Tuesday Top 5: Tips to be Financially Ready for the School Year

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Have a plan for managing your money

As a student you will have educational expenses (e.g. tuition and fees, books, laptop) and living expenses (e.g. residence fees, rent, groceries). These are most likely a mixture of one-time expenses you will pay in September and January, such as textbooks, and recurring monthly expenses like rent or cell phone bills.

The same most likely goes with your funding. You may have a mixture of up-front funding (e.g. OSAP, RESPs) and monthly funding (e.g. part-time employment, family assistance).

This makes it extremely important for you to have plan for managing your money. You want to be able to stretch your resources across the school year.

There are many different methods for budgeting and generally, everybody tries a few different way before finding one that clicks. Personally, we love Gail Vaz-Oxlades method for your managing your money at school.

Cut down on monthly expenses

Love your cable TV (looking at you Bachelorette fans)? How about that morning latte at Starbucks?

As a university student, it’s easier to spend less money than to make more. Look for ways to cut down on monthly expenses.

Make money selling your unused items

There’s a saying about “one man’s trash”. If you’re sitting on a bunch of items you just don’t use anymore, consider selling them to help cover some of your expenses.

Apps like letgo and VarageSale have made it easy and safe to sell second hand products locally.

Learn how to use credit responsibly

Credits card have a bit of a bad reputation and perhaps rightfully so. If you’re not careful with using one, debt can add up quickly and be difficult to get rid of, especially on a student budget.

However, credit cards are useful tools, and if used properly, can help you build good credit.

This WikiHow article on using credit cards responsibly covers everything you need to know.

Consider getting a part-time job

Working part-time while studying is a great way to supplement your funding. Most university students find working 12 – 14 hours a week reasonable with a full-time course load.

If you are interested in working on campus, check out the Awards Office’s Work Study program. Also, Career Services’ online job boards on mySuccess (login via Carleton Central) let you view and apply for internships and seasonal, part-time, and on-campus job opportunities.

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