Tuffy’s Basic Needs hosted a workshop on March 16, Financial Literacy: Budgeting 101, to help attendees understand the importance of budgeting and financial peace of mind.
Presenter Jose Gutierrez, the center’s graduate programming assistant, shared several tips on how to stay financially secure during and after college.
“Budgeting allows you to take control of your finances. It gives you a better chance of achieving your financial goals and it just gives you peace of mind by making sure you have money for the things you need,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said the goal of the workshop was to help participants understand the benefits and the four main elements of budgeting – personal income, expenses, savings and financial goals.
For students, income can include financial aid, paychecks, and family support through stipends or other aid. Gutierrez said many people don’t understand that there are two types of expenses: fixed expenses — things that don’t tend to change, like rent — and variable expenses, which may not be prioritized. like clothes.
Considering that 60% of U.S. households have experienced a financial shock in the past year, saving is an important defense that can help alleviate financial stress, Gutierrez said. An important first step is to set a financial goal.
“The first thing you want to do is set yourself a goal. You want to create a plan on what you want to achieve. Then you’ll calculate how long it will take you to reach your goals, and then you’ll want to find a contribution system that works for you,” Gutierrez said.
He also suggested monitoring your progress as a way to encourage you to reach your financial goals. Gutierrez suggested using the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — to achieve financial goals.
Gutierrez also highlighted flexibility and its connection to budgeting.
“You want to be flexible. Budgets change from month to month and they will require revisions and adjustments,” Gutierrez said.
The expenses associated with a return to in-person education, as well as rising gas and food prices can make saving more difficult, Gutierrez said. Finding a method that works specifically for you can help you navigate through unexpected pressures.
Gutierrez suggested savings methods as simple as putting money aside in an envelope to save. He said it was okay to mix methods as long as money was saved. Using programs like Excel or budgeting apps that connect to your bank account like Mint are two ways to track expenses.
Financial Literacy: Budgeting 101 is one of many workshops offered by Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services this spring. Other workshops include the Healthy Eating Series, which helps attendees get the most out of trips to the grocery store, plan healthy meals, and get the benefits of CalFresh.
Gutierrez also suggested a cross-platform budgeting platform called You Need a Budget, but said the free version of the software was very limited in its capabilities.
The center offers additional financial literacy workshops scheduled online and in person. The next workshop will take place remotely on April 5.