When it comes to making ends meet, college and university students have it pretty rough, especially if they are pursuing a post-secondary education independently. There’s never been a more important time to carefully monitor your expenditures and sources of income, but it is entirely possible to remain in total control and make the most of your latest adventure! Here are our top budgeting tips for post-secondary students.

Plan Weekly Allowances and Weigh Necessities

Buying fast food lunches and splurging on treats to reward yourself for hard work on your studies may be tempting, but it’s best to be mindful of your financial responsibilities and income flow. Consider the most important elements of your post-secondary enrollment. Are you living in residence and responsible for various fees or basic living expenses, or do you share responsibilities for essential purchases with roommates? Or what about tuition, supplies such as notebooks or other things such as late library book fees or gym memberships? At the beginning of every week, plan out a budget that factors in every expense you have that week. Everything from cell phone bills to snack or entertainment purchases should be included. That way, you can compare it to your income and identify what is truly essential and what can be dropped to save money.

Sort Your Receipts Accordingly

Post-secondary studies involve a bevy of fees including those for student activities, health care plans, tuition and applicable international student fees, residence-related expenses and costs for graduation among other fees. This means that during your time in school, you’ll collect a sizeable number of receipts for such purchases. It’s best to sort them according to what they are intended for (for example, put all tuition receipts together) and keep them sub-sorted according to type of payment used (VISA, debit, cheque, etc.). That way, they’ll always be quick and easy to find in the event that you need to check on a fee error or inspect your budget.

Build an Emergency Fund

Life is full of unexpected surprises, many good and some bad. Tying into previous points, it is best to routinely set aside money to add to an emergency fund in the event of a medical issue, need to travel (family death or crisis) or unexpected expenses such as to replace stolen or destroyed property. This can be useful for other things as well, such as clothing and materials for internships or dental appointments. This will be even more beneficial if you create a tax-free savings account to use as your emergency fund, as it will add interest to any money you add to it and grow exponentially. Remember, every little bit helps!

Beginning your post-secondary education can be a daunting and surprising experience, but by carefully applying these tips to your spending habits and budget, most of the surprises you’ll encounter along the way will be positive and rewarding!

Would you like some help with your post-secondary budgeting? We can help with bookkeeping, tax preparation, and also local Ottawa payroll services. Priti Lad Professional Corporation is here to make sense of your finances and guide you in the right direction towards continued financial stability and peace of mind. We can make a difference.