Smart holiday spending strategies

Jason+Ramos+a+senior+at+CSU+Northridge%2C+is+the+President+of+the+Smart+Spenders+Club.+The+club+informs+students+on+how+to+better+manage+money%2C+especially+on+a+tight+budget.+Photo+Credit%3A+Joshua+Bantay%2FContributor
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Smart holiday spending strategies

Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

Silvia Gutierrez

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Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

Jason Ramos a senior at CSU Northridge, is the President of the Smart Spenders Club. The club informs students on how to better manage money, especially on a tight budget. Photo Credit: Joshua Bantay/Contributor

While appetites and outings can be priority, so is the content of a wallet. One year ago, CSUN graduate Cat Placencia  thought the campus lacked a club that promotes responsible spending. This led her decision to create Smart Spenders, a club where students are able to address spending habits and share information and budgeting tips.

Their advisor, Virginia Huynh, has a deep interest in the topic and wishes a similar club existed during her time in college. As a professor in the child and adolescent department, Huynh teaches a class on the affordable child issue for current and future parents.

“I think it’s the right time for students to learn to save money,” Huynh said. “Later on, some of them — if they haven’t already — may want to start a family and that comes with a cost. It’s better to learn good habits early on.”

Smart Spenders recently organized a swap meet in which students are free to bring in any item to trade. Their next swap meet will be held during the spring 2015 semester.

Another activity consists of DIY projects for students to collect, share and handout coupons to each other during meetings.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” said Jason Ramos president of Smart Spenders and senior sociology major. “We like doing hands-on activities because it keeps everyone interested.”

Smart Spenders also brings in guest speakers to educate and spread awareness on topics like credit and loans. A representative from H&R Block has lent their knowledge, along with a CSUN student club leader who majored in financial accounting.

“Our goal is to help get information out,” Ramos said. “We want students to think of us as a gateway or a jumping point, not as experts.”

Though members within the club would not consider themselves experts, they know when it’s appropriate to share tips.

Abigail Ong treasurer of Smart Spenders and senior child and adolescent development major encourages students to continue shopping for items that can be found in other places instead of settling on high prices.

“Don’t be afraid to ask businesses if they provide specials for students,” Ong said. This tip can be especially helpful during the holiday season.

With the holidays just a few weeks away, it is important not to get carried away with splurging on gifts. Here are four money saving apps to keep in mind while shopping for family and friends.

ShopSavvy – This is a great money saving resource which sends an alert if items go on sale. It helps you find the best online and local prices and allows you to scan and search products to find the lowest prices.

Shopular – A handy coupon handbook which allows you to select your favorite retail stores and shop based on the sales offered. The new Here’s the Deal feature in the app was recently designed to help shoppers determine the best retail deals, find out when they expire and access user feedback.

ShopAdvisor – Provides a listing of top trends and access to useful reviews, price comparison tools and retailers. The time-saving option to scan a barcode in store or magazine allows for instant reviews and pricing history.

Spending Tracker – Allows you to visualize, track your spending and stick to your fixed budget by providing you a history of where you spend your money via creative interactive charts.