by Amanda Greener
Tuition costs steadily rising coupled with the day-to-day expenses related to university life means students—now more than ever—need some sound financial advice. Consider these make it or break it tips when it comes to paying for university.
Know your financing options: Look into bursaries, grants, and scholarships. Visit www.canlearn.ca—the Government of Canada’s website developed to help you plan, save, and pay for your education—to find out what’s available.
Pay as you go: Try to use savings from a summer job or work part-time throughout the school year to pay your way through university. Anything you can pay upfront will save you paying off debt with interest later on.
Start saving now: Not only will you have more time to stock away money for tuition, but you will have more opportunities to invest savings—such as with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)—thereby increasing your education stash! Meet with a financial advisor or check www.canlearn.ca to find out about investment options.
Develop a budget: Rent, transportation, groceries, entertainment, and books are just some of the costs that creep up. Putting together a realistic budget of day-to-day costs before you go to university will help keep you on track.
Stretch your dollar: “Be smart about where and how you spend your money,” says Sid Chopra, Director of BMO Bank of Montreal. “Student discounts can help you significantly lower the day-to-day costs of school.” Look for other ways to turn your spending into savings, such as BMO Bank of Montreal’s new SPC Mosaik MasterCard, which allows students to maximize discounts and savings on clothes, food, entertainment, and travel.