We’re well into the first month of school! Hopefully you have made a positive adjustment to the school year and your studies are going well thus far. At this time for some students, they may feel stressed about their personal finances. Even with the increasing number of government rebates and grants, post-secondary education isn’t cheap, and for some students, it is their first year of managing a budget on their own. As a student, it’s important you learn how to properly manage your student budget so that it lasts you all year long, and you can focus on what matters most – succeeding in your studies.
With that in mind, here are some simple budgeting tips I recommend so you can spend less time worrying about money and more time focusing on your academics and general well-being:
Download Finance Apps
Since most of us have our cellphones at our disposal whenever we need, you may want to consider using a finance app to track your daily purchases and spending.
Here are just a few of the dozens (if not hundreds) of mobile finance apps available and how they can help you build and stick to a budget:
- Mint – Mint allows you to bring all of your banking and credit card transactions into one password-protected space. You can easily set up budgets within the app and categorize your transactions, and Mint even sends you notifications when your bills are due or if you’re overspending.
- Wally – Wally is particularly useful if you’re an international student, as it is one of few finance apps that allows users to document and create budgets with any form of currency.
- You Need a Budget – If you don’t mind investing in a paid app, You Need a Budget links all of your accounts, helps you create personalized debt repayment plans, and hosts live financial planning workshops.
Use Budgeting Templates
A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of free budgeting templates to help you organize your income and expenses. If you’re unsure which to trust, consider using one offered by your financial institution; many banks, including TD Canada Trust, CIBC, RBC, and Scotiabank, offer online budget calculators. If you are new to Canada or if your bank doesn’t provide an online budgeting tool, the Government of Canada has also created a helpful student budget worksheet.
Buy Used Items
Many universities and colleges have bookstores on campus where students can sell textbooks they no longer need or buy used textbooks at a fraction of their original cost. I’ve also seen many Facebook groups where students gather to buy, sell, or trade textbooks, clothing, furniture, and electronics. If you can’t find a community social media group for your university or college, consider starting one yourself!
If you are in need of free and confidential financial advice, you can call your Student Assistance Program (SAP) 24/7 at 1-877-234-5327 (toll-free) to receive the personal financial counselling you need either by telephone or in-person. Stay well!