Financial advice to facilitate the transition from home life to university life.
With the start of the fall semester and the return of in-person lectures to Concordia, this week not only marks the first time many freshmen and sophomores will be on a college campus, but also the experience much more. important to leave the house for the first time. When the initial excitement of starting college wears off, being faced with the challenge of being financially independent can be quite intimidating for many students.
As a fourth year student, I remember how difficult the change was between living at home and suddenly having to “fend for yourself”. Like many of my peers, I found myself in a sink or swim situation.
Something I wish I had done earlier was to apply for as many scholarships, scholarships and grants as possible, as early as possible. This is something I wish I had done earlier. Scholarships and grants are fantastic ways to ease the financial burden of tuition fees and can also help build an emergency fund.
Additionally, it may be worth your while to research specific scholarships and grants that might apply to you. POC and members of the LGBTQ + community are experiencing financial instability at a rate higher than the national average. Many non-governmental organizations and scholarship funds offer specific scholarships for students who are part of marginalized communities, such as the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund, the Jeremy Dias Scholarship, and the RBC Royal Bank Scholarship for Indigenous Peoples.
Students enrolled in the Access Center for Students with Disabilities are also eligible for numerous grants and scholarships from government and private institutions, such as the RBC Capital Markets Canada Pathways Diversity Scholarship Program and the Canada Scholarship for students with disabilities.
Freshmen should also be aware of the transaction limit on their debit card. To stay within your transaction limit, use cash for your daily purchases and your credit card to fund larger expenses. Although credit cards do not have transaction limits, they do have a spending limit. Stay well below your maximum allowed and by paying your monthly balance on time no additional interest will accrue on your credit. In addition, the physiological impact of payment in cash leads to a significant decrease in expenses compared to payment by card.
Another simple trick that I recommend is to uninstall the food delivery and ride apps from your phone. The extra step of having to reinstall these apps has helped me cut my expenses and cut my monthly credit card bill by almost 50%. Your billing information is saved to your account, so it’s quick and easy to reinstall these apps before a night out with friends or a date with your partner.
Concordia itself has a number of great organizations dedicated to helping students with their daily financial expenses. Organizations like The People’s Potato vegan soup kitchen offer free lunches to all Concordia students every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Henry Hall building in room H-700.00.
Whenever you can, buy your textbooks at the Concordia Co-op Bookstore instead of the Concordia Book Stop. The Co-operative Bookstore also offers members a discount on each subsequent purchase for a one-time initial amount of ten dollars. For students in the humanities or fine arts, these upfront fees can usually be recouped through money saved on required readings for a single semester.
While money doesn’t buy happiness, financial stability provides freedom and opportunities that will have a profound impact on your well-being. It defines the difference between choose to work versus having work part-time during the school year. It offers the possibility of leaving a toxic and / or abusive living environment without having to worry about debt.
Financial means can give access to resources like therapy and drugs which, unfortunately in our capitalist society, become much more difficult to access without. It’s the ability to have your worry-free avocado toast and eat it too.
Disclaimer: This is not professional financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor to match the risks involved.
Featured photo by Catherine Reynolds