By: Jeffrey Low
As one of the top stressors in students’ lives, finances can have a huge impact on students’ mental health and overall well-being.
Studies show that only 6 out of 10 Canadians have basic financial skills, so students may feel unequipped and unconfident when it comes to making financial decisions. Additionally, recent cuts to OSAP and the introduction of the Student Choice Initiative mean that students need to scrutinize their financial choices now more than ever.
Based on recent legislative changes, students who rely on OSAP may need to cut back on their spending or save up extra funds over the summer. The Student Choice Initiative gives students the power to choose which non-essential services they pay into, but these decisions can be overwhelming and they should not be made lightly.
How should you spend, and how should you save? “Carefully and intentionally,” says Gina Robinson, Director of the Student Success Centre and Founder of Mac’s Money Centre. To help students do this, “[Mac’s Money Centre] has a number of workshops regarding how to develop a spending plan that fits your individual needs,” Robinson adds.
This Financial Literacy Month, Mac’s Money Centre is here to help students build confidence in their financial decision-making skills — and maybe pay for their textbooks.
This November, Mac’s Money Centre is hosting a variety of events and workshops to promote financial wellness and encourage students to dream big. Students who attend the signature events and workshops will get a chance to receive their winter term textbooks for free. Students who book and attend an appointment with a Mac’s money coach in November will also be entered into the contest.
The next Financial Literacy Month event will take place on Wednesday, November 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at The Grind/TwelvEighty. Join Mac’s Money Centre at Money Talks, an interactive event featuring an exciting panel of financial experts. The speakers and topics include:
- Conquering Imposter Syndrome: Sarah Zandbergen, Senior Program Specialist, stnce
- Money Mindset: Vanessa Bowen, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner
- Monetize Your Side Hustle: Lauren Smith, Entrepreneur
- Power to Success: Kim Kukulowicz, Senior Vice President, Residential Sales at EQ Bank
On November 20, students are invited to the annual Cooking on a Budget event, brought to you by the Student Success Centre and Hospitality Services. This year’s event will focus on a classic comfort food and university staple: mac and cheese. Students will get a chance to learn how to (Mc)Master a healthy, inexpensive and delicious mac and cheese recipe.
For a full listing of Financial Literacy Month events and workshops, visit the Student Success Centre site.
Additionally, students can ask their financial questions and receive expert advice through Mac’s Money Centre’s Money Mondays social media campaign. Students are encouraged to submit their money questions by responding to @MacSSC’s Instagram story on Sunday evening, and a money coach will answer back on Monday.
Mac’s Money Centre wants to remind students that financial wellness should be a priority all year — not just in November. “Let’s face it if you are having money problems — it affects all other areas of your well-being including focusing on academics and your physical wellness,” says Robinson.
Mac’s Money Centre offers workshops, one-on-one counselling and resources to support students’ financial well-being from their first year at McMaster for up to five years after graduation.