Valley First

Keeping Track of Your
Dollars and Sense

Simple tips to manage your expenses during the school year
August 22, 2013

Penticton, B.C.—Back to school time is just around the corner and as part of many students’ checklist is the need to revisit their budgets and expenses. Brianne Dingwall, a recent university graduate and member service representative at Valley First, shares a few simple tips to help students keep their expenses in check during the school year.

Create multiple savings accounts
“When I was going to school, I created separate savings accounts for different needs. For example, I had one specific account for student loan funds to keep separate from any other income funds, I had one for bursary funds, one to pay for tuition and books and different ones to pay for car insurance, rent and other bills,” says Dingwall. “I would also have a chequing account for everyday expenses. It’s a little bit of a balancing act but for each semester, I’d calculate how much I would need and then put the appropriate funds required into each account. That way, I would know for sure that the important and necessary things would be taken care of. From there, it was pretty easy to see how much extra spending money I had leftover.”

Pay it all or forget it
“I only use my credit card for things I know I’ll be able to pay back by next payday,” explains Dingwall. “It’s not a good idea to max out your credit card because the interest will be enormous and if you miss a payment, it can be detrimental to your credit score. Many students don’t realize the importance of making sure you make your credit card payments on time.”

Throw your hat in the ring
Dingwall shares, “Take some time and do a little bit of research on all the bursaries and scholarships you might be eligible for. Many students don’t know about the general bursaries that are available to each program. You can save yourself a lot of money on tuition if you end up being chosen for a bursary and like the old saying goes, you never know unless you try.”

Think twice before making that purchase
“It may be easier said than done, but try not to overspend and always think twice before making that purchase,” says Dingwall. “Often times students see this large student loan sitting in their account and think that there’s so much money there, you can’t possibly use it all. But at the end of the semester or year, that money will be used up and maybe even more just for schooling. It’s a lot easier to manage if you think ahead about your expenses and then put the funds into their appropriate accounts so you’re not as tempted to spend it.”

Dingwall shares one last piece of advice, “Another easy tip, and something that I’ve also done in the past, is if I know I’ll have a large amount of loan funds sitting in my account for a few months before tuition is due, put it into a higher interest savings account. I’ve also seen other students come into the credit union to invest loan funds into month by month terms to earn a better interest. Every little bit helps!”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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