Financial literacy workshop helps students balance budgets

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Delta College and UNCLE Credit Union hosted a financial literacy workshop on Oct. 3, teaching attendees how to balance their budget.

UNCLE Credit Union’s Financial Center Manager Antero Soriano and Business Development Manager Nicole Thomas provided their own tips on how to balance budgets in three ways: avoiding needless spending, using credit wisely and saving money properly.

“Every time you swipe a card or spend cash, is that a need or a want?” said Thomas.

To stress the importance of making purchases based on necessity rather than desire, Thomas reviewed how a few seemingly harmless purchases can add up. 

She used the purchase of lunch college students often make as an example. Thomas stressed that while being able to eat was of course important, it’s equally important to keep track of how much you’re spending when you’re buying food. Daily, the average cost of lunch could be $6, depending on where you buy it from. However, the spending can spiral; we don’t realize rampant spending can lead to over $2,000 spent yearly on meals we bought on a whim.

Thomas and Soriano advised creating a list of items you need to buy to avoid spending needlessly. They also suggested avoiding “hot spots” such as coffee shops you frequent and taking timeouts from grand spending where you are continuously buying extravagant items, thinking about the purchase before actually swiping that card.

The two also said it was important to simply track your spending, although the method of tracking differs from person to person. It’s important to discover how to do this effectively by experimenting with different methods, whether it be writing out your funds with simple pen and paper or creating an online spreadsheet.

The workshop noted the importance of using credit wisely. Instead of using a credit card frequently, wait until you know you can properly make a purchase. You should wait until you’re secure with your money and positive you could use credit on something you can easily pay off.

The workshop also stressed the importance of simply saving money. One should save money for two reasons: emergencies and goals.

Financial terms such as gross pay (total number of earnings before deductions), net pay (the amount of funds you have after deductions have been made) and discretionary income (leftover income to either save or spend).

The workshop ended with Soriano explaining how he manages his own budget by recording his weekly cash flow, accounting for all the expenses and payments he needs to make per month. He keeps note of special events, bills and his own income.

More financial literacy workshops hosted by UNCLE Credit Union have been planned for the future. If you have any suggestions on presentation topics regarding finances, you may email Financial Aid Outreach Support Specialist Rosie Huerta at rosie.huerta@deltacollege.edu.

The next financial literacy workshop will focus on improving one’s credit score. It will be held Nov. 6 from 12 to 1 p.m. in DeRicco 117.