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Back To School Budgeting Tips

Next to the Christmas season, September and Back to School shopping is the most expensive spending period for most families. It can really cause families to lose track of their budget. Here are some tips to help keep this costly season in check.

Start by taking an inventory.
Look at what you have, make a list of what you need, plan your excursion and stay focused on that plan.

Planning
Set a limit. Get the kids involved. This helps them to become smart consumers. Promote recycling – even with school supplies. Also, plan for upcoming school costs, like student cards. Tip: you can get discounts using your student card.

Additional Tips:

  • Check out the dollar store for deals.
  • Search for coupons and discounts.
  • Consider buying in bulk where it makes sense or you can share costs with friends.
  • Don’t be distracted with the new gimmick. Stick to the basics – school supplies do not go out of style.

Also consider:

  • Cell phones – do you really need one? – can you bundle your services?
  • Travel – can you manage with a bike or bus pass and not a car?
  • Watch those “buy now, pay later” deals.

Ways to Save for University/College Students

Look for scholarships.
Any place you can get income for schooling helps. Visit Studentawards.com for scholarship information and check out your school’s guidance and financial assistance office.

On campus:
Check out the student resource centre for information and deals. Take advantage of any opportunities to really explore what is out there, such as campus fairs for students.

Protect your assets.
Make sure you guard, not only your computer – but also your financial information. Be cautious about sharing your social insurance number, birthdate, and computer passwords.

Save on food expenses.
Eat at home. Bring your lunch, buy in bulk, cook and freeze, shop with a buddy and split quantities.

Opt out of Dental/Health Plans.
If your parents have coverage and you are a student under the age of 25, follow-up with your University about opting out of their health plans. This is often part of your University fees for which you can be reimbursed.

Look to buy used books.
Many students will post their texts for sale. Once the book lists are posted, try to connect with students who are a year or two ahead of you and enquire about what books they might like to sell.