Aside from housing, education may be the biggest source of debt for many households. While the merits of pursuing a post secondary education are many, the upfront costs of doing so are huge. Fortunately, however, since this is not a new practice, our society has had ample time to look back on our predecessors and figure out what some of their best (and worst) practices were in affording post secondary education. As such, here are __ ways to ease the financial pain:
- Plan ahead – whether this is for something as seemingly small as the costs of stationery items, or for something as large as tuition itself, you will thank yourself for sparing the latte here and there, and directing whatever change you can to these funds. Buying supplies well before you need them falls into planning ahead as well; it can be advantageous because then you are not a hostage of the market prices. You have ample time to shop around for deals.
- Get covered – the last thing a poor college kid needs is to have to replace their items owing to theft or damage. Protect your property! A good plan should cover computers, cell phones, smart phones, mp3 players and ipods, books, bicycles, and even clothes. In most cases, you'll be protected against natural disasters and theft. That covers your “stuff.”
- Don't pay for what you're not using – while supply lists can be really useful in terms of keeping you focused on what your needs will be, often times unnecessary items sneak onto them. For example, a sibling may have an older edition of a textbook you'll be needing; do you really need the latest edition? You might, but if you can snoop around to find out first, you may save yourself a whole lot of dough. Better yet, see if you can borrow or even leaf through the newer version to learn if the differences will affect you.
- Don't pay for what you're not using – nope, that's not an error. Fortunately, most schools in Canada automatically enroll their students in health insurance plans which is important because when you're studying, the distraction of worrying about how to pay for secondary health matters is an unwelcome one. That said, you might already have secondary health insurance—either through your own employer, or through one of your parents if you're still considered a dependent. If that's the case, opt out of your school's coverage. You will be reimbursed for it.
- Borrow – if there's an item that will only be useful to you for the duration of a course, try to borrow it.
- Shop second hand – when borrowing fails, turn to used items.
- Liquidate – when you're done with something, sell it fast. The longer you wait, the more its value may depreciate.