Student budget blunders: How to avoid common money mistakes

(NC) -- Digging a financial hole for students studying away from home can easily happen in a number of different ways – like, dipping into the semester's food budget for a Spring Break vacation or withdrawing cash from a credit card to pay the rent. Quick-fix approaches can have long-term implications, but TD has a few tips to help post-secondary students make the grade without breaking the bank.

Raymond Chun, a senior vice president at TD Canada Trust, provides advice on how to avoid the top three money mistakes made by first-year students:

Splurging without a budget: University is full of tempting opportunities that can be costly, so it's important to create a budget and learn when and how to say 'no'. First, list the money coming in from scholarships, work, family and student loans. Then, subtract expenses like tuition fees, books and rent. If the balance is negative, rethink the budget or look for alternative financing options for school.

Misusing credit cards: Only use a credit card to pay for purchases that can be paid off in full each month. Although tempting, cash advances on a credit card are not as straightforward as they may seem. While traditional credit card purchases are interest free providing the balance is paid in full each month, cash advances often incur interest immediately, and typically have a higher interest rate.

Hurting your credit rating: Juggling exams and social engagements is an age-old challenge for students, and keeping track of financial obligations, like paying bills on time can add to the challenge. A missed bill payment can really have a negative impact on a credit rating, ultimately affecting the ability to borrow money to buy a car or even buy a home in the future. Always pay bills on time and in full.


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