By: Derek Nicholson
The first week of school is almost upon us, bringing with it the myriad of events and activities also known as Frosh Week. From concerts to guest speakers, schools aim to make students feel welcome and excited to start or continue their studies.
With the fun, however, come the marketing motives. They’re easy to spot; companies with booths set up in the atrium, ready to appeal to the wide-eyed, excitable state of froshers – especially those setting foot on campus for the first time. Through a little strategic placement and a good pitch, these companies hope students and parents alike will take the bait, from cable packages to credit cards.
Stay Out Of My Pocket
In my opinion, a problem lies with the amazing “deals” that get plastered around campuses. For those who are new to college or university, companies aim to convince you to “buy this” or “upgrade that” in order to be successful in your schooling, which is more often than not a blatant money grab. Don’t get me wrong – some of these products and services are definitely useful, making it even more important to educate yourself beforehand, and only invest in what you personally think you’d need.
Here, Have Some More Debt
Credit cards are usually up for offer during Frosh Week. I’m personally neither for nor against a lender pushing their student credit cards, as I feel an equal amount of support exists for both sides. However, I personally doubt marketing credit cards right after students have just committed to financially crippling payments for tuition, rent, books, etc. is a smart move.
For starters, it’s particularly difficult to start building credit when money is tight (or nonexistent for that matter). In Ontario alone, the average loan debt for a student graduating from a four-year university degree program is around $20,000. Introduce a credit card to the mix, and making payments on said cards with money from a loan could lead to a double-whammy of spending money you don’t have.
The flip side to this would be with those who may be in need of a credit card, and find the benefits of a student-specific credit card useful. One of the main perks that comes with these cards is that the annual fees are waived, meaning that you won’t lose money when you shouldn’t or can’t afford to use it.
Looking for a no-fee student credit card? Check out the best in Canada here>
Does Your Dorm Really Need Cable?
Some other examples include cable, internet, and phone providers – clearly these companies feel you can afford to drop a few dollars to upgrade your current package. These tactics are often aimed at those who’ve just spent an arm and a leg, and have a “what’s another $100″ mentality. These added luxuries might ease the transition and stress levels of heading to school – just make sure your monthly payments don’t overwhelm you.
Also read: The Real Cost of Moving Out?>
Student Buyer Beware
There are a ton of promos that target students specifically – make sure you fully understand the scope of any agreement before signing the dotted line. Seemingly low rates and costs are often only for a limited time, and you could find yourself with much higher payments… right when you can afford it least!
Click here to view the best student bank accounts in Canada>
About the Author: Derek Nicholson
Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RateSupermarket.ca over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student’s perspective.