Maybe you’ve been doing it for years, but managing your money may be just one of the firsts that happens for a lot of you when you start university. It can feel overwhelming, but don’t fear! You’re not alone. The trick is to not let it get out of hand. Here are 8 financial tips to help you stay in the black during your first year (and beyond).
1. Estimate your costs
There’s a lot to consider when preparing for university but finances are a major factor that can impact your decision. Expenses vary depending on your lifestyle and level of enrolment. For an estimate of tuition fees, check out our online fee calculator.
2. Develop a budget
Developing a budget and managing finances is an important life skill everyone needs to develop during their university journey. On top of planning to finance your tuition, you’ll also need to factor in additional expenses, including costs for books and supplies, insurance, travel, phone, food, personal items, etc.
3. Explore options for financing your education
For most students, money for education tends to come from many sources including scholarships, bursaries, part-time employment, and student loans. You’ll want to research all available sources of funding and develop a plan to finance your education. Here are some options to check if you’re looking for some financial assistance:
4. Be mindful of your spending
It can be a challenge to keep up to date with your bills during your first year of university. There’s a lot going on, and remembering to keep a tab on your spending can be tough. Reminders are a great way to stay on track of your spending. Try setting a bi-weekly reminder to check your bank statement to make sure you’re staying on top of your budget.
5. Understand what’s a necessary purchase and what isn’t
This goes beyond first year, but this might be the first time you’ve been on your own to make bigger financial decisions and purchases. It’s important to understand the difference between a necessary purchase and a purchase that doesn’t necessarily have to be made.
6. It’s OK to treat yourself every now and then
Understanding the importance of necessary purchases is key, but it doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every now and then. Just aced your midterms? Reward yourself in the way you want. The key is to be mindful of the money you’re spending.
7. Be responsible with your student loan
Having a student loan is a big responsibility. While it can be tempting to spend some of the money on personal items or expenses, it’s in your best interest to keep that money allocated for its intended use. You have to pay the money back down the road, so again be mindful of where and what you’re spending your money on.
8. Expect the unexpected
University life can be full of surprises. If you go on a trip, you would want to have some money sectioned off for an emergency or must-have item. Think of university in the same type of vein. It’s always a good idea to have some money kept away just in case you need it for an unexpected situation.
Make sure you complete the financial module in the Start on Track – Online orientation program. It will give you even more great advice.