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TD survey finds that high costs have half of post-secondary students sitting on the sidelines versus playing the game

TORONTO, Aug. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Affording the school year is undoubtedly tough for post-secondary students, especially when it comes to funding the extras. When it comes to paying for extracurricular activities, half (52 per cent) of current post-secondary students in Canada say costs prevent them from joining or limits the number they can participate in.

"Millennials are looking to fund fun at school, but it can be daunting to juggle the costs amid all the new expenses there are," says Shirley Malloy, TD Canada Trust.

However, while students may lack the funds, they don't lack the hustle. Just under half (47 per cent) of those who join extracurricular activities have a summer job or a part-time job during the school year to help pay for them, compared to only 26 per cent who are funding these hobbies through mom or dad.

In terms of where they are spending their free time, four in ten (42 per cent) have a gym membership, while playing sports, art or music classes and class trips rank somewhat lower in participation.

"When thinking about extra-curricular activities, think beyond gym memberships and look for team activities where you can stretch your dollars while building skills, networking, and more, all which can give you the greatest return on your post-secondary experience," adds Malloy.

To help students jump off the bench and into the game, TD offers the following tips on how to stretch your dollars and help relieve some financial pressure this school year.

  • Membership pays – Being a member of university or college gives you instant access to a slew of extracurricular activities you can join. Not only are these activities usually offered at a reduced rate for students, sometimes even for free, but they are also a great way to meet new people.

  • Take the lead – Do you love yoga? Or, perhaps dancing is your passion. Whatever it may be, reach out to your networks and consider starting a group of your own or getting certified in an activity and make some extra cash along the way. Look for resources that can help you facilitate a class, appoint different members to lead each session or bring in an instructor as a special guest.

  • Stay on top of your spending – Just as wearable fitness trackers help keep you accountable to your physical health, money management apps, like the TD MySpend app, can help keep TD customers on track when it comes to their spending habits. Receive instant notifications the moment you pay on whether you're tracking at, above or below your typical spending for the month, to help enable you to make more informed choices that align to your financial goals.

  • File your taxes – Even if you do not make enough money with your student job to owe the government money, remember to file your taxes. If you pay tax on your pay cheques you could get a refund. For example, claiming the tuition and textbook tax credit will reduce the amount of tax you owe so you might be entitled to a tax refund which you can put towards an extracurricular activity. Also, CRA will determine if you are eligible for payment of the GST/HST credit if you file.

  • Additional ways to stretch your dollar further – With a few money tips you'll be able to save funds to continue participating in your favorite extracurricular activities:
    • Consider buying used textbooks or even renting them, which is much more affordable than buying new. At the end of the class, sell the textbooks to make some of your money back. And, as you are textbook purging, see if there are any other items that you may no longer be using and sell them too.
    • Pay credit card bills on time to avoid late fees and accruing interest charges. Credit cards can help you establish good credit if you pay at least the minimum payment amount showing on your monthly statement on time by the payment due date, or if you can pay the balance in full every month by the payment date. In the future, you'll need a healthy credit score if you want to be able to borrow money for a home mortgage or auto loan, so this is a simple way to start building credit.
    • Many places offer discounts to students just by showing a student card or giving their student number. If you are not sure if a discount is offered, don't be afraid to ask. Whether it's through an online site, doing early registration or signing up for an activity with a group of friends, be sure to also take advantage of group rates when you can.

"Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet new people, build your network and form lasting friendships that can carry on to your professional career," says Malloy. "They also help manage the stress that comes with post-secondary education, which is why it's so important to budget and save so that you don't feel strapped for cash when it comes time to join."

About TD Affording the School Year poll
TD Bank Group commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a custom survey of 6,337 Canadians aged 18 and older, including 803 current post-secondary students. Responses were collected between February 25 and March 17, 2016.

About TD Canada Trust
TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, plus credit protection and credit travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as at over 1,100 branches, with convenient hours to serve customers better. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

SOURCE TD Canada Trust

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