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Budgeting for the Back-to-School Season: Top 5 budget-friendly tips to use this school year 

Budgeting for the Back-to-School Season: Top 5 budget-friendly tips to use this school year 

It’s almost that time of year, time to trade trips to the beach with trips to the classroom!

From classes and writing papers to creating new friendships and getting together for late-night cramming sessions, the start of a new school year is an exciting time for many Canadians. However, the joys of higher learning can come with a hefty price tag. So, with a new school year almost upon us, the question on many Canadians’ minds is – “how can I make the back-to-school season more affordable?”

With the right financial planning and some savvy-saver moves, you can keep your spending on track this school season.

Here are a few helpful tips to help ease your financial stress this school year:

1. Start the new school year with a new budget (and stick to it!)
The start of a new school year marks the perfect opportunity to begin developing healthy spending and saving habits, so you can ease the daily stress of student life. At the start of the school year, take some time to make a list of the supplies, books, tuition, and other expenses you can expect each month to help you create a budget that will give you a clearer picture of where your money is going instead of where it went. Taking the time to evaluate your spending needs versus your wants, will help you build responsible spending habits. Plus, if you play your cards right and budget effectively, you could manage to save a little money to treat yourself every so often. This way you can make lasting memories outside the classroom too! Not sure where to start on your budgeting journey? No problem. Visit your local credit union and speak to a financial advisor to create a financial plan that will help you save more money this academic year.

2. Make Coupons Your BFF
From the purchase of backpacks to a new laptop, your back-to-school shopping bill might seem more daunting each year. However, by taking advantage of discount offers on coupon sites you could be keeping more green in your wallet. Check out sites such as Coupon Cabin for great back-to-school clothing offers and discount codes you can take advantage of at your favourite clothing stores, in-store and online. This way you can freshen up your new school year wardrobe without breaking the bank! Now if you have a smartphone, download Flipp for instant access to thousands of digital flyers and coupons and take advantage of the best deals to help you save more on school supplies and electronics. 

3. Get cooking (at home)
While dinners with friends at your favourite restaurant or indulging in your go-to Uber Eats order might be delicious and convenient, it can also be quite expensive. By taking a quick trip to your neighborhood grocery store, picking up fresh ingredients, and using an easy online recipe, you not only save big money but also learn cooking skills you can use for years to come. Now, what’s the best part of cooking at home? The leftovers! Enjoy any food leftover for lunch over the next day or two, which will make the time spent cooking even more worth it! If you live in a dorm and have a meal plan, be sure to use it as much as possible and avoid eating out. Minimizing your spending on outside food can help you not only save more but also eat healthier too. Now, that’s a win-win!

4. Look out for free money!
As the age-old adage goes, money doesn’t grow on trees. But there are a surprising number of financing options that you can take advantage of to help fund your post-secondary education. Many universities across Canada offer several scholarships, awards, and bursaries that you can apply for as long as you meet the requirements. By taking the time to do a little research on your school’s website, you could uncover many scholarships you could take advantage of which will reduce the amount of money you’ll have to pay from your own pocket to finance your education. At the end of the day, putting in a little effort now could mean big savings for you later.

5. Brew your own cup of coffee
Does your daily walk to class include a pit stop at your favourite coffee shop? The start of a new school year might mark the perfect time to take a break from that relationship. While buying your favourite cup of joe might be tasty, a few bucks at your favourite coffee shop each day can add up over a school year. Now you don’t have to give up on your daily coffee ritual, rather make it at home instead! Consider investing a little money into a quality coffee maker. It might cost you more money upfront, but you’ll save more in the long run by making the coffee you love from the comfort of your dorm room. Bringing your coffee to class in a travel mug might not be as fancy as your go-to Starbucks order, but your wallet will thank you!

Step into the new school year on the right foot… become a credit union member
Credit unions are a great financial option to keep your finances on track all year round. Not yet a credit union member? Find your nearest credit union, click here.