Student Success

Students encouraged to boost their knowledge during Financial Literacy Month

Post-secondary education is expensive and it can be even more costly than it needs to be if students are caught spending unwisely.

For many students, post-secondary is the first time they have had to leave their parents' homes and fend for themselves financially. Budgeting for rent, food and entertainment, managing consumer debt, and of course - obtaining funding for university, sometimes through student loans, are all issues with which students have to deal.

Developing financial literacy skills is very important for students who are looking to avoid financial stress, minimize debt, or save for that reading break vacation.

“It starts with the basics,” says Becky Lore, coordinator of Scholarships and Student Finance. “Crafting a spending plan is the starting point to achieving your financial goals and well-being.”

Lore says students may be surprised to realize how much they are spending on things like eating out or nights on the town with friends after they make a budget and begin tracking their spending.

“Little things can add up to be large monthly expenses, from the daily Starbucks to eating out too regularly, it can leave your wallet pretty empty,” she says.

Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. In recognition of Financial Literacy Month this November, Scholarships and Student Finance is encouraging students to start developing and practicing these essential skills.

“There are lifelong benefits from being financially literate and minimizing debt in university, from buying your first home to retiring comfortably,” says Lore, “This knowledge can also reduce stress and promote happiness because you feel in control of your finances and it helps you to achieve your life’s goals.”

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a number of tools and resources available to students who are looking to boost their financial skills and knowledge:

Budgeting Calculator - do you have a realistic budget?

Financial Goal Calculator - how can you achieve your financial goals?

Credit Card Selector Tool and Credit Card Payment Calculator - Compare which credit card may be the best (or worst) for you and how long it takes to pay off your balance if you only make a minimum payment.

Students can also win an iPod Touch, Mac Mini, or Macbook Pro by participating in the 'My Financial Literacy Selfie' photo contest. Students participate by snapping a picture depicting how they are putting their financial literacy skills to use, or how they are helping to strengthen the financial literacy of others. For more contest info, see here.

Scholarships and Student Finance has information available for students looking to boost their financial literacy skills, and staff will provide one-on-one budgeting and financial literacy consultations. To book an appointment, visit Anderson Hall 151, call 403-329-2585, or email

Keith McLaughlin is a Financial Aid Advisor in the Office of Scholarships and Student Finance