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Budgeting for the school year

<p>Those who are returning to their dorms and lecture halls this fall will agree that there is actually something more difficult than studying: budgeting.</p>

Metro Learning Curve



Get through the school year by prioritizing your expenses.



Those who are returning to their dorms and lecture halls this fall will agree that there is actually something more

difficult than studying: budgeting.


With thousands of dollars from student loans and summer earnings, university and college students are not only ready to hit the books but also, to spend. However, their youthful indulgence can last them only so long, and come November, they start calling home and uttering that lovely phrase, “I need money.”


Laurie Campbell, spokes- person for Credit Counselling Canada, says that students tend to spend the most during the beginning of their school year. Without proper budgeting for the entire year, many students are likely to find themselves struggling financially even before the end of first semester. “Students should plan out their resources and expenses before they return to school and try their best to stick to that plan throughout the year,” Campbell says.


They should always prioritize their spending by categorizing it into two types of expenses: fixed and flexible. Fixed expenses include rent, utilities, transportation, Internet, etc. Flexible expenses include clothing, entertainment, personal items and food. Fixed expenses are something they cannot cut out, and therefore, students must minimize their flexible expenses if they feel they are likely to exceed their budget for the month.


One excellent resource is www.practicalmoneyskills.ca, which offers useful tips on how to cut down on flexible expenses.


Tammy Lee, a forth year psychology major at University of Toronto, says she used most of her summer savings to pay for her credit card debts. Campbell warns that misuse of credit cards, especially by students, is extremely dangerous. “Credit cards are really for people who have a steady income. Most students don’t have a regular income and if they start resorting to their credit cards while they are in school, how are they expecting to manage their debts?”















quick budgeting tips

What’s a student to do when money is scarce? Live on a BUDGET:




  • B=Burning up the line! Watch your long-distance calls, or get a good plan.


  • U=Used furniture. Clean your second-hand couch thoroughly and place colourful pillows and a blanket on top - voila new couch.


  • D=Don’t eat out. Brew coffee at home and take it with you. Make your lunch and bring snacks.


  • G=Garage sales. Score hidden finds.


  • E=Everything old is new again. Check out local vintage or second-hand shops for affordable clothes.


  • T=Thrifty textbooks. Use the local library to access class text books or buy used books from the campus bookstore.



 
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