Most students have minimal financial responsibilities before university. Then suddenly, you need to manage your own money to ensure you’re able to cover essentials, have enough for fun activities, and avoid going into debt. Be aware of the most common mistakes to ensure you manage your money appropriately.

1. Misusing Credit Cards

You may like to have a credit card to build a credit history. However, it can be tempting to use your credit card to put off paying until later something you want now. You should only take out a credit card if you know you can trust yourself to be responsible. This means only using it for purchases you’ll pay off as soon as the bill comes — as if you can’t afford to pay the balance in full, you’ll incur a high interest rate.

If you’ve never had a credit card before but you want one for the credit history, use it just for recurring payments like subscriptions. Set up autopay for payments — and never even take the credit card out of your apartment. This will make it impossible to misuse your card.

2. Spending Your Entire Budget

Although spending all your money before the end of the month isn’t quite as bad as going into debt with a credit card, it’s still a bad habit. You have unlimited opportunities to spend at university, but you need to set restrictions for yourself. Turn down invitations to activities that are too expensive or after you’ve already spent all your fun money for the month. There will almost always be free events taking place on campus that make great alternatives.

3. Thinking Scholarships Are Not for You

A misperception many students have is that scholarships are only for those at the top of their class and star athletes. In fact, there are most likely a few scholarships out there that apply to your situation — you just need to look for them. You’ll need to dedicate time to researching and applying to scholarships, but this can pay off big time.

4. Only Searching for Jobs in Obvious Places

Whereas it’s worth considering jobs on campus and nearby that pay an hourly rate, these are far from your only options. Turning to entrepreneurship will allow you to start work related to the career you want to pursue. It’s also likely you’ll enjoy your job, and the experience will enhance your resume in a way that a standard job never could. Plus, the options are endless: you could offer landscaping services, help locals move, do freelance web design, provide childcare, or sell your own branded university merchandise. Provided you possess the necessary skills and there’s demand for the service, you can turn an idea into a profitable business.

5. Waiting Until Graduation to Apply for Jobs

Unless you’re going on to study a master’s degree, it’s best to have a full-time job lined up for as soon as you’ve graduated. It’s likely that your university offers support for finding a job, such as by holding regular job fairs and publishing job posts aimed at recent graduates. Be sure to take advantage of these resources.

6. Living on Campus

Student housing can be one of your biggest expenses at university. Whereas living on campus may seem like a logical choice, it’s certainly not the best decision financially. Not only is the rent lower when you live off campus, you’ll also save money by preparing your own meals compared to paying for a mandatory meal plan.

An alternative to Ontario Tech University residence is Foundry Simcoe. Our student housing will give you a room in a fully-furnished suite or townhouse located just steps from campus. Plus, to help you save even more money, rent includes high-speed internet and a washer and dryer in your unit. Apply now while immediate move-ins are still available.

rachel_grier@outlook.com

Author rachel_grier@outlook.com

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