Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

August 24, 2010 09:00 ET

Binders, Backpacks and Budgets: Financial Tips for Students Heading Back to Class

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 24, 2010) - High schools across the country are gearing up to re-open their doors and, in the back-to-school spirit, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is providing five tips from its YourMoney financial literacy program to help students stretch their dollars as they head back to class.

"Students who have been working hard to earn money through the summer will soon be spending more time in the classroom and less time flipping burgers or working behind cash registers," said Melanie Minos, Manager of Public Education Communications at the Canadian Bankers Association. "For teens accustomed to their regular summer paycheque, adjusting to the reduced cash flow that comes with working fewer hours can be tough."

To help ease this transition, the CBA is providing the following financial tips for students:

Create a Budget

Budget is just a fancy word for planning when and how you spend your money. Keep track of how much money you make each month, how much you spend and where you spend it. Look at where you are spending your cash and see if there are places you can cut back. If you drop $200 per month on lunches, consider brown bagging it to save some money.

Pay Yourself First

Saving seems like a no brainer, but is often harder than it sounds. One way to ensure that you save is to pay yourself first by putting a set amount of money into a separate account each time you get your paycheque, before you have a chance to spend it. Some banks even offer services that automatically transfer money from your chequing account into your savings account every time your paycheque is deposited. This is an easy way to save, because the money is set aside before you even miss it.

Invest Your Savings

You may have heard the phrase "get your money working for you". Well this is exactly what investing can do; it can take the money you have and turn it into more money. Investing can be quite complex and there are risks involved, so it is a good idea to speak with a parent or financial advisor for advice. However, even earning interest on money held in a savings account is a simple form of investing.

Over time the money you earn as interest also earns interest. This is known as compound interest and is a powerful tool to grow your money. Saving and investing go hand in hand and are a smart way to ensure you have money for the future whether it's for a trip, post-secondary education or even buying a house or condo. Do the math on how compound interest works using our compound interest calculator at this link: www.yourmoney.cba.ca/students/inside/tools/savings_calculator/

Borrow Wisely

Learning how borrowing works is an essential life skill. At some point you'll probably need to get a loan to make a significant purchase, such as buying a car or paying for tuition at a college or university. If you need to, borrowing to help get a degree is smart, using it to buy a video game console because you would rather not save the money is not.

If you do need to borrow money it's important you understand the terms and conditions of the loan, such as the interest rate and when and how often payments must be made. Always make your payments on time. Missing a payment on a loan or credit card can negatively affect your credit rating and can hurt your chances of getting future loans.

Protect your money

You worked hard this summer to earn money. Unfortunately there are also thousands of criminals working to find ways to take it from you. With the continued growth and popularity of the Internet, fraudsters are busy creating new online scams to separate innocent people from their money. The best way to ensure you don't become a victim is to protect your personal financial information such as your bank account and PIN numbers and to avoid offers that seem too good to be true. If someone offers you a big chunk of money for simply cashing a cheque, or offers to pay you well above the asking price for something you are selling online, be suspicious, ask questions and don't be afraid to walk away.

YourMoney

Banks in Canada recognize the importance of providing young Canadians with the understanding and tools to be sound money managers. For close to ten years the CBA has coordinated the YourMoney program, a free 50-minute non-commercial financial literacy seminar for senior high school students.

Sponsored by Canada's banks and developed in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the YourMoney seminar is presented by more than 800 community bankers from across Canada who volunteer their time and expertise to deliver the seminar in schools. To date, more than 190,000 students have participated in the program.

Students, teachers or parents interested in learning more can visit www.yourmoney.cba.ca.

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 51 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 260,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions. www.cba.ca.

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