SMMC News & Events Blog

blog navigation

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

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Changes to Financial Coaching

    We're restructuring our services to better meet the needs of our stakeholders: students, their families, and employees across the University of Illinois System. Read about what that means for financial coaching!

  • Completing the FAFSA

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA, is “the largest source of financial aid to pay for college”. Read about important dates, tips & reminders for filing.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Coronavirus Challenges Our Financial Security with Image of Empty Wallet

    Coronavirus Challenges Our Financial Security

    We have defined a few financial terms to make it easier to stay up-to-date on how COVID-19 is impacting our finances.

  • COVID-19 Update: Changes to SMMC Services

    All financial coaching appointments will be conducted via zoom, and no in-person events or presentations will be available through SMMC until further notice. Read on for details.

  • Defeat the Debt Monster

    Students across the University of Illinois System are needed to Defeat the Debt Monster between October 1 – October 29 for a chance to win one of three $25 gift cards.

    Discover ways to defeat your personal debt monster!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Fall 2019 Understand Your Refund Quiz

    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.

  • Finding Funding Opportunities: Insights From a Current PhD Student

    Funding is one of the biggest factors in determining what kind of financial decisions you make as a graduate student. Taking on federal student loans, using your employment to fund your degree, using your savings, getting help from family members, etc. We all want to make decisions that will benefit us most--and while the above are all good options depending on your individual situation, nothing beats “free money” like fellowships, assistantships, grants and scholarships. 

  • 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?

  • 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. 

  • Crow

    Friday the 13th! Financial Planning to Avoid Unlucky Losses

    Friday the 13th is often considered an unlucky day, but let's talk about how to improve your luck with personal finance!

  • 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.

  • Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff Webinar Series

    Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinars

    The 2020-2021 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff annual webinar series schedule is out. Register today and #GetSavvy.

  • Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinar Series

    The 2018-2019 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff annual webinar series schedule is out. Register today and #GetSavvy.

  • Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinar Series

    The 2019-2020 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff annual webinar series schedule is out. Register today and #GetSavvy.

  • Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinar Series (Spring 2020)

    The Spring 2020 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff webinar series schedule is out. Register today and #GetSavvy.

  • 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.

  • Good Food, Good Mood

    Is having to find consistent, affordable food always putting you in a bad mood?  Read our article about ways to fight food insecurity to learn of resources that can help.

  • 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.

  • How to Add Digital Badges to LinkedIn

    If you have a digital badge from the University of Illinois Digital Badges Program, you may have noticed that there's a new backpack system to use. Since the transition from Mozilla Backpack to Badgr Backpack, there's a new way to create collections that can be placed on LinkedIn. 

    We created a tutorial to help you display your badges on LinkedIn after you've transitioned to using Badgr.

  • How to Support Small Businesses During COVID-19

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

  • Wellness While Virtual Title over smoothie and fruit ingredients

    How to Support Wellness While Virtual

    Learn ways to enhance your overall wellness in a virtual environment. 

  • 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.

  • International Student Financial Wellness Survey

    The University of Illinois Student Money Management Center developed a survey specifically for international students to learn about your unique financial struggles and habits because of how important you are to the community and enriching diversity for all three of our universities in the University of Illinois System. 

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Know What You Owe Challenge

    Over 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.

  • 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.

  • Know What You Owe Challenge

    Over 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.

  • Pointer finger with tiny graduation cap on it

    Know What You Owe Challenge - Fall 2021

    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 November 15 - December 15, 2021.

  • 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.

  • Mobile Wallets: Know the Risks & Rewards

    Mobile wallets are a digital way to keep your financial tools and resources in your mobile device. Learn more about the risks & rewards of mobile wallets so you can best protect your hard-earned money.

  • My Account is in Collections! Now What?

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

  • Overcoming Spending Temptations

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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.

  • 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.