Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

August 22, 2013 08:00 ET

Money Tips to Start the Semester Off Right: Tips from FCAC for New and Returning Students

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 22, 2013) - For many students, the university or college years will involve learning about more than just their program of study. Post-secondary education often includes the experiences of budgeting for new expenses, like groceries and tuition, as well as using credit cards responsibly and avoiding debt.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has tips and resources for both new and returning students to help with these decisions, and avoid costly mistakes.

"The financial decisions students make now are important, and have a long-term impact," says Lucie Tedesco, Acting Commissioner of FCAC. "The post-secondary years are a good opportunity for students to build good financial habits and get their finances on solid footing for the future."

FCAC's website offers life events specifically tailored to post-secondary students. Paying for Post-Secondary Education is a comprehensive guide to financing post-secondary education. It goes over the costs that are involved, and suggests funding options as well as tips to save money at school. It also includes a student budget worksheet that does the math for you, to help compare potential expenses and income.

Moving Out on Your Own has information that students can use when they move into their own place for the first time, on topics such as rental agreements and the costs of moving. It includes tips on identifying housing fraud to help students protect themselves from rental and real estate scams, and worksheets to track moving-related expenses and compare housing options.

Your Financial Toolkit has information on budgeting, income and expenses, banking, saving, credit and debt management, as well as fraud protection. There are 11 modules in the Toolkit, including videos, interactive worksheets, calculators, quizzes, questionnaires and case studies. Many worksheets can be downloaded and saved for future use. Each module also includes an Action Plan so students can track their progress and identify next steps to take.

Tips to save money at school:

  • Live at home during your post-secondary education if possible. Living in student residence or in your own place can be a great experience, but it is much more expensive.
  • Manage your student loans and other borrowing carefully. If you're offered more money than you actually need, request a smaller amount.
  • Opt out of health and dental coverage if you already have similar coverage through your parents.
  • Buy used books if you can, and sell old textbooks when you no longer need them.
  • Use your student card to take advantage of student discounts-and don't forget to ask whether they are offered. Remember to shop around, use coupons, and look for bargains.
  • If your campus is close to home, walk or bike there to save money. Some schools also subsidize the cost of a transit pass, so be sure to check whether this is an option.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through FCAC's Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website: itpaystoknow.gc.ca.

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