‘Making Cents’ workshop helps students plan for future

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    Resources for banking, saving, and financial support are everywhere, but many college students still do not know where to start.

    Kristen Martinez, an eight-year employee of Frost Bank, shared her financial advice during the “Making Cents” workshop hosted by TCU on Friday afternoon in the Brown-Lupton University Union.

    “The money you make is yours, and you want to make sure it’s in the best place possible,” said Martinez.

    Safety and security of the money everyone earns is a top priority, and banks make it possible to protect that money from theft and fraud, Martinez said.

    Creating a budget is equally important, Martinez said, and creating a personal finances list can help track where money is going on a daily basis.

    Martinez suggested using a mobile app from a personal bank to keep track of your purchases because they are up to date.

    Mint’s website is another resource to keep track of finances. It tracks credit cards, banking information, and purchases all in one place.

    Martinez continued with ways to save and create the “emergency fund cushion that everyone should have.”

    Websites like Hip2SaveThe Penny Hoarder, or Pinterest offer suggestions as to couponing, ways to save on expenses like cell phone bills, or cheaper ways to do things (i.e. do it yourself projects).

    “Pay yourself first,” said Martinez, urging attendees to put even just a small percentage of their earnings into a savings account.

    Martinez said it is suggested that the “emergency fund” should be at least “three months worth of your paycheck.”

    As Martinez moved into the subject of credit cards and building credit she said “the most important thing to remember is pay your bills on time. Pay all of it if you can, and pay more than the minimum if you can.”

    Martinez added when it comes to student loans, “take them seriously in paying on time,” because they are not protected in bankruptcy.

    “Having good credit will make other things, like buying a house or a car, potentially have lower interest rates,” said Martinez.

    Nerdwallet gives the user the ability to search different credit cards and their benefits based on what the person wants out of the card.

    Martinez said that before anyone decides whether to charge something on a credit card, they should always ask, “is this something that is going to still be of value by the time I can pay it off?”

    Martinez said that checking credit is very helpful and recommended it be checked every three or four months.

    Annual Credit Report allows you to once a year pull your credit report from each reporting agency: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

    Martinez is a community representative for Frost Bank, meaning she is responsible for teaching financial literacy to people of all age ranges, covering the Tarrant County area.

    “I help teach the Personal Finance portion of Junior Achievement to high school seniors at three different Fort Worth ISD schools. I teach various programs to senior citizens in regards to fraud prevention, stretching their dollars while on a fixed income, and banking in general,” said Martinez.

    About 20 people were able to attend the hour-long (lunch included) workshop in the West Private Dining Room of Market Square.