MoneySmart Lakers to host week-long financial literacy series

GVL / Courtesy -

GVL / Courtesy –

Drew Schertzer

MoneySmart Lakers is a Grand Valley State University organization designed to guide students through the difficulties of financial planning. The organization is hosting a week-long event, “MoneySmart Madness,” from Monday, Oct. 30, to Friday, Nov. 3, to go over the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), budgeting and student loans on both Allendale and Pew campuses. 

“In my opinion, having graduated last year, there’s a lot to juggle with paying,” said Andy McDonough, a graduate assistant for MoneySmart Lakers. “It’s tough balancing paying for food, rent, student loans and living expenses.”

McDonough said MoneySmart Lakers has a unique amount of resources from GVSU. University officials have made a conscious effort to create an environment of financial literacy at the school, and McDonough believes that students should go to the MoneySmart Madness event to take advantage of some of these resources. 

According to McDonough, this will be an engaging and fun environment that won’t feel like you’re in class. The week will be filled with information regarding student loans, spending plans, FAFSA and other financial needs. There is also a potential prize involved. Students will be able to receive a stamp for each activity they go to, and if a student gets at least five stamps, they can enter a raffle for $200. 

Makenzie Schneider, MoneySmart peer mentor, thinks students should take interest in the free week of events. She said it’s important for students to learn financial literacy and dependence. Schneider said students often don’t pay attention to things like budgeting because they’re used to their parents taking care of it for them. 

“It’s important to expand your knowledge and to get good habits,” she said. “If you change your habits now, it will help you in the future.”

Schneider said she has met with a lot of students who want to make a budget plan. The first step is to start taking account of everything a student pays for, and Schneider said this is often difficult for students since they don’t think of the small expenses adding up. One thing she recommends is keeping your receipts. 

According to Schneider, keeping track of receipts online or the printed copies is hugely important. Students can also keep track of their debit cards online. After you take the first step and know what you’re wasting money on, then you can begin to save. 

MoneySmart Lakers tries to hold an event for a week every semester to educate GVSU students. Schneider said it isn’t just freshmen who show up but rather a range of all students. Older students usually want to learn about student loans, whereas everyone typically wants to know about budgeting. 

McDonough said each student must go through some sort of financial counseling before graduating, and MoneySmart Lakers offers free mentoring services on a wide range of topics. He said they help students face their problems and work to obtain an adaptive solution. 

Aside from MoneySmart Madness, MoneySmart Lakers also holds a three-week course for a financial rundown called “MoneySmart Academy.”