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With the second half of your first semester well underway, you can't help but notice the dwindling digits of what remains in your summer earnings account. I know the feeling very well. When I was a student, I worked 30ÔÇô35 hours a week during the summer break, saved a lot here and splurged a little there, only to find my summer savings quickly diminish after the school year got its start. So with the little that's left, what are you going to do with the rest?

Post-secondary students today want more for their buck. And more so than the generation that came before them, students are stretching their earnings and using their money in a number of different ways.

An August study conducted by TD Canada Trust and published on, shows that today's post-secondary students are being smart with their money in comparison to their parents' practices as students themselves. They found the top three reasons for working a summer job was for savings, paying debts, and travel. For instance, almost 21 per cent of students are using their summer earnings to pay down personal debt, while only 5.2 per cent of parents did the same as students.

These students are also looking ahead to their futures outside of academics. Almost 25 per cent of parents said they put away money in a savings account, and the percentage is nearly doubled for today's students. They're also more likely to start saving early for a down payment on their first home'in fact, four times more likely than their parents.

But, unlike their parents, students today are relying more on student loans to help ease the expenses each school year brings. Thirty-five per cent of students say they have a loan'up a few percentage points from the 28 per cent of parents.

However, today's students are hungrier than ever to make, save, and (smartly) spend their money. Almost half of students continue working part-time during the school year, slightly edging their parents.

With all this money talk, TD offers budgeting advice for post-secondary students, suggesting to "establish a budget, prioritize your spending, stay on top of finances," and remembering that a credit card does not mean free money.

So despite dishing out thousands of dollars on tuition and hundreds on books, it appears that today's young people are equipped with the money smarts, one-upping the generation before them.

Photo: Helder Almeida/Thinkstock

Megan Santos is the staff writer for Jobpostings Magazine and She's a big time foodie with a love for books, basketball, and shoe shopping. Follow her on Twitter @megnifisantos.