Delta Sigma Theta Game of Life Event & Presentation

Last night, we had the opportunity to participate in Delta Sigma Theta’s Game of Life event.  Students were given a piece of paper stating their yearly and monthly salary and were given tasks to complete at different tables throughout the event.  The table that the SMMC staffed was the car and car insurance table.  Students had to choose a car that they could afford, along with choosing whether they wanted liability only or full coverage car insurance.  Then they had to use their monthly salary to pay for their purchases.  Other tables included buying a house, having to pay back student loans, leisure, and having to go to the hospital, among other things.  The students had to make decisions based on their job and their salary, and had to make sure they didn’t spend more than their monthly income!

For the second half of the event, the SMMC was invited to do a short presentation on money management to tie together the experiences that the students had gone through in the Game of Life.  We talked about how the students had to make choices between wants and needs during the game and how they had to make sure they stayed on budget.  We talked about how to make and stay on a budget and why having an emergency fund is so important.  In addition, we talked about how to get a free copy of your credit report and why having a good credit score is important in many areas of your life.  Lastly, we talked about student loan repayment and what to do if you get a student loan refund.  The attendees asked some great questions and we had a lot of fun.  If your organization is putting on a money themed event, we’d love to help out with it or help tie everything  together with a short presentation.  Let us know by shooting us an email at smmc@unl.edu

Beta Sigma Psi Workshop

The Student Money Management Center recently put on our second presentation to the Greek community this academic year. We presented to the Beta Sigma Psi fraternity this past Monday, with 25 members in attendance. In this presentation we focused on a few financial topics such as: budgeting, credit, and student loans.

More specifically we covered wants vs. needs, emergency funds, credit scores vs. credit reports, the different types of loans you can get, and much more. If any of these topics interest you or your organization, please contact us to put on a workshop for you!  Many Greek houses find it convenient to have us present after their Monday night meetings, when members are already together at the house.  This same concept can apply to classes or clubs with regular meeting times.  Let us know where and when and we can make it happen!

Moving Off Campus- Moving in to Your New Home

When you have signed your lease papers and are ready to move in, there are a lot of expenses you will incur to set up your new place. If this is your first house/apartment there are quite a few supplies you will need. Before you move in, you will want to make a list of everything you need, the most expensive of which is usually furniture. If this is your first time living on your own, you may not have any furniture outside of your bedroom.

There are plenty of places where you can get furniture for cheap. Try asking your family or friends if they have any old furniture they don’t use anymore. If you have no luck asking them, the website Craigslist.com offers lots of used furniture at very cheap prices.  Be sure to always go with someone else when buying/picking up anything from Craigslist. Use your judgement, if it looks to good to be true, it usually is. Other places that typically offer cheap but reliable furniture are the Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores and Wal-Mart.

Even though furniture is going to be one of your larger expenses, it’s not the only one. There are many household supplies you need to purchase, like kitchen supplies, laundry detergent, toiletries, and household cleaners. If you can, try buying these items in bulk, to save more money in the long run.

When you are moving from your old residence to your new one it’s often hard to find a way to move all of your belongings. If you don’t have a friend or family member with a truck this can become expensive. But there are plenty of places where you can rent trucks for reasonable prices, places like U-Haul and Penske.

The one thing you should do before moving in is bring a checklist (sometimes they provide it for you) so that you can mark exactly what shape the apartment is in. The reason behind this is when you move out, the landlord can take the costs of repairs needed to your apartment from the deposit you had to pay when you moved in. Be sure to be very thorough when inspecting your house/apartment because the landlords sure will when you move out.

If this is your first house/apartment there are usually fees associated with activating utilities and setting up cable/internet. If you’ve already rented places in the past, ask your landlord if they will inform the utility company or if you must do it yourself. Not only do you have to switch over certain utilities, but you will also want to change your address. Finally, you will want to look into getting renter’s insurance. Most policies won’t cost more than 12 dollars a month, but will cover all of your belongings in case they get stolen, or there is a fire, etc.

Thanks for reading the final post in our mini blog series on moving off campus. We hope you can take this information and use it when moving into your future house/apartment!  If you have any questions, you can always email us at smmc@unl.edu

Written by Tom Myers, SMMC Program Assistant

Moving Off Campus- Before You Move In

Once you decide on where you want to live the next step is to apply. If you have no renting history, you will most likely need a cosigner. This is typical for first time renters, as they tend to have little credit history to prove that they will be able to pay their rent. Be careful whom you choose as your cosigner because if you can’t pay your rent the cosigner is liable. When you are applying, there is usually an application fee charged by the apartment company.

One other fee that most people forget about when renting is the damage deposit. Many places charge 1 month of rent for the deposit. But that money isn’t gone forever, because when you move you can get some or all of that deposit back. Many companies deduct from your deposit the costs for a mandatory carpet cleaning after you move out and any damages that you cause. Be sure to read your lease agreement thoroughly before you sign it so that you understand all the terms and conditions. When you are ready to sign the lease, most places will charge first and last months rent, so be prepared.

Once you have signed your lease, go back and look at your budget. You can actually plan for your estimated utility costs. All you have to do is call the utility companies (in Lincoln, Black Hills Energy for gas and Lincoln Electric System for electricity) and get estimates of the past monthly costs at your apartment/house. Once you have figured out those numbers you can start estimating your other costs, such as food, renters insurance, furniture, etc.

Just because you are paying to rent an apartment/house doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. There are lots of rules, from having parties to decorating. Take some time to figure out the policies that are in place so you don’t pay for it later. Living on your own is a big responsibility, but it is a great step toward financial independence.

Written by Tom Myers, SMMC Program Assistant

Moving Off Campus- Choosing Where to Live

If you’re a student, at some point in your college career you will have to move off-campus. Whether that is your sophomore year, senior year, or even after you graduate, it can be a daunting task. You can make this task easier by being prepared. The first step is to evaluate your budget; does moving off campus make financial sense? You want to calculate what you would have to pay for food, cable, electric, gas, internet, and rent. Once you have these numbers, compare them to what you would be paying if you lived on-campus.

If you have come to the conclusion that living off campus is the way to go, then you have to choose whether a house or an apartment is the right fit. The biggest variable with this decision is the number of roommates you will have. If you have 5 people that you are planning on living with, a house may be the cheapest alternative. But if it’s just yourself or you and one friend, renting an apartment is probably the cheapest option for you.

When you have chosen what type of housing works best for you, then you have to pick a location. Location is important because if you don’t have a car then you would need to research bus routes if you wanted to live on the other side of town. There are plenty of downtown living options as well as apartments/houses north of Memorial Stadium that would all be within walking distance of campus. However, there may be more cost effective options further away from campus, so be sure to evaluate many different housing choices to see what would work best in your budget.

Stay tuned for the rest of our mini series on this topic! Our next blog post will be about the next steps to take after you have determined where you want to live.

Written by Tom Myers, SMMC Program Assistant