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Helping Students Succeed

Financial Wellness

For many students, college is the first time you are in control of the majority of your finances. While focusing on your academic success and goal of attaining your degree, you may now be responsible for paying your own bills and stretching your financial aid funds to last the entire semester.

Here are important steps you can take to improve your financial wellness:

Step 1: Identify Needs vs. Wants

One way to spend your limited resources wisely is to separate your needs from your wants, and spend money primarily on your needs. Use the Needs vs. Wants worksheet to help with this

Step 2: Create a Budget

Establish a reasonable budget using the budgeting wizard available through CashCourse which is a real life money guide specifically for college students. Creating a budget and establishing awareness of your finances will help you develop lifelong money management skills. Start now for a successful financial future!

Step 3: Stick to your Budget

Having an awesome budget doesn’t mean anything if you don’t stick with it. Check in with your financial self every week about how your spending looks. Do you have enough in your account to still meet the expenses you’ll have for the rest of the semester? Is your spending on track? If not, what do you need to cut down on and where can you find some extra funds to help with your expenses?

Step 4: Get a Part-Time Job that Doesn’t Stress you Out

Having a part-time job is a great way to gain valuable work experience, build connections, and earn extra income to help with your expenses. Look for a job on campus or near campus that is supportive and understanding of your life and responsibilities as a college student.

Step 5: Use Available Resources to Help Reduce Expenses


UC Merced Basic Needs Security office offers great money saving food resources such as CalFresh application assistance, Bobcat Pantry, and CropMobster.


UC Merced's Professional Clothing Closet offers a free suit rental service for UC Merced students. 


CatTracks provides free transportation to and from campus for undergraduates with a valid Cat Card. If you live in Heritage Apartments, you will need a UC Merced bus pass in addition to your CatCard to use the Heritage Express Shuttle.

CATSPOTS Discounts

The Office of Alumni Relations offers CATSPOTS, a community partnership that offers discounts on food, health, beauty and wellness, entertainment, retail and services to UC Merced students and staff.


Learn about discount programs offered by local utilities:

Need additional help?

Check out these websites for more helpful tips on how to save money.