(This article is sponsored by Coast Capital Savings.)
After a long and eventful summer, swimsuits have now been relegated to the sales racks, and the shelves are now stocked with all manner of student essentials. That’s because back to school season is upon us and with it comes a combination of giddy excitement and nervous anticipation.
We get it. There is a lot to think about. New beginnings, new friends, new home, new things to learn! You can almost taste the liberating sense of independence—along with the ramen noodles.
And with all these exciting prospects to consider, money management might not feature very highly on the list. But now, as you take your first steps toward adulthood, is really the perfect time to think about your financial well-being and start developing good money habits.
Banking that's got your back
You want a financial institution that is convenient, digital, offers significant savings, and fits your needs, so a credit union can be a great option. Unlike banks, when you join a credit union you’re not just a customer, you’re a member. And that means that things are done a little differently.
Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership with 52 branches serving 555,000 members living in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan.
And Coast Capital is passionate about doing what is best for its members and its communities, including partnering with many local schools in support of young people and students.
Boss your budget
Creating a budget can really help you be more accountable when it comes to your spending. Keeping a record of your purchases using a money diary lets you see how quickly seemingly small expenditures can add up. If you find you are going over your budget allocation each month, you might consider planning and preparing meals at home rather than eating out. Trips to the pub and online shopping are also good areas to think about cutting back.
Work your student status
When you do have to spend money, make sure you are taking advantage of your status as a student. Many stores offer discounts for people in full-time education. Enjoy happy hours! And look into buying stuff like books secondhand. You should also familiarize yourself with any scholarship or bursaries, which may be available and can help with the financial burden.
Be student loan savvy
A student loan is a debt—albeit a good one that’s investing in your future. But you should start paying it off as soon as you can. It is far more manageable to pay off a little each month rather than a lump sum at the end of school. Trust us.
Establishing credit as a student can beneficial, as long as you don’t spend more than you can afford. Use your budget to help you live within your means. And choose a credit card with no service fees, which you can pay off every month. Coast Capital Savings has a no-fee student card, which offers some great additional benefits including insurance on your cellphone.
Work it like RiRi
If you can manage a part-time job between classes, it can be the best way of gaining your financial independence. It might also help you expand your network and settle into a new city.
Save it for a rainy day
In case you didn’t know already, it rains in Vancouver. A lot. Learning to put aside money every month is a really good habit to start when you’re at university. Life can throw curve balls regardless of what stage of life you’re at and having some back-up for emergencies—or rainy days—is always a smart move.
Phone a friend
Don’t be afraid to get professional advice by talking to a financial adviser. Consider it to be your lifeline in the real-life version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Coast Capital Savings has a head office in Surrey, so you don’t have to phone Toronto, or London, or New York, or Mumbai, to get answers to your questions.
And finally, remember that the world is your oyster! Start being smart with your money now and you’ll develop the skills needed to reach your goals, live your dreams, or start your own business, when you graduate. Sign up now to become a member of Coast Capital Savings and enjoy some of the great benefits outlined above, plus a $200 bonus. And follow this series for more tips and advice on how to make banking simple and convenient, while achieving your financial goals.More