As a post-secondary student, this may be your first time handling your finances on your own. You may have noticed last semester that you spent more than you anticipated, and are looking to save more money before your term comes to a close. Here are some brief tips to help you stay in control of your finances and stay on track.
Keep a track of your income and expenses by creating charts for yourself with income and expenses on it. Sit down at the beginning of each month to write this out, as most bills are paid monthly. Think about how much you spend on rent, or on food. You also want to account for costs you may not commonly think about, like recreation, laundry and personal care items. As a student, you may or may not be working, but don’t forget income you do receive like OSAP, financial aid, savings or bursaries and awards. There are many helpful tools online to help you with budgeting, and here is a link to help you start thinking about how to properly budget:http://www.balancetrack.org/collegestudents/pdf/studentbudget.pdf.
There are also apps that you can download onto your phone that are easy to input into and use. Does budgeting still seem intimidating? Another way to save some money is to have a jar designated for a portion of income you either make that month, or decide you want to save from your account. This strategy can help you save up for a big event in the future, a small getaway trip, or even help you pay for fun activities that you and your friends plan for the weekends.
2) Set goals
Review your budgeting sheet. Does your expense exceed your income? If so, what expenses can you minimize? You will want to separate your needs and wants, and there may be some sacrifices you have to make. Maybe one month try and spend 20$ less on non-homemade food than you did the previous month, as little changes can go a long way! Keep in mind that your university education is most important, so don’t overwork yourself in order to make more money. By setting goals you can possibly avoid getting that second job to help you pay for things that may not be a necessity.
3) Do your research on financial loans, OSAP, and aids
Although this may be scary, think about the size of your student loan up to graduation and how you will pay it back. Don’t forget to take into account that you may not be able to obtain a job right after graduation and that there may be some interest on the money you borrowed as time goes by. You may want to research on credit cards as well too. They may be helpful for your situation, but don’t abuse them!
Money management can be a scary think to think about, but it is a skill that you will use throughout your lifetime. If you are struggling financially, trust us, you are not the only one. The Student Life Centre understands that university is expensive, and can be stressful for students to have to deal with. For some help with your finances, visit the following link from Brescia’s website: http://brescia.uwo.ca/tuition/financial-aid/