Month: July 2015



 Reposted from the Daily Utah Chronicle 

There are only so many Friday nights you can stay in to watch Netflix before getting restless. But with book prices, tuition and student fees draining funds from your wallet, it is difficult to find cheap and new ways to spend your free time.

But it’s not impossible. Students can take advantage of free on-campus events and venues with their university student ID, known as a UCard.

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Kimberlee Briggs, a junior in sociology and theater, said she thinks students under-utilize free services at the U. She encourages freshmen to capitalize on the opportunities.

“It’s going to be more of a memory than staying in and watching Netflix is going to be,” she said. “If it sucks — no loss. The risk and reward ratio is completely in your favor.”

Briggs said she enjoys going to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, located on lower campus, and Red Butte Garden, the botanical garden in Research Park — both of which are free for students with a valid UCard. Students can also explore a world of dinosaurs and science at the Natural History Museum of Utah, located by Red Butte, which is free as well.

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UCards also count as an ArtsPass, meaning students can access most Film Department screenings, School of Music performances and ballet and modern dance recitals. Free tickets are available for musicals and plays in the U’s Babcock Theater, Studio 115 and the Pioneer Theater Company.

“Plays around the community can cost around $10-15,” Briggs said. “I saw ‘Avenue Q’ for free when they did it at Babcock, and it’s now one of my favorite plays.”

If plays and musicals aren’t for you, the U also hosts two free concerts: Redfest in the fall and the Grand Kerfuffle in the spring. The Union Programming Council also hosts ‘Crimson Nights,’ which is a free party for students with dancing and giveaways held a few times a semester.

ASUU, the student government on campus, and other organizations, such as the Hinckley Institute of Politics, host guest speakers, panels and discussions open for students.

“One of the most memorable free events I went to was a dialogue on police wearing body [cameras],” Briggs said. “Don’t just focus on the fun free parties — go to events that are about wanting to make a change. Plays and shows and museums are great but be sure to expand past yourself as well.”

You can catch free movies at the Post Theater by the dorms, with films ranging from My Neighbor Totoro” to “Silence of the Lambs.” Unlike the other events, you do not need to show your UCard to enter, and you can get candy and soda on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Each student pays fees that go towards funding these events and memberships. To find out about these free events, Briggs said first-year students should pay attention to posters and signs around them.

“Talk to people,” she said. “’Like’ pages [for student organizations] on Facebook. Be in the loop — then you decide what sounds fun.”


Tiffany’s Marriage Guide to Money

by Tiffany Davis

I’ve been married for 4 1/2 years now and money was something that took us a long time to figure out. We have tried every budgeting technique under the sun and I can tell you what finally worked for us. I would love to help you fight less with your spouse or partner and really start making some financial progress towards your goals. Here are my tips on how to manage your money stress in your marriage and how finally to agree on a budget:

Have a financial date night. I know it’s not the most exciting thing ever but go out to dinner to some place quiet or sit in your kitchen with snacks and just talk for an hour. Maybe even have something fun after the date to look forward to (because just the sound of a finance talk can lead to a lot of eye rolling, at least with husband). Commit to just an hour, set a timer and then do something relaxing. Pick a date and schedule it on your calendar. In general, doing this every month is a great way to come back and evaluate and recommit to your financial goals as a couple, make sure you are on track, and hold each other accountable. But let’s start with just this one for now.

At your date night, I want you to review What is Your Relationship to Money. Print it off or pull it up on your phone and take turns answering the questions with each other. It can be very insightful to why you spend money the way you do and hopefully make you more understanding of each other’s needs. Then each person should fill out your own Values page and discuss what’s important to you. You might be on totally different pages on certain things but it can help you see what’s important to you. Use this to help you compromise and hopefully you won’t fight so much when it comes to the budget.

Ideally, these exercises have taught you enough to be able make some common goals. I recommend you print off the Financial Goals Worksheet and fill it out so you can refer to it regularly. Keep it in your Financial Information Binder with your budget and other financial papers. The whole point of a budget is to be able to afford the things you really want. Make a few short, midterm and long term goals that you can start putting on your budget. It doesn’t have to be something like take a vacation. It could even just be “Pay off ____ debt in ___ months”. Then put your goals as line items in your budget. Do you want to go to Hawaii? (I do!). But a dream is just a wish without a plan. If Hawaii will cost $2,000, I need to save $166 per month for the next year to get there.

Now we have to make a budget. Paper worked for us for a long time before stuff got complicated.If excel is not your thing, here is a paper budget that works great and there’s even an irregular expenses worksheet to help you plan for things like expenses like car registration, gifts, dr visits, trips, etc. What has worked best for me is this Excel Budget (Here is an example of the excel budget). Use the tabs at the bottom to help you make a budget (aka a plan) and the actuals tabs to help you evaluate at the end of the month. More questions? Just send us an email at When creating that budget, use this budget guideline to help you plan your spending. Another AMAZING budgeting trick we’ve used is to have multiple savings accounts that your bank/credit union can name for you to save for specific things. It’s a great way to separate out your money. This can be very useful to help you track your spending too, especially if you fall into the credit card trap. Don’t forget those monthly date nights to revue the goals and your actual spending.

If paying of debt is a goal for you, check out It’s free to register and only takes a second, then it will save your information if you want to login in again and adjust it. The Powerpay tab is like the debt snowball. Here is more information on the debt snowball and It’s pretty cool. So I would encourage you to sign up for an account and put all of your debts, interest rates and payments in, then add a monthly extra payment and see how much sooner you can pay off that debt and how much interest you can save.

So this is my best advice for you. Make your goals, set your budget, and review your progress regularly. For more tips on budgeting and money management, go to our website for more resources and to make an appointment.

And just for fun, here is a photo of my husband and I fighting about money (just kidding about the fighting part though because we understand each others values and we compromise).