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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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How to Make Budgeting More Fun and Actually Stay on Track

Written by Georgie Darling

Budgeting is hard. Ugh. Let’s make it fun while staying on track.

Play Just for Funds Trivia to learn how to budget better. You could win $1,000* just for playing!

Since we’re on the topic, the CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students  offers features like 5% cashback for 4 statements on total purchases of up to $2,0001 or 2% cash-back on eligible grocery purchases.2

And because it’s the holiday season, you might think to use CIBC’s Pace It™ Installment Plans for large purchases like eligible gifts and travel expenses. Basically, you can pay off eligible purchases over $250 across monthly installments at rates as low as 5.99%.

And yes, you’re a student. The word ‘BUDGET’ is lame.

You’re already spending too much time and money on your degree. The last thing you want to do is spend even more of your time measuring out exactly a dollar’s worth of pasta and watch old, free movies. No thanks.

Unless you’re really someone who has their life fully together (yeah right), you probably don’t bother budgeting much. You just wait until the end of the month when you receive your bank statement, then have a quick cry when you see how little money you’ve got left.

Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Luckily, we’re here with some tips on how you can make budgeting fun (yes, it’s possible). You won’t necessarily be able to afford to start eating caviar and drinking champagne with every meal, but if you follow these tips, looking at that bank statement should be a little less painful.

Keep your goals in mind:

Imagine you’re trying to save $300 for a new pair of expensive sneakers. Next time you’re out and go buy a spontaneous cheaper-but-similar-enough pair, stop and think. Would you rather buy a few pairs of cheap shoes, or save up for the ones you’ve been dreaming of for a while now? It’s the whole quality over
quantity thing. Do this every time you feel yourself making an out-of-the-blue purchase.

Set yourself milestones:

Back to the $300 sneakers (see, we’re encouraging you to think about them already. Keep the dream alive!). We all know $300 is a lot of money. Try and save a set amount each month – maybe $50 if you’ve got a part-time job, or a bit less if you’re just taking it out of your own savings.

Open a separate savings account just for these types of purchases and don’t dip into it until you’ve reached your goals. (As a bonus, the bank will give you some interest for keeping your money there.) Some people even freeze their bank cards in a block of ice, so they can’t impulsively use it. This might seem a bit extreme, but at the end of the day, it could help freeze your overspending habits.

Budgeting with your friends:

We’re all up for a bit of healthy competition, so why not make budgeting something you can compete at too? Save as a squad! For example, if you’re all going to a party this weekend and need something new to wear, check out the sales racks first instead of spending full price. Whoever can find the cheapest outfit wins.

But if the clearance rack sucks, you can still save money on the good threads with the free SPC membership you may be eligible to receive with any youth or student CIBC accounts like the CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students. Yep. You can save big bucks on over 450 leading brands like Roots, Levi’s and TOPSHOP/TOPMAN.

Get started with a free digital SPC membership† with CIBC. Conditions apply.

Alternatively, check out your local thrift stores for something unique and cheap. If you’re looking more long-term, set a squad goal to save a certain amount of money. Whoever hits the target first is the winner (and, more importantly, the richest). You can all start to find fun, cheap things to do together. Go for picnics instead of eating at restaurants. Have friends over to watch movies instead of spending half your paycheque on stale popcorn at the theatre. You’ll save you a fortune and have fun with your fam.

Use a budget calculator:

One of the biggest reasons students like us find it so difficult to save money is because we’re never certain just how much money we have available to us each month. Calculating the amount you’ve got from student loans, any scholarships or bursaries, and part-time work is confusing enough, let alone trying to figure out how much you’re spending on living costs, too.

Instead of trying to do mental gymnastics, use a budget calculator like CIBC’s, which lets you input all of this information and will calculate your average earnings with just a few clicks. You can work out your annual income and the budgeting calculator will use this information to break down your costs into education, living expenses, transport, and other categories. Once you’ve done this, you’re well on your way to getting those sneakers on your feet.

Think of it as a learning process:

If most of your spare money goes to fast food, consider teaching yourself to cook instead. It doesn’t have to be boring. There are thousands of impressive-but-easy recipes all over the Internet, and it’s a great way to keep mom and dad – who think the only thing you can cook is toast – off your back.

Similarly, if you’re spending a lot on a gym membership each month, take up running (nature is free!). You can also use YouTube videos to maintain your fitness (also free!). Not only will you be actively budgeting your money without much effort, but you’ll also be learning sweet “adulting” skills.

With these tips, we’ll be surprised if you don’t end up a millionaire by the time you graduate. (Okay maybe more like a thousandaire, but baby steps right!?).

Oh, and if you’re interested in saving money with CIBC’s Dividend® Visa* Card for Students and the free SPC membership you could receive, if you sign up through us you may be eligible to win $35,000 to help pay off tuition through our Full Ride Contest◊◊. It’s a sweet deal.

Don’t forget, you could win $1,000* in Just for Funds Trivia by showing us what you’ve learned about budgeting.


† To be eligible for a free SPC membership, you must hold an eligible CIBC product at the time you register for the membership, which you must do through CIBC online or mobile banking. Eligible CIBC products include a CIBC Youth or Student bank account, Student credit card or Student line of credit. A complete list of eligible CIBC products can be found at Joint account holders of eligible CIBC products are not eligible for membership. You must also be a legal resident of Canada who is fourteen (14) years of age or over, but under the age of thirty (30) years if the eligible CIBC product you use to qualify for the membership is a student line of credit. The membership will automatically renew and remain in effect for as long as you hold an eligible CIBC product. Trade-mark/registered trademark of Student Price Card Ltd.

Trade-mark/registered trade-mark of Student Price Card Ltd.

1.You must apply and be approved for a new CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card / CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students between November 1, 2019 and March 1, 2020 to qualify for this offer.

If you apply and are approved for a new CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card / CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card for Students, you will receive 5% cash back on the net purchases posted to your account within the first 4 monthly statement periods or $2,000 in total net purchases (equal to $100 cash back), whichever comes first.

Regular cash back rate(s) do not apply on purchases which the promotional rate of 5% applies. Cash back is earned on purchases less returns and credits. For this offer the
following do not qualify as purchases: cash advances, balance transfers, CIBC Convenience Cheques, fees, interest, and payments. The cash back is accumulated each month and will appear on your statement no later than the month after it is earned. Cash back is awarded at the end of the year as a credit on your December statement.
Offer applies to newly approved card accounts only; transfers from an existing CIBC credit card to a CIBC Dividend® Visa* Card are excluded. This offer is not transferable.
This offer may be withdrawn or changed without prior notice at any time. This offer may be revoked if you appear to be manipulating or abusing it, or are engaged in any
suspicious or fraudulent activity, as determined by CIBC in its sole discretion.

2. Cash back is earned on a tiered basis on card purchases less returns and not on cash advances, interest, fees, balance transfers, payments or CIBC Convenience Cheques. Cash back is calculated as follows: on the first $6,000 in net annual card purchases excluding grocery on your account, the cash back earned is 0.5%; on amounts greater than $6,000 in net annual purchases excluding grocery the cash back earned is 1%. Earn 2% cash back on purchases (less returns) at merchants classified by the credit card network as grocery stores. All other purchases earn cash back at the regular tiered rate. The 2% cash back offer is only available on the first $6,000 in net annual card purchases at grocery merchants on your account; after that, net card purchases at grocery merchants will earn cash back at 1%. The $6,000 limit will reset to zero after the day your December statement is printed. Terms, conditions and eligible merchant categories may change without notice. Deductions of cash back for returns are made at the earn rate applicable at the time the return occurs. Credits for returns made on your account may result in a deduction of cash back at a higher earn rate, even though the return may relate to a purchase that earned cash back at a lower rate. rate. The cash back is accumulated each month, beginning with the January Visa statement, and awarded at the end of the year as a credit on the December statement or, in limited circumstances, at such other time as may be permitted by CIBC. Credit card account must be open and in good standing at the time the cash back is awarded. Cash back will be credited to the primary cardholder’s account.

◊ CIBC Pace It™ Installment Plans allow primary cardholders to convert posted eligible Card Transaction(s) to monthly installment payments (including interest) over a fixed period of time. When you create an Installment Plan you will have the ability to choose the payment term (in months) with a corresponding annual interest rate. A One Time Installment Fee of 1.50% of the purchase amount applies. Once you accept the Installment Plan Terms and Conditions and create the Installment Plan through CIBC Online or Mobile Banking, you can cancel it at any time but you cannot change it. CIBC Pace It™ Installment Plans are only available: (a) on Accounts in good standing; (b) for certain eligible Card types and eligible Transactions; and (c) to non-Quebec residents.

◊◊ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open January 1st, 2019 to December 31st, 2019 to legal residents of Canada who are sixteen (16) years of age or older and are current students of an accredited Canadian university, college or secondary school. One (1) Grand Prize available to be won consisting of: one (1) cheque for $8,750 made payable to the winner; one (1) 1-year GIC for $8,750 opened in the winner’s name; one (1) 2-year GIC for $8,750 opened in the winner’s name, and one (1) 3-year GIC for $8,750 opened in the winner’s name. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Math skill testing question required. Full Contest Rules Règlements officiels d’inscription au Concours

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open December 16th, 2019 at 4:01 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) to January 15th, 2020 at 11:59:59p.m. ET to legal residents of Canada who are sixteen (16) years of age or older and are current students of an accredited Canadian university, college or secondary school. One (1) $1,000 prize available. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Math skill test required. Full Contest Rules available here.

CIBC logo design is a trademark of CIBC, used under license. All other trademarks are property of owned by their respective owners.

The CIBC Dividend®️ Visa* Card for Students to money better.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.