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

  • 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. 

  • woman drinking coffee and smiling at a computer with her hand in the air

    Understand Your Refund - Fall 2021

    Hundreds of students end up unable to register every semester because they owe money back to the university, even after receiving a refund. Learn how to avoid being one of them.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • Leveraging FinTech - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    From mobile banking to blockchain, financial technology continues to provide new opportunities for consumers to spend, save, and share their money. We discuss some of the new technologies that have become more popular in recent years as well as considerations and protections that may be helpful in choosing what fintech would work best for helping you navigate your financial journey.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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.

  • Travel Planning Templates

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

  • Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff Webinar Series

    Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinars for 2021-2022

    The 2021-2022 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff annual webinar series schedule is out. Register today and #GetSavvy.

  • Podcast: Budgeting

    In episode 20 of Making Cents of Money, Budgeting, Nikki, Andrea, and Jake cover a few of the most popular budgeting (or spending plan, if you prefer) methods to help you think about building a financial plan.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Sky with clouds above Illini Union roof at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with text: Job Opening for UIUC Grad Student

    SMMC Grad Hourly Job Opening at UIUC

    Are you looking for an opportunity to enhance your professional skills while in school as well as your knowledge of personal finance? University Bursar's Student Money Management Center has an open position at Urbana!

    Apply to be an SMMC Support Specialist!

  • 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.

  • Man with over the ear headphones around his neck studying on a laptop. White text reads: Student Loans

    Podcast: Student Loans

    Episode 16 of Making Cents of Money, Student Loans, lays out some student loan statistics, considerations, and protections for borrowers in preparation for our webinar on Student Loan Repayment tomorrow!

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Pointer finger with tiny graduation cap on it

    Know What You Owe Challenge

    About half of students at the University of Illinois take out loans to fund their degrees. Make sure you're not surprised by the amount of student loans you have taken out when you graduate by taking the Know What You Owe Challenge which runs April 1 - May 1, 2021.

  • Image of hand between domino-style blocks - some standing up, others already laying down

    Practicing Self-Advocacy in Your Financial, Professional and Social Life

    Self-advocacy is an important skill to practice, particularly right now. Whether it's getting the resources you need to succeed in school or setting boundaries with your loved ones so you can focus on your own well-being, it's important to communicate with others about your needs, wants, and struggles throughout your life.

  • "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. 

  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Two silhouetted people standing in front of a sunrise.

    Seasonal Themes: Get More Done with a Mindset Shift

    Has Your New Year's Resolution Failed? Try a Seasonal Theme!

  • woman drinking coffee and smiling at a computer with her hand in the air

    Understand Your Refund - Spring 2021

    Hundreds of students end up unable to register every semester because they owe money back to the university, even after receiving a refund. Learn how to avoid being one of them.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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: 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: 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: 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.

  • Pair of glasses with "Focus Your spending with Lists" laid over the image

    Focus Your Spending with Lists

    Lists are helpful for all kinds of things, but how can they help you focus your spending?

  • Overcoming Spending Temptations

    Get some idea starters on how to overcome spending temptations, just in time for the shopping season! 

  • Pointer finger with tiny graduation cap on it

    Know What You Owe Challenge

    About half of students at the University of Illinois take out loans to fund their degrees. Make sure you're not surprised by the amount of student loans you have taken out when you graduate by taking the Know What You Owe Challenge.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Setting Goals for Your Well-being

    Explore how Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the dimensions of well-being can help you set, prioritize, and manage your SMART goals.

  • 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.

  • Budget Hacks Presentation Title Slide with brain icon

    Budget Hacks - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Money can be messy - it's not just about numbers, calculators and excel sheets. If you're looking for new ways to manage your money mess, we have the budget hacks for you! Learn how to take what we know about human behavior and choices to build better financial habits.

  • 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.

  • Chair with mortarboard / graduation cap hanging over the edge of the top of the chair with the words "6 Considerations for Finding Funding During COVID-19

    6 Considerations for Finding Funding During COVID-19

    Finding money for your education, especially grad school, can be more difficult now. Read the 6 considerations for finding funding during COVID-19 to learn about searching for fellowships. 

  • 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!

  • Empty grocery store shelves

    Food Insecurity Takes on New Meaning in 2020

    As Hunger Action Month comes to a close, we're reflect on how food insecurity has looked different in 2020 than in previous years. 

  • 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.

  • Person doing yoga on a beach

    The 5 C's: A Guide to Self-Care on a Budget

    We put together a few tips in an effort to add to your ideas and/or motivate you to start practicing self-care/self-love on a budget!