// COVERING THE BASICS
Paying for your education is more than just picking up the tab for your tuition and books. It's all the everyday costs of living — think about all the things your parents used to cover, like afterschool snacks, socks and even your undies. It's the fun stuff too, like music, pizza, movies and hanging out with friends.
The key to surviving school without going broke: get organized!
Where do you start? Get the basics in place. First of all, set up a chequing account to keep track of your cash flow if you don't have one already. Secondly, consider getting a Visa card. This will come in handy for those unexpected purchases and emergencies — like when you need to buy a new winter coat because the one you have simply won't make it through another February. And, since Visa keeps track of all your purchases, you don't have to. This can be a big help when you are trying to see how much money you actually spend each month. Go online and apply for a credit card. Once that is done, sit down with a coffee and make yourself a budget.
Take a minute to organize your important financial documents such as statements and agreements. To be safe, find a secure and fireproof location in which to store these. That way, you'll have them when you need them. You can also register for online banking — you'll have access to your statements for seven years.
When you plan ahead, you can really see what kind of financial shape you're in, and from there you can think of ways to cut costs or raise more cash if you need to. Organize now, gain control of your finances and create a better student life.
Cover as many expenses (like tuition, housing, books) up front each term as you can. Use online banking to arrange for automatic deductions from your bank account for monthly expenses like transit passes and telephone.
Compare carriers and their student-pricing offers and choose — or switch to — a cell phone plan that matches your usage patterns. Remember to account for how your usage may change, especially if you're moving out of province, and read the terms and conditions before you commit to a long-term contract — it may end up being not so great of a deal after all.
Use RBC ATMs instead of paying the extra fees from non-RBC banks. Find the one nearest you.
Having to repeat a course not only wastes your time, it wastes your dime.
Prepare your budget to allow for the fact that you'll probably spend more in the first few weeks of term — it's a busy social time before the work piles up!