Students: Fear the end-of-the-month financial pinch no more!

The trick to overcoming your financial fears is sticking to a realistic budget.

Mélanie Larouche | Journalist

Your finances are probably stretched pretty thin by the end of each month. You can hold your breath and hope for the best. You can even give snake oil a try, but that only works in scary stories. The trick to overcoming your financial fears is sticking to a realistic budget--even if your income is seasonal or unpredictable.

The cure for what haunts you
  • Establish a budget detailing every recurring and one-time expense you expect to incur every year.
  • Manage your income carefully. You probably make more money over the summer or the holidays, so set some aside to tide you over when you're working and earning less.
  • Learn to stretch every dollar. If you have a scholarship or student loan, plan ahead so it covers your expenses for the whole term or school year.
  • Squirrel away sizeable earnings, like pay from a summer job, in a high interest savings account rather than depositing it in your chequing account.
    • This way you won't be tempted to spend it, and you'll be able to use it to balance your budget for the next term or school year. Or you can put it toward a personal goal, like traveling. Sounds good, right?
Debt: The skeleton in the closet
As a student, you probably don't think about debt every day. But like skeletons in the closet, debt can come back to haunt you. How can you rid yourself of debt once and for all?

Here are a few tips:
  • Prioritize: Granted, for any self-respecting student prioritizing is probably just as difficult as sticking to a budget, if not more so.
    • With parties, activities, outings and trips to spend your cash on, there's no shortage of ways to blow your budget. But hey, you only live once, right? 
  • Resist the overwhelming temptation to dip into your savings. It'll save you many a headache (and stomach ache) down the line.
  • Stick to your budget, which may even include a little spending money!
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