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by Melanie Woods

University is the time to learn financial skills

By Khav Kumar, September 17, 2015 —

Many of us evaluate our standard of living based on whether we can afford the same stuff as our peers or coworkers. But this mindset can cause a lot of stress, especially for those of us entering the real world through the experience of post-
secondary education. It’s impractical and unwise for the average student to spend their university years thinking that extravagant spending is an unavoidable part of life as a middle-class Canadian.

Some young people do manage to accomplish the ideal balance between needs and wants, mastering the art of saving and cutting back on nonessential purchases. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ve probably collected material possessions you remember having a desperate need to buy but never really needed in the first place. Remember that one pair of shoes from that overpriced store? They almost certainly weren’t worth it.

There’s no shame in admitting that we sometimes want new stuff — even if it isn’t always affordable. It’s human nature to want the latest, shiniest and most appealing material goods that the world has to offer, but as university students entering the real world for the first time, we need to get used to adjusting our spending habits.

For students, the biggest challenge is realizing they shouldn’t spend their savings on a phone that could be confused for a flat screen television. It’s so easy to give into the desire to spend money on things we don’t really need.

This is especially true for people entering their first year of university. We’re forced to learn that we can’t just spend money on every little thing that catches our eye. We need to start making choices about where our money goes, and recognize the difference between an essential purchase and a luxury.

You don’t need to spend ten dollars on two lattes a day just because everyone else is carrying a disposable cup filled with some sort of caffeinated beverage. Use a reusable mug and bring your coffee from home like the adult you’re becoming.

We all have wants and desires from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s important to enjoy those little things and buy that one nice pair of shoes as long as you’re certain that you can afford them and that you’ll put them to good use.

Enjoy yourself, but remember to think before you spend. Being a student isn’t an excuse to waste your money.

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