The Student Money Management Center and Career and Employment Services are offering a new program for students called Financial Fitness. The program was created to help students learn how to manage money wisely. It teaches students how to be smart with their finances by showing them how to budget, save money, stay out of debt and avoid bad credit. “There is just a huge need for this program,” said Lisa Bentley, student money management coordinator. “So many people know we have to deal with money our whole life. It’s kind of what makes the world go round, and so many of us don’t know how to budget correctly. “Maybe we don’t realize the ramifications of not paying your bills on time or getting several credit cards and spending them to the limit. We want to help, because everything we do now can affect our financial resources for the future.” The program points out 11 steps to Financial Fitness: identify college expenses and funding, create a spending plan for the week/month/year, track your expenses daily, control how you spend your money, save money by paying yourself first, make full payments on all types of debt, limit credit card use to needs only, check your credit score monthly, check your credit report annually, protect your identity and set financial goals for your future. “During middle and high school, we weren’t taught much about finances,” said Erika Garrison, a psychology major. “Financial responsibility is an important skill to have in the real world. This should help students to gain understanding about it.” Izayah Dela Cerda, an engineering/computer science major, said he thinks the program will build confidence among students which will relieve stress, allowing better focus in class-related activities. The program helps students learn how to create a budget, plan, track and get their credit under control. It provides an educational opportunity for students who have questions about financial literacy, Bentley said. The goals for Financial Fitness are SMART, meaning specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, and include protecting students’ identity and managing expenses before, during and after college.Financial Fitness is comprised of two activities, Let’s Get uFIT, which is a professional and financial, eight-week fitness challenge, and the Biggest Gainer Challenge, where the more money you save, the more money you win. The winner receives a $500 AC Foundation scholarship and extra cash.The Money Management Center was started in July 2013 with a grant from TG, a nonprofit corporation that promotes educational access and administers Federal Family Education Loan Program loans made before July 1, 2010, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.The grant has been funding the Student Money Management Center for the past three years, allowing a foundation for the Financial Fitness program. To register for these activities go to www.actx.edu/money, or for more information contact Bentley at 806-371-5147 or in 112 Student Services Center.