CSUMB students reflect on finance

Students at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) joined advising and recruitment specialist Lamberto Figueroa for a virtual financial literacy workshop on Nov. 16. 

The university’s Center for Student Success aims to serve working-class people and low-income populations in the local community. Figueroa guided attendees through his presentation with a series of engaging discussion questions and activities.

With the holidays approaching, taking a closer look at needs and wants in spending is valuable during the shopping season. Organizing finances is an essential skill in the adult world following the university experience. 

Figueroa opened the meeting by asking participants to reflect on their current spending habits and assess decisions through a values lens. Learning about free resources and expanding monetary knowledge was the focus of the dialogue. 

Jocelyn Chavez Diaz, third-year student at CSUMB and Spanish language and Hispanic cultures major, explained her reason for attending.

“I wanted to attend this workshop to learn more about budgeting,” Diaz said. “I have tried to budget before, but I can never stick to it.”

Figueroa approached the concept of budgeting by presenting the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, spending 50 percent on needs, including housing, food and transportation, 30 percent for wants such as entertainment and clothing, and 20 percent in savings. 

After discussing the budget rule resource, students proceeded to an online budgeting exercise. The PlaySpent simulation left players with the challenge of surviving a month under the circumstances of minimal earnings and unemployment.

The PlaySpent experience seeks to help people recognize the obstacles that low-income members of society face every day. Many students struggled to make it past day nine. 

Figueroa emphasized that financial priorities evolve in life.

“Financial awareness and financial education changes over time,” Figueroa said. 

Thinking about future investments is pivotal, and examining purchases like a car or an apartment is significant in the decision-making process. Utilizing funds requires one to pay attention to their transactions. 

Ryan Leal, CSUMB business administration student concentrating in marketing, highlighted the value of economic education and its meaning in his major.

“Financial literacy is important to everyone,” Leal said. “Prioritizing what needs to be paid off before a business can spend on things that would be considered a want like upgrading facilities.” 

Figueroa recommends taking opportunities to continue learning, and attending webinars provides time to make changes and assessments surrounding savings. 

For students looking to learn more about budgeting, the Financial Aid Office and United Way Financial Literacy Workshops are available resources at CSUMB.

Keeping track of savings and spending takes experience and practice. The Center for Student Success understands this and dedicates its mission to helping CSUMB community members with their finances and well-being.

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