Post-Secondary Education, Money and Me! Some ideas to help students look after money – Part 2

Part 2: How to be your own Financial Manager

By the Association of Saskatchewan Home Economists

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your finances!
  2. Keep all receipts (including credit card and debit receipts) and file them in a large envelope/file folder. This allows you to compare prices, check dates of purchase or to return items.
  3. For all purchases ask yourself if you need or want this. Purchase the needed items before you spend money on wanted items. Hold off purchasing larger wanted or non-essential items such as clothing, concert tickets, and furniture until you summarize and evaluate two months of your spending and you have surplus money.
  4. Pay cash for as many things as possible, especially for items less than $20.00. This makes one think more seriously about spending and can also put a limit on how much you spend on items like entertainment, lunch, or coffee.
  5. If paying by card consider choosing a credit card rather than a debit card. Use only one credit card with a small purchase limit on it. A credit card enables you to readily track your spending. Consider choosing one that collects loyalty points. Pay the full amount when you receive your statement. If in a financial crisis situation, make at least the minimal payment.
  6. Keep a spreadsheet/ daily spending sheet/ small book to enter the expenditures and how much each item cost. Don’t procrastinate. As you physically enter the numbers and visually note them, you become aware of areas in which you may have overspent. You might keep a note on your fridge or mirror to remind you to make your entries in your permanent document.
  7. You can download a budget program online or an app but they may have a charge and may have a steep learning curve.

How am I doing?

  1. Every few days, check your on-line bank account to determine if it accurately reflects your spending.
  2. Do your “books.” Check to determine if the bank entries match your records and are correct.  
  3. If you have regular/essential bills such as utilities, you may prefer to pay them by direct payment (pre-authorized). The utility company is paid by the financial institution and you receive a notice of the payment. This means you do not need to personally make the payment and prevents a late or missed payment. This arrangement is done through your financial institution. Be aware pf the date of the month those payments are taken from your account. If you move, remember to notify the utility company and to cancel your direct payment plan.
  4. Check if your expenses are close to what you projected when planning your financial post-secondary education year. You may need to revise you initial plan.

Never be afraid to ask for help from professional sources!

Part 2 of a 4 part series:

Part 1: Financially, what does your academic year look like?

Part 2: How to be your own Financial Manager and How am I doing?

Part 3: Tips to stretch your dollars

Part 4: Be Your Own “Accountant”

Home Economists and Educators Linda Ashley and Millie Reynolds are the chief compilers of information collected from professional financial institutions, high school and university students, ASHE Board of Directors and computer sources.