How to budget for post-secondary school

Heading off to college or university? Bruce Sellery helps you keep your finances on track.

Do you know someone who is heading off to post-secondary for the first time? Or maybe they’ve gone before and just need a little help with their spending. Either way, finance expert Bruce Sellery has some great tips that will help students keep on track as they enter the next chapter of their lives! Check out the video below for more tips from Bruce.

Make a budget
Start by making a budget that is tangible by writing it out on paper or on your computer. Next, show it to an adult! This will help you to get feedback, to become accountable for it, and if you need to ask for some financial help at a later date, it’ll prove you’re being responsible by having a plan. Your budget should be broken down like so:

  • Expenses: this includes school costs (tuition, books, transportation, rent) and life costs (smartphone, meals)
  • Revenue: this can include RESP, scholarships, student loans, summer job savings, and/or money from mom and dad

Make sure you pay attention to what costs are monthly vs. a one-time annual cost (textbooks) and only include guaranteed revenue, as opposed to money that you hope might come in.

Address the gap
It isn’t likely that your budget will balance out the first time, and that’s okay. To address the gap between expenses and revenue, look at your budget early on and figure out a solution that works for you whether it be buying used textbooks, taking out a loan, or checking out the financial aid department to see if there are grants available.

Be wary of marketers
As a student, you’re an easy target for marketers on campus. Whether they’re tying to sell you a credit card or school spirit wear, just be smart with your spending and look at what you do and don’t need.

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses
Post-secondary schools have a wide variety of students that come from different backgrounds with different budgets. Make sure you are prioritizing your needs with your budget rather than trying to keep up with your peers.


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