Financial stability over vanity

Through a mouthful of Kraft Dinner, university students may be asking: Recession? What recession?

Through a mouthful of Kraft Dinner, university students may be asking: Recession? What recession? When you’re broke, you can’t get much more broke.

You’ve made your first money-saving move in picking up your free copy of Metro: We’ve talked to the experts to save you even more cash.

“The big key is, as cheaply as you can get through university, do that,” says Pam Swinimer, assistant registrar at Halifax’s Dalhousie University.

Check with your professor to see how much you’ll be using the textbook; borrowing the library copy might suffice. If you need the book, buy second-hand or find a friend to split the book with. This can save hundreds of dollars a year.

The free T-shirt the credit card company is offering you is not enough: Spurn their charms and stick to cash. On a night out, an empty wallet will force you to keep to your budget.

If you manage to find enough food to give yourself a cavity, stop by your local dental school. “It usually takes longer, but you’ll never get as thorough a cleaning anywhere else, and it’s about half price,” Swinimar says. Don’t fret about letting a nervous dental student near your pearly whites: They’re getting graded on your mouth and the instructor will ensure they’ve done good work. The same goes for hair-cutting programs at community colleges. Remember: Financial stability ahead of vanity.

“Living costs is a huge killer,” Swinimer adds. Staying at home might not be a disco party for you or your parents, but it will save you thousands a year, meaning you’ll graduate a lot closer to an independent, debt-free life. Pretend you’re on The Price Is Right: Put the rent money in your bank account and hey!, you win a free car when you graduate.

Jane Lee of the Student Financial Aid Information Centre at the University of Alberta says plan ahead.

“Lack of budget planning leads to overwhelming stress, especially near the end of the school year,” she says.

If that’s you this year, learn your lesson for next year. “Most people tend to spend the majority of their money at the beginning of the school year,” Lee says. “Keep this in mind when planning your spending. If you know in advance that you’ll be short over the entire year, you can trim a little every month to spread the pain out as much as possible.”

 
 
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