Students learn financial tips
The state of the US economy has heavily contributed to the financial stress of college students, leaving them to re-evaluate their spending habits.
To help with the new burdens, Counseling and Psychological Services practicum clinician Ashley Hamm, led Wednesday’s workshop “Coping with Financial Stress,” and emphasized the importance of managing finances as a student.
“In a college environment, there are a lot of different students with a lot of different levels of financial responsibility,” Hamm said. “It could be helpful to know how you relate to your peers.”
Psychology junior Joanna Espinoza had to foot the bill for getting braces as well as the cost of their upkeep.
“To get them on was $500, and I tried to make that in one week,” said Espinoza, who works as a restaurant hostess.
“It was during Spring Break, so that stressed me out a lot. If anything breaks, they charge me extra to get it fixed.”
Managing financial stress is important because it can manifest in physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and nausea in addition to anxiety and depression.
Balancing finances can be difficult, especially for college students who are either dealing with debt or trying to avoid it.
Students having trouble with increasing demands can supplement their income by applying for scholarships and grants or getting a part-time job.
“If you’re feeling the strain of classes, it’s helpful to find an employer that’s going to work with you and you’re student lifestyle,” Hamm said.
Students should be cautious of loans and using credit cards, as these can lead to further long-term financial stress from accrued interest.
“Student loans and credit cards have to be paid back,” Hamm said, “They are temporary financial resources.”
Battling the unemployment rate can be intimidating, but students also have options, including work-study programs or applying techniques to reduce cost demands.
Money saving options include using alternative transportation methods, such as carpooling, and reviewing the need for services, such as premium cable.
Students can use budget worksheets to map out spending plans on a weekly or monthly basis to gain awareness of their financial situation.
Other cost-cutting measures, like eating at home instead of going out, can help reduce stress.
“It has multiple benefits; you will save money, eat healthier and it can be a fun and a stress relieving activity,” Hamm said.
Looking for events and community functions can help students find cheap or free entertainment, such as programs offered at Discovery Green.
Espinoza said she is trying not to eat out as much by bringing her lunch to school and finding alternatives to going out, like going to the movies, which she says she does with her boyfriend up to three times a week.
“We’re trying to stay home or go to the park or something and not go out as much,” she said.
If someone feels overwhelmed, Hamm suggests contacting the United Way Helpline at 211, which can connect people with services to assist with food, clothing and bills.
Hamm said students must maintain a balance between the money coming in and the money being spent.
“If you’re limited on your financial resources, it’s going to put a strain on meeting your financial demands,” Hamm said.