If you’re ready to go off to university, you’re ready to start learning how to budget. First-time university students are susceptible to overspending but by maintaining a budget, you will save money, manage expenses and set yourself up for success!
Keep a detailed expense log by writing down everything you spend. Then subtract your expenses from your income. If you’re in a negative balance, don’t panic. Review your spending and find ways to cut back. Not earning enough? Consider a part time job and start by looking for work at your school – they’re more likely to have a flexible schedule. You can also consider applying for a student loan or bursary.
For students who qualify, there are government loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries. To find out how to apply, visit the Canada Student Loans Program.
A student line of credit lets you access a specific amount of money each year. You have to pay the interest owing each month, but you can repay the principal after graduation. Credit cards, on the other hand, come with high interest rates, use them with caution and avoid cash advances.
A budget should evolve as your circumstances change. Did you get a job? Are you spending more than planned? Your budget isn’t set in stone, make sure you review it frequently.
Don’t wait to ask for help. If you’re in a tight spot financially, talk to a school or financial advisor immediately. The advisor will guide you with any monetary problems you may have and help you get back on track. Remember, everyone makes financial mistakes, especially first-time budgeters.
1. Negotiate a better cable or cell phone rate and take advantage of student discounts.
2. Pack lunches instead of eating out.
3. Start carpooling to save on gas.
4. Find a roommate to share living expenses or consider living at home (remember, it’s temporary!).
5. Think before you spend, wait 24 hours before making a major purchase.
6. Stick to your grocery list to prevent impulse buys and avoid name brands.
7. Fix broken items instead of replacing them.
8. Shop for clothes on sale or at second hand stores.
9. Buy used textbooks or go digital.
10. Save 10% of your monthly income.
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