How to Manage Your Finances

Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is a state of well-being where you have minimal financial stress because you have established a strong financial foundation and created an ongoing plan to reach future financial goals. Striving to achieve financial wellness as a student can be a great way to relieve stress now and build good habits for the rest of your life.

Below are listed some resources at UC Davis that can help you achieve financial wellness.

Financial Education

The UC Davis Financial Aid and Scholarship office has a great program called Aggie Blue to Gold, that teaches students about financial wellness. You can meet with one of their peer advisors and view presentations. The program features a slew of online tools that can help you learn more about:

UC Davis has also partnered with some free, online financial resources to help you better manage your money.


Student Housing and Dining Services on campus generally provides the least expensive housing option for students. Housing fees cover the cost of rent, meals, utilities, computer labs, furniture, and programs and activities. They also offer affordable housing at The Tri-Cooperatives for low-income students.


Aggie Cash

Aggie Cash is a debit account that students use to purchase food at select locations and is included in the housing fees for all students living in the residence halls or Student Housing Apartments. It can be a great way to manage your food budget; since purchases are not taxed, a 10 percent discount applies to most purchases, and you can roll over balances quarter to quarter.

Voluntary Meal Plans

Voluntary Meal Plans are another option for getting well-balanced meals in any of the residence hall dining commons. They are open to anyone and they have a variety of meal block plans to meet your needs. A perk is that there are unlimited seconds at all meals and you can roll over your balance year to year (while actively enrolled at UC Davis).

Aggie Compass

UC Davis Student Affairs is committed to reducing food insecurity at UC Davis, which is why in 2018 they launched Aggie Compass. Aggie Compass is focused on transforming UC Davis into a food-secure campus community by providing students free fresh fruits and veggies, resource referrals and a Cal Fresh representative.

The Pantry

The Pantry provides fresh produce and bread, shelf-stable food items, and basic necessities to students facing food insecurity. Students must present a valid UC Davis ID Card in order to take up to three items per day. Located in the east wing of the Memorial Union.

Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center is partnering with the Pantry to offer a weekly grocery bag pick-up. Please register on our Basic Needs Update Page.
Fresh Produce at The Pantry:

Fruit & Veggie Up!

As a UC Davis student, you can get free produce through the Fruit & Veggie Up! program, located at Aggie Compass in the Memorial Union. Produce is given out on a first come, first served basis. This program is made possible by donations from UC Davis Student Farm, Tandem Farm, and Nugget Markets.

Cooking Classes

Student Health and Counseling Services hosts free cooking classes throughout the year for UC Davis students. Along with teaching students how to prepare their own high-quality food, the cooking techniques taught can help keep food costs low.

Swipe Out Hunger

Swipe Out Hunger provides an opportunity for the UC Davis community to contribute to a fund used by campus and local community charities to purchase food and other essentials for the support of students and community members most in need.


UC Davis Stores Textbook Rental Program

One way to help offset the cost of textbooks is to utilize the UC Davis Stores textbook rental program, which is available every quarter and can help you save as much as 70 percent off what you would pay for new textbooks.

Buy Used or Digital

UC Davis Stores also offers students the option to buy used books in the Campus Store and digital copies online through its Inclusive Access program.

Price Shop

On its website, UC Davis Stores lists the price for every one of its available titles alongside those of its competitors. This includes third-party markets such as Amazon, Chegg, Alibris, etc. These comparisons are shown in real-time and allow the student to access the best possible prices. UC Davis Stores will also price match new textbooks and general books.

Borrow Books Through the UC Davis Library

Once you have your course’s reading list, go to the UC Davis Library to see if you can check out any of the assigned books for the quarter. The downside is you can’t take notes in the book, but it can be a good option for saving a few bucks.


Once you are done with a book, consider taking advantage of the UC Davis Store’s buyback program and earn a little cash for books you no longer need.

Financial Aid

Visit the Financial Aid and Scholarships website to access information about financial aid, managing your money, scholarships and deadlines.


Earning extra income can be a good way to achieve financial wellness if you cannot pay for current expenses. A good place to start is through UC Davis’ Work-Study Program. You can also look for jobs through Aggie Job Link.

One thing to remember: If you can help it, don't overwork because it could adversely impact your academic performance and health. UC Davis’ rigorous academic schedule is geared toward full-time study, so keep that in mind before taking on too many hours at work.

Have a Financial Emergency?

Have a financial emergency? Don’t worry, UC Davis has a program that can help you. We Are Aggie Pride is a donor-supported, student-run program at UC Davis that provides emergency funding to students to cover rent, books, and other essential costs not covered by other programs. It is designed to give a temporary boost to those who are trying to make it on their own and is driven by the belief that no UC Davis student should have to discontinue their education because of a temporary financial setback.

(Design note/suggestion: March 2 as a large graphic)

More Financial Literacy Resources[1]:

  • a product of the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission with numerous tools, quizzes and step-by-step information on building financial security.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers clear, impartial answers to hundreds of financial questions. Find the information you need to make more informed choices about your money.
  • Consumer Finance, Paying for College has tools and resources to help you make informed financial decisions about how to pay for college.
  • The Simple Dollar is a website where anyone can acquire financial information on finding the best products and services, saving money, making smart investments and controlling personal finances.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Paying off Student Loans
  • How to Budget for More Happiness
  • Fidelity Webcast Hub offers free, live and recorded webcasts on financial wellness.