Kansas State University


Powercat Financial

Top 10 Financial Services Our Peer Financial Counselors Offer Students

Powercat Financial is here to support students through their journey to becoming financial independent and to staying on the path of financial wellness. Below are a few of the helpful, free services our peer financial counselors offer fellow students:

  1. Assistance creating a personal spending plan to achieve financial goals of studying abroad, saving for emergencies, buying a car, moving off campus or just staying on budget;
  2. Helping you get all of your student loan information organized and explained in an easy-to-understand method to reduce your confusion;
  3. A review of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and has no mistakes or identity theft concerns;
  4. Cutting through the complexity of student loan repayment and explain the various repayment options;
  5. Explanation of the pros and cons of either consolidation or refinancing of student loans;
  6. A review all of the factors that are important when trying to increase your credit score;
  7. Help with determining who your federal loan servicers are and helping you connect with them;
  8. Assistance creating a to-do list of important financial tasks and deadlines for being successful as a K-State student;
  9. Helping you review job offers and understand the employee benefits and prepare questions to ask your future employer;
  10. Exploring any loan forgiveness programs that you may be eligible for.

All of these services are offered in a personal, confidential setting in 302 Union (on the Union third floor) with a trained peer financial counselors who understands what it is like managing financial decisions as a students. They can help you reduce your financial stress, avoid costly financial mistakes and learn how to create your path to financial wellness.

Current K-State undergraduate or graduate students on the Manhattan campus, Vet Med students and Global Campus student may request a free appointment online anytime at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial.

Jodi Kaus, Director

Powercat Financial


Summer Activities that Won’t Break the Bank

During the summer, we find ourselves with more time and incredible weather. We also find ourselves constantly wanting to do something to “live it up”. So, here are a few ways to “live it up” while you’re “ballin’ on a budget”.

  1. Have a garage sale. Gather your friends and have a joint garage sale. By doing this, not only will you save money, but you all will earn money. It is a perfect way to get rid of the old while enjoying the company of your friends.
  2. Visit the library. This will give you reading materials for the week and an excuse to leave the house.
  3. Music Performances and Festivals. Check neighboring towns to see when there are free concerts in the area.
  4. Matinee Movies. During the week and on Sundays movie theaters have discounted tickets so treat yourself to that new movie that just came out.
  5. Go Camping. Camping sites are relatively inexpensive and can make for a fun night or weekend with friends.
  6. Take a Walk. If you wanted to take your walk a step further, go geocaching to see what treasures you can find.
  7. Go to the Museum. Museums often have free days, look them up and plan a day to go to your local museum.

If you find yourself needing to save money in the summer, you don’t have to confine yourself to your house. Use these tips and improve your social capital without reducing your financial capital! If you would like more money saving tips and help on your current financial position, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a peer counselor at Powercat Financial on www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial.

Alex Bangert, Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial


Looking for Employment as a College Student

As a freshman, it’s very common to hear, “Don’t work during your first year in college.” College can be a big transition for a lot of students, so it’s very important that you give yourself adequate time to adjust to this new environment. College can also be very expensive and this new period of new financial independence can often overwhelm students. As a result, you might consider picking up a job. This article will help you determine whether you need a job as a student, what to look for in a job as a student, and where to find a job as a student.

Do I need a job?

It may sound like a dumb question at first, but there are a lot of factors that might influence whether you decide to pursue employment opportunities. It’s very common to see your scholarships decrease after your freshman year or to find out that some of your scholarships aren’t renewable. Additionally, some scholarships have minimum GPA requirements and if you are unable to meet these standards, you might find yourself struggling to afford college. If you were anticipating a certain amount of money to get you through college, and you suddenly find out that this money will no longer be available to you, then it might be in your best interest to start looking for a job.

Now that we’ve discussed reasons you might want to start looking for a job as a student, here are some reasons as to why you might want to focus on other things instead. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have sufficient scholarships/ savings, family who are paying for your education, or even a summer job that will provide enough money to get you through that year. This might be a reason to wait a little on getting a job and instead focusing your efforts on school. That being said, a critical part of this will be your self-discipline and spending habits. Making a budget and strictly following your plan will help you get through the year without regular income.

If you do decide that getting a job is something you can manage, time management will be incredibly important. Being a student keeps you busy enough so it’s imperative that you set your priorities straight. It’s not easy to maintain good grades, be involved on campus, work part time, and spend time with friends; however, it’s certainly attainable to balance all these activities if you develop the necessary time management skills.

What to look for?

As a student, things will suddenly happen in your life and it’s important that you have a schedule that works with this. Maybe that organization you’re a part of is going on a trip or it seems like all your professors plotted together to schedule all four of your exams the same week. Whatever the situation may be, finding a job that will be flexible with your hectic schedule is important. On campus jobs do an excellent job at being flexible with student workers and might be a good choice for you if you need an employer who is understanding of your hectic schedule.

Most jobs in college will typically pay minimum wage when you first start and that is what should be expected when you first start working. However, if you possess a special skill set or unique background that qualifies you to receive a better pay grade, you may be in luck. Specialized jobs of this nature typically pay better and will provide you with better experience if it’s in an industry you hope to work in.

Lastly, it’s important to search for a job that is in line with your career aspirations. Fortunately, colleges often have many careers opportunities with departments or professors for your specific major. Jobs that are in line with your career aspirations also help provide valuable experience that could give you an edge against other applicants when you look for an internship or full-time job after college.

Where to look?

If you are looking for a job as a student, you should check out the K-State Career Center. Their website can be found at: https://www.k-state.edu/onestop/finances/jobs/. There you can find an online database called Handshake with job openings tailored to you both on and off campus. There are also several careers fairs hosted by the career center, specific colleges, and other campus organizations throughout the year. These events are an awesome opportunity to learn more about a job and get face to face contact with recruiters, so be on the lookout for when these events are happening!

Now what?

If you’re interested in determining how much income you’ll need, want to cut down on spending, or have any other questions about your financial situation, be sure to make an appointment with us at: http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/.

Hopefully after reading this you now feel more prepared to begin searching for jobs that will help you meet your financial goals. Happy job hunting!


Avery Bolar

Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial




Financially Fit for Summer

With summer approaching fast, we all start planning our summer activities in our heads instead of studying for finals. But before summer hits we all need to be financially fit! Look at where you are now with your finances and where you need to be. What are you working to save for this summer and what are activities are you wanting to do? Set summer GOALS for yourself and then set forth a plan that matches your goals. Here are some tips to getting your finances fit before summer:


  1. If you don’t have a budget now, start one. There are so many great apps out there that can make tracking your spending easier and budgeting a breeze, like mint.com. Knowing where your expenses are going is very important and doing that now will help you better prepare for the summer months. You can use your budget to calculate how many hours you need to work this summer to cover all expenses and how much you need to put aside for savings. Putting money in savings helps pay for those fun activities over the summer without cutting into the important things like rent.
  2. If you are needing to save extra money fast before the end of the summer, cut something out of your budget for one month. It’s hard to do no spend months, but it is easier to give up just one thing for a month. That could be cutting something like buying coffee or eating out for the month.
    1. If you buy a coffee every other day, that would save you around $50 for the month.
  3. If you don’t want to completely cut something out of your budget, setting aside $5, $10, or $20 each week from now until summer will have built you a small fund of savings to spend on the fun activities for summer break.
  4. If you need extra ways to make income, over the summer there are a lot quick opportunities for college students. You could hold a yard sale, be a babysitter, or be a handyman/painter for your friends and neighbors.


To be financially fit for summer, planning ahead is the key! If you have any question or would like to meet with a counselor to help set up your budget, please visit our website to make an appointment. http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/.



Gretchen Holthaus, Peer Counselor I



Why Young People Should Care About Disability Insurance Today!

You may be young, but you’re not invincible. According to the Social Security Administration, more than one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled prior to reaching retirement age. Yet, currently four in every ten workers do not have any disability insurance at all. Here are four reasons why you should not be in that statistic:

  1. Liquidity

Your health insurance may cover your medical bills but it will not put food on your table or gas in your car. Disability insurance helps you replace your lost income that you used for everyday living expenses. Most young people do not have very much in savings yet, since they just entered the workforce, and are living paycheck-to-paycheck. So really, you can’t afford NOT to have disability insurance!

  1. Workers Compensation Isn’t Enough

Even though you might have workers compensation insurance through your employer, less than half of all disabling conditions of young workers are workplace-related. That means that you are more likely to get a disabling condition that does not qualify for workers compensation insurance.

  1. Government Benefits Aren’t Much

Sure, the government will give you some bare-minimum disability benefits through Social Security…if you have been disabled for the last 12 months! If you can’t make it a year on your savings, you’re out of luck with government benefits. Short-term disability insurance could help you within weeks!

  1. It’s Not That Expensive

Disability insurance really is not all that expensive, especially considering the great risk you’re protecting against. It could just be a monthly $10-45 out of your paycheck. Many employers offer group rates that are less expensive. You can also reduce your premiums even further by extending your elimination period (the period before benefits kick in), shortening the term of your coverage, or replacing less of your income. Disability insurance is also significantly cheaper and easier to get when you are young and healthy. Don’t wait until your symptoms start!

Another component of disability insurance worth mentioning is the difference between “any occupation” and “own occupation” insurance. Any occupation means you must be incapable of doing any job, not just what you currently do. The premiums are significantly cheaper than own occupation, however this kind of plan can be risky for highly specialized employees. For example, if you are a surgeon and lost your hand making you unable to perform surgeries, but you can still flip burgers at McDonald’s with the other hand, any occupation disability insurance would not accept your claim (but you would still have a significant income reduction). However, if you had own occupation insurance, any injury or condition that prohibited you from performing surgery (your current occupation) would qualify you for disability benefits. Knowing this distinction is important when analyzing your disability insurance coverage.

No one wants to think about the worst happening. However for you and your family’s needs, you should protect yourself against the risk of becoming disabled at a young age by having disability insurance. It is way better to be safe than sorry!

As those job offers and benefits packages start rolling in, consider scheduling an appointment with a Powercat Financial Peer Counselor before the end of the semester. We would all be happy to go over your offer(s) to further explain your benefit options, including disability benefits.

Abby Pope

Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial








How to Do It All—Pay off student loans, save for retirement, and have FUN.

As graduation nears closer, so does “adulthood”—making more than minimum wage, paying taxes instead of getting a refund, freedom from homework, and starting student loan repayments. While some of the facets sound more appealing than others, there is a way to ensure you are paying your debts off efficiently, saving for retirement, and having fun.


I’m sure talking about the importance of budgeting sounds like a broken record playing—but maybe the 100th time you hear of it, you will finally begin. It all comes down to the fact that if you don’t know where your money is going, then you don’t know where your money is going. The three seconds per day that budgeting takes from you is worth the peace of mind you receive in return.

Whether you’re graduating or continuing your education, budgeting is essential. At Powercat Financial, we have spreadsheets to tailor to your specific situation.

Paying off student loans

Start budgeting today for the expenses you will have tomorrow. It will allow you to pay off your student loans in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Key facts:

  • Federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans have a six-month grace period upon graduating, meaning you will have six months to save up for future loan payments (note: Perkins loans have a 9 mo. grace period)
  • You can ALWAYS over-pay your student loan monthly payments. Use budgeting to figure out how much you can absolutely afford and contribute your monthly extra cash flow to your student loans. Make any extra payments toward the principle of the loan with the highest interest rate.
  • You can begin payments NOW. Schedule an appointment with a peer financial counselor to see how you can begin payments now and decrease how much you will owe in the future.

Saving for retirement

When it comes to saving for retirement, I always think of the quote, “Begin with the end in mind”. Yes, your career is just starting, but the contribution phase for retirement is as well. This means that the more you save now, the more you will have later!

You may be offered a variety of different savings vehicles for retirement—401(k) plan, Employee Stock Option Plan, pension plan, etc. If any of these words sound intimidating, let a peer financial counselor explain the pros and cons of each of them.

Once you know your retirement saving offerings, add them to your monthly budget. This will ensure that you are paying your future self before spending the money on other items, like Chipotle and Starbucks.

Having FUN!

When it all comes down to it, money is simply a vehicle we drive through life. It helps us to live the best life we imagine possible for ourselves and shouldn’t be something that stresses us out. With that, everyone’s drive will look different. Some may make many stops because they love to travel, and some may drive a shinier car than others because nice cars bring them the ultimate joy. I encourage you to think of the top three things you want to spend your money on that will give you the most fulfillment out of your life and save each month for those items. As long as you budget for them, you will have the money for them (do you see a theme?).

Healthy financial habits are like healthy eating habits:

Is it common sense to eat fruits and vegetables instead of potato chips? Yes.

Is it common sense to know where your money is going? Yes.

If some of these money tips sound too easy, it’s probably because they are easy, and the key is to simply begin them. Schedule a free and confidential appointment with Powercat Financial to begin to “do it all”.


Allison Becker, Peer Counselor III

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