TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 24, 2012) -
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As part of BMO Financial Group's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians, BMO is releasing a financial tip every week in 2012.
BMO's Financial Tip of the Week: Before heading back to school, make a financial checklist to help stay on budget.
For many post-secondary students heading back to school, now is the time to prepare for their studies and their finances.
A recent BMO survey revealed finances to be the biggest cause of stress for students (27 per cent) - more so than finding employment after graduation (22 per cent) or achieving academic success (20 per cent).
"Many students begin managing their own finances for the first time in university or college, so it's no surprise that this can cause some anxiety," said Lily Capriotti, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "It's important that students prepare for the upcoming school year by working with a parent or a financial advisor to put a financial plan in place. BMO also offers free online tools to help manage expenses."
To ensure post-secondary students are financially prepared for the upcoming school year, BMO offers the following checklist:
1. Get an idea of overall costs
Calculate all school-related expenses, including tuition, textbooks, school supplies, and student fees. Living on campus most likely means paying a lump sum for the year, while living off-campus means considering rent, utilities, food and other necessities. The BMO Student Budget Calculator is a free tool available on bmo.com that helps to provide an estimate of how much money you will need for the year.
2. Create a realistic budget
Allocate enough funds to cover expenses based on your estimated income during the upcoming year or current savings.
3. Research tools and resources to help you stick to your budget
There are a number of tools and resources available online to help manage spending and savings goals. For example, BMO MoneyLogic is a free financial management tool available to BMO customers to help track your budget. In addition, mobile apps, such as BMO Alerts, can help you stick to your budget by notifying you when a transaction occurs.
4. Plan how to fund school expenses
The first source for funding school should be savings, whether this is money you have earned from working or a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) set up by family.
5. Alternative sources of funding
Scholarships, bursaries and grants provide a great source of funding as they do not need to be repaid. Canada Student Loans is another source, should you be eligible, and financial institutions also lend money for school. BMO offers a Student Line of Credit, which charges interest only on what is actually borrowed, and allows students to use as little or as much as needed up to their approved credit limit. In addition, students can make interest-only payments while in school and for up to one year after graduation.
6. Student discounts
Be sure to look for student discounts for items like gym memberships and public transportation, as well as at a number of retailers.
7. Take advantage of "student status"
BMO offers free* banking to students during school and a year after graduation. Plus, BMO's student plan includes a complimentary Student Price Card (SPC,) which provides discounts at hundreds of retailers and restaurants across Canada. SPC Card benefits are also included with BMO's no-fee SPC credit card, which offers a choice of CashBack or AIR MILES reward miles.
8. Think about your repayment plan
If using loans to help pay for school, think about your repayment plan long before graduation. Consider revising your budget to take into account your loan repayment.
To learn more about how BMO can help make student life more affordable, during school and after graduation, stop by a BMO branch today or visit here for more details.
* Applies to the Kids, Teens and Students Discount Programs in the Plus Plan when a Primary Chequing or Premium Rate Savings account is opened. Recent Post-Secondary School Graduates are eligible for one year of free banking under the Student Discount Program. Customer is responsible for all the fees of any transactions, services and products not included in the Everyday Banking Plan.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
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