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How to Limit Your Student Debt Load with These 6 Resources

For Canadian university students, a debt load isn’t always top of mind in the middle of the school year. With daily homework, exams to study for, and extracurriculars, keeping track of your finances can feel like extra work that you don’t have time for.

That’s why the summer is a good time to put together a financial plan for the school year ahead.

Just like studying for exams, starting early is key. By creating a budget in August, you have the chance to research ways to save money when September rolls around. This might give you the opportunity to start paying off student debt during the school year instead of waiting until after graduation to deal with it. Having a solid budget to follow can also help you avoid accumulating new debt.

To get you started and to spur your creativity, here’s a list of articles about keeping spending in check during the school year.

“Budgeting: Samples and Tips” – Futurfund

Learn how you should allocate your income with sub-categories like rent, food, cell phone and laundry. One great tip from this article: everyone’s budget is different, but you should still aim to have money left over to reduce debt or add to savings.

“How 5 Ottawans are dealing with crushing student debt” – CBC News

There’s nothing like real-life examples to inspire you to focus on debt relief options for yourself. Here, five Ottawans of various ages share their advice and stories — how they’re living with roommates, finding part-time work during the school year or seeking career opportunities.

“I Graduated Debt-Free with $40,000 in the Bank. Here’s How.” – Amanda Reaume, Huffington Post

Here’s another personal story about how to pay off debt (and save money) during school. Reaume suggests using the summer to sign up for as many scholarships as possible, especially before entering your first year. She also suggests maximizing your course load so you can get into the workforce quicker.

“15 Ways to Save Money in College” – Eva Baker, TeensGotCents

Baker’s philosophy is every little bit helps. She focuses on the small things you can do to save money on a daily basis. These 15 tips include taking advantage of freebie refills, cooking at home and renting textbooks at the library whenever possible.

“How to save thousands of dollars at university” – Zane Schwartz, Maclean’s

More tips! Schwartz has some fun things thrown in here, like making friends with someone with a car, but there are practical tips too. The point about picking up your refund cheque for medical insurance from your student union is one many dependent students can use for an easy couple hundred dollars.

If your goal is to save money and minimize the impact of your student debt load on your finances, these articles are great for getting you to think about the big and small picture. You’ll still have to deal with certain realities, like expensive tuition and scarcity of used textbooks. But by using the summer to plan where you can find efficiencies, you might find finances a little less stressful during the school year.

Have other ways post-secondary students can save during the school year? Share them on social media by using the hashtags #BackToSchool, #DebtSolutions, and #StudentLoanDebt.

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