Tamara Lowry hosted an important event this Wednesday, April 9. The event, “Money Management Basics” offered vital information about finances, student loans and the basics of credit card management. The workshop was mainly geared towards college students. However, all ages were invited to participate.
The workshop was filled with helpful tips and strategies to ensure that students are well prepared for all the financial obstacles life has to offer. Whether a student is still in school, already graduated, or even at their place of employment, the information provided was still beneficial. Lowry began the discussion by saying, “Most people would rather talk about anything but their finances.” Lowry then chatted on one of the main points of her workshop, goals.
Lowry pointed out that everyone should have at least a few financial goals. She said, “When you write down a goal, you are held accountable, and it then prompts you to follow through with that goal.”
A goal could be anything, from buying a house or a car to purchasing a bit smaller such as a laptop or electronic device. One tip Lowry suggested included keeping a detailed spreadsheet to control spending. Consumers can record bills for each month and track where their money is going. Another tip was to always protect against identity theft. To do this, Lowry suggested shredding all documents with names and security information on them, never carrying pin number or social security card on-person, and frequently checking credit reports for suspicious and unauthorized activity. Lowry similarly recommended permanently “paying yourself” by saving. Whatever source of income, she suggested to pick a set amount to put into savings monthly and gradually over time interest will grow, and money will be saved for future expenses.
Additional tips included planning a reasonable budget, listing all sources of income, considering different ways to increase income, tracking expenses by keeping all receipts and bank statements, and most importantly, differentiate between needs and wants. Examples of needs could be books, rent, tuition, groceries, etc. Examples of wants include movies, music, electronic devices such as iPad, iPod, etc.
Also, when it comes to health insurance, Lowry suggested students do not go without. Even if it costs money monthly, it is typically wise to pay a monthly insurance fee rather than the hefty costs of medical bills without insurance.
Another important topic Lowry discussed was the issue of credit cards. According to The Hartford, “Understanding credit is crucial to starting off on a solid financial footing.” The Hartford also advised, “Think of credit as rent. Before deciding to use it, consider whether you are really willing to pay ‘rent’ on the item you are buying.”
For more information on techniques to save money, visit www.playbook.thehartford.com. To start a digital account to track spending, visit www.cashcourse.org/frostburg.