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Love Your Money This Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of the year again, the time of chocolate, jewelry, flowers, a night out on the town, and an empty wallet. On average, Americans will spend an estimated $143.56, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That number is for just one single day! Although with the help of Powercat Financial and a little thrifty spending you can still spoil your significant other, best friend, or yourself without breaking the bank.

Create a Budget

One of the very first things you should do before any holiday, or any major purchases, is to create a budget. It’s important to know what your spending limit is for any gifts or outings you may have in mind. The counselors at Powercat Financial would love to sit down with you to assist you in creating a budget that works for you.

Shopping for Those Savings

Take your time to find the best deals out there. If you invest your time into looking for deals, you can often times discover discounted gifts that fit into your budget. Be on the lookout for those Valentines deals as the day gets closer. Here are some deals we have already seen:

  • Target: Right now you can save $5 when you spend $20 or more on Valentines candy using in-store pickup. Not only do you save money, but they will do the shopping for you, all you have to do is pick it up.
  • Groupon: This e-commerce marketplace offers a variety of goods and services at a discount that you could enjoy with your partner. Depending on your location, there are marked down flowers, portraits, restaurants and more for you to pick from.
  • Amazon: For easy searching, Amazon provides a category of gifts under $30 specifically for Valentine’s so that you don’t have to spend big to have a big heart this Valentine’s Day.
  • AMC Movie Theater: Celebrate a few days earlier this year by seeing a movie at AMC theaters for $5 each when becoming a Stubs rewards member. Their Tuesday Ticket Savings will provide you with a budget-friendly night filled with fun.

Dinner Together at Home

Staying in for dinner has always been a cheaper option than going out. According to Forbes, on average it is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home. So this year, surprise your partner with a home-cooked meal that has your personal touch and will be sure to impress. Here are some restaurant quality dishes you can make from home that will be sure to please.

DIY Gifts

Often times those thoughtful gifts that you put time and effort into can mean more to your partner than expensive gifts. For example, a homemade card can be more personable and touching than store bought. For some extra help with that DIY card, K-State Student Union is offering a FREE flower, a chance to decorate a cookie, and to make your over Valentine’s Day card on Wednesday, February 13th from 1-3pm. Just stop by the Unions first floor concourse and visit UPC’s table.

Credit Card Rewards

If purchasing something expensive such as jewelry is on your to-do list this year, figure out if your credit card offers benefits, like rewards, before you pay. You could earn cash back, reward points, or purchase protection that saves you money at the end of the day.

Early or Belated Valentines

Celebrate early this year by attending our Love and Money workshop on February 11th at 6:30 pm in Union 227! If you are currently thinking about, or have already made the step to combining your finances with your partner, then this presentation is for you. This early Valentine’s date even comes equipped with free dessert! K-State students should make sure to RSVP to this event at https://powercatfinancial.wufoo.com/forms/s1n3h0ey0pa8x3c/ to guarantee yourself a night full of fun and relationship building.

Another quick and easy way to save money this year would to postpone the celebration. Most stores discount their candy the day after, meaning you get the same goodies at a reduced price. This leaves patient shoppers with a satisfied sweet tooth and more money in the bank.

To request your free appointment, visit our website at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial.

Emma Drees

Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial

www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial

 

 

References

https://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/photos/valentines-day-dinner-recipes

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/retail/2018/02/04/consumers-show-valentines-day-love-with-near-record-spending-forecast/110036926/

https://www.kstateupc.com/our-events/2019/2/13/valentines-day-sweets-for-the-sweet

https://www.forbes.com/sites/priceonomics/2018/07/10/heres-how-much-money-do-you-save-by-cooking-at-home/#46c4306a35e5

PICTURE https://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T063-C032-S014-how-to-have-a-happy-valentine-s-day-for-less.html

“You bought WHAT?!” A closer look at financial transparency

               It is a wonderful thing to have love. It is also a wonderful thing to have some money saved up and put away. But what happens when you combine the two? It is no secret that money can be a huge cause of conflict in most couple relationships. The jokes in the TV shows only reflect what researchers already know: Money arguments are very common in couple relationships.

If you and a partner are thinking about, or have already made, the leap into combining your finances, you may already have seen the beginnings of awkward conversations, some resentment about a partner’s debt, or challenges with knowing what the best ways are to merge your finances. Powercat Financial to the rescue!

On February 11th at 6:30 pm in Union 227, we will be hosting our annual “Love and Money” workshop where we go over the basics of merging finances and managing financial conflict in relationships. Emily Koochel, a PhD student who studies finances in marriage and Nate Astle, a Masters student who studies financial therapy, will be presenting on this taboo topic of money. You can expect an engaging presentation, opportunities to practice some communication skills, and even some free dessert for this date night.

Several studies show the impact of being honest with your money situation with your partner. Financial transparency, or honesty, has been linked to increased marital satisfaction, increased shared goals and values, and positive communication patterns (Koochel, 2017). Not only does sharing your finances increase your marital satisfaction, not doing so has some dangers of its own. The Financial Therapy Association also has research indicating as many as 27% of couples have admitted to keeping a financial secret from their partner (Jeanfreau, Noguchi, Mong, & Stadthagen, 2018). However, couples who create and review their budgets and plans together increase their financial communication and marital satisfaction (Jeanfreau et al., 2018).

So hurry and RSVP for our “Love and Money” event where you and your partner can learn some great skills, have fun, and make your relationship better. RSVPs are mandatory! Both partners can come, even if only one is a student. RSVP here:

https://powercatfinancial.wufoo.com/forms/s1n3h0ey0pa8x3c/

See you there!

Sources:

Jeanfreau, M., Noguchi, K., Mong, M. D., & Stadthagen, H. (2018). Financial Infidelity in Couple Relationships. Journal of Financial Therapy, 9 (1) 2. https://doi.org/10.4148/1944-9771.1159

Koochel, Emily. (2017). Financial Transparency: A Scale Development Study.

Jodi’s Corner: It’s the beginning of a new year and it’s out with the old and in with the new!

From 2012 through 2018, Kansas State University partnered with American Student Assistance (ASA) to provide their Saltmoney.org (“Salt”) online financial tool as a resource to K-State students and alumni. ASA retired the Salt platform on December 31, 2018, thus Saltmoney accounts are no longer available.

Powercat Financial continues to offer all of its other suite of financial services to current students as it has for the past 10 years! A free online financial tool called CashCourse.org is available as an alternative to Salt and is found within the Powercat Financial list of available course at http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/programs/.

To encourage students to check out the CashCourse.org financial tool there is a new “Get Money Savvy With CashCourse” badge in K-State 360. With this new badge, students will obtain financial skills training on a variety of essential life skills via free resources offered in the online financial tool at CashCourse.org. Plus all students who complete this new badge by April 15, 2019, will be entered into a drawing for a $200 gift card. Students may learn more about our K-State 360 badges at http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/360/.

All of the valuable financial resources offered by Powercat Financial are still on our website at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial. Student loan servicers or lenders may also be contacted for any specific student loan support issues, along with K-State’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. Current K-State students on the Manhattan campus and Global Campus may continue to seek financial education from Powercat Financial and request free individual financial counseling sessions via k-state.edu/powercatfinancial. Campus student groups and classes may also continue to request financial workshops and presentations from Powercat Financial via the online form at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/services/presentations.

Our Powercat Financial blog followers may also want to check out the blog by CashCourse creator NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education) found at https://www.onyourown.org/. The blog has a fresh new look that aims to provide young adults with an engaging financial education experience.

Powercat Financial looks forwarding to helping all student achieve their financial goals in 2019! Happy New Year!

To request your free appointment, visit our website at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial.

Jodi Kaus, JD, CTFA
Director
Powercat Financial
powercatfinancial@ksu.edu

 

Watch that Holiday Spending!

The holidays are an especially fun time of the year. Family and friends come together for food, laughter and of course gifts. With all this fun comes expenses and finding gifts for all the ones you love can be a tall task. Luckily, Powercat Financial is here to help you manage the holidays.

  • Budget: It’s important to know your total spending limit. This includes gifts, decorations, food and everything in between. Check out the Holiday Budget Worksheet available here for help creating your holiday budget. Additionally, visit our blog posted November 5th here for more information.
  • Utilize shopping websites: Shop online retailers such as www.overstock.com and retailmenot.com to find deals that the in-store locations may not offer. A little research and some price comparison can go a long way.
  • Create extra income: Working odd jobs over the holiday break can create extra income to help you afford the holidays. Offering to do yard work or shovel snow, babysit, or tutoring can make a major impact on your holiday budget.
  • Start early: Find deals on the gifts you want by giving yourself the gift of time and preparing for the holiday season early.

The holidays are a stressful enough time as is. Use the tips listed above and come meet with us at Powercat Financial to make the holiday season a little less stressful and a lot more fun. To request an appointment, visit our website at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial.

Will Orth

Graduate Assistant

Powercat Financial

K-State Student Union, Third Floor

785-532-2889

www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial

Jodi’s Corner: Financial Myth Busters and FAQs

Did You Know?

• You can check your own credit report as much as you’d like and it does not affect your score. You get 3 free credit reports, 1 from each of the 3 credit bureaus each 12 months, at www.annualcreditreport.com.

• If you use more than 20-30% of your credit limit, it hurts your credit score.

• If your credit union is part of the shared branching network (also known as CU Service Centers), you can complete most routine transactions from anywhere, including: make deposits at any credit union that’s part of the network, or withdraw cash from a teller.

• If you originally declined all or part of your student loans, you can usually contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance and ask them to reinstate the loans should you need to accept them later in the school year.

• You can complete the FAFSA up to the end of the school year for the current academic year BUT you should submit early by your school’s priority date to be consider for the limited type of aid.

• Paying the interest that is accumulating now on your unsubsidized loans, via your student loan servicer, will prevent it from being capitalized and added to the principle of your loan at the end of your 6 month grace period.

• A store can run your debit card as a credit transaction so that you can received the additional consumer protection offered credit cards, but the funds are still deducted from your current checking account balance.

• Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a legitimate federal student loan forgiveness program still available for federal direct student loans when a borrower works fulltime in qualified nonprofit or government employment while making qualified payments for a total of 120 months (and it does not have to be a consecutive 120 months). Learn more at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

• Most employers will let you “Pay Yourself First” and automate your savings by putting an amount of each paycheck directly into savings and the balance into your checking account.

BONUS TIP OF THE WEEK:

Putting the name of specific financial goals on sub-savings accounts can help you better focus on putting money aside for each goal (ex. “2020 Vacation to Spain – Savings Account” is much more effective than a generic “Savings Account”).

Jodi Kaus, JD, CTFA
Director
Powercat Financial
powercatfinancial@ksu.edu

7 Simple Tricks to Defend Your Credit and Identity from Fraud (Tis the Season!)

7 Simple Tricks to Defend Your Credit and Identity from Fraud (tis the season!)

The holiday season is upon us and black Friday is right around the corner. Every year with the increase in holiday spending transactions, there is an increase in financial information being stolen and used illegally. Today more than ever, we must be keep our financial information secure from thieves who are becoming smarter and using new technology to steal sensitive information. Whether you want to take advantage of a special sale or you are planning your routine spending, here are 7 ways you can protect yourself over the holidays.

1. Check your credit report
That’s right, check your credit report! You can check your credit report FOR FREE to receive all information regarding credit attached to your name once every 12 months from each of the 3 credit bureaus. Those credit bureaus are Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. Be careful to only use each bureau once every 12 months to avoid unnecessary charges to see your report. When you check your report verify that you aware of each piece of credit history on the report. As a student you may find that something has been opened in your name even if you don’t own a credit card, so check it just to be sure. After all it’s free!

2. Monitor your bank accounts
Utilize online banking to have real time information on purchases made with your accounts. Most institutions today have some sort of online or mobile banking. If you see any suspicious activity, report it to your bank right away and put a freeze on your accounts.

3. Don’t click links from senders that you don’t recognize
If you receive a link from someone you don’t know during the holiday season then chances are that it is an attempt to steal your information. You may already be aware that there is a large amount of links to special deals that are not really from the advertised seller. The best way to sniff out a fraudulent links is to check if the web browser has a protection verification in the web URL. If the URL is not secure, then you are not secure and you should close the page right away. If you the deal is real, you should be able to go directly to the retailer’s website and find the deal that way.

4. Set limits on your debit/ credit card spending through your bank or credit union
Check if your financial institution is able to set strict limits on your spending ability. This is an easy way to limit that amount of money that a thief is able to access in the event that your information gets in the wrong hands.

5. Mind data breaches
It is no secret that retail stores have had credit card information stolen on a large scale https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/target-settles-2013-hacked-customer-data-breach-18-5-million-n764031. Though this may be farfetched, be mindful of data breaches over the holidays. The faster you are aware of fraudulent activity the faster you are able to issue a credit freeze on your accounts. See our prior blog post about placing a free freeze on your credit at http://blogs.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/2018/10/02/new-credit-freeze-law/

6. Watch Out ATMs
Be careful of “skimmers”. Skimmers are devices that thieves place on ATMs and credit card readers to copy credit card information. Thieves then take that information to make purchases. Be mindful of where you are swiping your credit card. If your debit/ credit card utilizes an insertion chip, then you have an added layer of protection.

7. Be careful with public wifi
Public wifi connections are often not secure (or encrypted). This means that hackers and thieves have the ability to access your devices while they are connected to public wifi. During the holiday season, be extra mindful of this especially when dealing with finances on your devices.

Thieves are on the hunt this holiday season, and will try their best to steal your financial information. Whether you want to make an extra purchase this holiday season or you just plan to make typical purchases, take a few extra steps to protect your financial and personal information. Happy holidays!

Lyndon Breckenridge

Peer Financial Counselor II

Powercat Financial

finplan@k-state.edu

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