Anyone still relying on coffee to function after watching the 2022 Times Square Ball Drop? It is a caramel macchiato for me, please! Let's make 2022 the year to set healthy, life-long financial intentions.

Let’s break down this hypothetical scenario. If a college student spends $4 a day on a cup of coffee: that is $28 a week or $1,456 a year. Wow. That money could be used more responsibly and effectively. For example, starting a high-interest savings account or paying off a student loan. Some may not spend a large amount of money on coffee, but what other spending habit is not benefiting you long-term? Is it late-night Door Dash or being subscribed to multiple streaming services? Conversations about money can be dull, burdensome, and monotonous, yet they do not have to be. Taking steps to become financially well prepares you for the unexpected as well as the adventures of today, tomorrow, and this year.

As students, let’s not only thrive academically but financially. Implementing good financial habits such as planning, saving, and investing are tools we can use in school and throughout life.

 

  1. Create a budget: The word “budget” may be intimidating; however, it can be a great tool to achieve financial success. The first step to constructing a budget is figuring out how much money you spend each month. Then, break down your expenses into fixed and variable categories. Some examples of fixed costs are rent, car payment, or phone bill. It is a cost that does not change each month. The other expenses are variable costs which fluctuate each month. These are the grocery bill, entertainment, or utility bills. Not sure how much you spend each month? Challenge yourself to track your spending for the next 30 days. This will be the foundation for keeping track of a budget. If you are unsure how or where to track your spending, attend a financial workshop and get a free budget planner.

  2. Make financial goals: Once you have your budget, creating goals is the next step. Do you want to save for an upcoming vacation, the unexpected flat tire on your car, or graduate debt-free? Making short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial goals can help you visualize what is imperative today, as well as in the future. Your goals should challenge you while still being realistic and attainable. Set yourself up for success!

  3. Save those pennies: Set up a savings account that can be used for an emergency fund, hobbies, or peace of mind when you do spend money. There are different types of savings accounts; traditional brick-and-mortar and high-interest savings account. Both options are great, you will just need to decide what works best for your needs.

  4. Get creative: Part of being a student and living in Colorado is there are so many exciting things to do, but these activities can often be expensive. Get creative and find financially smart outings for the next Friday night adventure. One budget-friendly outing is bowling at Lucky Strike before 6 p.m. for cheaper bowling and $3 shoe rentals.

  5. Find student discounts: Tuition is expensive and luckily businesses understand that. Many organizations have student discounts, just ask if they offer one. Check out the CU Denver discounts and deals page for tips. For student commuters, RTD College Pass is a way to save. And anyone who loves listening to music or binge-watching the newest movies and TV series may consider Apple Music for $4.99/month with free Apple TV+ or Spotify + Hulu + SHOWTIME for $4.99/month with the first month free.  

 

All CU Denver Students have access to a wide variety of free financial resources located on Level 3 in the Wellness Suite of the Salazar Student Wellness Center, whether it is a group or 1:1 setting. The Financial Wellness program has information that covers a variety of topics related to budgeting, loan repayment, and taxes.

 

As students, finding balance between school, work, and a social life can be a daunting task. Lighten your stress by constructing steps to becoming financially well. Challenge yourself to achieve your financial goals whether that is creating a budget or canceling a subscription. For me, my goal is to buy two coffees each week. What is one way you could save money each month? Take control of your finances and make 2022 the year to be financially well.