While saving money in Canada as a student is a little difficult, especially if you school in an expensive city, it’s very much achievable. With the right financial habits, you can save more of your money.
It costs a lot of money to be a student. On top of tuition, you also have to worry about things like housing, books, food, and entertainment. And let’s face it, working a full-time job (or even a part-time job) while trying to focus on schoolwork can be extremely difficult.
Ways to Save Money as a Student
So how do you save money as a student in Canada? Here are 10 ways.
1. Try to Avoid Spending Unnecessarily
Getting sucked into unnecessary spending can be easy, especially when we’re in school. A lot of students spend money socially. If friends want to go out shopping, for lunch, or to the bar for a drink, it can be challenging to say no.
But unnecessary spending can add up. Try not to get sucked into the trap. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Period.
2. Buy your books secondhand.
Sometimes buying school books can seem as expensive as your actual tuition. Depending on which books you need, University and College books can reach upwards of $300-$400 apiece.
That’s a lot of money – especially when you need several books for each class.
You can save yourself a great deal of money by purchasing your textbooks secondhand. Some colleges and universities even have stores where you do precisely that.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do this with all books, because some classes require new editions. But where you can buy second hand, do.
3. Get a Roommate
It might seem nice that you’re finally getting out of your parent’s house – and having your own space can be great. But having your own space also costs a lot of money.
You can significantly reduce your rent by living with a roommate or two. You can almost always find homes within a few blocks of campus that allow you to split the rent and utility bills between 3-4 people or more. By doing this, you can reduce your rent to $500 or less.
To save even more, consider staying at home and commuting. We know this isn’t always a favourite suggestion, as being social and meeting new friends is part of the college/university experience.
But if it’s money you are looking to save, staying at home for a few more years can save you considerably.
4. Invest in a Bus Pass
The best way to save money is to walk to school, but realistically, not everyone lives close enough to do that.
So the next best way is to invest in a bus pass. If you live off-campus, you’ll be taking the bus often, and single bus passes can add up.
Almost all bus companies will offer monthly passes, which are a lot cheaper than multiple single bus passes. So if you have to take the bus, buy a monthly or yearly pass.
Note that some bus companies also offer discounts for students, so this might be something worth looking into.
5. Set up a Student Account
Student Chequing Accounts are explicitly designed for post-secondary students to help them save on fees for as long as they are in school.
While student accounts will differ from bank to bank, they almost all offer low to no monthly fees and offer other benefits like unlimited transactions and/or free money transfers.
6. Use your Discounts
Students get a ton of discounts. From movie tickets to food to software and retail, students get discounts for almost anything. Don’t be afraid to use those discounts.
If you aren’t sure whether or not a store offers student discounts – just ask.
The worst that can happen is that they say no! The best that can happen is that you get whatever you are buying at a discounted rate, helping you save money.
7. Invest in a Campus Meal Plan
The best way to save money on food while in school is to eat at home. But if you’re living on campus, that’s not possible.
So for those who do live on campus, it might be worth looking into a campus meal plan.
Meal plans will vary depending on which university or college you attend, but they are generally designed to help save you money on food.
For example, Western University’s meal plan provides participating students with a discount on food and a tax exemption.
8. Try out a Round-Up Account
There are many different types of accounts out there for students, but another type of bank account you might want to look into is a “round-up” account. These accounts help you to save money each time you make a purchase.
How does it work? Let’s say you spend $4.50 on a piece of pizza, using your card to pay for it. Your bank account will then round that purchase up to $5.00.
But instead of the extra 50 cents going toward the purchase, it goes directly into your savings account. Each time you spend, you’re saving money too!
9. Drive an Uber in your spare time
There are many different ways to make money as a student, but few options are better than becoming an Uber Driver. Unlike conventional jobs such as restaurants or retail stores, Uber allows you to set your own hours and be your own boss.
Of course, if you want to drive Uber you’ll need to have your own vehicle. But as long as you have a vehicle and a licence, Uber can be a great way to make some extra money in your free time.
10. Apply for Scholarships
Do you have excellent grades? Or perhaps you excel at a particular sport? Maybe you help to run an organization within the school? If there’s anything that you excel at or put your all into, you may be eligible to apply for a scholarship to help with your tuition payments.
If you are awarded a scholarship, you can use this money towards anything related to school – tuition, books, housing, or otherwise. You can also continue applying for scholarships throughout your post-secondary education, helping you pay for schooling until graduation.
In conclusion, there’s many different ways to save money as a student in Canada.
Set a budget and be conscious of what you spend. Post-secondary education costs a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to put you in years of debt. Use some of the tips above to help you save money and come out on top!