Budgeting to a balanced lifestyle
A personal budget is a useful tool for life, not just when you are a student. A recent study shows that money is a top source of stress, and prolonged periods of stress can affect your physical and mental health.
Achieving a healthy financial situation is at everyone’s reach, regardless of their income level. Budgeting not only helps you plan your expenses, but can even help you build some savings. Attend a free workshop with GradProSkills on "Budgeting & Expense Planning" to make your own budget.
Be cautious with credit
Budgeting helps you to start your financial life on the right foot. It helps you to plan your expenses on a daily basis and keep them within your earnings (income). Spending what you have may avoid borrowing money from a bank or maxing out the credit card that you then can’t pay off on a regular basis. Bearing in mind that if you always paid your bills late or missed payments it is possible that the bank may either refuse to lend you money or, more commonly, will charge more (in higher interest payments) to lend to you.
Budgeting will ensure you keep a healthy “credit score”. This might sound too technical, but it is a key financial concept to learn sooner rather than later. We have a workshop on "Credit Scores & Identity Theft" that will explain ways to save thousands of dollars in interest rates.
In short, when you are late with your bill payments there is a central database that keeps records of your late or missed payments. Consistently missing bill payments will give you a “bad” score that is like having bad grades in your exams that will lead you to fail you term. Among the people who check this database are: landlords, employers, insurance companies, cell phone providers, and banks. If they see you have a bad score they aren't going to give you access to their services. This is why it is key to use a budget to keep your expenses within your earning levels to pay your bills on time and keep a “good” credit score.
Cut the little costs that add-up
There are two ways to keep your financial situation on track. Either you cut costs or you make more money. This post focus on cost cutting strategies that are realistic and avoid causing you frustration otherwise you will not stick to your cost cutting plan. Here find out 5 suggestions to help you save money:
- Home cooked food and coffee. Instead of buying your daily coffee/tea bring your own in a thermos flask. A $2/day expense in a week amounts up to $40 a month, and $480 per year! If you bring home cooked food at least 3 times/week it saves you $30 per week (at $10/meal) or $120 per month! Combined savings on coffee and meals could give you an annual saving of $1920! You can start investing your savings. Learn how on our free workshop Introduction to Investing.
- Eat fruits and vegetables in season for better prices. Learn how to eat healthly with a limited budget in our free workshop Eating Well with Little Time or Money
- Impulse purchases are your worst enemies. Leave your credit card home and bring only cash you plan to spend. For online shopping, you can actually save your item in the basket and leave it until the next day. Always ask yourself: do I really need this item? If no, then you can cancel the purchase and save money.
- Avoid credit card or short-term loans. The annual interest rates for a credit card and short-term loans can be as high as 25% so you are better off paying with cash instead of financing with a credit card. Learn how to borrow money at lower costs in the Managing your Debt workshop hosted by us.
- Shop around for your service providers. Research cheaper options for your cell phone contract and your home/car insurance. Alternatively, if you inform your phone (or insurance) provider that you wish to switch companies you might get a discount when it is time to renew your policy.