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Budgeting For Back To School

It’s official. Today is the last day of August. And although we have another 21 days to go before we can call the glorious season of summer over, everyone knows that with September starting tomorrow, the school year is about to begin. It’s pretty hard to still call it “summer” when you are in the classroom, isn’t it?

It’s even harder, however, to budget for school when there are so many expenditures to consider when starting to study all over again. The Toronto Star‘s Business Reporter Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew reported on the various ways in which students can save money this school year in an article published last week. We’d like to share some of those tips with back-to-schoolers today.

College and university students, especially, have plenty to budget for. From tuition to textbooks to transportation, a student’s expenses can add up in a hurry. One of Acharya-Tom Yew’s first tips for the post-secondary student is to “buy new to you.” In other words, as long as it serves your purpose, pick up used books, clothing or even furniture for your dorm room at a much cheaper prices than those for brand new items.

“Brown bag it,” she continues. Too often, students forget how much money they spend on buying lunches each and every day. As always, the cost of food adds up. Packing your own lunches and bringing them to school with you is both a cheaper and healthier option. You also won’t have to wait in line to be served, so it’s a time-saving practice as well.

Keeping in touch is always important to students. With the advent of such free online features as Facebook and Twitter, this has become easier in recent years. However, a cell phone plan that meets your basic needs is also often a necessity. Acharya-Tom Yew also advises that you buy a long distance card to reduce your phone bills.

Smart shopping is obviously the key here. Shopping online to browse items and compare prices is also advisable. Searching for the best deals to take advantage of savings, especially those targeting students, will help you to stretch your dollars. Student discounts are rampant during this time of year.

Acharya-Tom Yew reminds students to “be sure to flash your student ID at entertainment venues, on public transportation and anywhere else that will take them. Check out special deals through your student union (as well as) free entertainment in the city, and free events hosted on campus.”

The same can be said about the classic coffee-splurge. Students need to be alert. And as such, many often partake in a daily coffee. For some, this is done several times a day. Of course, this can also put a dent into one’s budget. Acharya-Tom Yew recommends that you “avoid the latte effect and buy a coffeemaker or a kettle to make your own.”

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