Tips for Saving Money This Post-Secondary School Year

It’s tough, rising tuition costs will never cease, books will always be new every year, and rent in your city is poised to increase. The opportunity cost of going to school is more than these costs, but the loss of your income for the year as well. So why bother with the all the hassle, just work a while! Get into the trade! Well regardless of how you do the post-secondary school thing, the fact of the matter is, you need something more than your high school diploma to increase your average salary for the rest of your life.

Since post-secondary isn’t free (in North America at least), here are some tips before and during the school years.

1) If you aren’t getting help from family then you should be looking to save early. Since you’re probably already working try to save instead of spending on food or shoes.

2) Try to avoid loans. I would suggest that going into debt for schooling is worth considering, however, $50,000 worth of student loans says more about your inability to plan and save then it does about the cost of school.

3) Live at home, if you can, save yourself 800 bucks a month, free food costs most of the time too. Many more students are choosing this option as part of their post-secondary education. Very few employers care where the degree came from, but that you have one.

4) Save on book costs. Hit up Amazon, Ebay, Chapters, Indigo, used book stores, the school used book stores/classified ALL before you buy new. Profs will smack you with new additions year by year which are really unfair. Vote with your feet in these cases. New edition from the same teacher year by year says more about their preparation then it does about the quality of books.

5) Food is a cost that you incur regardless if you’re home or away. Try to plan meals, stay within your food budget, raid home when you can, carry a lunch, buy in bulk, don’t eat out, buy Mr. Noodles, and more.

6) Clothes shopping? Why bother? Wardrobes don’t need to change each semester. Stay away from neon and you’re fine.

7) Public transportation. Some universities have deals with the public transportation system. You get a deal and a pass. Save money on gas, car, and parking.

8) Your school supplies are generally non-existent other than pen and paper. Some programs make you buy some materials, however, other than books and computer you don’t need snazzy binders and locker organizers.

9) Computer selection. Are you spending money for a gaming computer or do you need something to run your word processor?

10) Don’t use your loans for bad spending. A new computer (see above) is not a good excuse to get a loan.

That’s all the tips we have for now, if you have some more please leave comments here. We’ll add some more as they come in. Enjoy the second semester and try not to rip holes in your clothes, they need to last 4 years!

2 comments

  1. Here are some more I foudn from BMO (Bank of Montreal). Bare in mind the info comes from a bank:P

    1) Understand the real costs of education – Tuition and school fees
    are not your only expenses. Develop a realistic budget that includes
    textbooks, supplies, computers (software, Internet), transportation,
    general living and social expenses. Understanding your real costs is
    the first step in effective budgeting.

    2) Put together a realistic budget (and stick to it) – You should
    develop a monthly budget either by using a budget calculator
    (available at no cost at your local bank branch) or by speaking with
    a financial professional. Then stick to it. A budget is a key
    building block to helping you manage the money you have effectively.
    A budget doesn’t work if you only think of your short term needs and
    forget that the school year lasts a full eight months or more (and
    that your money should too).

    3) Plan for the unexpected – Even if you do plan well, you may still
    face emergency expenses at some point during the school year. To
    manage these situations it is useful to have access to an emergency
    fund or alternative financing, such as a student credit card or a
    line of credit. For example, BMO Bank of Montreal offers both a
    student Mosaik MasterCard and a student line of credit and can show
    you the best way of using each depending on the situation.

    4) Look for student discounts – As a student, every cent counts, so
    take advantage of the many organizations that offer student
    discounts. Many bookstores, transportation companies, and
    entertainment venues offer sizable discounts so don’t be afraid to
    ask. BMO Bank of Montreal is the only bank to offer free banking for
    students, so shop around before you open a bank account or apply for
    a loan to make sure you get the best deal.

    5) Pay today – If you can, pay for your education as you go. Many
    students enter college or university without having a sound plan to
    fund their education; you shouldn’t be one of them. The last thing
    that you want to do is get so far into debt that you spend the first
    few years following graduation working just to pay off student loans.

    6) Know your financing options – If you do not qualify for government
    assistance and/or do not have enough savings from a summer job, most
    financial institutions can provide financial help with a loan or a
    line of credit. It is wise to make an appointment with your banker
    and have her go over your needs. You may have options you never
    considered before.

    7) Think both short and long term – By having two different bank
    accounts, students can manage their short and long-term financial
    needs separately. A day-to-day chequing account is perfect for daily
    and weekly needs, while a savings account is a good place to park
    money that will be needed later in the year.

    8) Regularly re-evaluate your financial needs – As you go through
    college or university, the financial assistance you require often
    changes. Scheduling regular appointments with your banking
    professional is one way to maintain healthy finances and will allow
    you to make any necessary financial adjustments.

    9) Manage your money effectively – Simple activities such as paying by
    debit or using an ABM of another financial institution can be quite
    costly if you are not in the right banking plan. Paying cash or using
    your own banking institution will save you money throughout the
    course of the year.

    10) Protect your identity – Always shield your hand when entering PIN
    numbers during debit purchases. Also, when paying with debit, make
    sure that the merchant is a trusted and reputable business.

  2. Some more about saving in school, this time from VISA.

    According to a recent Visa Canada survey of graduating high school students, 83 percent of respondents are confident that they have the information they need to make smart financial choices. (The first priority being get a VISA and rack up a balance for 20% interest).

    Survey results show that 77 percent of respondents have discussed money management with a parent and that these students are more likely to be confident about handling their finances, more likely to save money and are more responsible when it comes to credit. Not only are students talking to their parents, they are also learning financial basics from their teachers. Over three quarters of survey respondents believe that schools should provide mandatory instruction on budgeting and investing.

    While students appear to be open to discussing financial planning, the challenge for parents and teachers seems to be getting students to implement the tips and techniques from Choices & Decisions into their daily lives. According to the survey, less than one third of students who have been shown how to create a budget said they implemented it completely. Students claimed they couldn’t stick to their budget because it was too strict or hard to follow; or, they knew they should create a budget but the end product was
    “totally unrealistic.” DiscussEconomics says students are just lazy jerks who don’t have a clue about repsonsibilities and will glady handle debt the rest of their lives because that’s what they’re parents currently do 😛

    While tuition is the most obvious expense associated with college or university, the financial challenges faced by students extend well beyond the classroom. Students are balancing academics, part-time jobs and busy social lives, and all of these require smart decisions about money. Buy a car or take the bus to class? Live in residence or rent an apartment? Practical Money Skills addresses a range of life events and provides interactive calculators to help students navigate financial obstacles.

    The national survey was conducted online in April 2006. A total of 1406 male and female students aged 16 to 19 who reported being in their last year of secondary school were surveyed. The findings are accurate, plus or minus 2.6 percent, 19 times out of 20.

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