Fees That Students Need to Avoid

If you are in school, there’s no doubt that money is tight. Even if you are financing your education with student loans, that’s not your money, so you don’t want to be spending cash that you don’t have.

There are some expenses that students really should avoid. I think that these should be avoided by the entire population, not just students, but there’s no reason why students in particular need to be spending money on these things.

bills and mail

ATM Fees

ATM fees are a huge waste of money. It’s interesting because ATMs on campus tend to charge way more than your typical ATM, too. At $3-$4 per use, if you use the ATM even just once per week, you are throwing away up to $16/month! That amount of money could afford you a much needed night out after a final.

Imagine how much you could have if you put the $16/month into a TFSA, or even an RRSP with compound interest when you graduate!

Banking Fees

I can’t believe people still pay banking fees for personal chequing accounts. You’re actually paying the bank to borrow your money from you and make money off of your money!

Banks can charge quite a bit for this “privilege”, so if you’re still stuck in the banking fee trap, find out whether your bank offers a student account for free.

If it doesn’t consider transferring to a free bank, like ING Direct. Use my Orange Key and get $25 to start you off when you open a new account.

Interest Fees

I’m all for credit cards, as long as they are used responsibly and the balance is paid off every month. After all, credit cards can go a long way to helping you reach your goals by providing rewards points and letting your money hang out in your savings accounts accruing interest for the month. However, many college students in particular don’t use their credit cards properly. This translates over to the college student paying interest on their cards.

Interest is the biggest waste of money in the world next to late fees. Don’t get stuck in the interest trap.

Late Fees

Late fees are insane. I could never be comfortable paying a late fee. One time I forgot to pay my phone bill on time, and I had to pay a late fee of $37. That’s a LOT of money for a student, and all because I didn’t remember to pay a bill.

Don’t get stuck paying any of these fees. When you are in college, ever single cent counts toward your ability to graduate in a good financial position. Don’t jeopardize that!


These are all pointless fees that you shouldn’t be paying for if you are a student because they are needlessly expensive. Don’t waste your money, you aren’t a money pit.

Ways to Make Money On Campus

I get a bit of search engine referral traffic asking how students can make money online. This is presumably because making money online is nice because you can set your own hours, which is ideal for a student.

Another ideal situation for a student when it comes to making extra money is to work on campus.

That way you don’t have to leave and can fill your spares with making money instead of messing around at the cafeteria.


Here are some interesting ways to make money on campus:


There’s usually a bookstore that hires students on campus, and it’s usually pretty flexible to work at one because the managers understand that students are the ones that apply there.

It doesn’t always pay the best, but if you think about it, you won’t have the cost of commuting outside of your normal commute to school, plus you may be able to score some discounts on books and other school supplies which is a bonus.


Even if you aren’t good at math or economics, you definitely have a course that you are really good in, and there is undoubtedly some students that go to school with you that aren’t good at the course.

There are sometimes programs through school that will hire you to tutor, but more frequently you will have the ability to tutor just by posting your services on the bulletin boards and chatting with people.

You may even be able to score tutoring jobs by letting your professor in that course know that you offer the service, so if he or she has any struggling students they can refer them to you.

Proof Reading

Offering proof reading is a good way to make extra money while you are on campus. Lots of people have a hard time with spelling and punctuation, or even with proof reading their own work. It can be difficult to catch your own mistakes.

Proof reading a big report can be done in a short period of time and it doesn’t all have to be done in one afternoon usually so this is a good opportunity for people who have bits of time here and there but not hours in a row to work.

There is also ample unpaid work at most college campuses such as being on the student council. This is good to build up work experience and it looks good on your resume, but since you’re a poor student, you probably want to be paid.


These are all really good options for making money as a student.

Should Students Have a Car?

As a student, I have always had a car. A car has been helpful for me because I live too far away from my school to go back and forth to my classes, and since my classes aren’t all lumped together I have big gaps of free time in between.

It’s surprising how many students have a car, but it’s very expensive to upkeep. I have been considering getting rid of my car and here’s how I think it will be helpful:

Parking Isn’t Cheap

When I have to park at my school, it’s really not cheap. I have to pay over $100 per semester, so that’s more than $300 per year if I take summer school too, no matter how many courses I am taking.

Plus, in the school parking lots cars aren’t exactly safe. They can be vandalized, towed if you don’t have a pass showing, or anything of that nature.

car parked

Via princerupert.ca

Upkeep, Gas, and Insurance Aren’t Cheap

Because I am a student, and therefore fairly young, I have a really high insurance rate. Gas isn’t cheap and neither is upkeep – having to get my tires changed over, oil changed, and when something happens to my car like if it breaks down, that can really break the bank. There are ways to save money with a car, but it can still be expensive.

I spend more on gas because I drive a lot more because I have a car. At least with bus passes you only have to buy one per month and don’t have to worry about how often you take the bus as far as cost goes.

There are Incentives to Take Public Transit

Most schools offer discounted transit passes like subway and bus passes. My school offers 20% off, and already public transportation would save me a lot.

Sure, you have to carry heavy books to and from class on a subway, but it’s not that big of a deal. Many students take public transit so the stops are usually really close to the college and it’s not that far of a walk from the stop to class.

Time Wasted

I could study or do homework, or write blog posts at the library in my spares, but I don’t, because I have a car. I drive home, nap, sometimes work online.

I wouldn’t be able to make it anywhere and back in time on public transit in my spares to get to my classes, so if I had to rely on public transit I would have a lot more time to do the things that I’m procrastinating on doing when I go home.


With all of this, I don’t think most students should have cars, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Poor Student Is Back!

We’ve transferred ownership and now we’re back online.

We’re students, we’re broke, and we are trying to get through this college thing without student loans. That hasn’t changed. This blog is the perfect platform to share with you our experiences, struggles, and advice as we become smart, educated young people in more ways than one.

Expect a lot of the same types of articles and posts that you’ve came to love from Poor Student, and even more.