SMMC News & Events Blog

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This blog highlights news, events, and informative articles on personal finance from University of Illinois System's Student Money Management Center. Feel free to navigate to different categories with the list of topics on the right or search for a specific topic next to the view all link below.

blog posts

  • University of Illinois Saves 2019

    (Re)pledge a savings goal for UISAVES 2019!

  • How to Support Small Businesses During COVID-19

    Here are ways you can help support small businesses during COVID-19.

  • Travel Planning Templates

    Getting excited to travel? You can use these templates to help get your planning started for your next trip!

  • My Account is in Collections! Now What?

    Tips to help you cope with & resolve accounts in collections.

  • Collection of Several Hundred Dollar Bill Bundles in US Currency

    How do people with vision impairments manage money?

    Vision impairments can complicate how people manage their money. Learn about ways that people with reduced vision or blindness can be empowered to navigate finances on their own.

  • Tackling Taxes Presentation Title Slide

    Tackling Taxes - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Taxes are complicated, whether you’re a first time filer or have been filing for years. How do you know if you’re required to file? What are deductions and credits? Why are there so many forms, and what are they for? Join us as we walk you through the basics of taxes and provide resources to help you file for free.

  • 4 college students studying at a table together

    Podcast: Saving for College with a 529 Savings Plan

    Episode 11 of Making Cents of Money, Saving for College with a 529 Savings Plan, explored 529 plans, including how they funciton, a bit on their history, and how they differ from other savings vehicles. Listen to special guests, Fernando Diaz and John MItchell, from the Illinois Treasurer's Office to learn more about options in Illinois.

  • UIUC - Emergency Grants Available for Graduate Students

    The application period is now open for HEERF III COVID-19 Emergency Grants for graduate students at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

  • Podcast: The Anti-Predatory Lending Database

    Episode 7 of Making Cents of Money, The Anti-Predatory Lending Database, discusses predatory lending and the Anti-Predatory Lending Database (APLD) in Illinois. Katie Liss from IDFPR Division of Banking breaks down predatory lending in mortgages and how the APLD helps mitigate some predatory lending practices.

  • Podcast: Banked or Unbanked - Choosing Financial Services for You

    Episode 2 of Making Cents of Money, Banked or Unbanked - Choosing Financial Services for You, is all about defining unbanked/underbanked, the differences between banks & credit unions, and how to choose the right financial institution for you. Learn from Illinois' Director of Banking, Chasse Rehwinkel, and Director of Financial Institutions, Francisco Menchaca.

  • Funding New Year's Festivities

    The best way to manage your finances on New Year’s Eve is to plan ahead and set a defined budget you are comfortable with. Read more tips to save while celebrating.

  • IOUs: There's an App for That!

    Have you heard of Venmo? Squarecash? These are just a few of the apps that allow you to send money to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  From a convenience standpoint, these advances are amazing—but what are the costs of convenience?

  • Keyboard and hands with images of social media icons placed above keyboard with text: #SMMCSharingIsCaring Contest

    #SMMCSharingIsCaring Contest

    Share and interact with #SMMCSharingIsCaring tagged posts from SMMC on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook between April 5 - 16, 2021, to get entered to win one of 10+ financial wellness kits in honor of National Financial Capability Month.

  • Podcast: Financial Education and Financial Literacy

    Episode 9 of Making Cents of Money, Financial Education and Financial Literacy, reviewed the state of financial literacy in the United States, programs for pre-K through high school students, and resources to help parents and teachers support learning about finances in a variety of ways.

  • Podcast: Time to Travel!

    In episode 21 of Making Cents of Money, Time to Travel!, Nikki, Andrea, and Jake discuss travel aspirations, goals, and tips for planning a trip to help you make your next dream vacation a reality.

  • Podcast: Money Personalities & Financial Well-being

    In episode 23 of Making Cents of Money, Money Personalities & Financial Well-being, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki discuss several financial personality inventories and the CFPB's financial well-being scale as tools to better understand financial values, habits, and internal feelings around money.

  • Expect the Unexpected: Saving For Emergencies

    Planning for the unexpected can ensure that you are able to weather a financial hardship should you lose your job, have a car repair, or any other unplanned expense. By having savings set aside for emergencies, you decrease the need to rely on credit cards or loans to cover emergency situations. Your college years can be an ideal time to create and build your emergency savings.

  • Podcast: Investing Basics

    Episode 13 of Making Cents of Money, Investing Basics, covered common terms and concepts related to investing in the stock market in preparation for our Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar, Investing Basics, on 3/10. 

  • Podcast: Understanding Credit

    Episode 5 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding Credit, explores the complicated world of credit to help demystify things like scores, reports, and credit management.

  • Podcast: Fending Off Fraud

    Episode 6 of Making Cents of Money, Fending Off Fraud, discusses what you need to know about the different types of fraud scamers use (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, how to prevent fraud, and what to do if you become a victim.

  • Student Loan Repayment - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    There are 8 repayment plans for federal student loans, 10 federal student loan servicers, and an abundance of terms, tools, and tips to remember to manage federal, institutional, and private student loans. Watch our Student Loan Repayment webinar recording to learn about your options as a borrower.

  • Podcast: Taxes

    Episode 10 of Making Cents of Money, Taxes, discussed common terms, forms, and considerations for filing taxes in preparation for our Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar, Tackling Taxes, on 1/27. 

  • "Short-selling" text in white over image of two people's hands over a table with a stack of papers and glasses on top of it.

    Podcast: Short-selling

    Episode 14 of Making Cents of Money, Short-selling, allowed us to interview Chasse Rehwinkel about the investing method that's become so popular in the media over the past few months. 

  • keychain in the shape of a house with keys on it. text says "Real Estate"

    Podcast: Real Estate

    Episode 17 of Making Cents of Money, Real Estate, explains the world of real estate professions and what to consider when hiring professionals to help you buy or manage a home or other real estate property!

  • Woman sitting in car smiling and holding up a car key

    Podcast: Buying a Car!

    In episode 22 of Making Cents of Money, Buying a Car!, Nikki, Andrea, and Jake explain the true costs of car ownership as well as the terms and tools to know about before you buy your next vehicle.

  • Podcast: Choosing a Financial Professional

    In episode 25 of Making Cents of Money, Choosing a Financial Professional, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki talk to Kathy Sweedler from University of Illinois Extension about type of financial professionals, credentials, and how to choose one that best meets your needs.

  • Investing Basics - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Investing - it's not for the faint of heart, because investing in the stock market involves risk. Knowing and understanding terminology, fees, types of professionals, as well as investment methods can be a whirlwind of terms and confusing concepts. Learn the basics and have a better understanding on how investing works!

  • Conscious Credit text on image of man on bench with headphones in, tablet in one hand and credit card in the other

    Podcast: Conscious Credit

    Episode 15 of Making Cents of Money, Conscious Credit, demystifies parts of the credit system in the United States thanks to our guests, Camaya Wallace Bechard, from University of Illinois Extension, and Natalie Daniels, from DePaul University. 

  • Podcast: Cryptocurrencies

    In episode 24 of Making Cents of Money, Cryptocurrencies, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki talk to Professor Lamont Black from DePaul University about cryptocurrencies, discussing everything from the blockchain technology behind them to their utility in the world of fintech.

  • Preparing for Retirement with pink piggy bank smiling

    Podcast: Preparing for Retirement

    Episode 12 of Making Cents of Money, Preparing for Retirement, discussed the retirement savings crisis, the different types of retirement plans that exist, and the Secure Choice plan in Illinois. Listen to special guest, Courtney Eccles, from the Illinois Treasurer's Office to learn more about the Secure Choice program for small businesses in Illinois.

  • Exit Counseling is Live for Institutional Student Loan Borrowers

    If you borrowed institutional loans to pay for school and are graduating or leaving school soon, don't forget to complete your Exit Counseling to avoid a transcript hold!

  • Podcast: Technology and Your Money

    Episode 3 of Making Cents of Money, Technology and Your Money, explores how financial technologies are evolving and what that means for keeping our money safe.

  • Podcast: Preventing Identity Theft

    Episode 4 of Making Cents of Money, Preventing Identity Theft, looks at identity theft and fraud statistics as well as how we can protect our money from potential theft.

  • Image of woman in lab coat with hijab and stethoscope and text: "Professional Licensure in Illinois"

    Podcast: Professional Licensure in Illinois

    Episode 18 of Making Cents of Money, Professional Licensure in Illinois, helps us understand the scope of professional licensing in Illinois across many different industries and some protections in place for consumers.

  • Podcast: Inflation

    In episode 30 of Making Cents of Money, Inflation, Jake, Nikki, and Andrea discuss what inflation is as one of many metrics to gauge how an economy is doing and how it impacts our spending power as consumers.

  • Podcast: Financial Security and Stress

    In episode 31 of Making Cents of Money, Financial Security and Stress, Andrea, Nikki, and Jake talk about statistics related to both financial security and stress and tips to deal with them.

  • Podcast: Holiday Savings Tips and New Year's Goals

    Episode 8 of Making Cents of Money, Holiday Savings Tips and New Year's Goals, explored tips to help prepare for a less stressful holiday season over the coming year as well as ways to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, be it financial or otherwise.

  • Podcast: Emergency Funds

    In episode 26 of Making Cents of Money, Emergency Funds, Jake, Nikki, and Andrea discuss the value of building emergency funds and a few ways to get started.

  • Podcast: Student Loan Update

    In episode 27 of Making Cents of Money, Student Loan Update, Jake and Nikki gave a quick update on the state of federal student loans.

  • Podcast: Tackling Insurance! (Part 1)

    In episode 28 of Making Cents of Money, Tackling Insurance! (Part 1), Deputy Director of Consumer Education & Protection at the Illinois Department of Insurance, Patrice Dziire, talked to us about auto, home, renters, and life insurance. 

  • Title slide for How to Save Money on Food with icons of groceries like milk, corn, cans, eggs, etc.

    Save Money on Food - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    At the end of a busy day, when you’re hungry and tired, do you go home knowing you’re all set to prepare a tasty, healthy dinner?  Are you happy with how much money you spend on food? Would you like to learn some tricks for eating well for less money?  If any of these questions resonate with you, then How to Save on Food is the educational opportunity for you!

  • close up of people shaking hands with "Reintroductions" text

    Podcast: Reintroductions

    Episode 19 of Making Cents of Money, Reintroductions, lets us learn more about one of the co-hosts, Jake Hamilton, the history behind the podcast, and what's in store for the future of this audio teaching medium.

  • Leveraging FinTech - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about new financial technologies as well as considerations and protections that may be helpful in choosing fintech for navigating your financial journey.

  • UIC - U-PASS Program Opt-Out Deadline is September 12

    UIC students have the option to opt-out of the CTA U-PASS program before September 12, 2021 at 11:59 PM. 

  • Identity Theft & Fraud - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Find out how to protect yourself from fraud, recognize identity theft, and what to do if you're affected with this webinar recording from September 15, 2021.

  • What's Your Job Worth? - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Explore with us how job benefits can add up to big dollars. Walk into your new job ready to make informed choices that can significantly increase your net worth. 

  • Podcast: Tackling Insurance! (Part 2)

    In episode 29 of Making Cents of Money, Tackling Insurance! (Part 2), Nikki and Jake talked with Laura Pellikan from the Illinois Department of Insurance about the basics of health insurance and ways you can get covered.

  • Conscious Credit - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    In the ever-changing credit market, how do you reconcile what you hear about credit to find accurate, credible information to help you make ethical and conscious borrowing decisions? This webinar explored the role of a responsible borrower, myths and facts about credit, and how building a positive credit profile can have lasting impacts on your overall financial well-being.

  • Conscious Consumerism - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn how you can align your own behaviors with your personal values and goals with this webinar recording from November 10, 2021.