Students need to take care of their finances before it gives an expensive lesson

Gregorio Alcantar, counselor from the financial aid and scholarship office tells students at his workshops to put aside their vanity and pride aside and start using coupons to save money. Photo by Bianca Gallegos
Gregorio Alcantar, counselor from the financial aid and scholarship office tells students at his workshops to put aside their vanity and pride aside and start using coupons to save money. Photo by Bianca Gallegos
Citibank Personal Banker, Sara Yohanna, advices students to really pay attention to what they are spending their money while they are in school. Photo by Bianca Gallegos
Citibank Personal Banker, Sara Yohanna, advices students to really pay attention to what they are spending their money while they are in school. Photo by Bianca Gallegos

A majority of college students never took a personal finance class while in high school. As a result, many college students are financially illiterate.

To help avoid students from making expensive lessons, the University Student Union hosted a Cash Management workshop.

Citibank Personal Banker, Sara Yohanna, said some of the common mistakes seen with college students is not budgeting their credit.

“What will happen is that a lot of college students will take advantage of special promotions from retail stores or even credit cards we offer here at the bank,” Yohanna said.

“[Students] feel that money is free money, they go out, they drive up their credit and then what will end up happening is that it damages their credit score which can take them seven to 10 years to fix,” she said.

During the college years it is very important students understand that credit, once being offered to them, is to be used as a tool to enable them to finish college, and it’s not free money, that they are going to be paying interest on that. If students don’t pay it back they will face serious consequences, Yohanna said.

When Gregorio Alcantar, counselor from the financial aid and scholarships office, presents seminars to incoming freshman about money matters he always likes to give them the “20 money saving strategies” sheet.

As read down the list Alcantar hears students laugh at some of the tips that are provided. The tips that generate the most laughter are: ‘Disconnect your cable TV service,’ ‘Use restaurant coupons’ or ‘Split or share meals with a friend’.”

Alcantar said, majority of students tell him they can’t live without cable, “but in the long run, cable gets really expensive. I always recommend students to instead go to the hulu.com website to watch shows from the major networks and movies for free.”

He notices that many of the reasons why students don’t embrace some of the saving tips are for “vanity and pride issues.”

“Some students feel embarrassed to use coupons or to share a meal with a friend because they are too proud for that.”

But students need to realize they must change their mind frame to that of a student and not a professional,” said the financial counselor who was styling good quality shoes that he said he purchased at a DSW store from the clearance section.

Sam Huffman, 19-year-old computer science major, recommends freshman students to not get a credit card.

“Credit cards are not really necessary at this age,” he said from personal experience. “When you have a credit card it’s so easy to not keep track of how much money you have and end up spending money you don’t even have.”

Huffman highly recommends opening a savings account. If you have a job it would help to save at least 10 percent and put it in a savings account. Pretty much act like you don’t have that money, especially if you want to make a big purchase in the future, He said.

Huffman, who works at Starbucks, said when it comes to saving it varies from person to person. He personally saves a minimum of 10 percent of his paycheck because that’s how much he can afford to save.

“The best advice I can give to incoming freshman is to really pay attention to what they are spending while they are in school,” Yohanna, said. “To making sure that those expenses are necessary expenses. To take the time to attend courses on financial literacy made available on campus.”