It may sound counterintuitive, but managing your money gets easier the more you have. When you cross a certain income threshold, you can afford to pay a wealth management company to sweat the details. All you have to do is sit back and watch your money multiply.

For a broke college student, money management is a bit more hands-on. It’s important to start building a base of financial knowledge in early adulthood, but the resources at your disposal are limited. Unless you have wealthy parents bankrolling your expenses, you need to find free or cheap ways to start gaining financial literacy.

Thankfully, most universities are brimming with free financial resources for students – all you need to know is where to look. Here are a few options to get you started.

Take Personal Finance Classes

As a senior in college, I took a basic personal finance class offered through the business school. As the daughter of a CPA, I’d always had a passing interest in money management. The course taught me fundamentals like how to budget and how insurance works.

It was a helpful primer for life after college. Learning about what a deductible is and how 401(k)s work prepared me for my first post-grad job, giving me the tools to get the most out of my benefits package and entry-level income.

Many colleges offer introductory personal finance classes within the business school or finance department. Unlike other business-related courses, these classes are often open to non-business majors and usually don’t have any prerequisites.

These courses generally won’t count toward your major so consider it a fun elective to take if you have a free spot in your schedule. Some colleges only have one basic personal finance class, while others have several designed to be taken together.

These classes go through concepts like budgeting, debt management, insurance, taxes and investing. If you have questions about more complicated topics, you can reach out to the professor during office hours. Even after graduating, I would still email my personal finance professor with specific questions.

If you’re already taking the maximum amount of credit hours, you can still take advantage of a college personal finance class. Whitney Hansen, Host of The Money Nerds Podcast, is an Adjunct Professor at Boise State where she teaches personal finance. She said students who are busy or don’t have any credit hours can audit a personal finance course instead of enrolling.

Auditing means the course won’t show up on their transcript or use up any credit hours. They also don’t have to worry about attendance or the grade affecting their GPA. Hansen said she always sets aside seats for students who are interested but can’t add another class to their official schedule.

Find Personalized Help

Some colleges offer specific workshops or employ dedicated counselors to provide financial advice to current students. As more and more people push for an increased emphasis on financial literacy in higher education, these options are becoming more readily available every year.

For now, the problem is knowing where to look. If you’re a freshman or go to a large school, finding these programs can be particularly difficult.

“A lot of universities have their financial resources spread out in a few places,” Hansen said. “The best places to look are on your school’s financial aid office website, student affairs department, admissions office, and talking with your academic advisor.”

If you can’t find any personal finance workshops, you can request that the college add one to the docket. Colleges often have a special discretionary budget for student events, and anything directly aimed at promoting post-graduation financial success will be an easy sell.

“Depending on which school you attend, you may also be able to find free personal finance programs or workshops offered through student life/affairs, or as one of the spokes of your school’s overarching wellness program,” said Tara Falcone, CFA, CFP®, Founder of ReisUP and creator of online financial literacy program, LIT. “Finally, you may have the opportunity to attend free personal finance workshops led by alumni who are passionate about financial literacy.”

Go to the Library

If you’ve already got your classes scheduled or your college doesn’t offer financial workshops year-round, you’ll have to take your financial education into your own hands. Start by checking out beginner personal finance books at the college library. 

All of these books will be in the same nonfiction section, usually near business and marketing books. College libraries often have longer loan periods than public libraries, so you should have plenty of time to get through whatever you choose to check out.

If you’re having trouble finding a specific personal-finance book, you can request that the college library purchase it. You’ll probably have to talk to a librarian and fill out a request form. You could also visit the local public library and see if they have a more varied selection.

One age-appropriate selection for college students is Erin Lowry’s “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping by and Get Your Financial Life Together.”

Lowry, also a Mint contributor, answers elementary questions like, “What kind of bank account should I open?” and “What is an emergency fund?” Her book is easy-to-read and designed for those with no prior personal finance knowledge.

Contact Your Bank

Your bank wants you to be financially successful. The more capital you earn, the more you can save, invest and borrow in the future. Because of this, your bank has a vested interest in helping you learn about personal finance. 

Many banks offer personal finance workshops to customers looking for a better understanding of their finances. These events cover topics like creating a budget, paying off debt and buying a house.

If your bank has a local branch, see if they have any workshops scheduled. Visit your bank’s website or call the branch directly. They may have in-person sessions, virtual classes or webinars. You can also ask if they have financial counselors or educators who offer one-on-one support.

Sometimes you can request the bank to facilitate a workshop for a group, like a club or sorority you’re part of.

If your bank doesn’t have a physical location near you, see if there’s a credit union attached to your school. This is common with major universities, and these credit unions may have special programming designed for college students. You may have to join the credit union to attend a workshop, but they’re often open to the general public.

The post Where to Find Free Financial Resources in College appeared first on MintLife Blog.

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Graduating from Chandigarh Engineering College in 2014, Karan Syal began his career as a cybersecurity and ethical hacking trainer and worked on cybersecurity projects for businesses. Later, he teamed up with a few of his friends to start a startup that hosted awareness and learning workshops on cybersecurity. “After two years, I wanted to explore other facts of technology. At that time, my brother was studying in Mumbai, I visited the city on a leisure trip. But, that soon turned into a work trip. Observing how mobile marketing was gaining relevance for businesses, I wanted to deep dive.” He then made a conscious decision to work as a consultant for brands for six months on customer engagement projects. “Here I got to closely observe what it took to set up a back-end support system for brands and how it was helping brands connect with customers. At the same time, I also saw the areas where traditional setups failed to deliver,” explains Karan.

Making inroads in the mobile marketing business

Armed with understanding and enthusiasm, Karan teamed up with his brother, Rohan Syal to start WEBozINDIA Solutions LLP. “Joana Picq, a leader at Jampp, an industry leader in user acquisition and user re-engagement for mobile apps, once said, – The mobile phone is a bit like God, it is omnipresent. And, her words struck a chord with us. And, by 2016, we had begun to see the power of mobile marketing. So, we set out to provide marketing solutions for brands. We wanted to help brands and businesses capitalise on the possibilities of mobile marketing and more importantly, help them understand how and why to use it,” explains Karan, the Co-Founder and Director of WEBozINDIA Solutions LLP.


Starting WEBozINDIA in 2016, Karan spent the first year decoding the market realities and understanding the landscape better. At the same time, I began looking out for connections in the ecosystem – from vendors to telecom operators. I wanted the business to be equipped to cater to the client’s demands.

“By 2017, we felt ready And in February 2017, we onboarded HealthIndia Insurance TPA Services as our first client. The first engagement involved designing and executing an SMS and missed call solution to get feedback for their services,” says Karan.

Three years later, HealthIndia Insurance TPA Services continues to closely work with WEBozINDIA for their mobile requirements. “That says a lot for our quality of services and commitment to meet our client’s needs,” beams the co-founder.

Today, WEBozINDIA is a growing Consumer Engagement & Mobile Marketing Business offering a number of services in the areas of promotional and transactional SMS, WhatsApp messaging solutions, missed call solutions and various voice solutions including IVR solutions, voice calls and call centre support.

“We provide VOICE service through a completely automated web-based application that enables brands and businesses to get real-time notifications of all calls on the dedicated mobile, land phone, or toll-free number. With Transactional SMS service, we are able to deliver to DND and non-DND numbers because we have the necessary licences in place. In Bulk WhatsApp messaging service, we can not only send text but also images, video, audio and PDFs, thus making it applicable for a variety of use-cases.”

More recently, they have begun designing and supporting loyalty programmes and consumer engagement solutions such as promotions, contests, coupons, gratifications and more.

When success speaks for the impact

In the last three years, since it started actively offering mobile marketing and consumer engagement services, WEBozINDIA has worked with more than 200 clients, including the likes of Zee Entertainment, Nutricharge, Britannia, Cadbury and Nestle.

“We do have one of the best success rates in the industry. The success rate, i.e. the rate of delivery, averages at about 94 percent for SMS, with 92 percent of them Delivered within five seconds of being sent out. For voice it stands at 90 percent, while for WhatsApp it is at 85 percent.”

The volume of calls and messages that it handles to provide these services is huge.

Today, on average WEBozINDIA handles about 1 crore SMSes a month, while the voice call volumes average at around 80 lakhs. Karan adds, “For any mid-sized brand campaign, we reach out to more than 30 lakh interested unique users.”

Karan says the growth has been organic, most of which came from client referrals.

“Thankfully, I have never had to spend on marketing. I have never been bullish either. Yet, we have seen good YoY growth. Starting with annual revenue of just Rs 3 lakhs in 2016-17 to clocking Rs 22 lakhs in 2017-18. This financial year, we have already crossed 1.4 crore in revenue and expected to touch Rs 1.7 crore."At the crux of their success story: Vodafone

While having a committed team, crafting customised solutions and understanding the consumer nuances has helped them reach where they are today, a significant factor has also been the support of their technology partners, which in their case are the telecom operators.

“Since we work on a lot of mobile marketing campaigns, we often work closely with telecom operators. Be it a missed call campaign, IVR setup, an SMS campaign, it often involves creating a premium mobile or toll-free number. And that's why telecom operators become key to our work,” says Karan.

It was in 2018, the year that marked the beginning of an increased demand for mobile marketing campaigns that WEBozINDIA had an interesting project that required a toll-free number. WEBozINDIA was on the lookout for a premium toll-free number.

“For a marketing campaign which has a toll-free number component involved, one of the things you need to ensure the success of the campaign is a number that is easy to remember because it paves way for better recall and thereby better business opportunities. That’s when we reached out to Vodafone.”

WEBozINDIA went live with a Vodafone toll-free number soon after. While getting access to an easy to recall toll-free number was helpful, the domestic toll free services from Vodafone come with additional features such as time-based routing, call redirection, origin based routing, load balancing, sequencing calls as per business needs, and black and white listing of numbers. “These features further helped in strategising and executing the campaign seamlessly. Today, nearly 12 months later, we are still live with the toll free number for the client,” says Karan.

What started off as a one-off engagement soon developed into a long-term relationship where WEBozIndia began reaching out to Vodafone for most of their mobile marketing campaign requirements.

The importance of quick response from a telecom partner

Today, 60 percent of those engagements are being done with Vodafone.

“With mobile marketing campaigns, there is a need to be on our feet all the time. Sometimes we need to create and activate the telephone number and get it up in less than a week. And we have seen some fantastic support from the Vodafone partners, who have made it happen. There have been instances when we have been able to create a campaign number in 24-48 hours as opposed to the standard turnaround time of 7-10 days. As critical as it is to have a short turnaround time on these requests, it is equally important to be able to have minimal downtimes and ability to handle large volumes. Here too the experience with Vodafone has been on par. Even in the few instances when there have been glitches or downtimes, they have been quick to respond,” says Karan explaining the role and importance of a telecom partner for a growing mobile marketing company like WEBozINDIA.

Karan shares an example of a recent engagement they did for Big Magic, an Indian pay television channel owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises to highlight the work of WEBozINDIA and how Telecom partners help them in their journey. “We were working with BigMagic to support them in an 11-day campaign to drive user engagement. The campaign involved creating a telephone number and asking users to participate. Users had to give a missed call post which they would receive a call asking them to select their answer to the contest question. A randomiser would then select 1000 winners who were sent a Rs 100 worth recharge voucher. We received over 1 lakh calls each day, of which there were at least 30 percent unique users every single day. On a particular day during the campaign period, we even received 1.8 lakh calls, which was double the average. The entire campaign was seamlessly executed on Vodafone.”

On the road ahead

Karan is optimistic about the future. He agrees the mobile marketing business has become competitive. “New technologies are rewriting the rules of the game. So are new players. But, even then if you continue to do the basics well, you can stand against competition and new trends. Because, at the core, it is about reaching out to customers who matter to the brand.” And, one of the offerings that WEBozINDIA is excited about has launched is SMART SMS.

“Here we don’t just have insights on how many people have opened the message but also who. This I think will be a game-changer. That said, we will continue to focus on our core basic offerings which clients say have been the most effective, in comparison to even technology that competitors have labelled to be ground-breaking.”

In the coming financial year, we will be coming up with a new solution of ONE Number Solution.

So what’s on WEBozINDIA’s future roadmap?

“To continue doing what we do best. That simple mantra has brought us so far and I believe it will continue to,” signs-off Karan.

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