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Post-secondary life is significantly more difficult than high school life and sometimes the huge change and challenges that come with that change can be hard to handle. More often than not the change from being a high school student to a post-secondary student is a pretty big shock especially when school has to be a priority and life problems aren’t dealt with until it’s too late. Finances can definitely become one of those things that is ignored, and once this starts to happen it’s hard to break the cycle.

No one really wants to discuss debt, credit card balances or student loans especially when they have papers to write, exams to take, a job to go to, friends to hang out with and family to see. But unfortunately your financial situation is just as important as your physics final or your history paper.

We have compiled our top tips on how to be a debt free student, how to better manage your money while you’re student and how to get help if it’s all too much to handle.

Learn to budget your money better with these tips:

1. Making a budget and actually writing it down or typing it up on your computer is the first thing that you should do when you’re trying to get back on track with your finances. Don’t worry you can allot some money for fun and entertainment but it’s important to stick to the amount you can afford to spend, as a young student there are a lot of events and parties and it can be very easy to blow your whole monthly budget on unnecessary things.

2. If you have been saving for years or have taken out student loans it’s so important to spend that money wisely so that it will last through your whole degree. Have all of your money in a savings account and then write yourself a check for the amount of money you will need each month, based on the budget you created. This way you’ll learn to spend your money only on the items and things that you absolutely need or want.

3. There is a difference between needs and wants especially when you’re a young student. Learn to live without and you’ll appreciate the things that you do have more.

4. Cut down on your expenses. Even start before the school year, this way you’ll be used to it once classes start.

5. If you live on campus and have saved enough money for your whole degree still consider getting a part time job on campus even if it just one day a week, this way you’ll have just a little more money to spend on stuff you want.

6. Stop making those small purchases because you don’t really need them. Expensive coffees a couple times a week or new clothing to wear every time there’s a big party, they will start to add up quickly.

7. If you can’t take the responsibility of a credit card don’t get one. Putting items on a credit card that you don’t have the cash to pay for is the worst ideas; you’ll also end up paying more for them once interest is added.

Life gets in the way sometimes.

  • Don’t forget that you’re a student and there is a certain lifestyle that does along with that title. You won’t be living with the life style that you want or even that you were used to when you were in high school and still at your parents’ house.
  • Make friends with other students who want to study more and party less. While going out and having fun is a part of the student lifestyle that no one wants to miss out on, it also costs a lot of money. Devoting your week day nights to studying will help you both academically and financially in the long run.
  • Make the things that are important to you a priority. We know that your finances are a priority so make sure you set and keep your goals, you’ll be less stressed when there’s a financial emergency and it won’t affect your studies so much.
  • Living at home might seem lame to you but it’s a great way to keep on track both financially and academically. Better to deal with your parents for a couple more years now then rack up a student loan that you’ll be paying off until your 50.

Get help before it’s too late.

Ask for help as soon as you start to feel like you can’t handle the financial or academic stress anymore. Apply for financial aid or even scholarships, make an appointment with an academic advisor or talk to your parents or a school counsellor. Just make sure you get help before it’s too late.

If none of these are an option for you because of personal reasons you can always take out a personal loan to pay off whatever debt you might have accumulated as part of being a student. If you spent a little too much during the semester and charged it all to your credit card without a second thought then a personal loan from Loans Canada can help you get back on track before it’s too late.

Next: read up on mortgage loans for recent grads and on whether you should rent or get a mortgage after you graduate.

Caitlin Wood, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood, BA

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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