Written by Sultana Patail
Friday, September 16th, 2016
Whether you're living away from home for the first time, or simply starting your first year of university, student life can feel overwhelming. Budgeting your own finances for the first time can seem daunting. But with a few spending, saving and budgeting tips, you can definitely take command of your hard-earned dollars.
Student discounts: As a student, you may be able to save money on admission at events or entertainment venues. Some restaurants, especially if they're near campus, may offer student specials. These can be worth looking into.
Buying used, borrowing, or going virtual: You may be tempted to buy every book on your list brand new. You can save by buying them used, borrowing them from a friend, or downloading virtual versions. For instance, you can save with sites such as VitalSource®.
No-fee student banking: Student banking is made easy, as a number of Canadian banks offer student packages. They can waive monthly and transaction fees, which can add up over time. Of course, a bank like Tangerine doesn't charge fees for daily banking, even for people who aren't students. This is a great feature for when you're learning to manage your bank accounts for the first time.
Campus facilities: Love to pack your calendar with extra-curricular activities? Before joining the community league of a sport, for instance, check out what your campus facilities have to offer. Instead of spending $600 on a hockey season, consider joining your campus intramural teams for much less, or even free.
Student budgeting apps: Tracking your spending has become easier than ever thanks to a variety of budgeting apps for your smartphone. For instance, apps such as Mint® are comprehensive systems that allow you to pull data from your bank accounts, so you have everything at a moment's glance. Other apps, such as Toshl FinanceTM, will allow you to set up simple budgets. No matter what you chose, budgeting apps can be proactive tools, helping you to take control of your finances before they take control of you.
Paying off debt: For many, higher education can also represent a first encounter with significant personal debt. Student assistance programs may put you on their standard repayment plan. It's best to make a plan of your own and pay off your debt as quickly as possible, to avoid any additional interest. By making a repayment plan specific to your financial situation, you can potentially pay off your student loan faster, ensuring that your money is paying off the initial principle loaned to you, as opposed to the interest on the loan. This can save you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your loan.
Don't let this exciting time in your life overwhelm you. Not only are you starting your post-secondary career, you're forming financial habits that will last a lifetime.
Vital Source is a registered trademark of VitalSource Technologies Inc.
Mint.com is a registered trademark of Intuit Inc.
Toshl Finance is a trademark of Toshl, Inc.