When back-to-school reality hits: 41 % of post-secondary students don't have enough money for the rest of the semester

Penelope Ellison, Financial Planner and instructor at the John Molson School of Business, and Kijiji propose economic solutions which will help reduce the financial burden on post-secondary students

MONTREAL, Aug. 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - As back-to-school shopping winds down, a recent survey commissioned by Kijiji reveals that 41 % of post-secondary students do not have enough money to fully support themselves. Despite initial plans, the back-to-school period may entail some unexpected expenses that may require students to revise their budget upward. For those leaving the family home for the first time, reality may be that much more difficult. In addition to inexperience, lack of time (36 %) and lack of help/support (20 %) may increase stress.

"Budget planning is not an annual exercise which then gets stored in a drawer. It is an ever-evolving tool," insists Penelope Ellison. "Our needs change as do our expenses. It is important to adjust our budget plans according to these changes and, if necessary, create a separate budget for specific occasions like the back-to-school period and the financial autonomy that comes with it."

Lack of money is one of the most frequent problems cited by surveyed students, especially those attending university (52 %) and those who will have to pay rent in the fall of 2013 (56 %). Slightly more than one quarter of surveyed students (26 %) indicated that the budget they forecasted for the back-to-school period was insufficient.

"If planning does not meet real needs, it is important not to panic. Better to look at short-term solutions for mitigating a cash shortage and eventually thinking about long-term solutions. Learning to handle finances can be difficult. It is important to look at all possible solutions that are within reach," explains Penelope.

More than half (53 %) of students mentioned not having enough money to pay for books or school supplies. A website like Kijiji is an excellent option, as much for new students as for older ones. By buying or exchanging books on the website, it is possible to save money or even make money; and that's without mentioning the time saved that can be invested elsewhere. Incidentally, between July and August 2012, the number of ads for books on Kijiji increased by 31%.

Here are budget planning tips offered by Penelope Ellison, Financial Planner, to help alleviate financial stress for this year's back-to-school period.

  • Re-evaluate the dollar amounts of recurring expenses as well as incoming revenue. During the semester, spend some time thinking about student loans, bursaries and salary. If money is tight, evaluate how to cut expenses realistically as well as how to increase revenue.
  • Plan your budget for the coming months based on the back-to-school period, which is necessarily more expensive. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises during the winter semester.
  • Opt for used accessories for certain services, like terminals for cable TV for instance. Several furniture items fulfilling different needs are also available on Kijiji.
  • Research current prices for everything you need. Look in advertising flyers, visit Internet websites and check classified ads. The time spent will be well worth the effort invested.
  • Do not hesitate to call upon your community for help or to increase your networks of knowledge or acquaintances. Numerous offers of help and courses are available on Kijiji.
  • Choose and use your credit card wisely. Do not buy on credit if you doubt your ability to pay the full amount on your account at the end of the month.

About Kijiji
Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, is the number one classifieds website in Canada, connecting 11 million buyers and sellers each month. With local sites for more than 100 cities and towns across the country, including in Quebec, Kijiji makes it easy for its users to find exactly what they're looking for in their own community. In Quebec, 46% of Internet users use this service, and Kijiji sites receive over 2.8 million unique visitors per month.

In 2012, Kijiji websites in Quebec received an average of 309 searches per minute and 37 ad views per second, and 13 million responses of all kinds were sent.

SOURCE: Kijiji Canada

For further information:

Vanessa Migliacci | Véronique Beauchamp
514-739-1188, ext.  225 | 247

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