Groceries vs a puppy

Like many students out there, my daughter survives on OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) to go to university. Learning to deal with finances is quite difficult for some students, they are away from home for the first time and all of a sudden they have numerous bills to pay. If living on campus in residence, finances are somewhat easier to deal with, especially if you check off the box that says OSAP will pay your tuition and residence fees directly to the college/university. This also holds true if you are living off campus, tuition will be paid automatically to the school, but you are then left with a large sum to budget for rent, food, hydro, heat, internet, etc., and it is never enough to live on. When my eldest first lived off campus, she basically starved because there was barely enough money for food after bills were paid. She budgeted extremely well, but was only left with roughly seven dollars a day for food. She did not have a lot of fresh produce in her fridge. 

Now when middle child rented her first apartment, things did not go as smoothly because as she is aware, she has a problem with spending and thus her money did not last the five months before the next instalment of OSAP. During the second term, mom was given control of her money and things went far smoother, though the last couple of months were difficult and mom had to dig deep in her own pockets to give middle child money for food. There were continually phone calls that she was starving and needed $50 for food. On one such occasion, she begged and begged, crying that she had no food until I finally broke and deposited money into her back account.

Well, a few weeks went by, and lo and behold, what did mom find out? Middle child had used the grocery money to buy a puppy off of Kijiji. Granted she saved ‘Bear’ from a horrible life but really a dog when you are a struggling student? After her father and I got over the initial anger because she rationalized the hell out of her decision to get a puppy, we accepted the fact that a dog would make her happier, since she suffered from depression and was very far from home, but alas, we had another mouth to feed.


It’s that time of year again – OSAP

It is that time of year again when middle & low income students complete the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) application, so they can hopefully have some sort of money to go to college/university in the fall. It is a good program, in that it does allow for students who otherwise would not be able to attend higher education because of their financial situation. Now, I would venture to say there are quite a few middle-income parents who cannot afford to send their kids to college/university because of the cost. My youngest will be attending university in the fall (yep, that makes three of my kids in higher education), so I thought I would do the cost estimator on the university’s web site. Naturally there are the tuition fees – $6622.40 (nice how they put the cents in there), books & supplies – $1215.00, personal expenses – $1000.00 (I have no idea what that covers), residence – $4820.00 (for those attending school away from their hometown, not him), a meal plan – $3135.00 (again for those living in residence, Dad will make the teenage boy’s lunch), transportation costs – $639.00 (he will have to take two buses), and entertainment – $1000.00 (well, he can watch television at home). I am not going to add them all up, because it is far too depressing.