I don’t know about you, but my first year of university consisted of a lot of ill-thought out purchases and an overall woeful ignorance about money and the proper management of it. Between dining out, impulsive buys, and not taking advantage of the used textbook section, I typically found myself to be skint.
Thankfully, I lived at home during my university years – however, a lot of my friends did not, and if I thought my financial situation was dire, it was paltry compared to theirs.
Living away from home and off-campus has its perks. From avoiding the constraints of imposed rules by RA’s in campus issued dorms to the lifestyle liberties that come from being on your own, but it’s easy for this newfound independence to take a financial toll on your wallet if you’re not careful.
Here are some tips for students on how they can save money while they’re living away from home.
- Find an inexpensive apartment. By the time you’ve reached your second year of university, you’re likely ready to explore other living arrangements away from campus. While the idea of living alone in an apartment can seem appealing, it may not necessarily make the most financial sense. The best way to cut costs is by getting a couple of roommates and splitting the cost of rent and utilities. Use reputable sites to ensure you don’t get caught up in a rental scam snafu.
- Get the right credit card. Credit cards are an inevitable necessity, and when used responsibly, can be an excellent tool for post-secondary school students. Make sure you pay your balance off in full before the due date and reap the benefits of building your credit history, and in some cases, earning rewards. Use websites like Ratehub.ca to discover the best student credit card for you.
- Understand the difference between needs and wants. Sure, you might believe you need another pair of jeans in a different shade of blue, but if your other pair is free of wear and tear – are you sure you actually need them? Make sure you have enough money in your bank account to cover necessities like food and shelter – these should always take priority over lifestyle indulgences.
- Be an informed shopper. I’m a stationary lover, which means I often find myself buying a lot of pens, notebooks and cute stationary with little regard for the cost of these items that end up sitting in the back of my desk drawer. It can be difficult not to get caught up in the appeal of the spines of un-cracked notebooks and new ballpoint pens, but ask yourself this – do you need them? Do you have other supplies on hand that you could use and save yourself some money? How about bedspreads or pots and pans your parents no longer want? As a student, it’s essential you scrimp and save where you can instead of spending money frivolously. Ask family for gently used goods they no longer need or visit your local thrift store. Thrifting can not only be fun but can offer an opportunity to give your living space a unique design.
Amanda Pereira is the Communications Coordinator for Media Classified, the parent company of 4Rent.ca. 4Rent has been successfully connecting apartment hunters and property managers since 2009. Prospective tenants can explore a variety of rental listings across Canada, including condo-like apartments, single home-dwellings, student housing and more.