Leading up to the new school year, we are excited to feature Zoë Crego of Her Campus as a guest contributor. Zoë is a Communications major at the University of Ottawa and serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of the uOttawa chapter of Her Campus. Stay tuned for remainder of this six-part series about what every first-year student needs to know.
Budget. You’re going to hear this word a lot in the next few years. You’ll need to budget your resources so you can survive on your own. There are tons of apps available for your smartphone that will help you create realistic budgets and help you stick to them by sending you reminders and tracking your spending habits.
Free Budgeting Apps
Mint is an all-inclusive app that tracks everything: bank account balance, credit card balance, and even student loans. Just make sure you take the time to recategorize your expenses, because the default categories can be a bit misleading. Also take the time to set your personal budget – one person might need $200 a month for coffee, while another person spends $0 in that category.
Wally is a simple app that tracks your income and expenses and projects your savings on a monthly basis. You don’t have to detail categories of budgeting, because this app is just about what you bring in versus what comes out of your pocket. This app is great for anyone who yawns at the word “budget” but needs to know if they’ll still have money for shawarma at the end of the month.
This app automates your budget, but it also goes the extra mile by sending you an alert if your account or credit card has an authorized charge.
With this app, you can manually enter expenses and organize your budget. This app is perfect for a university student looking to manage their income and expenses in an intuitive and easy-to-use format.
This is a neat concept if you have trouble setting aside money. This app takes a given expense and rounds it up to the next dollar. So a $3.88 trip to Tim Horton’s costs you $4, and that extra 12 cents is put into savings. The app is free but costs $1/month to use, so consider using the app as inspiration instead.
In addition to creating and sticking to a budget, get the most out of your status as a student. If you get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) as your U-pass, take full advantage of it by checking out all the stores and businesses that give discounts by going to ISIC’s website. Do you have a Student Price Card (SPC)? If yes, you can also get discounts at tons of retail stores throughout the city! Check out their website for more information.
Now that you’re in college or university, you’ve become a part of a small community within Ottawa. Check out all of the services that your institution offers for free or discounted by going to their main website and digging around. You’ll be surprised at all of the services that you’ll find, such as a free entry to the campus gym, peer mentors, counselling, women’s resource centre, etc.