What is Financial Wellness?

“Financial wellness involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Money plays a crucial role in our lives, and it can impact your health as well as academic performance.”

Student Health and Counseling Services, UC Davis

You can foster your financial wellness by:

  • Starting with small changes that will add up over time (i.e. make your own coffee rather than buying it).
  • Utilizing resources to expand your budget like CalFresh and other student discounts.
  • Understanding your student loans.
  • Starting a savings account – add a small monthly automatic payment, if possible.
  • Identifying and addressing any financial problems before they start.
  • Planning ahead and setting budget goals.
  • Making a list or reviewing your bank account of all purchases in one week.
  • Writing a list before you go shopping.
  • Asking yourself “do I really need this?” before an unplanned purchase.

Money Made Easy: A Financial Wellness Cheat Sheet for College Students

Any budget is better than no budget.

Does creating a budget sound like a chore? Make it easy on yourself. Choose a monthly limit. Keep track of earning and spending in your head.

A penny saved is a penny earned. Really.

The less money you spend, the more money you’ll have when you need it. Take advantage of free events and student discounts.

Pay yourself first.

Make saving a priority by paying yourself just like you’d pay your bills. Experts suggest 20% of each paycheck. Put it in a savings account.

Don’t work too much.

Don’t let your job hurt your grades. You’re in school to learn. So learn.

Start an emergency fund.

Things happen. Having money to pay for unexpected costs makes them less terrible.

Look at job salaries.

Find jobs that hire people with the degree you’re getting. See how much they pay. Reconsider the art major? No? Rock on.

Don’t borrow more than you expect to make.

If your student loan balance stays below your expected annual salary after graduation, you should be OK. This keeps your payments under 15% of your take-home pay. If not, return to #6.

Finish school and finish on time.

Debt with no degree is a losing situation. And taking longer to finish means more loans and more interest on earlier borrowing. Don’t do it. You got this.

Helpful Financial Resources



  • Easily connect all your accounts - From cash and credit to loans and investments
  • Helps you stay on top of your accounts, bills, and subscriptions. Get notified when your subscription costs increase and when bills are due
  • Create a manageable budget automatically based on your income
  • Through mint, check out this loan repayment calculator.
  • Smart About Money

    SAM is a free unbiased resource where you can find in-depth personal finance courses, articles, calculators and tips to help you manage your money.


    National Endowment for Financial Education

    NEFE is a nonprofit foundation that provides financial education and tools for people at all stages of life.


    Napkin Finance

    Introduce yourself to important financial topics.