5 Ways to Improve Your Finances Over Break

Congrats! You survived finals week and made it to semester break. If you happen to have a lot of free time on your hands over the next three weeks, here are five ways you can improve your financial status before next semester begins.

1. Create a Budget

Never had a budget before? The new year is a great time to start one! Or, if you already have a budget but haven’t looked it over in awhile, consider updating it and try to cut back on certain “want” categories such as entertainment, eating out, and clothes. If you’re not sure where to start, come in and see us!

2. Check your Credit Report and Score

Check out freecreditreport.com to review your credit report. You’ll want to make sure that everything is accurate and report any mistakes. To find your credit score, check with your credit card company to see if they offer your credit score for free. If not, you can look up your score through Discover.com or Mint.com.

3. Apply for a Credit Card

Disclaimer: this is only advised for students who currently have and stick to a budget and are confident they can pay off their balance in full each month. Responsible use of a credit card is a great way to build a high credit score, which is important when applying for future loans. We strongly suggest only using your card for small purchases, such as gas or groceries, that way it’s easy to pay off each month.

4. Write Down Financial Goals

If you’ve been considering going on a trip next summer, or anticipate needing a new car within the next few years, now is the time to start writing down financial goals. You’ll need to know how much your goal will cost and when you want to achieve it-then you can determine how much you’ll need to save each month. Consider opening a separate bank account to help make it easier to save.

5. Give Your Wallet a Vacation, Too

Christmas vacation is a great time to unwind and recharge between semesters. Try doing the same for your bank account! If you’re going home, take advantage of free home cooked meals. Instead of going out to the movies or bars, invite your hometown friends over for a couple nights in. If you get money for Christmas, use some of it to pay off any credit card debt you might have or put it in savings.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the SMMC!

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant

Dead/Finals Week Survival Guide

It’s everyone’s favorite week of the year: Dead Week! Okay, not so much, but if you follow these tips you should be able to dominate your finals while staying sane and maintaining your budget.

1. Set a Schedule

Take time to list every project and final in order of when they’re due, and then write down a detailed study schedule and stick to it. For extra motivation, reward yourself with something small like your favorite treat or an hour of Netflix each time you finish something major on your schedule.

2. Turn off Social Media

Consider deactivating your Facebook account or temporarily deleting all social media apps from your phone.  During these next two weeks not much will be going on anyway, so don’t worry about missing out.  Remember, you’ll have almost an entire month for winter break to check social media!

3. Stay Healthy

December is when cold/flu season starts to kick in, so you’ll want to keep your immune system strong.  Make sure you are eating nutritious meals and staying under budget- this means avoiding expensive convenience foods and sugary energy drinks.  Also, try to avoid all-nighters and get those 8 hours of sleep!

4. Stick with Coffee

Need an extra boost of caffeine? Your best bet is to stick with coffee!  Coffee is much healthier than energy drinks, especially if you avoid adding sugar and whipped cream. Avoid taking drugs like Adderall unless you have a prescription because of its potential hazardous side effects.

5. Take Advantage of FREE Events

There are tons of free events going on these next two weeks that are dedicated to helping students de-stress.  Check out the UNL Events calendar to see what’s going on:

Good luck, Huskers! We believe in you!

Post written by Amanda Owens, SMMC Program Assistant