Take A Budget-Friendly Nebraska “Staycation”

It’s that time of the year again when you go on Facebook and it seems like everybody but you is either studying abroad in Europe, relaxing on the beaches of Mexico, or hiking up the Rocky Mountains.   Even if you plan to stay in Nebraska this summer, you can still have an eventful and fun-filled summer while going easy on your wallet.

Attend the College World Series
One of the biggest sporting events of summer takes place every year in Omaha! General admission tickets are super cheap, and there’s not a bad seat in the house at TD Ameritrade Park, located near the downtown area.  This year the event takes place June 17-29.

Visit a State Park
There are eight state parks in Nebraska that all have something unique to offer.  If you’re looking to stay close to Lincoln or Omaha, check out Eugene T. Mahoney or Platte River state parks.  Don’t mind a long drive?  Niobrara State Park near the South Dakota border is absolutely beautiful!

Go to a Music Festival
If you don’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars to see the top performing artists in concert, this is a great alternative. Most local music festivals are well under $50 and some are even free!  Here are a few ideas:
  • Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival @ Branched Oak Farm in Raymond (June 10-11)
  • Red Sky Music Festival @ TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha (July 18-23)
  • Hullabaloo Music Festival @ Sokol Park in Bellevue (July 28-30)
  • Maha Music Festival @ Aksarben Village in Omaha (August 20)
Relax at the Lake
No ocean? No problem. Nebraska has dozens of lakes to visit across all areas of the state.  Our top picks are:
  • Lake McConaughy (Western NE)
  • Harlan County Reservoir (South Central NE)
  • Calamus Lake (North Central NE)
  • Branched Oak Lake (less than 15 miles NW of Lincoln!)

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant

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Money Tips for Incoming Freshmen

Starting college is very exciting, but it also brings new challenges and responsibilities. One of the responsibilities you will have to begin to take on in college is increasing financial independence. You will have to slowly transition from your parents paying for a lot of your necessities to paying for them yourself. But don’t worry- the Student Money Management Center is here to help you with all of your money questions and money problems while you are with us at UNL, and after you graduate too! Here are some money tips that will be helpful for you as you prepare for your freshman year of college:

1. Go to NSE (New Student Enrollment) and learn about all of the free services UNL has to offer you
2. Talk to your roommate/s about what each of you is bringing so you don’t waste money on buying two of everything!
3. Buy your books & save money by comparing prices from multiple websites
4. Follow the SMMC on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for money tips, resources, and free events
5. Make sure you understand your student loans. Find info here
6. Create a monthly budget. Find help getting started at unl.edu/smmc/budgeting.shtml
7. Create a list of financial goals
8. Learn about credit and why it’s important. Check out these resources
9. Go to Big Red Welcome Street Festival and get free stuff and discounts from UNL and Lincoln organizations. More info at bigredwelcome.unl.edu
10. Schedule a free appointment with the Student Money Management Center to get help with your money problems and/or get your money questions answered at unl.edu/smmc

Tips for Buying a Car

One of the biggest and most exciting purchases you’ll make in life is a car.  It’s very important to do your research and plan ahead before making this significant financial commitment, so here are some important “musts” when buying a vehicle:

Determine how much you can comfortably afford
Lenders and dealers may offer to loan you more money for a more expensive car than you need and can afford.  Always follow the 20-4-10 Rule to ensure you’re not stretching your budget in order to obtain your “dream” car:
  • 20 percent down
  • Financing that last no longer than four years
  • Principal, interest, and insurance that doesn’t exceed 10 percent of your gross household income
Decide New vs. Used
If you plan on keeping your car for a long time, you may benefit from buying a new car.  However, if you think you’re only going to drive it for five years or less, a used car with low mileage might be a better option.
  • Used cars are cheaper to buy initially, but have higher maintenance costs
  • Don’t assume a used “luxury” car is better than a standard model with fewer miles
  • Most cars will get 150,000 to 200,000 miles- generally the lower the miles, the longer the car will last
Negotiate the price and trade-ins
Remember: the sticker price on the car is worthless!  Car dealers typically price the car higher than they are willing to sell it for because they assume buyers will negotiate the price.
  • Bring your Kelley Blue Book printout to show you’ve done research on the market price for the car
  • Negotiate the sale price of the car you want to buy first without telling the salesman you are interested in trading in your old car
  • Once you have a firm sale price, you can start negotiating the price of your trade-in

These are just a few basic (but very important) tips to get you started when buying a car.  Feel free to visit us at the Student Money Management Center on the second floor in the Union for more detailed information and free resources about buying both new and used cars.

Post written by Program Assistant, Amanda Owens

Start Planning for the Cost of the Next School Year

If you’re graduating this weekend and won’t be returning to UNL in the fall, congratulations! You won’t need to plan for the cost of another school year. For the rest of you, you should start thinking ahead to how much the next year of classes is going to cost you and what resources you have to pay for the costs. Here are some things to think about:

-Will you be taking classes that have differential tuition, such as business classes?

-Are you taking the same number of credits?

-Do you have any scholarships that are ending after this year?

-Will your parents be able to help with any costs next year?

-Will you have money saved from working this summer?

If you’re having trouble covering the costs for next year, start looking for scholarships. You can still use all of those same websites that you used in high school to look for scholarships when you’re in college. Free money is the best kind of money! You can also make a plan to determine how much you will need to work this summer to earn enough to cover cost of books and other expenses for next year. If you need help, you can always schedule an appointment with us at https://unlsmmc.youcanbook.me/ (Yes, we’re open during the summer). The best plan is always to plan ahead!