Day-to-day expenses as a student can quickly add up with rent, utilities, furniture, groceries, restaurant, and entertainment bills to pay. The following tips can help you save some money as a student without sacrificing your university experience.
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Shop Deals and Use Coupons
Keep an eye out for deals at your everyday retailers and leverage cashback using Astrowealth, which provides savings opportunities for free when shopping at your everyday stores. You can also try price matching at stores that offer it, such as Walmart and the Canadian Superstore. Another great option are rewards cards such as Scene points, PC Optimum, and Airmiles. These cards make things like buying groceries or watching a movie cheaper in the long run by rewarding you for doing something you would do anyways. When you make deal hunting, couponing, and cashback part of your everyday buying routing, the savings really add up over time.
Save Money on Food
Create a weekly food budget and learn to cook according to your budget. Find a few simple, delicious recipes to add to your cooking arsenal, making it easier to pull together a low-cost meal at home rather than relying on expensive take-out or fast food. To further avoid buying food out, start making big batches of your favourite recipes and freeze them as buying in bulk is cheaper and this strategy will last you for days. You can also save money on groceries by shopping at stores such as No Frills and Food Basics, which are bare-bones grocery stores with rock-bottom prices. Furthermore, try to avoid brand names and opt for store brands that are cheaper and often taste the exact same. When you go shopping, don’t go on an empty stomach as it often leads to purchasing unnecessary snacks that increase your grocery spend.
Where you can, try buying things like furniture, clothes, appliances, pots, pans, and textbooks second-hand. Look on websites such as Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to find some great deals that will save you a lot of money. Many universities will have a used book store on campus where you can find used textbooks, or even find them online for free. You can also sell your old items such as clothing, furniture, and technology that you no longer need on websites such as Depop, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace.
Use Student Discounts
So many grocery stores, movie theatres, museums, clothing stores, transportation, technology, and phone companies offer student discounts. For example, more grocery stores such as Loblaws and Metro have 10% off for students on certain days. Therefore, when you’re making a purchase or choosing between services, compare whether they have options available with a student ID or email. UNiDAYS is a great site to view multiple student offers in one place, making it easier to find discounts. For Canadian students, a SPC card is another great option that offers 10-15% discounts on fashion, dining, lifestyle, and travel for just $9 per year.
Take Advantage of Free Events
Most colleges and universities host several free events throughout the year, such as networking events, conferences, museum nights, concerts, and film screenings. Sometimes, these events have free food, drinks, and more. In addition to the freebies, these free events can be a great way to socialize without blowing your budget on bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Split Expenses with Roommates
Consider sharing an apartment or house with a few friends in university in order to save a lot of money on rent and living expenses. Set aside funds for house necessities such as toiletries and cleaning supplies, or even create a joint bank account/budget designated for house expenses that everyone contributes to each month. Apps like PayPal allow you to schedule, divide costs and ask for money for living expenses without making it awkward.
Decrease Your Monthly Bills
Try cutting down your monthly bills where you can by being vigilant about electricity and water consumption, downgrading your mobile plan if you aren’t using all of it, and unsubscribing from unnecessary subscriptions. Take some time to assess all the services you’re currently paying for on a monthly basis to determine if you really need them. Eliminating the things you don’t need will save you more money for more important things, such as tuition.
Leverage Campus Resources
Make the most of the services available to you on campus that you are likely already paying for. For example, leverage your campus gym membership rather than paying for an outside membership. Some universities may also provide free access to things like board games, movie projectors, sports equipment, TV rooms, etc. which you can utilize to socialize with friends without spending lots of money.
Make Your Own Coffee
Stopping at your local coffee shop may just feel like a $3-$5 daily expense; however, doing this everyday can add up to over $600 during the school year. Therefore, if coffee is a necessity to you, consider buying a cheap coffee maker and bringing homemade coffee to school everyday instead.
Reconsider Buying a Car
Lastly, try walking, using public transportation, or riding a bike to get around at university instead of buying a bar. Vehicle maintenance, gas, insurance, parking and other car ownership expenses add up quickly and depending on where you go to school, owning a car may not be necessary.
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