Financial literacy is about making good financial decisions to manage your personal finances – from budgeting to credit scores. Many people think of budgeting with dread – that it is restrictive and impossible unless you have an accounting degree or love math. It’s neither of these. It is a way to give you financial freedom so you can enjoy spending your money on the things that you want to, without putting yourself into debt.
1. Budgeting: A budget, or spending plan, is your first step in managing your money. Before you can create your budget and effectively direct your income, you need to know where your money is going. The following are some helpful free budgeting websites to get you started:
GradReady: Learn more about managing your tuition, budget, and bills. Click on the icon below to get started!
CashCourse.org: Sometimes it's not about finding more money for school rather it's about finding ways to save and manage money while still having fun and meeting your daily living needs. Check out the videos, quizzes, money modules, and worksheets on topics of "cheap eats", scholarships, budgeting, getting out of credit card debt, paying for study abroad, and life during school and after graduation. Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education
Financial Awareness Counseling: Financial Awareness Counseling, a program of the U.S. Department of Education, provides tools and information to help you understand your financial aid and assist you in managing your finances in 5 key areas: understand your loans, manage your spending, plan to repay, avoid default, make finances a priority. NOTE: This does not meet the loan entrance counseling requirement for new borrowers of the federal Direct Loan.
MyMoney.gov: Quizzes, worksheets, checklists, and other tools to help you learn the five principles of money. A product of the federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, whose goal is to strengthen financial capability and increase access to financial services.
iGrad.com: An interactive, online community that provides videos, articles, iTV, and other information on financial literacy, responsible borrowing, career planning and more.
SmartAboutMoney.org: Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education, this site provides you tools to make good financial decisions and to manage your money now and in your future.
Financial Literacy- Federal Student Aid: Information to help you plan and pay for your post-secondary education. A variety of resources on college preparation, financing your education, and consumer protection rights. Some resources also available in Spanish.
2. Borrowing: While loans may be a part of financing your education, consider two things before you borrow: 1) how much you need to cover your educational costs, and 2) how much your monthly payments will be after you leave school. Determine what you actually need to borrow before you sign for that loan. The following resources can help you determine how to keep your debt load down and estimate future payments.
Remember, any loan listed on your award letter is only an indicator of what you are eligible to borrow and not what you are required to borrow. It indicates the maximum allowable that you can borrow; you can always borrow less. Some helpful hints to borrowing: