can help you work though FAFSA applications, loan navigation, and scholarship steps. When determining which UW scholarships you’re eligible for, check out scholarships@UW. This site has you fill out information about yourself, and comes up with the scholarships you can apply for.
As a UW community member, you also have access to Salt, a free online program that helps you plan for, pay for, and repay the cost of your degree. It can help prepare you for a successful financial future! The program is designed for students, but faculty and staff can still find useful videos and tutorials on a variety of financial topics. Sign up for free on the salt webpage.
It will be really difficult to make a budget and keep costs down if you aren’t organized with your financial documents. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has a Financial Wellness Checklist to get you started.
A great way to stay organized is using an online tracking system. One popular option is Mint. It helps you keep track of bills and your spending so everything is conveniently in one place.
If you don’t want to use an online tool, you could also have a binder where you keep everything organized into categories.
Why should you create a budget for yourself? The Office of Federal Aid says it’s crucial to answering these questions:
Where does all my money go?
Is there a way to spend less?
How will I handle unexpected expenses like replacing a broken cell phone or repairing my car?
How can putting money into savings help me with some of my bigger financial goals?
Creating a budget is based on a very simple equation: what you earn minus what you spend. Using an online budget worksheet is a great way to outline the important aspects of a budget for newbies.
Check out this short video from the Office of Financial Aid as a great intro to budgeting.