Follow 1FBUSA 1FBUSA Facebook 1FBUSA Instagram 1FBUSA Twitter

March 2024 1st Financial Bank USA Financial Goals Scholarship Winner: Audrey L.

April 9, 2024

March 2024 1FBUSA Scholarship Winner- Audrey L.We are excited to announce the March 2024 Financial Goals Scholarship winner is Audrey! Congratulations!

"I am honored to be a recipient of the 1st Financial Bank USA Financial Goals Scholarship. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to further my education and financial literacy as an undergraduate student. Looking ahead, I remain committed to the values upheld by this scholarship and will strive to advocate for the importance of responsible money management among students. Thank you for supporting young adults like myself in our growth as individuals, and as active, empowered members of society!" - Audrey L.


In addition to a normal class load, students juggle their extracurricular activities, social life, and personal finances. However, not every student is a natural at managing money successfully. In her essay, Audrey shares how she works toward being a better manager of money in college and offers advice for students managing their money for the first time. 

"Before college, I assumed the best way to manage my money was simply to save any and everything that I earned.  Whenever I was paid for tutoring or babysitting, it was easier to immediately deposit the money into my savings account than to allocate some for this, some for that, and so forth.  I did not have to worry about the smartest way to manage my money if all of it went to the same place.  Out of sight, out of mind…right?

However, as a college student, I now recognize the importance of striking a balance between saving and spending.  Taking care of myself requires that I use money for necessities.  I have also learned that larger purchases may be the more cost-effective choice in the long term, even if they seem unnecessary in the moment.  For example, investing in higher-quality household items may feel like an unworthy sacrifice today, but could ultimately save me many a pilling bath towel down the line.

To manage my money successfully, I use a digital budget planner to track my spending habits.  Every earning and purchase is recorded into my planner, which automatically sends a set percentage to my savings account and the remainder to my checking account.  Biweekly, I review these trends to determine if any patterns of spending above my means have arisen.  I then make adjustments accordingly to the percentages set in my planner.

One important mindset shift I have made in college is to focus on tracking the larger financial picture.  Rather than obsessing over each individual purchase, or bullying myself for spending $2 more than I did the week before, I compare my inflow and outflow of money holistically.  Zooming out has drastically improved my relationship with money management.  Thus, I would recommend this approach—tracking overall spending habits, not one-time occurrences—to students learning to manage their own finances.

After months of observing my spending patterns, I notice that I feel more motivated to work because I am progressing toward both short-term and long-term goals.  Previously, when all earnings went straight to savings, I struggled to feel engaged in my tutoring jobs because I was not allowing myself any degree of financial gratification.  By contrast, I now know that some of my earnings are automatically reserved for personal expenses in the now.  Allowing myself this small measure of immediate gratification reminds me that working is a two-way street.  Spending what I have worked for reiterates that my time and effort as a tutor are valued, which in turn drives me to improve my tutoring service. 

Thus, learning to manage my money has benefited far more than my financial literacy and credit score.  I have developed into an active member of society who is authentically committed to helping younger students.  Above all, I have developed a maturer perspective on what it means to take care of myself and my mentality, to which no price tag can be assigned.


Established in the year 1910, 1st Financial Bank USA (1FBUSA) provides quality community banking services in South Dakota, credit card and other financial services to college students and college graduates, and construction lending to builders, developers, and investors from coast to coast. 1FBUSA will award a $2,000 scholarship to a new winner each month. View full rules and eligibility at


1st Financial Bank USA Scholarship ENTER NOW