Financial workshop boosts students’ budgeting plans


Rebecca Turnbull

Campus minister for Marshall United Methodist Students, Rev. Ben Wells discusses ways to implement budget plans with students Wednesday in the Memorial Student Center during the Financial Freedom Workshop.

Two campus ministers at Marshall tasked students Wednesday in the Memorial Student Center with combatting American spending culture by creating their own monthly budget plans during a Financial Freedom Workshop.

Campus minister for Marshall United Methodist Students Ben Wells said the goal of creating budget plans in the workshop is to give students the knowledge they need to avoid falling into debt by spending more money than they actually have.

“The culture of spending today is that ‘normal’ for an average American is lots of debt, no savings, constantly stressed about money. That’s normal. That’s the way most people live,” Wells said. “We want to break through that and teach them how not to be normal, how to live on less than you earn and save money.”

Interim campus minister for Marshall UKirk Ellen Dawson said she hopes having students create their budget plans now will prepare them for gaining more financial independence and pursuing their careers.

“They [students] are just completely unaware of how much money they are spending on certain things every month. And when they graduate, they start getting bills and it can be a really hard transition,” Dawson said. “I would love to see that stress reduced because they have a plan in place or because they understand more about how to budget or more about how to plan ahead.”

Junior biology major Alyssa Ruland said the workshop gave her valuable tools for dealing with financial burdens she will face while studying in medical school once she graduates.

Ruland said more college students need to understand budgeting to prepare for their futures after graduation.

“They need to know what it’s like in the real world,” Ruland said. “It’s not the same once you get out of college. You’re not going to have money to just go blow. You’re going to have to spend it on different things.”

Senior business management major Alecca Hunt said college is the best time for students to learn skills for financial stability.

“It’s best we learn now while our mistakes are $10, $15, maybe a $100 instead of thousands of dollars,” Hunt said. “We can’t always rely on mom and dad. It’s ultimately our responsibility.”

Wells said it is possible for every college student to make it through life without debilitating debt as long as they make the effort to closely manage their money.

“We believe the game is not rigged,” Wells said. “Whether you make a huge salary right out of college or you start out, like most of us, at an entry level, with making wise decisions, you can win.”

Wells and Dawson will discuss credit and interest at the next Financial Freedom Workshop at 6:30 p.m. March 9 in room 2W37 of the Memorial Student Center.

The workshop is free and open to the public.

Rebecca Turnbull can be contacted at [email protected]