Managing a budget is a new challenge for many students - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Managing a budget is a new challenge for many students

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MADISON (WKOW)-- For a lot of freshmen moving to campus this week, it's their first time away from home and their first time controlling their own finances.

“I've never had manage my own bank account,” said incoming freshman Connor Hoffmann.

Susan Fischer, the director of financial aid at UW Madison, says setting a budget is crucial for all students but especially those receiving financial aid.

“ think it's a challenge for anybody to say here's your paycheck for 5 months, make it last until January 15,” Fischer said.

To help with money management, UW Madison is now offering a 1 credit class, called “Financial Life Skills.” It's intended for freshmen and sophomores.

“This course is designed to make students financially capable,” Fischer said.

The class covers things like spending and savings plans, credit cards and student loans. All the skills can help students maintain their finances during college and after they graduate.

Fischer says step one is defining financial priorities

“Take some time to figure out what your big expense is- tuition, your every month-rent, your weekly-food, your occasional- clothing, transportation, you just have to figure those out in advance,” she said.

Some freshman are already recognizing the luxuries they'll need to cut back on.

“I spend a lot of money on stupid things, entrainment, things I don't really need,” Hoffmann said.

But Fischer says the key- is taking time each month to ensure you're sticking to the plan.

UW Eau Claire promotes a similar, online course called 'Cash Course'. You can find more information by visiting the webpage for the Office of Financial Aid. 

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