TORONTO, Nov. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - As a student you can benefit from improved financial literacy. Whether you're about to enter your first year of study or about to graduate from college, whether you're renting an apartment or moving into residence on campus, learning to manage your personal finances will set you up well for making responsible financial decisions throughout your life. In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, here's a list of tips from experts at George Brown College about how to develop good habits for spending, saving and borrowing throughout your time as a student.
- Follow the 30-second rule – Before making a significant purchase, take 30 seconds to think about the expense and whether or not it will negatively affect your financial position. Ask yourself if you really need what you're about to purchase. If you cannot find a valid reason for the expense, don't make the purchase.
- Start saving. NOW. – It's always the right time to start saving for future goals and retirement. Open a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Put money in it every pay cheque, ideally 5 percent but even a small amount is OK. The TFSA is a great place to save for shorter-term goals like a car or vacation. But the RRSP is better when it comes to retirement. Every time you put money aside in a savings account, your future self will appreciate it!
- Save your wallet and your waistline – Eating out can add up quickly. Learning to cook at home (and bringing leftovers for lunch the next day) will significantly reduce your expenses. Cooking for yourself is also healthier and may help you avoid the dreaded 'freshman 15' since most processed foods contain trans fats, excess salt and hidden sugar. Do the labour yourself, and it's suddenly much healthier and cheaper to eat!
- Take Control of your finances – Create a reasonable budget for each month, considering everything from tuition and textbooks to entertainment, food and savings. You should also review your finances annually and set achievable goals for the year. Ask a final-year business student for help if you want on-going assistance. Don't just make a budget – stick to it.
- Find Financial Stability – Lack of financial resources shouldn't be a barrier to education. That's why colleges provide financial assistance to help students pay for their education. Apply for scholarships, awards and bursaries that can help subsidize education endeavours.
- Use credit cards wisely – Credit cards can be a handy way to borrow and build credit history if you use them responsibly -- but abuse them and you could find that your debt spirals out of control. Use your credit card ONLY for convenience, not as a way to access easy finance. Pay your credit card balance in full each month and don't take cash advances. Beware of any offer to increase the credit limit on your credit card.
- Set aside money for emergencies – Emergency situations can arise anytime so set aside funds to be better prepared to face them (e.g. fixing your laptop, buying medication, purchasing a flight home for family emergency, etc.). Do not use these funds for non-academic or other recreational uses.
About George Brown College
Toronto's George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. The college offers programs from its three campuses located across the downtown core, including its newest location at the Toronto waterfront, which opened in September 2012. George Brown offers 149 full-time programs and 224 continuing education certificates/designations across a wide variety of professions to a student body of over 28,000 (full-time enrolment) students, including over 3,500 international students; and over 64,000 continuing education registrants. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, postgraduate certificates, apprenticeships and degrees. www.georgebrown.ca
SOURCE George Brown College
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