Welcome to the Financial Wellness Center

New resources each week for the California State University Long Beach community.

This Week

A Seven-Day Plan to Cut Spending

A full week’s worth of easy and actionable ways to keep more of your money in your wallet each month – some of these take only minutes, but result in significant savings over time.

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Featured Topics

Articles and videos from the California State University Long Beach team.

Woman with hand under trunk of tree with $ signs as leaves on chalkboard

Financial Health
The concept of financial health, including smart decision-making.

Woman's hand writing out three goals on yellow legal pad.

Introduction to Budgeting
Why and how to budget.

3D dollar signs filling the image.

Tracking Your Spending
A simple way to get the most from your monthly budget.

Bank Teller dispensing cash under bank window.

Choosing a Bank or Credit Union
Types of financial services accounts.

Nest with gold egg in it.

Checking and Savings Accounts
Checking and savings accounts strategies for minimizing fees.

Hand running credit card through credit card machine.

Credit vs. Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use...

Financial Wellness Courses

Make real progress in less than an hour.

Woman looking at several forms on a table with her hand on a calculator.

Budget Basics

27 minutes

Get Started

From setting goals to paying off loans, the basics of effective budget management.

  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why and how to budget.
  • Income and Expenses
    A big part of budgeting is identifying income and listing expenses.
  • Making Sense of Your Budget
    After you've identified your income and tracked your spending, it's time to compare the numbers, gain perspective, set priorities, and make changes.
  • Tracking Your Spending
    A simple way to get the most from your monthly budget.
  • How to Improve Cash Flow
    Cash flow is a key indicator of your financial health.
  • Money Saving Ideas
    Looking for ideas for ways to save money now? Almost everyone can find a way to save using at least one of these tips.
  • Nudging Yourself Toward Your Goals
    No matter what your financial goal, it's important to have an accountability system in place.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This survey collects general course satisfaction ratings and self-reported learning gains.
Person handing car key to another person.

Buying a Car

30 minutes

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From choosing a make and model to financing a purchase, topics every consumer should understand when buying a car.

  • Buying a Car Introduction
    An introduction to the basics of this major purchase and responsibility.
  • Choosing a Make and Model
    A look at four important factors to consider when choosing a car: fuel consumption, insurance rates, reliability, and depreciation.
  • The Total Cost of Ownership
    Understanding the many costs associated with owning a car - from financing to taxes.
  • Buy or Lease?
    Understanding the pros and cons of vehicle leasing.
  • Financing a Car Purchase
    How a loan affects the total cost of buying a car.
  • Evaluating a Used Car
    How to "do your homework" before buying a used car.
  • Negotiating Your Car Purchase
    Effective negotiation could potentially save you thousands on your next car purchase.
  • Setting a Target Price
    How to set a realistic target price for both new and used vehicles.
  • Negotiating Price
    Know what to expect when negotiating the best deal.
  • Avoiding Surprises
    Think the negotiating is finished when you agree on a price? Here's how to negotiate dealer extras and extended warranty pitches.
  • Common Mistakes When Buying a Car
    Twelve common mistakes to keep in mind when shopping for a car.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This survey collects general course satisfaction ratings and self-reported learning gains.
A woman giving a young girl a piggy back ride.

Family Planning

29 minutes

Get Started

Learn ways to ensure the financial security of your family and children.

  • Introduction
    Having a baby is not just a family decision, it's a financial decision too.
  • Talking About Money
    A look at some of the financial considerations of getting married.
  • Babies and Budgets
    How to get your finances in shape before a baby arrives, including a budget review, paying down debt, making sure you're getting the best on any long-term debt, and creating an emergency fund.
  • Paying for the Baby Years
    The non-childcare costs you can expect when having a baby, from cribs to health insurance.
  • Childcare Choices
    An overview of different childcare choices and the financial implications of each.
  • Managing Risks
    Life is filled with unexpected events. Learn how to ensure the financial security of your child in the worst case scenario.
  • Children and Taxes
    A review of the tax benefits that can help you manage the expenses incurred with children.
  • Growing Up - Childhood and Beyond
    A look at the additional costs of raising a child beyond the first few years including the indirect costs.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This survey collects general course satisfaction ratings and self-reported learning gains.
Young man dressed in cap and gown with $ tag hanging as a tassle.

Financial Aid - Repayment Strategies

40 minutes

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Learn about the types of student loan repayment strategies and plan options.

  • The Standard Repayment Plan
    Of all federal student loan repayment options, the Standard Repayment Plan is the quickest way to repay your loans at the lowest possible total cost.
  • The Graduated Repayment Plan
    After the Standard Repayment Plan, the Graduated Repayment Plan is the next least expensive way to repay your federal loan and offers lower payments for the first four years.
  • The Extended Repayment Plan
    The Extended Repayment Plan spreads student loan payments over up to 25 years for those with federal student loan balances over $30,000.
  • The Income-Based Repayment Plan
    This plan offers borrowers of qualifying loans a flexible payment schedule based on yearly income. A financial hardship is required.
  • The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
    Exclusively for Direct Loans, this plan offers borrowers of qualifying loans a flexible payment schedule based on yearly income. A financial hardship is required.
  • The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
    The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan can be a good way to work out a manageable monthly payment if you have high debt compared with your income.
  • The Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan
    The Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan helps Federal Family Education Loan Program borrowers keep up with payments even if their income is low.
  • Grace and Deferment Period Strategies
    Federal education loans all offer a grace or deferment period – a set amount of time during which repayment is not required. How you manage loans during your grace period can make a big difference.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
    If you work in certain fields or for certain employers, a portion of your Direct Student Loan debt may be eligible for forgiveness.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness
    The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers financial incentives intended to encourage individuals to enter the teaching profession.
  • Perkins Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Options
    Perkins Loans are administered differently than other student loans and include expanded cancellation or discharge options.
  • The Role of Your Loan Servicer
    Your loan servicer is your primary point of contact when you’re repaying your federal student loans.
  • Resolving Student Loan Disputes
    Your loan servicer’s job is to offer assistance in helping you successfully repay education loans, but even experienced servicers sometimes make mistakes.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This survey collects general course satisfaction ratings and self-reported learning gains.
Graduate, Financial Success, Financial Superhero

Financial Aid - Repayment Success

34 minutes

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Learn how to make smarter decisions when repaying your student loans.

  • Making Smart Repayment Decisions
    Flexible federal student loan repayment plans can help you avoid financial trouble and reach your financial goals.
  • How Repayment Plan Choices Affect Loan Cost
    Your repayment plan choice can greatly affect your monthly payment and the total cost of your student debt.
  • Repayment Strategies
    To repay your student loans, you need a comprehensive strategy to put your education debt in a larger financial picture that includes your income, non-education debt, and long-term goals.
  • Deferment and Forbearance Options
    Both deferment and forbearance can help you avoid financial trouble. If you think you might qualify, reach out to your loan servicer as soon as you first experience financial difficulty.
  • Loan Consolidation
    Loan consolidation can simplify the loan repayment process, but you must review the loans you plan to consolidate carefully – once consolidated, there’s no going back.
  • Avoiding Delinquency and Default
    “Delinquent” and “Default” are similar words. Both refer to late payments, but the consequences of each are very different.
  • Discharging Student Loans
    There are limited circumstances in which a borrower can be released from his or her obligation to repay student loan debt.
  • Managing Loans in Times of Financial Distress
    You can’t always prevent financial stress, but how well you manage it will make all the difference in how successful you’ll be in meeting your repayment obligation.
  • Dealing with Student Loan Default
    The consequences of defaulting on federal student loans can be severe, which is why you should take advantage of the options there are to help you avoid it. But, should you end up in default, there are steps you can take to regain lost benefits.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This survey collects general course satisfaction ratings and self-reported learning gains.
Kid on a bike heading down a long road. Word START is next to boy.

Financial Basics

60 minutes

Get Started

Covers the basics required to effectively manage money while in college. Suitable for all students.

  • Financial Basics Introduction
    A brief introduction to course goals and resources.
  • Financial Health
    The concept of financial health, including smart decision-making.
  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why and how to budget.
  • Tracking Your Spending
    A simple way to get the most from your monthly budget.
  • Choosing a Bank or Credit Union
    Types of financial services accounts.
  • Checking and Savings Accounts
    Checking and savings accounts strategies for minimizing fees.
  • Credit vs. Debit Cards
    Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use each?
  • Credit Reports and Scores
    Credit reports and scores determine the rates you pay when borrowing and can affect your ability to get certain jobs.
  • Managing Accounts
    Account management strategies for checking and savings.
  • Students and Credit Cards
    Special challenges for students with credit cards.
  • Building Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
  • Identity Theft
    Understanding ID theft and how to prevent it.
  • Signs of Financial Trouble
    Spotting the warning signs of excessive debt.
  • Real World Calculator
    Calculates after-college income scenarios.
  • Personalized Feedback
    Personalized feedback based on pre-course survey answers.
  • Financial Goals
    All short and long-term financial goals.
  • Post Course Survey
    Post-course survey to gather feedback on your learning experience.