Budgeting & Saving

Set up a budget and spending plan before you start school and again before your payments begin – and revise it whenever your situation changes.

Some expenses can be difficult to predict, but if you create a spending plan that includes money for unexpected costs you will be able to manage your money better – and this will definitely save you lots of stress!

Remember to review and revise your budget whenever needed. Plan on doing this at least a couple times a year so that you can stay on track. Managing your money can be easy – it just takes on-going awareness of where you are at and a little organization.

Know Your Budget and Create a Spending Plan

Here are some things that you can do. Start by setting up a simple spreadsheet to:

1. Identify and add up every source of income you have, such as:

    • Employment income
    • Student funding (loans and grants)
    • Scholarships
    • Savings

2. Itemize and add up all your up-front, one-time expenses while attending school, including:

    • Tuition and books
    • Damage deposit for rent
    • Watch for and itemize any unexpected administration fees

3. Make it a habit to pay yourself first! Every month, put a portion of your monthly income into:

    • An emergency fund
    • Savings

Whether you are accessing funds from a source of money (ie student funding such as loans and grants) or from a part-time job or summer employment, get in the habit of always putting a portion of your income into an emergency fund AND a savings account. Your financial health is as important as your spending habits!

4. Document and add up your monthly expenses, including:

    • Food
    • Rent
    • Transportation
    • Utilities

Knowing how much it costs you to live on a monthly basis will help you become a master of managing your money.

5. Record your expenses

    • Keep ALL your receipts, review and categorize them – then add them up

It’s the little expenses that can really add up! Know how much money you are spending on extras, and where your money is going. This way – you will be able to find opportunities to cut back and save when the need arises.

Your Financial Fitness

Whether you are a new post-secondary student or a recent graduate – being aware of your money and taking these simple steps towards knowing and understanding your spending and saving habits will lead to success – you will be able to stay on track and create financial fitness for the rest of your life.

For more information about managing your money and setting up a spending plan, visit:

Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS):