Becoming Money Wi$e

Understanding and managing your finances wisely is an important part of being a student at Lakehead University. 

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That is why we have launched our Money Wi$e initiative to help you make informed financial decisions and understand the various different financial aid opportunities available to you as a student. At Lakehead, you matter to us and through Money Wi$e we will help teach you how to PLAN, SAVE, and better MANAGE your money.  

What's the key to surviving financially during your university years?

  • Plan ahead!
  • Create a budget!  
  • Learn to live like a student!

Through awareness of your spending, and associated costs to attend post-secondary, you can learn to live within your means and relieve the stress of accumulating that huge student debt.  The financial habits you create in University will stay with you for the rest of your life!

Things to Consider

  • What are your program costs?
  • Will you have time for a job on the side?
  • Where will you live?
  • What financial options are available at Lakehead? Can they help me out?
  • How will I pay for everything?

Meanwhile, make sure to communicate your decisions with the people who may be helping to fund your education.

Budgets

Budgets, though time-consuming to fill out, are important tools, allowing you to determine your estimated costs for the school year, your sources of income, and what the bottom line is:

If your sources of income are equal to or greater than your costs, you are in a good financial position...

But, if your costs are more than your sources of income, don't panic. Take a look at your budget and: 

  • Review your costs - is there anything that can be reduced or that you forgot to include?
  • Review your sources of income - have you included all sources, have you talked to your parents or guardians, are they aware of how much money you need for school?
  • Check out the available financial assistance - You may be eligible for several scholarships and bursaries.
  • You may need to consider applying for student loans through your province/territory or from your financial institution in the form of a student line of credit.

If you would like to make your first attempt at a budget, please click here for our fillable budget form.

Budgeting Tips

Budgeting is a personal matter. Therefore, you need to find a system that works best for you, whether it be a detailed budget plan or a few simple techniques. Here are some tips to help stretch your dollars:

Books and Supplies

  • Buy used books whenever possible
  • Only buy books you absolutely need (suggested readings can usually be found on reserve in the library)
  • Look for electronic versions of books, many of these versions can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a paper copy.
  • purchase your supplies at discount or large department stores for the best price.
  • If you need a computer for your program, shop and compare; buy what you need at the best price. (Campus Tech may be able to provide students with a discount and save you money!)

Living Accommodations

  • If living on-campus, make good use of the meal plan
  • If living off-campus, find roommates to help share your costs
  • Make sure you know what's included in your rent-heat, hydro, and water may be extra
  • Ensure you bring your student card and proof of enrolment when hooking up Internet, Food and Cable as many businesses offer discounts to students.
  • Remember that some costs will be higher during the winter months
  • Turn off lights and turn down heat when you are not at home or have a programmable thermostat installed.
  • Kijiji and yard sales may provide a less expensive alternative to furnishing your apartment or room.

Grocery Shopping

  • Never shop on an empty stomach!
  • Check grocery store flyers for bargains or download the latest grocery flyer app to keep you up to date on weekly sales.
  • Clip coupons or become points members to receive discounts.
  • Buy non-perishables (canned goods, noodles, etc.) in bulk when on sale
  • Buy no-name brands as most are cheaper and still taste great
  • If possible, plan meals ahead
  • Make a shopping list and try to stick to it
  • Compare prices between grocery stores, the differences will save you tremendously.
  • Avoid shopping at convenience stores, which tend to be more expensive

Keeping Track

  • Try and keep track of what you buy and what you spend, continually review your purchases to assess your needs.
  • Know that you tend to spend the most at the beginning of the school year.
  • Make adjustments to balance your budget if required but ensure to review your budget on a monthly basis.
  • Try to put some money aside to handle those unexpected costs - telephone connection, cable, internet, emergency dental and other medical expenses
  • Look for seat sales and sign up for alerts through airline companies so you can book your return trips home at the best rates.