Photo courtesy Tiger Money Mentors
By ALICIA FEYERHERM
Tiger Media Network
Navigating personal finances can be difficult – especially for college students who may be responsible for bills and rent for the first time in their lives. For this reason, Tiger Money Mentors was created. Led by Director Christina Glenn, this program allows students to schedule appointments with a Tiger Money Mentor. These mentors are students with financial knowledge who are trained to help students.
“Money is important,” Tiger Money Mentor Lauren Wagner said. “Money will be part of your future job and your future life no matter what your future plans are. Learning to manage your money now can give you that financial freedom to live the life that you want later on.”
Helping students create a budget is one of the mentors’ main focuses.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve seen as a Personal Finance professor is that students aren’t aware of where their money’s going,” Glenn said.
As a college student, little expenses can rack up quickly. Tiger Money Mentor Kale Wheeler says he also struggles with controlling those small purchases.
“I impulse buy just like everyone else, but sticking to a budget or just having one and having an idea where your money needs to go and where your money is disappearing is a good start,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler personally found convenience stores to be one place where his money was disappearing.
“I didn’t even realize it, but I’d go and spend $15 at a convenience store twice a week, and that adds up,” Wheeler said.
These small habit changes can help start students on the right foot financially.
“I wish this program existed my freshman year,” Tiger Money Mentor Trevynne Brown said. “I was coming into college and didn’t really know what I was doing, what to look for or what to do with my finances.”
Brown understands it can be difficult to start following a budget.
“At that point, it requires a little bit of vulnerability and openness to see where you are currently and where you want to be,” Brown said. “Budgeting doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or ever spend money. It’s about making intentional choices.”
Being aware of local discounts is one way to make some of the more “fun” purchases affordable.
“Even if it’s just a 10 percent discount or a discount for using an app, those small discounts add up over time,” Brown said.
As part of the Tiger Money Mentors Blog, Wagner wrote an article outlining student discounts available in Hays: Student Discounts – Fort Hays State University (FHSU)
In addition to student appointments, the mentors will also be presenting to different classes and organizations to spread financial literacy to students and organizations that might not otherwise be exposed to those topics. For this reason, public speaking was a skill Glenn looked for in potential mentors.
“I really just was looking for students who were knowledgeable, personable, and willing to give presentations,” Glenn said. “There’s a lot of students who are would be good counselors, but maybe they aren’t very comfortable giving a group presentation.”
All in all, the program benefits both the mentors and the mentees. The mentees receive financial advice and the mentors gain experience providing that advice.
“They get to practice interacting with clients, giving financial advice, and helping walk people through their own personal finance situations, some data gathering skills, communication skills- all things that they’re going to need to know when they start working with clients when they graduate,” Glenn said.
After the program is further established, Glenn hopes to schedule more community presentations and possibly open up appointments to members of the community.
“Right now of course, since we’re just starting out, I really want to keep it kind of small and then figure out what are the things that we maybe could improve on or change,” Glenn said. “I’ve wanted to create this for a while and I’m hoping to see it grow over time.”
Students can schedule appointments with a Tiger Money Mentor on their website.