CAMPUS AND CULTURE
The Gazette's ultimate student survival guide
Protection from vampires
Talking like a jazz man
Finding the house of your dreams
Buying a crazy pet
Surfing the bookstacks
Saving your money
Be just like Psychic Bob
Rolling a big phatty
Saving your money
For students, looking at a bank statement can result in shock, while just holding a credit card bill has been known to cause heart failure.
Money can be a source of stress for anyone, which is why it is important to know exactly where your money is going.
Service charges can rack up very quickly if you're not careful. It is important to know what stipulations are attached to your bank account. For example, most financial institutions offer free bank machine use, but only at that specific institution. Cheques can also cost money to buy and write.
It is a good idea to shop around to see what is available and suitable for your needs. Some banks offer student accounts that have lower service charges, but others boast no-fee banking. Banking has become highly competitive with the rise of virtual banks, such as ING Direct and President's Choice Financial.
And who knew you could be rewarded just for banking? For example, you can gain points towards groceries with PC Financial, a virtual gold mine for students.
Credit cards can be dangerous, but it is important to have a good credit history. Mike Gianelli, customer associate for Presidents Choice Financial, explained the best way to build credit is to have a Mastercard or a Visa, each of which establishes credit quickly.
"It is important to make sure the payments are made or a credit card can hurt you," Gianelli said.
"If you don't qualify for a Mastercard or Visa, the next best one is a department store credit card, which are generally easier to get," he said, noting the downside was a much higher interest rate than regular credit cards.
Gianelli said a line of credit is similar to a credit card, but it contains a limit that increases and decreases according to the amount you owe. "It is called revolving credit and the interest rate is one half per cent higher than a loan," he said. In contrast, a loan has fixed payments for a set number of months, he added.
"[At PC Financial], to get approved for a line of credit or a loan, there are two requirements. First, you must have an established credit rating and second, you must earn a minimum of $20,000," he said, noting this may vary between financial institutions. If you do not qualify, you must have a co-signer who does, he explained.