BY REBECCA SOARES
Saving money is a somewhat daunting task, especially when you have never had to do it.
Children typically get an allowance, and youth are often paid for doing odd jobs around the house, but both often spend everything they earn on video games, fast food or other non-essential items.
Nowhere do they learn how to save money to pay for things that are essential, such as phone bills, car insurance and college.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2010/2011 Ontario university tuition fees were approximately $6,307. Just six years later, in 2016/2017, those fees were estimated at $8,110, a roughly 22 per cent increase.
While that may not seem like a significant increase, it is considering how little minimum wage has gone up. In 2010 the minimum wage was $10.25 an hour and this year it sits at $11.40/an hour, an 11 per cent increase. This gap is substantial.
The upcoming minimum wage hike, from $11.60 to $14 effective January 1, will help, but learning to put money aside is also essential. Some tips on how to do this include:
* Purchase or get a free SPC card from your bank. SPC cards are a good way for students to get discounts at a variety of stores from fast food places to clothing retailers.
* Always check if an application offers student pricing. For example, Apple Music offers a price of $4.99 for students. Conestoga College is an approved school to get Apple Music discounts, all you need to do is provide your student email for verification purposes.
* Thriftbooks.com offers cheap new and used books, including education books and college textbooks.
* At certain banks you can get your monthly debit card fee waived for the entire duration that you’re a student.
* Get a credit card if you don’t have one. They provide a lot of financial benefits such as building credit and earning cash back or points toward travel. Just make sure you set a limit so you don’t spend excessively. Also note that some cards offer little to no interest rate for the first year.
* Get an app such as Mint: Money Manager which tracks your income and transactions. You can even set a monthly budget for yourself.
* If you have multiple bills to pay, write the name of all your different bills on separate envelopes and once you have the money, grab the envelope with that bill’s name and place the money inside. Set that aside so you no longer need to worry about that bill and you won’t accidentally use the bill money on something else.
* For grocery shopping, always eat before you go shopping so you don’t impulse buy. Also, always write a list of everything you need. If you have a list you can stick to it rather than buying whatever you see and spending even more money.
* Try to resist buying fast food on a daily basis. While it`s quick and easy, spending $10 on one burger everyday adds up.
* If you like to exercise, use Conestoga’s gym. It’s free for full-time Doon and Cambridge campus students, and you won’t have a monthly membership fee to worry about.
* Consider if you really need an item or if you just want it. It may seem like you need every season of Game of Thrones but you could live without it.
These tips should assist you in saving money but they’re also not the only tips out there. Grace Sham, a retail services co-ordinator at the Conestoga College Bookstore, recommends students “rent books online or in-store for the entire semester. In doing so, students can save roughly 50 per cent compared to buying new or used books.”
According to Blake Evans, a second-year broadcast student, you should, “Put around 5 to 10 per cent of each paycheque into your savings to ensure you are setting some money aside instead of spending it all.”
“I think a big problem with a lot of students is they finally get a paycheque and they get so excited about having money that they use it all at once on stuff they’ve wanted rather than saving it for school. People need to learn self-control so they don’t blow their money.”
If you need more tips, ask a money-savvy friend, older sibling or your parents. You can never get enough advice on how to save for a rainy day, or for those essentials.