Embarking on your post-secondary journey is an exciting leap in life. It is also a time when students experience difficulties with managing their finances independently for the first time. While managing your finances may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. With the right mindset and a few simple tips, you can set yourself up for financial success for years to come.
Create a budget that works for you
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be an empowering way to take control of your finances. “Budgeting is not just about managing your finances; it’s about taking control of your future and making intentional choices that will lead to financial stability and success,” says Kassie Thomson, Branch Manager at Westoba Souris Branch.
Start by adding up all your income sources, including student loans, scholarships, or part-time jobs. Then, subtract all your expenses, including tuition fees, accommodation costs, food, transportation, and other expenses. Use this information to create a realistic budget that balances your income and expenses. For a step-by-step guide, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting Your Life blog.
Track your spending
When you are busy, running from class to class or study session, it can be easy to lose track of your spending (not to mention coffee). Tracking doesn’t have to be a tedious task. There are many budgeting apps available that make it easy and fun to stay on top of your finances. Apps such as Mint can help you to see where your money is going and identify areas where you can make changes.
Find ways to save money and have fun
Saving money does not have to mean sacrificing fun. In fact, there are many ways to save money while still enjoying all that university has to offer.
When it comes to textbooks, supplies, or even groceries, it pays to be a savvy shopper. Compare prices online and in-store before making a purchase. Textbooks can be expensive, so to save money, opt for used books, rent, or even share with a classmate. Look for point programs, flyer deals and coupons at the grocery store.
Check out our Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store blog for more tips you can bite into.
Search for free events around your campus or city (bonus points if they also have free food) by checking your school news bulletins or Facebook groups. Join a club or hang out with friends in public areas instead of restaurants or cafes where you might be tempted to spend more money.
Eating out can quickly drain your wallet. Plan your meals ahead of time and cook at home whenever possible. Invest in a meal plan if you’re living on campus, and your university offers it, as it can be more cost-effective than dining out.
Many businesses offer student discounts on products and services. Don’t be shy about asking if a discount is available – it never hurts to ask!
Ditch the car
If you can, leave your car at home and rely on public transportation, biking, or walking. This will save you money – potentially hundreds per month – on gas, insurance, and parking fees, which can add up quickly.
Build credit responsibly
Credit can be a powerful tool for building your financial foundation. By using credit responsibly, you can build a strong credit history that will serve you well in the future. Look for a credit card with no annual fee and a low-interest rate, and make sure to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. Westoba has a number of credit card options that can help you achieve your financial dreams while pursuing your education.
Consider a student loan
If you need financial assistance to pay for university, consider applying for a student loan. Student loans typically offer lower interest rates than other types of loans and may offer more flexible repayment options.
Seek out financial advice
If you are worried about your finances during school, don’t be afraid to seek out financial advice from an expert. “Working with a Financial Consultant can be a game-changer for students,” explains Kassie. “They can provide expert guidance on budgeting and offer strategies for building a stronger financial foundation that will benefit you after you leave school.”
If you are looking for a quick way to get an idea of where you stack up when it comes to managing your money, take our 3-minute Financial Fitness Quiz.
As you embark on this exciting new chapter in your life, learning how to manage your finances while developing healthy financial habits will benefit you for years to come. Our dedicated Financial Consultants are here to provide you with the tips, tools, and resources you need to achieve financial success while in school and beyond. Reach out to us today to get started!