By Cole Deakin

Credit cards can be students’ best friend but they’re probably their worst enemy too.

It’s like convenience and temptation got pressed into one glossy piece of plastic — with your name on it. New runners? No problem. Late night pizza delivery? Just a swipe away.

This makes avoiding money trouble a huge challenge for many.

To encourage students to start thinking about their finances, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is holding free financial wellness workshops during the first two weeks of March. Topics include OSAP, understanding financial terms taxes and budgeting. RSU’s VP Operations Dora Adobea said a workshop series like this has been long overdue.

“It became evident that students needed help with their budgeting when we reviewed emergency grant applications last semester,” Adobea said. “For example, students pay phone and rent bills at astronomical rates, when they can easily find cheaper plans. All you have to do is call and say ‘I’m a student. What type of rates do you have to offer me?’”

Michelle North, a graduate student from the nutrition program, says she’d known something about budgeting before completing her undergraduate degree.

“When you get out of university, you have a small amount of money and you really need to know how to allocate it properly … it’s a life skill,” she said.

Financial literacy is … how a person understands the way in which money works in and around the world.

— Omar Moreno Lesmes, TD Canada Trust

Banking jargon can pose a problem for students. Melissa Jarman, director of student banking at RBC, said there are many resources available to help students, including the staff who work at the banks themselves.

“The people that work in our branches are there to help all clients. They are there to speak to you and educate you to make informed decisions,” Jarman said.

Does banking language overwhelm you? Test yourself and see how much you know! Click on the icons to get the answers to each of these banking terms!

Doug Furchner, manager of collections and credit at Ryerson, advises students to use the 70-10-10-10 rule, which allocates 70 per cent of income to the cost of living, 10 per cent for leisure, 10 per cent for savings and 10 per cent to investments.

“The biggest problem is that people do not know how to manage their money and end up spending more than they have,” said Furchner, who spearheaded the financial literacy program at Ryerson.

RSU holds its first Money Matters Month session on March 3, in Thomas Lounge from 6 to 8 p.m.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.