by Alex Jindra

A crowd gathered in the Blue Room of Nazareth Hall on the evening of Jan. 24 for the “Common Sense for Your Dollars and Cents” event.

Charlie Bolognino, who is certified by the Dave Ramsey organization to teach personal finance, spoke about a variety of topics including finances, debt, spending and budgets.

Bolognino gave many helpful hints on how to manage a budget and avoid future debt, emphasizing two words—“if” and “only.” “People in the future look back and say: ‘If only I had known this information when I was younger’ and other phrases along those lines,” Bolognino said. “70 percent of people in North America today live paycheck to paycheck,” he continued. “43 percent of families spend more money than they earn each year. The average credit card debt is a little over $15,000 and the average student loan debt is $23,186.”

One of Bolognino’s key concepts is to create a budget plan that you can live with. He says that managed money goes farther.

“It comes to having a plan. Knowing where your money is and knowing where it’s going is the difference maker,” Bolognino said.

“[It’s important] to understand where your money is going and know where you’re going, how we get from square one to the very end where you’re building wealth and giving a bunch of it away. The question is: how do we get there?”

Bolognino was also willing to share practical advice for college students.

“I would say that the first thing you can do is start now,” he said, “And start with the budget. Whether you make $30 a week or $30,000 a year, a budget has a place in your life. You have to know where the money is going.”

“The second part for students is damage control,” he continued.

“What can you do around student loans, credit cards, or anything along those lines where you’re making decisions? You have to understand that the dial is running. Each time that you charge something even if it’s just a pizza, that’s adding up while you are in school.”

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