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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    SSU students learn budgeting basics at a financial workshop

    On Thursday Nov. 30, the Associated Students and the CalFresh outreach team hosted a financial planning workshop, which aimed to teach students how to budget and manage their finances responsibly.

    Jason Arellano, a fourth-year biology major, is the CalFresh outreach assistant and was in charge of the budgeting presentation. Arellano said the team has learned that students don’t know how to budget well which inspired them to create a financial literacy program so that students can learn. Financial wellness, as explained by Arellano, goes beyond simply managing regular income. It involves finding economic relief through effective budgeting and spending. For students qualifying for CalFresh benefits, allocating and budgeting becomes essential. The team emphasizes the impact of recent reimbursements from scholarships and financial aid, making budgeting a vital aspect of financial wellness.

    The presentation also highlights the importance of utilizing various resources available both on and off campus. Among them is Lobo’s Pantry, Sonoma State’s on-campus “grocery store” where students can obtain eight grocery items and three hygiene products for free.

    Additionally, the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa and CalFresh benefits provide valuable support in managing expenses. Arellano suggests that students use their CalFresh benefits last when buying groceries. He said that “students should first exhaust free resources like Lobo’s and local food bank, and turn to actual income last.”

    Other tips shared in the presentation include shopping at discounted grocery stores for low prices and quality food, monitoring spending using a budget sheet and purchasing non- perishable and bulk items that have a longer shelf life to stretch your food budget and meals over multiple weeks.

    It is also important for those receiving CalFresh benefits to understand how benefits are dispersed each month. The benefits are disbursed in the first ten days of each month, with the payment date depending on the last digit of the case number. Planning spending based on this schedule helps students make the most of their financial resources.

    Michaela Bietz, AS Community Service and Basic Needs Coordinator, also brought information to the discussion. Bietz plays a pivotal role in ensuring students have access to essential resources within the community and equipping them with tools to effectively manage their income. Bietz highlighted the common challenge faced by many students, a lack of awareness
    regarding free resources such as Lobo’s Pantry and the local food bank. She emphasized the importance of breaking down barriers surrounding the utilization of these resources, assuring students that seeking help is not only acceptable but also encouraged. This inclusive approach aims to alleviate any stigma associated with accessing assistance, creating a supportive environment where students feel comfortable reaching out for aid.

    Those who attended the workshop shared their experiences, providing real-world perspectives on the challenges faced by those navigating college life. Justine Leary, a third-year transfer student studying accounting, shared her journey of transitioning to college life and the newfound responsibility of managing her finances independently. Leary expressed, “It’s my first year at a university instead of community college, and I no longer live at home. I have to learn how to live on my own, how to keep my finances managed, and how to budget and not waste money.”

    Her sentiments resonate with the common experience of many first-year students who embark on a journey of self-sufficiency, facing the challenge of financial independence.

    Leary highlighted the significance of discovering resources she wasn’t aware of previously, and she specifically acknowledged the support provided by Michaela Bietz, “Having people like Michaela being willing to answer my questions,” Leary said, which reflects the crucial role played by the CalFresh outreach team in bridging the gap between available resources and students who might be unaware of them.

    Edgar Jimenez, a sophomore majoring in business marketing, echoed the sentiment of seeking guidance on budgeting. Jimenez said, “I was hoping to learn more budgeting tips and how to budget better. I feel like I make impulsive purchases.” Jimenez’s recognition of his impulsive spending is something that many students may feel as well, highlighting the importance of practical tips and strategies to overcome this challenge.

    To stay informed about upcoming events and resources, students are encouraged to follow @as_sonoma on social media. Regular updates on events coordinated by the CalFresh team, EBT-approved farmers market trips, and student giveaways are shared on these platforms.

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    About the Contributor
    Lena Coonen
    Lena Coonen, Managing Editor
    Lena Coonen is managing editor for the Sonoma State Star.
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