How to be Financially Responsible this School Year (Like an Adult)

Take these tips on managing your spending into account

(Leah Rosehill)

If I asked a room full of KPU students if they were struggling financially, I imagine that most would raise their hands. But there are things you can do to alleviate that burden.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why am I taking financial advice from someone with a journalism degree?” Well, I learned from the best. My father was in the banking industry for over 20 years and my parents have ingrained a sense of fiscal responsibility in me. Before I moved to Vancouver to attend KPU, I managed to save $35,000. While I did have to work part-time and obtain a student loan, this money lasted throughout my entire undergraduate degree and helped me afford major expenses like rent and tuition.

Now I want to share that knowledge with you. So here’s your handy guide on how to save money as a university student and sort of act like an adult.

Get a Part-Time Job

Many, if not most, KPU students already have part-time jobs. While nothing’s more important that focusing on your studies, this can be hard to accomplish if you’re constantly under stress because you’re struggling to pay bills. A part-time job enables you to pay for your education and expenses without going into debt.

And think of your parents! Most university students are in their late teens or early twenties and can get a part-time job to help pay tuition rather than relying on their family’s help. You made a choice to attend university, so don’t put the financial burden on your folks.

Save! Save! Save!

A big part of saving money is knowing when to put your wallet away. A new iPhone or car looks luxurious, but a person must understand the difference between a “need” and a “want.”

I dare you to check your account and see how much money you’ve spent on food at KPU. Instead of going to Tim Hortons or Grassroots before each class, bring a lunch from home and use these outings as a treat rather than a daily occurrence.

After paying your bills, put a certain amount of your paycheque in a savings account. If it’s in a separate account, you won’t be tempted to spend it, and after several months you’ll be surprised by how much money you’ve saved.

Student Loans

There are few things in this world worse than owing money to someone, but when that someone is the “Government of Canada”—and they’re charging you interest—it sucks even more.

Still, student loans are a necessary evil. My advice is to take the loan and make immediate payments on it after graduating by using available funds like scholarships, earnings, or even tax refunds. The higher your loan, the higher your daily interest charges will be. Making an immediate payment will prevent the interest rate, and your overall loan, from climbing.

Scholarships and Bursaries

KPU offers an abundance of scholarships and bursaries. Through its website, you can fill out an online form which qualifies you for all applicable awards. Some may require letters of recommendation or writing samples, but it’s a small price to pay for a potentially huge payoff. What’s better than free money? Nothing!

When All Else Fails

If you’re still strapped for cash, I recommend getting involved with KPU’s very own The Runner! We’re currently looking for contributors for the new school year, and the newspaper is an excellent way to earn money by writing articles or submitting photos and original artwork. We’re also one of the highest paying student newspapers in western Canada.

And if that also fails, marry rich.