Author Archives: TechNut

Students evolving in alignment with AI in education

Technological advancement has introduced us to an entirely new frontier, one that is driven by digitisation and technologies. Seemingly simple aspects of life have been given a new focus. Music has evolved, with the introduction of bone conduction headphones and platforms like Spotify that allow for streaming. Business has transformed in the wake of automation and blockchain technologies. Healthcare has found itself disrupted by digitisation that has revolutionised the entire industry from the ground up.

One of the most affected industries of them all has undoubtedly been the education industry. Technology has been disrupting the education system for the last few years, and there have been some monumentally profound innovations since the dawn of its inception. While each and every technological innovation in the field has had significant impact on the industry in one way or another, the most profound of them all has been artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is the front runner in technological advancement in the education industry for a number of reasons, all of which ultimately lead back to convenience and efficiency. Emerging technologies in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking on education tools, institutions, and systems, ultimately reshaping the future of education itself. Like most industries that have experienced technological disruption specifically in alignment with artificial intelligence, there has been a consistent concern among some individuals in the sector that AI implementation will eliminate the need for their presence, which would eventually lead to the elimination of their jobs altogether.

Something that is important to note is that like AI is incredibly smart technology at its core, it is not designed with the intent to take away jobs or take over entire industries. It is inevitable that some concepts of the education industry will be integrated with AI in the future, but the most important thing to note is that AI in education is being designed to collaborate with educators, not replace them. While some aspects of jobs will likely become automated (and some already have been), there are no jobs in education that can be taken over by an AI.

The reason for this is simple: AI lacks – and always will lack – the humanity that is unique to our species. This humanity is something that must be present in all industries – especially the industry that is shaping the minds and professionals of the future workforce. AI can be applied to some tools and aspects of education that help develop skills and testing systems of students and educators alike, and the sole hope for AI in the education industry is that it will work to fill needs gaps in both learning and teaching, giving the education experience a stronger, more reliable format than it has ever had access to. AI is efficiency in motion, and is generally built to drive forward personalisation.

Continuous development in artificial intelligence and machine learning has meant that the education industry has been in a constant state of development for a while now, always vying for greater impact and more permanent inclusion. The innovations that we have seen, and those that are currently disrupting the education system, are just a taste of what is to come. Artificial intelligence is an exciting, forward-thinking concept, and it is being driven further and higher as time goes on.

Foreign students can highly benefit from learning Japanese

College should be a great experience for everyone. Deciding to go to college out of a country can bring unforseen barriers that some must consider before traveling to a foreign place to get an education. Aside from obvious shifts in culture norms and learning the differences in collectivistic and individualist societies, language barriers may be the hardest thing one will face when traveling to a new place. Education is first and foremost, communication. College is a communication experience for students. For the first time students are treated as adults and such, are expected to behave and speak like adults, but for foreign students that may not know the language, the barriers they face can feel deafening to them. Not being able to communicate with people in the area one is living can bring about feelings of isolation and hurt. Humans are communicative creatures who thrive in a community setting. One of the best ways to get over this language barrier is to learn the native language of the area.

Foreign students from any country traveling to Japan must learn at least basic Japanese, whether they take classes learn Japanese online . Because Japanese is a symbolic language, it may be hard to read in the case that one does not know even the pronunciation or comprehension of the written language. Learning how to read and write in Japanese can also help in business communication. Business deals and negotiations cannot often happen if one does not possess the skills necessary to speak both languages.

Bilingual people are also often regarded as getting higher paying jobs due to the fact that they are a large asset to companies. Companies wouldn’t have to hire interpreters if they higher workers who speak multiple languages. Since english is a largely spoken language across the world, it is beneficial for english speakers to learn japanese. Although Japan is a smaller country, it is still a large economic global powerhouse. For this reason, japanese is a crucial language to learn, especially if one is a student there.

Foreign students in Japan should take extra efforts to learn Japanese as it holds many benefits to them. First, if a student wishes to order on a menu, read store prices and offers, it’s important they learn the basics of the language first. Since students already have a packed schedule with their classroom work, deciding to do online education can be greater benefit because they can learn at their own pace and on their own time. Learning online also means students can pick from a list of highly qualified instructors. Although they can pick their classes and professors in higher education institutions, they have more options on pricing and times when learning online. Many websites will show how many lessons the instructor has taught before to give students an idea of what they will be like and even includes a biography of the instructor. Online instructors often have their rates listed on their profile so students can search for an instructor that fits within their budget. Foreign students may even see that their education experience is better once they know they better understand the native language.

What Would University Life Be Like If Money Was No Issue?

Although it’s an invaluable time in one’s life, university nevertheless has a very real value – for some students, that could be to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. On top of tuition, there is the matter of housing, and on top of that you have to feed yourself, entertain yourself and buy a pirate’s ransom of textbooks. It’s no wonder students worry about post-school student debt, especially given the unreliable job market waiting at the end.

It all begs the hypothetical question: what would your time at UBC be like if money was no issue? Would you be more focused on your studies or less focused? Would you be more primed to succeed, given the massive uptick in living quality, or would you lose interest in success without the pressures of financial failure (and the possibility of wealth)? It’s an interesting question, and one that has very few proper case studies.

Sure, there are students for whom tuition and university-related expenses are fully paid, but those students are still beholden to something (in most cases, the approval of their parents, who spent all that money). A better case study – albeit a much rarer one – would be students who came into a massive fortune all on their own, while at school. How did they react? What did they do? This article will look at a couple students who did the seemingly impossible, and won the lottery while in university. Then let’s speculate (or daydream rather) about what UBC would be like if you suddenly came into millions of dollars.

Consider Sarah Cockings

In an interview for the Guardian, Sarah Cockings, a UK student who won over $5 million in the lottery, admits to losing interest in school after she won the jackpot. She turned her attention to a modeling career, as well as a dog-grooming business because… well, why not? Since she won the jackpot, she’s won more lottery prizes, to the tune of around $65,000, so perhaps what she should be doing is writing a book on tips for winning the lottery – she clearly has a knack for it!

Consider Michael Garcia

Then there’s Michael Garcia, the California student who won over $2 million in the Powerball lottery. It’s actually a pretty heart-warming story, since Garcia only found out about his massive windfall while working his night shift job. He did his best to put the winnings out of his mind and focus on his upcoming exams, stating, “I keep telling my Mom that it’s still not a lot (of money), the way the economy is.” With that attitude, he’ll probably stretch that money pretty far.

How Would You Spend Your UBC Days?

If money was no issue, how would that change your university experience? For one, there wouldn’t be the constant pall of student debt anxiety around you, since you could handily pay your tuition, and still have millions left over. It’s a safe bet that many students, if money was no issue, would go away on the weekends and explore what BC has to offer, taking up surfing in Tofino, or snowboarding your Saturdays away at Whistler. There are a lot of students who would leverage their newfound money to fund passion projects, or go out partying in Vancouver.

Another consideration a lot of students would probably make is whether they would change majors. Those on the track to a very practical degree, like business, might opt to do something they’re more passionate about, like literature. Or those in a literature degree might opt to change their major to a business degree, in the hopes of learning how to manage and grow their finances, and perhaps even start a business. It’s difficult to tell how sudden wealth would affect you, and surely everyone is affected differently.

What would university life be like if money was no issue? Ultimately, it’s probably just one of those hypothetical questions that will have to remain hypothetical. You could get lucky playing the lottery, but you can’t really bank on that happening. It’s worth exploring the questions though: Would you stay in, or drop out? Would you follow your dreams or focus on growing your assets. However you answer, one thing’s for sure – everyone would be paying off their student debts.

Shining skills are all in the lessons and training

The workforce of today is teeming with eager prospective employees and companies that want to expand on their company talent. There has never been a more substantial surplus of talent than there is in this modern era, and while that talent is seemingly leaking out of every facet and crack in society, employers are still claiming that they are unable to find people to hire. For every tale of an employer that says they cannot find good candidates, there are a dozen or more stories of qualified individuals that are fighting to even be noticed by prospective employers. However, once the lucky candidates are in the doors and become employees, one problem evolves into another. The skills gap in most companies. As companies ‘struggle’ to find the right individuals for the jobs they have available, they often hire out of necessity more than the confidence in having found the perfect person for the position. This is not to say that all confidence in their hires goes out the windows, but more that there is nearly always a lingering disconnect between who the job should go to, and who it ultimately ends up going to. This is in no way the employee’s fault, but it is something that all employers should be seeking to remedy.

Hiring the right people for the position and the company is first and foremost the key marketing strategy that all companies should invest time and money in. Companies can pay for all the training in the world, but none of it will make any difference if the employees genuinely do not want to be there. With that being said, the first (and arguably the most crucial) step to ensuring and employee’s ability to meet and exceed business goals and close the skills gap within the company relies on the employer’s ability to understand exactly what their expectations of candidates will be, how to achieve them, and how they want them to proceed should they get the job.

There is a disconnect between the expectations and needs of employers and companies in today’s economy, and the current skills of the world’s professionals. Ensuring training effectiveness requires consistent feedback models and methods and a drive from both employer and employee to better their work performance and the company as a whole. To close a skills gap in a company, employers must be willing to invest in the appropriate training to get their employees up to speed on the expectations and methods of success. This is especially important because as the world changes, so does the economy. As such, companies that want to continue to meet business goals and drive themselves into the future as relevant and stand out businesses have to adapt – and that means adapting the way that they train their people.

Employee engagement relies on company culture. Even the best companies cannot hope to be successful if the way they function does not take into account their own people. One aspect of company culture that is important in ensuring that employees meet and exceed business goals is that of open and honest communication. Just as employees must feel comfortable in being honest with their employer, employers should go out of their way to initiate and maintain a work environment that encourages and fully supports honesty – especially when that honesty is directed at them and how to improve the business. A similar approach should be taken in response to employee improvement and feedback.

When it becomes necessary to give feedback to employees and insist that they take the appropriate steps to improve their work performance, instead of simply telling employees that they need to improve their relative skills, it is crucial for employers and companies to be able to, and be willing to, outline why it is that these skills need improvement. Employers that do this find that their staff are more willing and able to adapt to feedback and better themselves and their professional performance, resulting in business goals being not only met but exceeded at times.

Shining skills are all in the lessons and training that individuals receive by their employers, but more than that, they are the key to the longevity and solidity of any company. No company can expect to continue to thrive if their employees do not have the skills to adapt to an evolving world. The skills gap in so many companies can be easily remedied by investing in adequate training tools and consistent feedback models to boost employee engagement and to ensure trust between employer and employee. Without the loyalty and dedication of the staff, even the best companies go under. For employees to achieve business goals and to close the skill gap in any given company, there must be training, determination, open and honest communication, and succession planning. If a company enlists in each of these strategies to close the skills gap and boost employee engagement, the continued and exceeding success of business goals – and ultimately the business – will be inevitable.

Education, Change and Progress: How can Innovation be Secure and Constructive at the Same Time?

As people grow and learn to pay more attention to life and its realities, they develop a certain taste for learning important things and educating themselves. Such a reality has produced entire unique systems of education in virtually every part of the world and with the introduction of modernity a couple of centuries ago, it became a legal requirement for all citizens of modern day states and societies to send their children to public or private schools to receive education in languages, science, mathematics and other academic subjects. When education became a necessity for young people, their responsibilities grew larger at an earlier age than before as well. Whether it be attending every class and taking notes, studying privately to score higher on exams or writing a research paper on a difficult academic subject, youngsters of today are almost always battling with school work which creates de-motivation among some of such individuals. Therefore, the rewards associated with such a time-consuming and rigorous struggle should also be in line with the students’ expectations from life and the future, which means that modern day education should regarded as a professional field of its own. Proper measures and techniques should be applied to education to maximize efficiency in learning, while the ambitions and enthusiasm of the students and educators alike should also be preserved and enhanced.

Josef Blumenfeld for the Huffington Post reports on the status of education in the Greater Boston area by comparing and contrasting Beaver Country Day School and Bunker Hill Community College, which are almost directly opposite educational projects. The first school educates students whose families earn less than $35,000 while the second school costs $45,000 to study, which means that the two institutions operate on totally different methodologies and structures but regardless, both are leaders in education in their specific region. By relying on their leaders to rewrite rules and explore educational opportunities, the schools have been noticed by even the mainstream media as both schools house students take pride in the success stories of their distinguished students. The schools also constantly invest into new infrastructure, such as Beaver’s new Research and Design Center to keep up with the growing demands of the 21st Century education. Bunker Hill on the other hand is also a quite well-resourced institution, mainly utilizing public funds, political support, and important corporate relationships to educate its students who come from the other four-fifths and are usually the first member of their families to receive higher education. The institution offers an on-campus food pantry, off-hours and weekend classes and the “Learn and Earn” program which assigns students to real-life jobs in real companies in Boston. Therefore, Blumenfeld concludes that it is vision and innovation which bring these two supposedly opposing schools together. This observation also leads the author to conclude that in the new age of global education, any institution regardless of its associations or affiliations, can succeed in becoming an educational powerhouse if it places its students as the first priority and allocates the proper resources for proper reasons.    

Sieva Kozinsky for Wired magazine considers innovation as a problematic issue within the context of education and believes that the capitalist mentality which drives innovation in today’s world does not correlate with the most fundamental and basic principles of true education. The problem with “innovative education” according to Kozinsky is that most of the innovative methods and approaches are easily brushed off as non-utile and inferior by the status quo which not only discourages those who invented them but also label them as failure and inferior as well. Plus, the fact that students are taught in very similar ways all around the world, little innovation actually exists with respect to methodology and therefore most of the supposed “innovative methodologies” are just farce. As alternative approaches to teaching and learning are  considered to be “eccentric and uncommon” by the majority of the general public, there always exists room and reason for innovation but the timing of such innovation is very crucial. Kozinsky refers to “Blended Learning”, or as it is also known “Flipped Classroom” as saviors for struggling students in convential systems to give the example of Clintondale High where the system was adapted only a short while ago and the school’s college acceptance rate already rose by seventeen points. Kozinsky points out that the reason why this specific method succeeded is that it integrates sophisticated information technologies to reach out to students and to recieve feedback to be utilized to further perfect the system. Kozinsky concludes that by 2019, 50% of all high school classes wil be taught online and systems like “Blended Learning” will succeed in completely revolutionizing education in the United States. However, there will also be failures and disappointments along the way as a normal part of a scientific trial with reality and it is important to pay attention to the crucial elements of technological innovation to make sense of the whole ordeal, both as students and educators.

Chester E. Finn, Jr. And Brandon Wright for Newsweek magazine report on the issue of lagging and falling behind for American students which so far has made it impossible fo them to achieve their truest and fullest potentials. Statistically speaking, in 2012, the US ranked 17th in reading, 20th in science and 27th in mathematics in a research conducted on the scores of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams in all the 34 countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). Additionally, most of the American high achievers come from the more wealthy and privileged sects of the society which constitutes a grave problem as well: America leaves its unprivileged children and youngsters unattended and without proper educational support. With superficial programs such as “No Child Left Behind” the US government has managed to boost failing students to a minimum level of intelligence and capability while ignoring the talented and intelligent students at the expense of their careers and future lives. As a result, the educational system in America manages to provide some opportunity and possibility for the under-achieving majority who manage to finish schools, get diplomas and find jobs but discriminate against the talented and intelligent minority who can bring about serious improvements and innovations to the under-achieving system easily when guided and trained properly. Disregarding the “elitism” accusation thrown at people who defend such an idea, the authors Finn and Wright state that in the majority of the fast growing and developing societies of the world, such as Taiwan, Japan and China, the talents and inclinations of the intelligent minority are taken into consideration when constructing educational strategies and policies. This way, such societies benefit from constructive and utile discoveries and contributions by such individuals which improve on the most fundamental and important aspects of life, ranging from science to politics, from arts to business.      

Determining if you need a language tutor

English is an amazing language and every parent should work hard and ensure their children get the best training. Children can easily master the art of speaking if taught at an early stage. But this is only possible when done by the best tutors. Many parents may find it challenging to choose the best English tutor due to the rising number of self-proclaimed tutors. So, there are important choices to be made before hiring one.

Why Choose a Language Tutor

An English tutor will not only help children grasp the English dialect but also give them extra guidance in mastering the language. Below are a few reasons why one should hire an English trainer:

  • Children will receive individualized attention

Classrooms are good for children as it gives them the physical contact they need from other learners. But kids need extra help to learn the English language and this help comes from an instructor. During tutoring sessions, an instructor will give the learner extra attention and figure out his or her strengths and weaknesses.

  • Gain confidence

A kid may not be comfortable speaking or writing in English but with the help of a tutor, he or she will be able to practice with the tutor and gain confidence with time. An experienced tutor will help the learner improve in areas that he or she finds challenging and gain more confidence when using the English language.

  • Have a customized plan

With a private tutor, it will be easy to come up with a plan on how to handle the problem at hand. A tutor will determine areas to concentrate on and incorporate them in the daily English practicing routine. The plan should be able to give the learner plenty of time to do other things. The tutor will also plan on when to attend to other students who also need help.

Choosing the Best English Instructor

As a parent, it is not easy to choose the best English instructor in the competitive market. There are many things that a parent may have in mind but he or she has to make the right choice. Because a parent wants the best for their kid, it is wise to find and choose the best tutor in the market. The internet has made it easy to choose tutors online. Below are helpful tips for choosing the best tutor:

  • Experience and qualification

The tutor of choice should have incomparable experience in the field and have taught many children. They should have at least one or two years of experience in teaching English, preferably at a reputable school or English tutoring center. They should also be trained by a reputable institution and understand every concept of the English language.

  • Native English speaker

The English instructor of choice should be a native speaker of the dialect. Practicing English with a native speaking tutor will teach a learner the authentic and practical use of vocabularies. The tutor will expose the learner to more idioms, jargons and general English words that best suit the situation.

  • Approachable and easy-going

Choose a tutor who is a natural teacher and one who can create a positive learning class setting. He or she should be someone who can help English language learners realize their mistakes and make the necessary corrections.

The English dialect is not hard to grasp with the right guidance. All a parent needs to do is to hire the best English tutors for his kids and help them learn every bit of the language. Make the right choice today, and help your children grow their English language skills.

Graduating into the architecture industry

Architects are licensed professionals that design and construct buildings. They are responsible for the overall aesthetic that influences the atmosphere and feeling of the structure. Perhaps more importantly, architects ensure that buildings are safe, functional, and have a specific purpose. If you’re interested in becoming one yourself, this is what to expect in your line of work.

Software used by architects

During the early processes of design and prototyping, architects will use software to help sketch structures. If you are learning how to become an architect through schooling or courses, you’ll most likely be taught how to use tools like AutoCAD. It is an industry standard program for building floor plans, models, and sections. Software like this is categorized as BIM, or building information management software.

Revit is similar to AutoCAD, except it’s primary use is for 3d designs of buildings. These can be printed out or converted to PDFs for easy sharing. While not necessarily for planning, Adobe Photoshop is also commonly used by architects to present a visual of the finished building.

Firms that architects may work at

Architects can work for a variety of firms and companies, which all have their own unique duties. Working at a large firm places architects within teams that work on the design of a project together. Metropolitan areas like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles would be good examples of where to find architect firm work. A design architect will be responsible for the sketching, initial design, and creating presentations for clients. Production architects though, modify and edit blueprints of the project to make it more efficient.

A principal architect is one of the most prestigious positions that you can be in. They are paid very well and have a large say in the design and production of a building. As a architect in general, you can also be contracted into existing projects to help with specific pain points.

The architect design phases

The American Institute of Architects defines a five step process that every architect goes through when completing a project.

Schematic design is the first step. This entails consulting with the client to determine goals, requirements, and then developing drawings. Experience with software will help this step as architects can quickly create visuals.

Secondly, design development comes next, laying out the structural, architectural, and mechanical aspects. Electrical and plumbing are common aspects to plan out here.

The third step is creating blueprints or construction documents. These are drawings with great detail, which could be used by contractors, construction workers and similar roles.

This leads to the next step, which is bidding and negotiating. Potential clients and contractors bid on the documents to determine who will help complete the project. Finally, the architect will aid in administration, overseeing the project to ensure that is goes as planned.

Overall, the firm that an architect works at or with will determine their duties. They will also need to be experienced with industry standard software for every step of a project. Eventually, architects can be become principals on large projects and build a name for themselves in the industry.

An update on Australia’s job market

Australia reached the 1 million job creation milestone in five years as promised by Tony Abbot in 2013.

The number is heartening and commendable. But as usual one has to look beyond the numbers to get the real picture.

The job growth is not a result of concerted political push but rather due to a rise in Australia’s population due to immigration and a progressive economy.

There are more Australians than ever before in employment. So which sectors are seeing a growing demand? The health and education sector, hospitality along with the arts and recreation industry are seeing an upsurge in jobs.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme alone is expected to create 80,000 full-time jobs by 2020, according to the Department of Social Security figures.

The professional service sector like law, architecture, computers, and engineering is also growing. The construction sector is witnessing a boom with 1 in every 10 jobs coming from this industry.

Another thing to note in the jobs market is that part-time work is witnessing great growth with close to one in three workers now being employed part-time. The reasons being the greater flexibility on offer and the nature of the work, which is more service oriented and also more women are a part of the work force.

There is a centralisation of jobs with big cities and states attracting more jobs in industries like finance, telecommunication and entertainment.

Cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Morten Bay South and Brisbane are the fastest growing job markets in Australia. Queensland is witnessing a good job growth rate of average 70 percent in its cities. Graduates passing out from Brisbane can take heart.

Also a centralisation of jobs is seen with bigger states and cities attracting more job in industries like finance, telecommunication and entertainment .

So what jobs will be most in demand in the coming years?

It is predicted that the health care sector will see a demand in aged care, nursing, radiology and dental.

Chris McDonald managing director, Australia and New Zealand for Indeed says, “It’s not surprising when you consider the increasing demand for health services by our ageing Baby Boomers which will require an ever-growing workforce to take care of them.”

Another career finding takers is recruitment consultant.

“At a time when countries are competing for top talent globally to drive innovation and economic growth, highly skilled recruiters who can deliver the right talent at the right time are in high demand,” says McDonald.

“Our data shows that employer demand for recruitment consultants, especially senior ones, outstrips job seeker supply by up to 11 times, the biggest skills gap in the Australian recruitment industry. As a result, 26.5 per cent of these roles remain unfilled after 60 days.”

In Queensland, 72 per cent of the roles are filled within 30 days.

Nailing your job interview

Searching for a job can be easy if you know the right steps that lead to it. If you are still a few years away from searching for jobs, then you should look for internships in your area. Engineers and technology graduates have tons of options when it comes to interning. Science and arts students, including those who have done counseling courses in Australia are not too far behind. Believe it or not there are students out there who have done more than one internships. It is hard but not entirely impossible.

Big accounting firms have extensive internship programs. Hence, it is not difficult to answer the question of impressing your prospects with one’s talents. However, it is the stage after the internship that is often challenging. Applying at various places and acing the interview is what leads you to getting a job of your choice. Here are some tips for your job interview.

The First Few Moments Of Your Interview

It has been found that most interviewers take their decision about a candidate within the first few moments. If you need to impress, them do it within that time frame. Many interviewers start with small talk, asking you about what you have done and your interests, so make the most of small talk and work it to help you make a deep impact. Try to make a personal connection with them before you head to the main round of interview. The more they remember you, better your chances of getting hired.

Pay Attention To The Interviewer’s Tone

Pay close attention to your interviewer’s tone. If she is asking casual questions, or if her body language is relaxed, you match her vibe. On the other hand, if you look stiff and nervous, and answer questions like a robot, the interviewer will never think you are a good fit. Your aim is to show the person sitting on the other side of the table, that you belong to the place – you are the right fit! Of course, do not fake it. It is very easy to spot fake behaviour and that might spell disaster. If you truly like the place and see yourself fitting in, you don’t have to try too hard to show it.

Connect With Your Body Language

Enough has been said about the importance of a firm handshake and there are tons of information on web that will tell you how exactly a great handshake needs to be done. What is more important than a firm handshake is making eye-contact. Looking at your interviewer when you shake his hand is crucial. Do not move your eyes before the hand shake is over. Even if there is no handshake, lock your eyes with the interviewer when you enter the room and say your greetings. If you don’t they will know right away that you are nervous.

Add Your Personal Touch

Finally, keep some anecdotes ready, so that you can include them in your answers. You have probably learned the technical part by heart. But if you are asked a behavioural question, try to add some personal story touch to it. It might be hard to recollect exact personal incidents, hence keep a few ready in your head so that you can use them where needed.

Financing advice for students on keeping debts down

Back to school is always an expensive time and it’s never too early to start planning. Big shopping trips can quickly add up and get you into trouble with your credit card company. The median credit card debt of someone who files for bankruptcy is $13,000. That may seem like a lot, but expenses add up quickly, especially when they come as a surprise or there’s nothing you can do to stop them. Any amount of credit card debt can be crippling if you face a sudden loss of income. If you or your partner lost their job or were injured and couldn’t work, how long could you keep up with your mortgage, car payments, bills, and credit card payments?

Back to school shopping is getting more expensive all the time. The average back-to-school expenditure for households with children in grades K-12 was $688. That number could also be as high as $1,000 per child in middle school, sometimes because of schools requiring expensive uniform apparel or electronics. On top of that, a study done by Capital One shows that 21% of parents actually spend more on back to school shopping than they set aside in savings for college.

Credit card debt is one of the leading causes of insolvency in British Columbia. It can be resolved either through bankruptcy or consumer proposals, depending on the situation. If you are dealing with excessive debt, then it can be very helpful to understand the benefits of a consumer proposal. When debt collectors start calling your home or your office, it’s time to seek help from a bankruptcy trustee. David Sklar & Associates is one bankruptcy trustee firm that can advise you on your next course of action if you are already in over your head in debt. Collection calls, wage garnishments, and unpaid bills are all signs that you’re in financial danger. But as bankruptcy trustees David Sklar & Associates advise, the best way out of debt is avoiding it altogether.

That means cutting down expenses. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, there are plenty of ways to save money:

  1. Leave the Kids at Home
    Leave the kids at home with your partner or a family member if you can. It’s easier to save without having them begging you to buy things as you walk down the aisles. Find out what they want by going online beforehand.
  2. Teach Kids About Budgeting
    Financial literacy is an increasingly important part of raising children and something they’re not often taught in school. Back-to-school shopping is a great way to teach older kids about budgeting. Parents have long been taught to hide how much money they have from their kids. Instead, decide exactly how much money you have to spend and tell your kids what that limit is. Then let them make their own decisions about supplies, apparel, and electronics. Just go over their decisions to make sure they have everything. You won’t just save money, you’ll be teaching your kids a valuable lesson in finance.
  3. Set Aside Extra for Surprises
    If there’s extra room in your budget, set it aside instead of splurging on something extra for the kids. Before you know it, they’ll be coming to you for field trip fees or costs for other activities.

Saving on back-to-school shopping is a great way to keep your credit card debt down.