Money saving 101

Kayla Findlay

For university students it can be nearly impossible to afford more than the necessities. With most of your money going towards tuition and living expenses, travel and splurge items seem out of question.

With a few simple steps you can become money savvy and start saving today.

Live at home for as long as possible.

While it might not be ideal to live with your parents in your twenties, it saves money so use it to your advantage. Living at home through university saves you on average $1000 a month if not more. It’s not only food and rent that you avoid paying for, but other add-ons like heat, power, internet and cable. 

Create a budget.

Whether it’s a weekly or monthly budget, it doesn’t matter. Just stick to it. Give yourself an allowance and once it’s gone you’re done spending. This makes you plan your purchases and be accountable. You’ll quickly learn what is and isn’t important. 

Be organized.

Have bills to pay? Include those in your monthly budget. Make a calendar (you can find great calendar templates on Pinterest) to see where your money is going and when.

Plan for your future.

You’ll thank yourself in the long run. Open a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and/or a tax free savings account (TFSA).  Choose an amount and set up monthly automatic contributions to the account. Even if $25 doesn’t seem like much, it will easily add up.

Use cash.

Use cash as much as possible. Stay away from debit and credit cards that make it easy to lose track of spending. When you set your weekly or monthly budget take that money out from the bank. This way you’ll know exactly when the money is gone.

Prepare.

Students love to go out to eat with friends. That’s fine every once in awhile but not on a daily or even weekly basis. Limit going out to eat and prepare your meals at home. Doing so in advance means you won’t be rushed or forget food in the morning.

Save your change.

Don’t spend any change that you get back. Put it all in a jar and once it’s full, bring the money to your bank and deposit it in your RRSP or TFSA.

Look for deals.

I am a huge traveller. Travelling isn’t a cheap hobby. Look for seat sales, or use rewards points to pay for plane tickets. The best way to find seat sales is to follow airlines on twitter and subscribe to their mailing lists. You’ll be surprised by how often they offer sales.

What would you like to do with your savings? Pick a goal and keep track of all the money you save. Put it aside and see how much you save in 3 months, 6 months or even a year. You’ll be surprised by how quickly it adds up.