Being a student isn’t cheap! Tuition is expensive and it’s very difficult to work a full-time job as a full or even part-time student. Every penny counts when you’re on a tight budget and it’s important to be mindful of your spending habits.
Cook at home
Takeout and restaurants can take up a huge part of your budget. It’s easy and convenient to order food instead of cooking, especially when you’ve been working hard all day. Ordering food just once a week could be costing you over $1,000 per year. A great way to save money is to start cooking and eating at home.
Ditch your bad habits
Daily habits like smoking, vaping and even coffee can take a toll on your wallet. Skipping your daily large coffee from Tim Hortons will save you over $730 by the end of the year! Ditching cigarettes and vaping will save you even more!
Are you the only one paying the Netflix bill even though all of your roommates have the login info? $16 a month may not seem like much, but it totals to nearly $200 per year. Asking your roommates to help pay the bills for services that they use can save you a significant amount of money.
Buy used textbooks
Everyone knows that textbooks are expensive! It can feel like a waste to spend $100+ on a book that you will only use for a few months (or let’s face it: a book that you may never open). Buying your textbooks used can save you up to 70% of their original price if you don’t mind a book with a few bent pages and highlighter marks. If you have old textbooks lying around, many used textbook retailers offer a buyback program!
Take advantage of student discounts
Students have access to a ton of different discounts that will help you to save lots of money over the course of your studies. If you’re unsure of whether a retailer offers a student discount, it never hurts to ask! Use your student status to your advantage.
Apply for scholarships and bursaries
Conestoga College and CSI offer hundreds of different scholarships of varying value. Criteria for winning can be as simple as having financial need and being enrolled in the current class term. There are more specific scholarships and bursaries that are offered to a variety of different students, such as students in specific programs, Indigenous students, international students, students who are single mothers, and students who are active in their community. Applications open each semester for about two weeks. CSI also offers a monthly Student of The Month Award to students who demonstrate achievement in leadership, community involvement and service to others.
Find free or cheap things to do in your region like hiking, sightseeing, or visiting parks. The Kitchener area has many parks, nature areas, museums and galleries that are free or cost very little. Before going to the movies or going on a shopping spree to curb your weekend boredom, explore some free and cheap activities in your area!
Find a cheap way to travel
When you don’t have a car, calling an Uber can feel like the best option for getting where you need to be. It’s fast, you won’t have to wait outside or walk anywhere, and it’s pretty easy to justify the price. In reality, the cost of ordering a ride through something like Uber or Lyft is high for students on a budget! Consider taking the bus or planning in advance to carpool with friends to cut down your travel costs to a fraction of what it costs to take an Uber.
Resist impulse buys
I’m guilty of falling for impulse purchases way more often than I’d like to admit. If you’re the same, a great method to resist these purchases is to tell yourself that you will buy it next time you’re at the store or shopping online. Putting the purchase off until next time gives you time to decide whether it’s worth it, and most times, you won’t end up buying it! Be aware of return policies and make sure to always get a receipt, in case you end up making a purchase that you regret.
Avoid name brands
All grocery stores have a generic brand of most essential items. The generic brand will always cost less than the name brand and is usually the same quality (sometimes better!) Try buying Great Value items at Walmart, No Name or PC items at Zehrs, No Frills and The Real Canadian Superstore, and Selection items at Food Basics. Swapping your usual name brands with these generic brands will save you a significant amount of money!