10 Dos and Don'ts of Talking to Your Friends About Money

11 October, 2019

Talking about money is important. Like talking about dating, work, family, or the search for an apartment —it's a good way to relate to friends, feel understood, have fun, and get feedback from people who are in the same boat as you. Money is an often taboo subject that gets ignored for fear of offending, judging, or falling too far outside of the bell curve.

And our reluctance to talk about money — combined with our insecurity about our own knowledge in the subject — is undeniably doing no good. Personal finance is a vital, empowering part of everyone's life, and often it’s the only topic that doesn’t get covered at the Seasons dining table, and doesn’t make it to the top of the priority list at home. So let's taco bout it!

DO ask questions if you don’t know something. “Do you guys have savings set aside? Cause I’m not even sure where to begin…” is a perfectly smart, healthy way to start learning.

DO be supportive of your friends’ successes. When they land a stellar, well-paying internship, or reach a saving goal, celebrate with them! Let them have their awesome financial [life] moment.

DON’T compare your financial situation to someone else's life. You can’t know what someone's full financial story is, and even if you could, it wouldn’t affect your own. Stay in your lane. You know what they say —Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else's life is a minute spent wasting yours.

DO remember that you are not obligated to keep up. If you have friends whose lifestyle or frivolous ways with money is making you feel like you need to prove yourself or impress someone, you may need to hang out with them less often... Preserve your own mental and financial health.

DON’T keep financial awkwardness bottled up. If you have a friend who consistently tacks on an extra drink to a shared bill at dinner, or proposes spring break trips you can’t afford, have a calm, open-minded talk with them. Say, “hey, I’m really trying to save and I want to be able to hang out with you but I hate having to say no to things — can we plan some more budget-friendly things for now?”

DO have suggestions for the budget-friendly things you’d like to do. 

DO bring the topic up in a productive, positive way, so that everyone can participate. Say something about the new savings strategy you've started, or the budgeting app you read about, or something you saw on LinkedIn. Take it upon yourself to get the money talk ball rolling.

DON’T judge anyone’s situation. The quickest way to stop a productive financial discussion in its tracks is by making someone feel judged for their situation or choices. (And you know you wouldn’t enjoy someone doing that to you.)

DO accept that everyone’s situation is going to be different. There is going to be a bell curve — of backgrounds, incomes, goals, parental help, lifestyles, and financial maturity. That’s normal, and you don’t have to worry about where you fall. As long as friends are open, caring, and humble, you can overcome most of these differences.

DO help one another out if you’re trying to save, or budget. If one of you is saving up for a security deposit on a new apartment, don’t invite them out to do bouji things that weekend. The more you know about one another’s lives and goals, the more you can help each other reach them.

So bring up money with your friends. Ask questions you may think are dumb, or talk about the issues you’re currently facing. Make it a topic as common and universal as dating or weekend plans. But before you do, remember the dos and don’ts of talking about money. Better yet, come see us at the Student Loan Education Office. We would love to have a chat with you about your money questions. No judging, no uncomfortable conversations. Find us on ISUappointments!

Financial tips are for the boys

17 September, 2019

Bros in the homes
Having roommates is a great way to save money, especially when you're splitting the cost of rent and utilities between all your bros. Sharing a house or apartment has it's perks -it may be cheaper than the dorms, and you get to live with your best friends!

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Better bro-ritos
Going out to eat can cost a fortune, at least for a college student who is already broke. $10/ meal!? No thanks. Take some time to crack a few eggs, brown some meat, and cut vegetables. Learning to cook and cooking at home can save you a ton of money. Not only will you save money, but knowing how to cook could help you impress that special someone.

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Load up on classes with the bros
Here at Iowa State, once you go over full time (12 credits) any additional credits are FREE (minus any course fees that might be associated with the class)! So load up on classes with a few buddies, and maybe even get out a year or semester early and save thousands in tuition.

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Borrow bros books
Books are stupid expensive, and you will probably never use them after you finish the class you bought it for, so why buy and sell back for less? Rent your books for a much lower price, or if you want to own it, buy it used and save lots of money! While on this topic, ask around with people who have taken the class and see if you will actually need the book to pass the class and do well in it.

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Get yoked with the bros
Stay healthy to avoid health center fees, eat right and work out. Your admission to the gyms on campus is already paid for in your Activity and Service fee so why not make the most of it? Try to fight off some illnesses by getting enough sleep, getting exercise and washing your hands during cold and flu season. Depending on your insurance, some heath center costs could be charged to your Ubill. 

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Bro-ber shop now open for business
Haircuts can add up quickly, especially if you are one of those people who like to keep your hair looking fresh. With a haircut costing around $20, you can take that money and buy a pair for clippers, and then use the power of the internet to learn how to cut hair! You and your buddies can keep each other’s hair in check while allowing your wallets to grow!

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Bills before bros?
College can be a great time! However, don’t think college is just a time to take it easy and darty on the weekends. A great way to set your future self up better is to work while in school. Getting that paycheck can help pay for groceries or cover part of rent, so that you don’t have to take out as much in loans. If you do that you'll have an easier time repaying them after you graduate (Yes, you have to repay your student loans! With interest...)

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The mystery of the missing Benjamins
Ever thought you had money and then it turns out that your two-year old nephew has more money than you? Well no need to fear, with a budget that won’t be a problem. Making sure you know how you are spending your money can allow it to work better for you and cut down on unnecessary spending. To top it off, our office offers budgeting sessions to all students for FREE! So give us a call (515)294-0677 or go to ISUappointments to set one up and start spending smart.


Just a side note -Don’t get discouraged if your first budget sucks and you missed your mark. It’ll take some work and constant change to make it work the way you want it to and to be most realistic for you! And if budgeting means more money in your bank for a full tank of gas -celebrate the small victories! 

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Written by: Jacob Barber, peer mentor

Finance and Health : Find your Balance

20 August, 2019

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Written by: Kassadi Hilton, peer mentor 

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Life as a Financial Counseling and Planning Major (and why, in my biased opinion, it is the most underrated major)

06 August, 2019

Meeting new people in college starts the same way every time. You say hi, ask how they are doing, then comes the classic question, “What are you majoring in?” For most, it’s a word or two, and people tend to have heard of your major before. For me, I answer with a sigh and in one breath say, “Financial Counseling and Planning”. This usually triggers one of three responses - 1) a confused look and them saying, “That’s interesting” or “Oh” 2) An awkward smile and a head nod or 3) they just turn around and walk away. I then share that the major is in Human Sciences and not the College of Business. So you might be wondering to yourself, “Why is it such a big deal that you are Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) and not just regular Finance?” The real main reason is pride, but the other smaller reason is what we do is very different.

Finance is geared more towards the business side of money. Ours is looking for people and meeting with them to talk about money. I know how to help them set up financial goals and to achieve said goals while educating them. These goals can be anything from learning how to budget, how to navigate financial aid for school, saving to buy a home, or saving for that sweet sweet retirement in 40+ years. So we are more different from regular finance than you originally thought. However, we are a small group. According to Iowa State’s Office of the Registrar in the Spring of 2019, only 24 students were majoring in FCP. Yes, we have a shortened version of it because I don’t want my lungs to be depleted of oxygen every time I say my major.

So it’s no wonder people are always so confused about what we do and who we are. I would compare us to a unicorn, but I don’t know if unicorns enjoy talking about retirement planning. With a job growth rate from bls.gov of 15% in ten years (2016-2026) this is a fast growing field, in their words, “much faster than average”. Not only is it a fast growing field with a lot of opportunity for jobs, it gives me the opportunity to help others and teach them all at the same time, and to me that’s the best type of job out there! So if by some off chance you happen to meet one of our rare breed –don’t be too startled, maybe say hello or join our ranks. Reach out and see if you can get into the field or major or even just talk with a professional financial advisor. 

Written by : Jacob Barber, Peer Mentor & FCP Major

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7 Tips for Looking Good on a Budget

23 July, 2019

Your physical appearance is usually the first thing people notice about you. As a college student, when you're starting to interview for internships and full time jobs, a great first impression goes a long ways. A lot of experts say looking good on the outside starts from the inside. Remember to drink enough water, eat a balanced diet, and get active for at least 30 minutes a day. Multivitamins are also a good way to make sure you are getting the extra nutrition you need for staying healthy. 

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The first step to looking good on a budget is pretty straightforward -create a budget. Start by looking at your income versus expenses and needs versus wants. Once you have all your expenses and needs paid for, the left over money can help you splurge on the wants. In some months, your expenses will cost more and that means less money to splurge on and you may have to forgo that trip to the salon. However, when you do have left over money, use the tips below to get the most out of your budget.

Clothing

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1. Buy the basics. If you have a collection of basic pieces, like a plain colored shirts, you can wear them with virtually any colored or patterned bottoms. Or you can buy plain colored bottoms and go for fun tops. Basics are necessary in changing up your outfits so you don’t feel like you are constantly wearing the same thing all the time.

2. If you need a specific piece of clothing for a special event or for a job interview, start by looking at reasonably priced department stores (Dillard’s, J.C. Penney’s, Marshalls, and T.J. MAXX.) These stores get name brand clothing items for less which is a good way to get high quality pieces without paying the price.

3. Finally, thrifting is a great way to save money. It can be kind of frustrating to have to dig around racks of clothes that have no order, but it feels like hitting the jack pot when you find something cute for way less.


Beauty

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1. Join reward programs at places you shop frequently for makeup or skincare. Reward programs are free to sign up for and give great benefits. Places from Sephora to CVS all have reward programs that give points that can be redeemed as a discount on later purchases. Also if you join reward programs they tend to send coupons in the mail or via email. Combining the points and coupons can lead to great savings.

2. Only buy what you need. Facemasks that have glitter in them may be screaming “buy me,” but it isn’t need on a daily basis. Splurging every once in a while is fun, but they make as great gifts for holiday or birthday presents.

3. Finally, shop around. Places like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have started carrying makeup and skincare in their stores. Their stores may be hit or miss when it comes to finding what you need, but if you find what you are looking for you will save a lot of money. Ulta and Sephora are known for their variety of beauty products, but they can be pricey. Make sure you buy when they have a sale or if when you have redeemable rewards points.

 

Written by: Lillie Perry, Peer Mentor

Staff Spotlight : Meet Jennifer Schroeder!

23 July, 2019

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