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SMMC News & Events Blog
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

  • Financial Literacy Around the World

    Financial education influences financial literacy and financial well-being around the world. This article highlights some statistics on financial literacy around the world, financial inclusion as well as financial resilience.

  • 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.

  • Factors Influencing Financial Knowledge

    This article highlights some of the factors that influence financial knowledge, factors that affect one's appreciation of financial concepts, habits, and decisions.

  • Cultural Influences (Socialization) on Financial Literacy and Habits

    This is the final article in the series for Financial Literacy Month. The article focuses on how cultural influences (socialization) affect financial literacy and habits.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Overcoming Spending Temptations

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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Virtual Financial Education title over woman sitting cross-legged with laptop

    Virtual Financial Education

    We put together a list of ways you can enhance your financial knowledge through virtual means as well as a few tips if you're teaching online for the first time.

  • 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.

  • Financial Socialization and Influences of K-12 Financial Education on Adult Financial Decisions

    Financial socialization, as well as formal financial education in the early stages of life, do influence adult attitudes, habits, and decisions concerning money. Looking at what state legislation exists in promoting K-12 financial education as well as resources for policymakers and parents in providing spaces for early exposure to financial education may help.

  • 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 function, 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.

  • Top 5 Financial Reminders for International Students

    Tuition & fees will be due before you know it, so here are the top 5 financial reminders for International Students.

  • UISAVES Week 1: Goal-setting

    A strong foundation to any financial plan are goals. Set a goal with #UISAVES to connect with resources to help.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • piggy bank with grad cap on money

    Podcast: Paying for College with Scholarships

    In episode 52 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk to special guest, Kara Holloway, Director of Scholarships at UIC, about paying for college with scholarships.

  • UISAVES Week 2: Small Amounts Add Up

    An important part of building a savings habit is understanding how small amounts add up. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Building Wealth After Graduation

    Podcast: Building Wealth After Graduation

    In episode 80 of Making Cents of Money, Building Wealth After Graduation, Donovan Sanchez returns to talk about how to navigate juggling multiple goals during the transition to life after college.

  • airplane in sky over palm trees

    Podcast: Revisiting Travel

    In episode 53 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea & Nikki discuss a few updates to consider when traveling before re-airing the Time to Travel podcast from July 2021.

  • 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. 

  • flatlay of stethescope, mobile phone, and clipboard with "Federal Student Loan Forgiveness" text

    Podcast: Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

    In episode 48 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the differences between the federal student loan cancellation in Biden-Harris Administration's Student Debt Relief Plan and the temporary Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver that has a quickly approaching deadline of October 31st.

  • 2 women in a shop looking at an item together with white text: "Conscious Consumerism"

    Podcast: Conscious Consumerism

    In episode 59 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki discuss the meaning of conscious consumerism and how aligning your spending with your values can make an impact.

  • Podcast: Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals

    In episode 75 of Making Cents of Money, Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals, Nikki and Andrea discussed several strategies for setting, prioritizing, and re-prioritizing financial goals... just in time for the new year! 

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • Fintech and Digital Assets text on image of hands holding phone with money signs above it

    Podcast: Fintech and Digital Assets

    In episode 56 of Making Cents of Money, David DeCarlo, IDFPR's Regulatory Innovation Officer, discussed what consumers should know about digital assets and regulation in this new era of fintech.

  • UISAVES Week 3: Building Financial Habits

    The reality of personal finance is that it is personal and requires behavior change. Learn ways to make behavior changes easier to accomplish your goals.

  • Top of graduation cap with money and words overlaid that say "Return to Repayment UPDATE"

    Podcast: Return to Repayment (Student Loans Update)

    In episode 60 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the current status of federal student loans and how to prepare for the return to repayment which is expected in the next few months.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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: 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.

  • Image of women with colored powder on them for Diwali with text that reads "Happy International Women's Day"

    Podcast: Happy International Women's Day!

    In episode 58 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed SMMC's very own Ramya Vaidyanathan about her experience providing financial education to women in India.

  • Saving Up for a Side Hustle

    To complement our Side Hustles & Small Businesses webinar from last fall, we wanted to share some tips on saving up for starting a small business.

  • 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.

  • Wealth Building as a Balancing Act text over image of hand holding a balanced scale

    Podcast: Wealth Building as a Balancing Act

    In episode 55 of Making Cents of Money, Donovan Sanchez from University of Illinois' Financial Planning program talks about wealth building as a balancing act.

  • White piggy bank with text: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    Podcast: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    In episode 57 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed Alan Sorcher and Anne McKinley from the US Securities and Exchange Commission on strategic ways to approach investing to build wealth.

  • phone with credit score on screen & "Credit Scores" text

    Podcast: Credit Scores

    In episode 51 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea discuss some of the ins and outs of credit scores, the credit ecosystem, and building credit to your advantage.

  • Man in front of chalkboard with "start up" written on it & text: Becoming an Entrepreneur

    Podcast: Becoming an Entrepreneur!

    In episode 50 of Making Cents of Money, Steve Bob from UIC Entrepreneurial Support Program joins Andrea and Nikki to discuss what to think about when it comes to starting your own business.

  • Podcast: Understanding FAFSA

    In episode 72 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding FAFSA, Beth Groves, Professional Development Specialist from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) talks about major changes to the FAFSA, delays, and its importance for anyone considering post-secondary education.

  • My Account is in Collections! Now What?

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

  • Man smiling while holding paycheck. White text reads "Understanding Your Paycheck"

    Podcast: Understanding Your Paycheck

    In episode 69 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding Your Paycheck, Nikki and Andrea talk about something you're bound to love: your paycheck!

  • Podcast: Establishing a Vision for Your Life

    In episode 33 of Making Cents of Money, Establishing a Vision for Your Life, Andrea, Nikki, and Jake talk to Donovan Sanchez, CFP and instructor of financial planning at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign about making meaningful money choices that allow you to live life now and make progress towards the future.