Tag Archives | banking

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

The majority of university students have forever dealt with student loans. Past students may still be trying to pay off their loans while current ones may feel swamped with the amount of money they will have to pay. Luckily, there are many resources online that have great information for students on how to deal with loans and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Here is a consolidated guide on student loans:

  1. Many experts recommend consolidating loans, and it is something that students should look into, especially if juggling multiple students loans. It combines them all into one loan that can be paid off through one payment per month rather than multiple. This is a huge benefit that can save you money through a plan that better fits your financial needs. Keep in mind that you may end up spending more money if you choose a longer payment schedule, and it may be required that you have a locked interest rate, based on your multiple loans.
  2. Interest rates play an important role in deciding whether to consolidate your loans. Federal loans are presented with fixed rates which establish how much you will be paying throughout your loan schedule. Private loans are subject to change depending on whether they are a variable or a fixed rate loan. Both have pros and cons, but again what is important is that you find a payment schedule that best fits your schedule.
  3. An example of a strategy that can be used when paying off student loans is to pick the shortest payment schedule that you can manage. The longer the payment schedule, the more money in interest you will end up paying, which in most cases will lead to paying off way more than you borrowed.
  4. Attempt to pay more than you need to each month as well. That little amount that you add on to your monthly payments will save you money in the long run and get that loan paid off more quickly. Prioritize the most expensive loan too if you haven’t consolidated your loans, because again, you will save money and time due to the higher interest rates on that loan. Contrarily, you can prioritize your smallest loan to pay it off as quickly as possible. This will save you the most time in the long run because of how long the small interest rate schedule is.
  5. Look for student discount and loan forgiveness options if need be. Those small breaks will help you even if the discounts are very minimal. Loan forgiveness should only be used as a last resort option as it does come with some important clauses.

Student loans remain extremely common with the university population today, and will certainly be an important factor for students in the future. Consolidating federal loans is an option that can help students manage their finances while not impacting their financial situation due to locked interest rates. Private lenders can either save or cost you more money depending on the rates you choose. At the end of the day, pick the schedule and tips that fit your needs and will benefit you the most, in the area you wish to benefit the most. Just remember to always read the fine print.

Find out more about Loans and Consolidation from The Simple Dollar.

Image from Jan Natividad

Image from Jan Natividad

Bonjour! I am currently spending the semester studying abroad in Paris, France. Two months in, and it is undoubtedly one of the best experiences I have ever had. As much fun as I may be having right now, the process of getting to this point was very long and complicated. Here is some advice for avoiding the stress of pre-departure. Although some of these tips are specific to Paris, you can use them for practically any exchange location!

Packing

Tip 1: You don’t need to pack everything that you own, but don’t forget to pack essentials that you take for granted. I am having a difficult time finding baking soda here in Paris and a friend of mind couldn’t find any heat protection hair spray! Although you probably won’t find out if you can buy a product locally or not until you actually arrive, be sure to pack favourite hygiene products, food and anything else that you absolutely cannot live without. In some cases, they may sell what you need, but not in the brand that you prefer.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid of the $100 extra baggage fee on an airplane. The contents of your extra bag are probably worth more than the $100 fee. This also gives you extra space for any souvenirs and gifts that you plan on bringing back home. Remember that things in France are in euros, meaning it is probably going to be significantly more expensive for your favourite shampoo or cereal in France than it is in Canada, so do the math! The only problem you may encounter with this is lugging it from the airport to your new apartment by yourself.

Tip 3: You should also remember to pack both regular sized and travel-sized hygiene products. If you plan on travelling while on exchange, $1 mini toothpaste from your local drugstore is a lot cheaper than buying €1 mini toothpaste in France.

Paris Tip: Parisian street fashion is very stylish but monochromatic. So, when packing clothes, you may want to skip your neon-green top. This may sound silly, but a decent sense of fashion is a matter of self-preservation! Aggressive beggars and pickpockets are less likely to attack you if you don’t have that neon-green “tourist” target on your back.

Everything Else

Tip 1: Don’t worry too much about banking, meeting new people, public transportation, cellphone plans and most other things. The international team at your host school will cover a lot of this during orientation week. Just remember to bring necessary documents, photocopies of IDs and an unlocked cellphone so that everything else will go by a lot smoother.

Tip 2: Remember to have fun! School is important, but don’t spend your whole day inside school or inside your apartment. If you’re not exploring your new environment and soaking all the culture in, you’re more susceptible to getting really home sick. Your new place – as great or as dingy as it may be – will be your new home for the next couple of months. Try to find the positive aspects of your new place such as a really cool nearby bar or your kind neighbour.

Image by Tax Credits, Flickr

Image by Tax Credits, Flickr

Courtesy of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), the following provides a quick overview of student banking in Canada. Whether you are an international student or you have had an account for quite some time, it gives you information on how your bank can be a good partner during your post secondary school life: Download the Banking for Students PDF.

Choosing a bank can be an overwhelming experience – almost as stressful as choosing which car to purchase or which school to attend. All banks offer similar features, but when it comes to students, you’ll see different perks and benefits. The following table outlines the big Canadian Financial Institutions and their fee structures and benefits to students. A few of the banks offer Advice Centres for students, which can be helpful when it comes to budgeting and ultimately paying for school. Other banks offer perks such as points for Scene cards, Student Price Cards (SPC) and Air Miles.

We hope the following table allows you to narrow down your selection on the bank that will best meets your current and future needs!

NameMonthly Fee/Min Balance to Avoid Fees# Transactions per MonthATM NetworkExtrasAssociated Credit CardOtherAdvice Centre
Bank of Montreal Student BankingNone30Bank of Montreal2 free Interac email money transfers per month, earn AIR MILES reward miles on debit purchasesNo-fee BMO SPC MasterCard with built-in SPC Card benefitsBMO Student Budget Calculator; BMO MoneyLogic
CIBC Everyday Chequing Account (Advantage for Students)NoneUnlimitedCIBCNoneCIBC Classic Visa CardCIBC Professional Edge Student Program – borrow up to $270,000 towards studiesCIBC Advice Centre
Royal Bank Student BankingNone25RBCNoneSignature RBC Rewards, RBC Visa Cash Back, WestJest RBC MasterCard; save up to $39 a year off annual feeAccess to myFinanceTracker, online financial management tool
Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage PlanNoneUnlimitedScotiabankFree usage of Scotiabank’s Global ATM AllianceLEARN VISA card, SCENE VISA cardSCENE movie rewards earned when using debit card; Special Grad Auto Loan programs available
TD Canada Trust Every Day Chequing Account with Student DiscountNone25TD Canada TrustNoneTD Classic Travel VISA Card (annual fee waived for year 1)Eligible customers get free access to concert discounts, exclusive contestsTD Student Life
HSBC Performance Chequing – Student$3.97 / $2,00040HSBC, The Exchange, BMONoneNo student specific card
Laurentian Bank Student AdvantageNone15Laurentian BankNoneVISA Black Card, VISA Black Reward Me Card
PC Financial No Fee Bank Account (not student specific)NoneUnlimitedCIBCEarn PC points towards free groceriesNo student specific card