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Financial Literacy: The Basics

Find a penny, pick it up...and put it into your retirement fund! Financial Literacy focuses on making smart financial decisions and planning for the future.

What is Financial Literacy?

Financial Literacy is having the financial know-how to make your own decisions on things like banking, loans, investing, insurance, and more. The easiest place to begin your financial literacy training is learning how to budget! Use these free templates from or these worksheets from CashCourse to begin calculating your budget. Track your spending and see if you can stick to your plan.

Resources from Gumberg

Print Books: (Follow the links to read more about the books and request them!)

eBooks: (Note: You will have to enter your MultiPass credentials to access these off-campus.)

Resources from the Web

Earn More, Spend Less

Easier said than done. Calculate your monthly income and bills - anything leftover is yours to spend. But you may want to think about budgeting that amount to start a savings/emergency fund. Here are some tips to increase your savings:

  • Avoid racking up fees with your credit card companies and banks. Make payments on-time to avoid late fees, continually track your spending to make sure you are above the minimum balance, and get overdraft protection when possible for if you spend more than what's in your checking account.
  • Check for coupons before you make a purchase! Pay attention to the grocery flyers and search coupon websites for deals you might have missed. Get coupon apps, like Cartwheel for Target and DDPerks, to save money and get rewards points!

Piggy Bank in Shopping Cart

Source: Pictures of Money, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

  • Take advantage of student discounts! These are especially helpful on big-ticket items, like laptops.
  • While it's hard to work in school, pick up a part-time job (or two) to help cover your expenses. There are flexible options, like becoming a babysitter or a ride sharing driver.
  • Cut down on the number of times you eat out every week. It's tempting to grab Chick-fil-A for lunch every day, but preparing a salad or opting for the soup leftovers from the night before is a better choice monetarily.

Money on Plate

Source: Pictures of Money, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Source: CashCourse modules

Guide Author

This guide was created by Kelsey O'Rourke, MLIS.