While a lot of strategy is used in your school work, you also need to utilize strategy in the way you deal with your finances during college. In order to make it financially and move forward into the future, it is imperative that you know what money saving options are available to you.
According to Statistics Canada, undergraduate tuition fees have increased 9.3 percent since 2011. In the meantime, inflation has increased by 4 percent over the same period of time. Outside of choosing a school that is less expensive, there is very little that the two million post-secondary students in Canada can do about these fees.
The good news is that there are ways students can control their expenses. The following are seven strategies to keep costs low while still being able to pursue studies.
Use Free Technology
Budgeting is a very basic skill that is important now and will be in your financial future. Fortunately, there are many online budgeting tools available. You can also utilize spreadsheets. Using these tools will make you more aware of your spending habits, which will increase the likelihood that you will spend less on what you want and more on what you need.
As for the computer hardware that you need, such as a computer itself, many college libraries make desktop PCs and laptops available that are connected to the internet. In many cases, you can access printing, scanning and faxing services in these labs. This can save you money on buying your own printer and ink cartridges.
Cut School Costs And Textbook Costs
Methods two and three of controlling your expenses go hand-in-hand because they involve cutting school-related costs. It is ideal to look for grants, loans and awards online that can pay for your schooling. You should look at websites that specialize in educational grants and scholarship awards because they can help subsidize your studies. You can go to the admissions office of your chosen university and find out about some of the most useful web portals. You can also search for them online.
When you look online, you may find that there are websites that serve as search engines for students looking for scholarships and grants. There are also opportunities for emergency loans when a student experiences a financial hardship.
In regards to books, it is estimated that the books needed for a single term can exceed $700. It is suggested that students wait until after their first class begins to search for textbook bargains. Some college professors base their exams on handouts and class presentations. Also, ask your professor whether or not a less expensive and older edition of the textbook will work.
You may even be able to save more money by shopping online or finding a discount bookstore and shopping there. However, you first want to check whether the textbook is available at the school's information center or your local public library.
If you do find a quality bookstore, there are some that will allow textbook rental for a fraction of the purchase price. There are also online textbook rental sites. If the text is available as an eBook, it is going to cost a fraction of the hardcopy. Make sure you search all of your options so you can find the most cost-effective one.
Reduce Banking Fees
If you have a student ban account, you may be paying monthly charges. There are better deals out there, so it is ideal to search for them. Competition among financial institutions for students is very heavy. For instance, there are institutions out there that allow for unlimited free banking. Others may waive banking fees on a certain number of debit transactions each month, but then they may impose a per transaction fee if the monthly limit is exceeded.
Before making the final decision on which bank is going to save you the most cash, make sure that they have conveniently located ATM machines. Withdrawing cash from another financial institution's machine can cost extra per transaction on top of the machine's charge.
Reduce Spending On The Little Things
The little things can chip away at your budget. If you're disciplined and organized, you can avoid those things that waste money. Everything from avoiding library late fees to paring fines can save you cash. Just saving an extra $100 on what you would normally spend at the local coffee shop can go a long way toward paying your living expenses while in college. And while there may be some attractive marketing giveaways on campus for students to take advantage of, there is a cost built in somewhere. By avoiding those things you absolutely do not need will save you money.
Use Credit Card Perks While Paying Off Debt
Here are two more strategies that go hand-in-hand. Strategy six involves benefiting from your credit card perks. Strategy seven involves paying off your debt.
If you have a student credit card, it can be your friend if you use it responsibly. A good student credit card can help students establish a satisfactory credit history, which will help in the securing of better insurance rates and other important purchases. However, it is recommended that credit card bills are paid at least five business days before they are due and that the balance is paid in full each month. This can make a cash-back and merchandise rewards card work even harder for you. There may even be other perks, such as retail discounts and purchase insurance.
In addition to these credit cards, plan your debt repayment very carefully. If you need a small loan, limit it to a one-year term. These are the types of loans that can be repaid with a summer job. The idea is to minimize interest as much as possible and pay off debt as quickly as possible.
As a student it is important to cut costs wherever you can. From the cost of school to something as simple as a student credit card, cutting costs at every corner can ensure you have the money that you need to survive the school years and plan for the future.