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.
Education

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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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: 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.

  • Podcast Partnership Launching with Illinois Division of Financial & Professional Regulation!

    A new podcast launched today, Making Cents of Money, co-hosted by our very own Andrea Pellegrini and Illinois Division of Financial & Professional Regulation's Nikki Giancola-Shanks!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • "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. 

  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Summer 2020 #UIMoney Tweet Chat Series

    SMMC is hosting several tweet chats this summer to help our students, alumni, and friends prepare for a variety of financial transitions during a time filled with uncertainty.