I remember when I was a young bloke and on my way to University the world was in the palm of my hands (so I thought). I truly believe I had my head on straight back then and today given the way I continue to pay myself first.
That doesn’t’ ring true for most of my school mates, at least what I witnessed even here in Canada. I went back to school for 5 years and learned that debt is debt no matter what country you live in.
Most of my mates who did work while attending University simply blew the money on pints of beer down at the pub and buying crap they didn’t need. I was a simple guy who just wanted an education and a good career.
Before cutting the umbilical cord from me mum and dad to start what would be a journey of reality I set some clear goals for myself. I knew I didn’t want to come out of school with any debt. I was young when I started to learn about the value of money so this was a must. I worked on weekends and in the evening to save money for University.
I had to live in a residence when I moved away which was costly so I did research before-hand to understand what costs I would blend into my budget. It wasn’ t long before I realized I needed to save more money so my summers were spent working full-time at a local pub in the kitchen washing dishes.
I think even if I had to sling manure I’d do it just to save money and stay out of debt. Kids today are reluctant to step away from the game consoles, Iphones and internet — we need to teach them to get up and MOVE!
If you are a student and think I am being harsh you have a long road ahead of you. No one is entitled to anything and we have to work hard to get ahead in most cases. You will soon learn you are the pony of your own parade. No one will be there to pull your strings but you.
Back when I was younger if your parents sent you off with your education fully paid you were lucky. In Canada if your parent’s have extra money they can dump it into an RESP to help their child offset the cost of education when it comes time.
So for most of us our options were to
B- get a loan from the bank.
If you are smart enough you might even snag a bursary or scholarship, never hurts to try. I opted for A and am proud that I was able to do it on my own although I still made mistakes like everyone.
Not all students act responsibly when the cord is cut and on their way into to adult-hood. Sometimes we need to learn from our mistakes,but at what cost. We need to educate our children before they educate themselves on the art of spending less than you make. In most cases the this never happens until it’s too late. I believe parents should teach their children about finances when they are young.
We hear it over and over how students are graduating school with no job, or less income than imagined along with high student loan and consumer debt. Best part of it is you better hope you don’t meet your dream husband or wife at school with the same debt. Can you see why we are digging bigger holes for ourselves.
I took to my Facebook page to ask my fans what they would tell the Students of Canada about preparing for higher education. Many of them wish they had someone prepare them or maybe invest some time in goal setting like any adult should. Students need to wake up it’s 2012 and no one will be responsible for the financial mess they create, not even mummy and daddy.
So listen up close my dear students and watch yourself prosper when you have graduated school rather than wished you had never gone.
Tips for Students Preparing Finances for their Education
- Spend less than you earn
- Open a Bank Account with No Fees ie: Presidents Choice
- RNV- Research, Network,Volunteer
- Save your money in an account for if you are over 18 you can put it in a TFSA until you are ready to go
- Curb your emotional spending
- Shop at second hand clothing stores
- Use Coupons , Save Money $$$
- BUDGET and have Emergency Savings ( you never know when you will need it even if it’s only $500 or a couple months rent)
- Quit Smoking and DON”T DO DRUGS!!!
- Take the bus or walk, leave the car behind
- Cook at home instead of eating out
- Keep on top of your Canadian Credit Score, this will pave your future options in life. You can access it free once per year.
You need to budget your money. If you can do that through University you will WIN the debt war!
Read on about what our Facebook Fans had to say…..
- Heather Clarkson #1: Take a year to work before hand, really think on what you want to do and save some money so your debt will be lower. also do research on what you can do with your degree – a lot of them need some serious follow-up.
- Heather Clarkson #2: Have a goal for your summer. Mine was to go to Florida I had to make sure I had the money to go and enjoy myself. It also made me spend less while in school, especially on stuff I didn’t need.
- Barbara Foster: Live within your means, and buy your books second-hand!
- Tara Willard #1: Mine is for the High School students looking to GO to University/College … start putting HALF your paycheck away in an account that you can’t draw from a card. You’ll be surprised how fast your $ adds up and how equally fast it disappears when you go!!!
- Tara Willard #2: For those getting ready to go – RESEARCH the job market that you’re interested in and make sure there is a high demand. There’s nothing worse than graduating and not getting something in the field you wanted. Then … go out and volunteer – build up your contacts, as its definitely WHO you know!!
- Susan Mongrain: When your student loan and bursary money comes in, prepay the necessities like rent, insurance, and put a chunk aside in a “food account” that is to be used for nothing but that. When times are lean at the end of each semester you will have fewer money worries – plus great credit references!
- Anna Michele: steer clear of those credit card salespeople just sa NO!
- Jen MacLeod: Do your research on chosen job field!
- Shelley Ann McInnes Chenier: Definitely run away from the credit card people! You can tell yourself it’s just for “emergencies” but you’ll end up using it and before you know it you owe A LOT of money (even responsible kids like I was)If you must have an “emergency” credit card, have the bill sent to your parents. It’ll make you think twice about buying if you know mom/dad are going to see it!
- Joann Cheevers: Try to get into a Co-op program if possible, the job experience gained from it so valuable. Watch what you are spending on meal plans.I know I lived on campus my first year and was required to buy a plan, I bought the smallest one possible. If you live off campus try to bring your own lunches, dinners and snacks as opposed to eating on Campus
- Tara Willard: Credit is important AND comes in handy – there are PREPAID credit cards that give you the insurance of having one and builds a good credit rating. Use it just for gas!
What else would you like to say to future students! Have your say, comment today and help the Canadian leaders of tomorrow!
Pictures Courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>