The life of a student is not easy. Between classes, studying, work and your social life, budgeting often falls by the wayside. The thing we forget, is that good financial management can make life a lot easier. Here’s how to get an A+ on your student budget.
The key to any budget is not underestimating your expenses. Make a list of everything you currently spend money on – do you have a weakness for fancy lattés that cost as much as your lunch? This is no time to lie to yourself. Then, estimate what your income will be. The closer your budget comes to reality, the less likely you’ll be to break out in cold sweats when you look at your bank balance. You can make this easier by using a home budgeting tool. It’s a bit like having your own personal accounting assistant to do all the calculations for you.
There are two types of expenses. The first, fixed expenses, are easy to plan for: rent, Internet, tuition, etc. Be careful not to overlook the expenses that only come once or twice a year, like your driver’s license and registration.
In the second category are variable expenses. These are more fun – food! restaurants! going out! clothing! – and they can be drastically reduced if your fixed expenses eat up too much of your budget.
If after reducing your variable expenses, you still can’t balance your budget, try taking another look at your fixed expenses. You might be able to find a cheaper Internet package or an apartment with cheaper rent, for example.
Here are a few tips to help you trim the fat.
Did you follow our advice to the letter, only to realize that your expenses surpass your income no matter what you do? That might be because you aren’t earning enough income. Now what?
You’ve got a few options. You can get a part-time job. Fifteen hours a week will help you cover a few fixed costs without getting in the way of your studies.
You can also look into government-funded financial aid programs for students, a student credit line, or a credit card; all tools that will give you access to short- or medium-term financing.
Be careful though, not to fall into the . Choose loans that offer more flexible repayment options and lower interest rates. Interest on loans and bursaries obtained through government programs are often lower, and the capital and interest only needs to be repaid once you’ve completed your studies.
Remember, too, that credit card interest rates are usually higher than for other loans, so use them carefully and for purchases you know you’ll be able to pay off easily.
Did your work hours get cut? Working on a new project? All these changes have an impact on your budget, which is why you’ll need to revisit it once or twice per year. And if you feel like your financial situation is causing too much anguish, meet with an expert. They can help you find solutions adapted to your situation.
To conclude, a good budget requires a significant amount of rigor and organization, but in exchange for your efforts, you’ll get a bit of peace of mind – plus you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to blow with your friends on Saturday night!
Any reproduction, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of National Bank of Canada.
The articles and information on this website are protected by the copyright laws in effect in Canada or other countries, as applicable. The copyrights on the articles and information belong to the National Bank of Canada or other persons. Any reproduction, redistribution, electronic communication, including indirectly via a hyperlink, in whole or in part, of these articles and information and any other use thereof that is not explicitly authorized is prohibited without the prior written consent of the copyright owner.
The contents of this website must not be interpreted, considered or used as if it were financial, legal, fiscal, or other advice. National Bank and its partners in contents will not be liable for any damages that you may incur from such use.
This article is provided by National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities for information purposes only, and creates no legal or contractual obligation for National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities. The details of this service offering and the conditions herein are subject to change.
The hyperlinks in this article may redirect to external websites not administered by National Bank. The Bank cannot be held liable for the content of external websites or any damages caused by their use.
Views expressed in this article are those of the person being interviewed. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Bank or its subsidiaries. For financial or business advice, please consult your National Bank advisor, financial planner or an industry professional (e.g., accountant, tax specialist or lawyer).