Back to school season can be one of the most costly and financial stressful times of the year (besides Christmas of course). So what are your biggest expenses when it comes to back to school? How are you financially prepared for this school year? We took notes from some of our customers when it comes to what to budget for back to school and here are the most common expenses and how to save and budget when it comes time to pay the bill.
There’s no doubt that a computer is an investment. And once you purchase the hardware, there is all the software, accessories, and warranties that come with it. Prices can differentiate between brands and models, not to mention the price of a laptop versus the price of a desktop. But these days it’s also more than just having a computer, add on the tablets and mobile devices as well. So how do you save money on big electronics? Make sure to keep your eye on the prices and look for add-ons like warranties that can cost hundreds of dollars or accessories like a free printer that comes with your purchase. You will end up purchasing these items anyways, so mine as well bundle to get the best deal.
Unfortunately, we don’t know how to get discounted tuition rates, but we’ve been there in terms of making those payments and crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s when it comes to calculating tuition fees for post-secondary. As much as there is never a sale on tuition there are many scholarships, bursaries, and grants that are now available to help with the rising costs of education. Each institution will have its own individual grants and scholarships, but in most provinces, the government has stepped in and created opportunities such as in Ontario the 30% Ontario Tuition Grant, tax credits when filing your income tax and grants for low to middle-income families. Tuition is definitely a huge cost, that’s why having Registered Education Savings Plans can help with the costs of education.
When it comes to buying textbooks, these are usually the items that end up having the most sticker shock. There is usually at least one textbook needed for every course you sign up for and depending on your course load that can add up quickly, especially because these textbooks aren’t cheap. Your best bet is to take a look at the textbooks you need and see if you can find used versions of them in your campus book store, or there are many online community groups for campuses where students may be selling their previously used one. Make sure to do your research on the textbooks, because you may get lucky and be able to find them online at Amazon or Indigo. Textbooks are tough to budget for since you don’t know what books you need till you pick your courses, so they usually become a last minute expense and add up quickly.
What are your biggest back to school expenses? How do you financially manage them? Let us know in the comment section below.