Kansas State University


Powercat Financial

Author: Nathan Astle

Money for Millennials

Currently, about 34% of millennials “are unsatisfied with their financial standing.” More than half are concerned that they will not be able to pay back their student loans (Forbes 2017).

Financial Knowledge
One of the main causes of these financial issues is a lack of financial knowledge. Forbes conducted a research study, posing the following question: “True or false: Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.” 40% of millennials answered incorrectly. According to Forbes, the lack of financial knowledge can be traced back to the increasing complexity of the job market. Staying employed and continually growing one’s skillset could be reasons that personal finance has not been the first topic of discussion for millennials.

Practical Advice
1. Apps
There was a time when those wanting to track their expenses kept a handwritten ledger of each transaction. Lucky for us, we have a variety of apps to choose from that do this. Most banks offer a mobile app where you can monitor expenses. If this is not an option, Mint is a useful free app that offers a user-friendly way to stay on budget for the month.
2. Track Every Dollar (Forbes)
Although apps can improve how efficiently people organize their expenses, this information is only helpful for those who use it. Setting aside a small amount of time each week to look over your finances can go a long way. The first step controlling expenses is to monitor each expense. Then, compare the actual expenses to a preset spending plan to stay on track.
3. Stay Current with Every Dollar
Once people get a better picture of their income and expenses, it’s easy to forget about it and continue spending without thinking about the budget. Setting aside a small amount of time each week to track your progress will pay off immensely in the future. As you build up the habit of staying current with your finances, it becomes easier to control costs each month.
4. Set a Specific Goal
Budgeting can be viewed negatively by millennials because the process can seem boring or restrictive. However, having a fun goal you are saving for can change budgeting into a motivational process. Whether it is saving for a vacation or setting aside money for gifts, having something to look forward to makes saving easier. When important life events come up, spending money will not be as difficult if you have already set aside funds to pay for them.
5. Get Help
Powercat Financial is a free peer-to-peer counseling service providing education to students on relevant financial topics including budgeting, student loan repayment, and credit. Making an appointment is a great first step in taking control of your personal finances. Visit Powercat Financial’s home page at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial to request an appointment.

The above tips are suggestions to build healthy financial habits. The value lies in the ability to incorporate these steps in everyday life. Taking each piece of advice one step at a time will help you achieve your financial goals.

Connor Fulk
Peer Financial Counselor I
Powercat Financial

Pricey Puppies

Everybody loves dogs, right? Although our love for these furry friends may be abundant, there are a lot of things to take into consideration before adding an additional member to your household! I am going to outline some of the potential costs that are associated with owning a pet. If you are planning on purchasing or adopting a pet, you may want to ask yourself whether you will be able to afford the potential expenses associated with being a pet owner.

According to ASPCA the average annual cost of owning a dog varies by size:

  • Small Dog – $1,001
  • Medium Dog – $1,214
  • Large Dog – $1,448
Expense First Year Each Year Following
Adoption Fee/Purchase $0-1,500+ N/A
Food/Treats $120-500 $120-500
Food/Water Bowls $10-50 N/A
Collar(s)/Leashes(s) $10-50 $0-50
Bed/Crate $25-250 $0-250
Toys $10-200 $10-200
Health (Vet visits, Vaccines, checkups, heartworm prevention, flea/tick prevention, etc.) $700-1,500 $700-1500
Pet Insurance $9-55+ $9-55+
Pet Deposit if Renting $0-95+ $0-95+
Boarding Fee if Traveling without Pet $0-45+ $0-45+
Total $884-4,245+ $839-2,695+

These costs don’t include “one-time” expenses such as spay and neutering fees, carrier bag, etc. If you are thinking what I am thinking, that’s A LOT of money. As a college student we are constantly pinching every penny we can in order to pay for books, rent, utilities, so is there room in our budget to add a pet? I understand you may be thinking, “No way it costs this much money to have a pet!” To give a better idea of where the money is being spent, I broke down the yearly expenses that are associated with puppies.

*Note that prices may vary due to the bread of the dog, whether you are purchasing or adopting, and other factors.

As you can see, a dog may be an expensive addition to your college years. Another financially related topic I would like to point out is the cost of destruction that may occur, especially if you purchase a young pup. Dogs sometimes tend to get into things they aren’t supposed and chew up valuable things of ours. Now this isn’t the dogs fault, as they are learning what they can and can’t do, however, if your adorable new puppy chews up your only pair of tennis shoes, then what? Most likely you will be forced to head down to the mall and purchase another pair…which adds to your additional monthly expenses.


Now that I have touched a lot on the financial side of things, I wanted to end with one more thing you should take into consideration when thinking about adopting or buying a dog. Will you be able to give the dog the attention that he/she deserves? I believe this is one of the most important things to consider. If you work 40 hours a week on top of taking 15 credit hours, and attempting to have a social life is it fair to the dog to be left at home, locked up and receiving minimal attention every day? Even if you can afford the expenses associated with purchasing a pet, it may not be the right move. As a future financial planner we are taught to always act in the clients’ best interest, so I am asking you to act in the dogs’ best interest.


For my closing thoughts I want to be clear that I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a dog while in college. I simply want to make sure that all things are taken into consideration before making the decision. Personally, I plan to wait until post-graduation to bring my first puppy into my life!







Jack Giardino

Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial

302 K-State Student Union

Focus on the Fun this Spring Break

The sunscreen is packed, your Friday classes are finally over, and your friends are all throwing their duffel bags into the trunk of the car. You’re headed on a road trip and could not be more excited. Hours in the car together with friends is a bonding experience like none other. Money can be a reason to miss out on the fun, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three quick tips for minimizing expenses—and maximizing the good times—on your upcoming travel this Spring Break.

1. Buy snacks in bulk

Buying snacks at gas stations throughout your trip can really add up. To save, buy candy, snacks, and soda in bulk at the grocery store before you leave. A 30oz bag of Sour Patch Kids at Dillon’s in Manhattan is $4.99. A 5oz bag sold at Kwik Shop in Manhattan is $2.59. If you and three of your friends each bought an individual bag at Kwik Shop, you’d spend $5.37 more for 10oz less. Likewise, this week at Dillon’s a six-pack of 16.9 fl oz bottles of Coca-Cola is on sale for $3.49. An individual 16.9 fl oz can of Coca-Cola at Kwik Shop is $1.29, so if you bought six you would spend $4.25 more than if you bought a six-pack at Dillon’s.

2. Meal Plan

Snacks aren’t the only road trip expense that adds up. Meals on the road can be pricey as well. With a cooler in your trunk and a little forethought, you can have quality meals on the road at a fraction of the cost. Over Winter Break I went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon and tried out a few meal planning ideas. Burrito bowls were by far the easiest and my favorite. Here’s what you will need to make four servings:

Road Trip Burrito Bowl Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa

1 can black beans

1 can corn

(2) 10oz cans chicken breast

(1) 8oz jar salsa

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, diced

Onion flakes – season to taste

Optional: tortilla chips, lettuce, shredded cheese, lime, chopped cilantro

Supplies to bring:

Can opener

Small knife to slice tomatoes & avocados

1 large plastic container with lid – to mix ingredients

4 small plastic containers with lids– to eat out of and store leftovers

Plastic forks, a roll of paper towels for napkins

Cooler with ice packs/ice – for drinks and leftovers

This recipe is low maintenance and does not take up a lot of cooler space. The only prep needed before you leave is to cook the quinoa and pack it in a plastic container in the cooler. Most interstates have rest areas with picnic tables, perfect locations to stop and whip up your meal. To maximize freshness, wait to dice the tomatoes and avocados until you are ready to eat. Bon appetite!

3. Split the cost with your friends

Planning ahead by packing snacks and meals can save you a good chunk of change. Get your friends or family on board with snack and meal planning by discussing the idea with them beforehand. Agree as a group what snacks to buy and what meals will be made to make sure everyone is on the same page. Explicitly discuss how you will split the cost before you buy the

groceries to avoid the tension and awkwardness of asking your friends to pay you back for something they didn’t want in the first place.

Spring Break can be the time of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be our biggest expenditure of the year. By planning ahead this Spring Break, leave money worries behind and focus on the fun. For more Spring Break life hacks and tips, come to Spring Break Not Spring Broke this Thursday, 12:00-1:30pm in Union courtyard!


Kate Schieferecke
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial
302 K-State Student Union


Love, Marriage, and Financial Aid in College

Let me first start off by saying that getting married to save money is not a good idea, but if you are currently married or getting married soon, there could be some financial benefits. Hopefully all of you have filled out your FAFSA for this 2018-2019 school year, but if you haven’t, there’s still time! The FAFSA application for the 2018-2019 school year doesn’t actually close until June 30, 2019. This simple fact can save newly married couples thousands of dollars.

When college students fill out their FAFSA, they are considered a dependent of their parents unless they are over 24 years old, married or have dependents, an orphan, are part of the US Armed Forces, or meet several other exceptions. This means that students’ financial aid is dependent on their parents’ income, which can sometimes incorrectly reflect the student’s true ability to pay for school. When you become married, however, you become independent. Only your own income and your spouse’s income will be reflected on the FAFSA. If you are a college student, there is a high chance your combined income is extremely less than your parents’ income. Most Pell Grants, a financial award you do not have to pay back, are awarded to families with a total income below $20,000 but the total income can be up to about $50,000. You and your newly married spouse may qualify for federal financial aid like this!

Married students may qualify for better federal loans or larger federal grants if they retroactively file their FAFSA for the school year in which they get married. As long as you are married before June 30 of 2019, you could apply for adjusted financial aid for the 2018-2019 school year. That means you could potentially be awarded a Pell Grant after you graduate! Even if you are married and still in school, you could receive more subsidized loans than you were first offered, which will save you money on interest. If you are anticipating a marriage, you could wait to fill out your FAFSA until you are married, but you can also appeal to your school’s financial aid office if you already filled out your FAFSA, and you could be selected for verification.

It is important to be aware of the financial advantages you may have after you become married, so make sure you use every benefit you can. Receiving extra grants or loans with a lower interest rate could save you and your spouse from many headaches in the long run. If you are a K-State student, you can request a free appointment at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/

Thomas Meek
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial
K-State Student Union, Third Floor

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









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:


See you there!


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.