Student Resource Building Hosts Workshop For Basic Financing Techniques

“Ballin’ on a Budget,” a workshop which took place last night in the Student Resource Building, tutored students in “financial basics,” such as creating and managing a budget and applying for a credit card.

The event was hosted by third-year feminist studies major Rachel McCormack of the Women’s Center and Jose Raygoza, coordinator and advisor for the Associated Students Community Financial Fund, which offers increased access to grants and A.S. emergency loans. Beginning with a presentation about how students can figure out how to effectively spend money on a budget, the presentation later gave a detailed look at how credit works.

According to Raygoza, budgeting is an essential skill everyone, especially students, should know, particularly in light of numerous expenses such as “paying for books next quarter, or going on vacation” and “traveling abroad” in the midst of rising tuition costs and other strains on student finances.

“Everyone has dreams and goals, and everyone can achieve them,” Raygoza said. “A good way to start planning towards your goals is to create a financial spending plan.”

However, while having a spending plan is important, Raygoza noted that even more important than sticking to a plan is to defer from overspending, which can be difficult amidst what he said is the plethora of purchasable temptations in today’s consumer culture.

“We have a lot of choices in how we spend our money,” Raygoza said.

While saying that spending money on entertainment can be important to one’s well-being, Raygoza said it is essential to determine how much can be allocated to certain expenses. To do this, Raygoza said students should keep a spending diary for a month and reconsider what classifies as ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ He also recommended developing cost-cutting habits, such as using public transportation, attending free events, volunteering, brewing your own coffee and taking advantage of student discounts.

“Ballin’ on a Budget” presenters also discussed interest and annual percentage rates, the usefulness of credit for emergency purchases and larger expenses, as well as the differences between debit, credit, ATM and stored value cards. Speakers also recommended finding out credit scores through Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and

Fourth-year English major Amanda Pheng, who attended the event, said the workshop was useful in terms of bettering her understanding of how to handle personal finances.

“It is stressful. I have to worry about utilities, gas, groceries and other stuff like that. It’s hard sometimes to figure what I need to spend and what I have money for,” Pheng said. “I think it’s always good to budget yourself a little bit better.”


A version of this story appeared on page 5 of Wednesday, January 29, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.