Four Steps to Dealing with Debt

The school year is in full swing, and the thought of student loans, credit card debt, and other personal loans may have you stressed out. Here are four key steps to deal with your debt:

1. Determine exactly how much you currently owe and what the interest rates and minimum payments are for each debt.  An easy way to do this is to write everything down on our Debt Load Worksheet. Make sure to include all outstanding debt, including credit cards (including store credit cards), car loans, mortgages, personal loans, and student loans.

2. Try your best to make at least the minimum payment on each debt every month to avoid late fees and interest rate increases. If you can’t make every payment on time, try making payments on the loan or credit card with the highest interest rate.

3. If possible, commit extra income to accelerate your debt repayment. Once again, the best strategy is to put extra money toward the debt with the highest interest rate (after paying all of the minimum payments).

4. When one debt is paid off, use the money you were using to pay that debt to increase the monthly payment on another debt. This is called the snowball method. Continue doing this until you are eventually debt free!

If you have any questions or need help creating a debt repayment plan, schedule a free appointment with us online: We love helping all students, faculty, staff and alumni!

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant

Halloween on a Budget

Nothing is scarier than checking your bank account the day after Halloween and realizing you blew all your money on costumes, candy, and decorations.  Here are some tips for keeping your Halloween fun, spooky, and under budget.

1.  Avoid Costume Stores
If you’ve ever been to a costume store, you know just how expensive costumes can be.  Most costumes come with little or no accessories either, so you’re likely to drop more cash on those as well if you want to perfect the look you’re going for.  Try making your own costume with what you or a friend already have or check out thrift stores for cheap finds.

2.  Plan your Costume ASAP
Between midterms, projects, work and activities, it may seem impossible to find time to plan a costume two weeks in advance.  However, the more you put it off, the more likely you’ll be to desperately purchase a pricey costume at the store three hours before the party you’re going to.  If you think you’re too busy, consider giving up social media or television for a day and decide on a costume instead.

3.  Get Decor from Dollar Tree
Do you love decorating for Halloween?  Fortunately for you Dollar Tree has tons of fun and festive decorations for extremely cheap. If you’re hosting a party and need decor as well as food/drink supplies, this is the place for you.  The best part about shopping here is that everything is only a dollar!

4.  Check out our Pinterest page!
We have tons of pins on our page with ideas on costumes, decor, food, and more!  Here’s the link: Halloween pinterest board

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant

20 Free Things to do on a Rainy Day

1. Take a nap
2. Watch episodes of tv shows for free online on Yahoo View
3. Do a free yoga class on YouTube
4. Make a budget! Start here
5. Watch Nebraska football highlights online
6. Study!
7. Go to campus rec and workout
8. Play in the rain! (Only if there’s no lightning!)
9. Fill out your FAFSA for next year
10. Call your parents (they already miss you!)
11. Doodle
12. Watch tv in the union and meet new people
13. Surf pinterest for Halloween costume ideas. Check out our Halloween board
14. Research study abroad opportunities
15. Go through your clothes and see if there are any you don’t wear anymore that you can donate
16. Research the political candidates and the issues that will be on your ballot
17. Catch up with a friend who goes to another university
18. Look up a new recipe for dinner so you don’t spend money on delivery
19. Play games in the Rec Room in the basement of the City Union
20. Do something nice for someone else

Tips on Planning for Spring Break

Fall just started a few days ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning for spring break.  Here are tips you need to consider before booking your trip:

1.  Start Planning ASAP
Procrastination=Overspending! Most travel agents recommend booking your trip any time between August and November in order to get the best price. Also keep in mind that planning something as big as a spring break trip with several people can be a drawn-out, daunting task.  The more time you have to plan, the less stressed you’ll be.

2.  Set and Stick to Your Budget
Before making any plans, make sure that you establish a budget and communicate it to the rest of your group.  Remember to set aside money not just for food, transportation, and lodging, but for miscellaneous fees and expenses that might unexpectedly occur.  Don’t let your friend peer pressure you into compromising your budget!

3.  Don’t Stick to the Status Quo
You don’t have to stretch your budget thin by taking a pricey trip to Mexico or the Caribbean in order to have a great time.  Colorado is only a day’s drive away and offers beautiful scenery for a cheaper price.  If you prefer just a weekend getaway to the city, consider going to Kansas City or Chicago.

4.  Vacation During the Off-Season
March is an extremely busy time for many hotels and resorts, and prices can be high.  Consider working extra hours over spring break and then reward yourself with a trip after finals in May.  According to, May-November and December-February are the cheapest times to visit tropical locations.

5.  Shop Around
It’s tempting to book the first appealing deal you come across, but it’s important to look around and make sure you’re not only getting a good price, but that you’re not getting scammed.  If you have AAA, consider talking to a travel agent because it’s free to consult with them.  Just as helpful as travel agents are friends and family members and reputable websites.

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant

Resources To Help You Plan Your Education Abroad Experience

If you weren’t able to walk by our booth at the Education Abroad Fair earlier today, no worries! We have a couple resources for you that can help you plan for the cost of your education abroad experience and help you save money as well.

If you are trying to compare multiple education abroad opportunities or if you know which program you will attend, you can use our Study Abroad Budget worksheet to help you plan for how much you will need to save up or borrow to pay for your time abroad. You must remember that you will probably not be working while you are abroad, so money will only be going out, not coming in. On this worksheet you can estimate all of the sources of income that you will have for your education abroad experience. Then, you can compare that to what your total expenses will be for your time abroad. Comparing these two numbers will tell you how much you need to work and how much you need to save to help you reach your goal.

Another resource we have for you is our Study Abroad Checklist. This handout has many tips for you as you financially prepare for your education abroad experience and also tells you ways that you can save money while you are abroad.

If you’d like one or both of these resources stop by our office in room 237 of the City Union. We want to help you make your financial goals a reality!

How to Get Free Coupons Online

Did you know that you can print off manufacturer’s coupons online for free? Coupons are great because you can save money on the things you already buy. Two of my favorites are and Both websites have many of the same manufacturer’s coupons available. The Target website also has coupons you can only use at Target and the website has coupons you can only use at Walmart, Walgreen’s, and other stores. I would suggest checking both websites to save the most money possible. On either website, you will need to download the “coupon printer”. Once downloaded, you don’t have to do it again. You just go search for coupons, and you can print them quickly after the initial set-up. Here’s how to do it:

To get coupons from, just search Target coupons on a search engine to find the website or search coupons in the search bar on At the top of the coupons page, click the bubble next to Target if you want to view coupons that can only be used at Target, or click the button next to manufacturer if you want to see coupons that can be used at any store that accepts coupons. Be sure to hover over the coupon to see the expiration date. If you see a coupon that you’ll use, click “Select to Print.” This will add the coupon to your list, but will not start printing it yet. Once you have selected all of the coupons that you want to print, click “Print Selected Coupons” at the left or top of the screen. If you have already downloaded the coupon printer, make sure your printer is on, and your coupons should start printing. If you haven’t downloaded the coupon printer yet, it will prompt you to do so before your coupons will print.

On, the process for getting free coupons is similar. Simply click the plus sign on the bottom right of each coupon that you want added to your list. Once you have chosen all of your coupons, click “Print Coupons” at the top right of the page. Then just cut out your coupons, and use them to save money! Even a couple dollars of coupon savings a week can add up.

If you have a printer, the only cost to you will be paper and ink. If you have to pay to print on-campus, be sure that you are actually going to use the coupons that you print, and that the value of the coupons is greater than the cost to print them. The coupons will print 3 per page, so do the math!

*Pro Tip: Make a list of the things you need first, THEN look for coupons to match those items. If you do it the other way around, you might be tempted to buy things that you don’t need just because you have a coupon for them. Make sure you make a budget and stick to it.

Tips for Saving $$$ on Game Day!

1.  Join Husker Ticket Exchange on Facebook
If you bought student tickets but don’t plan on going to every game, consider selling your tickets to other students by joining a Facebook group. Only going to a game or two? Skip out on getting season tickets and buy from another student. Make sure you shop around for the best deal! Student tickets only cost $23/ticket so you won’t want to spend much more than that.

2.  If you’re 21 and Up: Resist the Bars
It’s tempting to want to go downtown for drinks before and after every home game, but your wallet probably won’t be able to handle this every weekend.  Buy your own alcohol from the store and stay home or find a tailgate – you can still go to the bars sometimes, just pass on purchasing super expensive drinks!

3.  Bring Cash
There are two reasons you should carry cash. 1) Some food/drink places only take cash, so you’ll avoid a possible foreign ATM fee if you lack cash and need to make a withdrawal.  2) It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food/drinks/etc. at games, so if you only have cash you can easily make a budget for the day and control your spending.

4.  Ride Your Bike
If you live within a reasonable distance from campus, consider riding your bike to save money on parking.  Bike UNL has a game day bike valet service that allows you to park your bike at Cook Pavilion until one hour after the game.

5.  Watch From Home
Even though there’s nothing that competes with Memorial Stadium, sometimes it’s nice just to watch the game in the comfort of your own home.  If you have basic cable, you should be able to watch most Nebraska games on ABC, ESPN or Big Ten Network (BTN).  If the game is on a channel you don’t have, plan ahead in advance to go to a friend’s house. For cheap game day snack ideas, check out our Pinterest board.

Have fun, don’t overspend, and Go Big Red!