Financial tips for Post-Secondary Students

Kathy Buckworth, an award-winning author and parenting expert with personal finance flair, has compiled tips for students and parents on how they can save money during this expensive time, as it continues to be a challenging transition for students learning how to live (and save/spend) independently. Below are her top tips and best practices to help first-year students lighten the load on their wallets!

Kathy’s tips not only show how parents and students can save money, but also help them put extra cash in their pockets by shopping second-hand for big-ticket items and necessities. In fact, according to Kijiij’s 2017 Second-Hand Economy Index Report, last year alone, Canadians spent $29B on second-hand goods, while saving an average of $843 when choosing to buy used over new! As explained in detail below, some of the top categories where students can save the most are technology, textbooks, furniture and décor, and autos, with savings of up to 75 per cent!

Kathy Buckworth’s Tips for Post-Secondary Students 

  • Use the second-hand economy to alleviate costs: Buying used over new can help students and families cut costs on important school items including textbooks, tech items, furniture and décor, and autos. Nationally, searches on Kijiji for student-related supplies and accessories such as textbooks, laptops, printers, desks, and mini-fridges peak between the months of June and September– so many Canadians are already turning to the second-hand economy in search of savings leading up to the new school year. Here are the some of the top categories and finds on Kijiji with the greatest savings:

o    Technology: Electronics/Computer equipment have among the highest savings potential when buying used over new (per Second-Hand Economy Index). In looking at a few recent listings, you can find items up to 75% less than retail prices!

o    Textbooks: Since they’re only useful for one or two courses at a time, buying second-hand textbooks can save 50% or more, helping to ease the strain on student budgets.

o    Furniture & décor: From decorative pillows and desk lamps, to wall art and housewares, students are sure to be on the lookout for ways to personalize their dorm or living space. Plus, furniture offers the highest perceived savings to Canadians when buying gently used over new – with Canadians saying they’d likely pay nearly 4.5 times more to buy new (per Second-Hand Economy Index).

o    Autos: Whether they’ve saved through high school or parents are looking to buy a first car for their kid, Kijiji has a wide range of options with more than 1 million auto listings at any given time! And buying a used car is a great way save on high-value and quality cars – there are so many options of vehicles to choose from that are less than 5 years old and in great condition.

  • Create a realistic budget while away at school. This should include: tuition, residence, meal plan, books, and incidentals (entertainment, transportation, etc). A simple spreadsheet that you revisit monthly can help ensure you’re on track.
  • Get a no-fee bank account. Most financial institutions offer a no-fee account for students, along with a no-fee credit card, which can help build your credit history, and provide a financial safety net.
  • Take advantage of student discounts wherever possible. Carry your student card at all times to take advantage of savings!
  • Consider getting a part time job on campus during the school year. There are normally quite a few campus jobs available at school, with variable time commitments required so you can manage work and school.
  • Check into scholarship awards, bursaries and grants. Many go unclaimed from universities/associations because students aren’t aware of the range available.  I recommend visiting http://www.scholarshipscanada.com/but also go direct to the school you are attending to see what options are available.
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