The transition into post secondary can be an exhilarating one. You’re finally free of your parents’ constant nagging, and you can take control of your life – but at the same time, this freedom comes with the cost of new responsibilities.

One of the biggest responsibilities that was thrown in my face was managing my money. It’s a daunting task, but one that can be easily learned.

In addition to budgeting and recording my expenses, I have three simple money hacks that help me stay financially independent.

Spend Cash

I’ve always preferred using cash over credit cards as I’m able to see the amount I’m spending away. It makes me more aware of how much I’m spending whereas with a card, the amount spent feels non existent and is harder to keep track of until – oh no, you see the dreaded bill. Often times, I won’t carry my wallet around with me when I know I’m not going out to buy something I specifically need to minimize impulsive spending.


Getting an on-campus job is a great way to start earning some extra money that can go towards paying for textbooks, tuition, and/or living expenses, however, it can also take up a lot of time. Make sure that your classes still come first and you can manage a job while studying. Remember you’re paying for education to get a better job, not to be there and work. At the same time, don’t be afraid to try a part time job. My first semester was extremely busy with at least three projects due per week, and to top it off, my supervisor signed me up for three shifts totaling 12 hours a week. I thought to myself, “there is no way I can handle working and studying with all that!” To my surprise after I decided to try it out, I found that it was actually very manageable, and my grades were unaffected.

Prepaid Cell Phone

No, you don’t actually need unlimited texting or call or data as much as you might think you do. A prepaid phone plan is a great way to save money as you only pay for the amount you use. Cut down your phone usage for times when wifi isn’t present. Throughout high school, I had a prepaid plan and spent less than $100 dollars every year. While in university, my phone died the week I got there and I’ve lived the past semester just fine without it. In fact, I’ve been more productive without the distraction. As difficult it might be to start living without a phone, I’ve found the experience more rewarding as I spent more time on my education rather than in front of a screen. While the prepaid method might not be for everyone, phone plans are expensive, and choosing one that fits both your budget and needs can help save a lot in the long run.

As simple as these tips may seem, they’re super useful when it comes to both saving money and living a more fulfilling life.