Financial Literacy Month

This month we are focusing on Financial Literacy at UNL. UNL provides financial literacy training to our students through online courses, partner school engagement, and Spark Center events across the country. Our Director of Financial Literacy, Jessica Washington, is rewriting the narrative and working to eliminate generational poverty. Our programs introduce students to budgeting fundamentals, early investment strategies, building credit worthiness, and creating a habit of savings.

Through partnerships such as with the SunTrust Foundation, Usher’s New Look has been able to provide financial literacy empowerment to more than 5000 students nationwide. We have been able to build out an incredible program that goes beyond the classroom and gives our students real-life exposure to consumer banking, credit protection, entrepreneurial opportunities, investment strategies, and post-secondary education options. We are delivering the tools that are necessary for our students to take responsibility for their financial futures. Thank you SunTrust Foundation!

1. “Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.” – Warren Buffet


  • Short Term = Emergency Funds, Opportunity Goals
  • Long Term = Financial Goals, 3-6 Months of Expenses

3. BUDGET – Use percentages (%) rather than dollar ($) amount. Budget every dollar earned

4. INCREASE – Monetize your talents. Create opportunities.

5. INSURE – Protect Investments. Maintain Standard of Living.

6. INVEST – Invest in yourself. Max 401k, IRA, Mutual Funds. Own Shares before pairs.

7. MONITOR – Check accuracy often. Use credit wisely. Maintain 700+.

8. PRACTICE BUDGETING – It’s never too early to practice budgeting for life. If you are comfortable budgeting $50 now, you will be more successful budgeting your $50,000 salary as an adult.

9. KNOW YOUR SPENDING HABITS -Track your spending for 30 days to see where your money is going. Then cut spending on anything that doesn’t promote your financial goals.

10. CREATE S.M.A.R.T. FINANCIAL GOALS – Start small with short term goals (30-60 days). Strategic | Measurable | Achievable | Realistic | Timely

11. PRACTICE HEALTH CREDIT WORTHY HABITS – Do as you say. Don’t borrow money that you cannot repay. Practice saving for goals rather than borrowing money from others.

12. GET TO KNOW YOUR BANK – Get to know your bank and learn about saving strategies they offer: CDs, etc.

13. AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS – Automate your savings every month. Set up automatic transfers on your pay dates. Enroll in your bank’s round-up program so that every time you swipe your debit card, a portion is sent to your savings account.


  • Emergency Fund – Don’t let a flat tire ruin your monthly budget. Be prepared to handle life’s emergencies.
  • Opportunity Fund – Don’t let the opportunity of a lifetime pass you by because you don’t have any money saved up. (i.e. a new suit, a plane ticket, etc.

15. PRACTICE DISCIPLINE WITH YOUR FINANCES -Before you spend your hard earned $$$, ask yourself, “Will this purchase help me meet my goals?” If the answer is “no”, put down the item and walk away.

16. TRACK YOUR SPENDING – For the next 30 days, write down every single purchase you make. At the end of the 30 days, identify items that are necessary and those that can be cut or cut down on.

17. START TODAY – Identify one step you can take toward strengthening your financial future. Start saving. Start paying debts. Start budgeting. Start keeping track of your spending.

18. INVEST IN YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE -What is it going to take to get the next level? The best investment is in YOURSELF. Get educated, search for better employment, seek opportunities to grow and get ready for the next level of YOU.

  • Student > Graduate
  • Apartment > House
  • Employee > Boss
  • 500 Credit Score > 800 Credit Score


  • You are never too young to start a college funding plan. Create a monthly scholarship search goal. The more scholarships you apply for the more you are qualified to earn. Use the Scholly App to keep track of your progress and gain scholarly wisdom.
  • Financial Literacy Tip #20: TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR FINANCES

20. OWN YOUR FUTURE – Regardless of your current economic status, you can own your future. Make the right decisions. Strengthen your credit. Eliminate all debts. Start Saving. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals. Learn about personal finance. It’s your money. OWN IT!