With the unofficial end of summer upon us, this can only mean that once again, it is time to head back to school.
Are you a university or college student heading back to the campus this fall? We know how stressful it can be to manage finances while balancing course work, extra-curricular activities and a part time job. From tuition to textbooks, all the expenses associated with going to school can quickly add up so that is why we have a few quick tips for you today to help you survive your school year. Afterall, we believe that developing a budget and managing finances is an important life skill to learn outside of the classroom.
Develop a Budget
Now is the perfect time to develop a budget of your expenses for the school year. The budget will help you see how much is coming in from jobs, grants, bursaries or loans and how much will need to go out for bills and other expenses. Having this understanding will help you plan out your finances so that you can do everything you want to do throughout the school year.
Your Wants vs Needs
As you’re preparing this budget, it is important to distinguish between “needs” and “wants”. For example, while you need food to live, going out to eat with friends at a restaurant is a ‘want’ that will be a lot of more expensive. Find a balance between the two so that you can live comfortably without missing out.
Types of Expenses
Break down your expenses so that you have a better idea of what you need each month. Which of your expenses are one time and which are monthly? For example –
School Costs – such as tuition, textbooks, course fees you can expect to be once a term
One Time Expenses – trips, gifts, moving costs are one-time expenses and can happen unexpectedly
Monthly Expenses – for food, rent, cell phone, gym memberships, or gas are monthly expenses that will remain mostly the same each month
Understanding how much you will need and when you will need it by will help in your overall planning.
The key is developing a budget that is realistic to your situation. When you have this understanding of what’s coming in and going out, you can make better and more informed decisions when you are deciding, for example, on whether to go out for dinner or commit to that trip to Toronto during Reading Week.
We wish you a great school year ahead!