University education in Canada can be quite expensive. With the additional costs of tuition, books, and study material soaring higher, it will not be a surprise if you are left with a hole in your wallet. With prices rising higher by the day, it's time to start thinking about money management plans to get rid of any student loans.
If you want to make the most of your stay in Canada for your degree, spending on a budget could be the key to practical money-saving skills. Small savings a day can lead to a considerable amount of money saved across an academic year.
Here are 8 smart tips for students studying in Canada to enhance their savings during the school year.
1. Budgeting is the Key
If you plan to stay on top of your finances from day one, your first step would be to start making a monthly budget. This will help you figure out your expenses and how much money you have at hand to stay afloat. Based on this information, you can differentiate between your necessities and luxuries.
You can track your spending by pinning them down on paper or using any budgeting app on your smartphone. It will help you notice your spending patterns to know where your money is going and how you can curb any unnecessary expenditure. If you learn to stick to your budget, it will ensure monthly savings and reduce your debt.
2. Education Expenses
Education expenses include expenses related to books, stationery and study material, and several other fees. If you are interested, you can make smart choices and apply for any available scholarships or bursaries. Be aware of the various scholarships available, as many of them do not even receive applications due to a lack of knowledge among the students.
If on-campus work is available, you can put in some extra hours and take up a part-time job. Calculate your expenses based on the Canadian Dollar rate so that you have an idea about what to earn and how to spend. The additional dollars always count towards savings.
3. Save, save and save
Your daily living expenses will provide you many opportunities to save a couple of dollars here and there. Get into shared accommodation with roommates. Be careful with your credit card usage, if any. Remember, credit card payments carry extra fees, so wherever possible, use other means of payment for your tuition fees or rents.
Similarly, if you are a University resident and have any meal plan dollars, use them wisely at resident dining halls. Be aware of the discounts that you can get. You can put up your used textbooks for sale on Craigslist and similarly look for any online listings or rental book clubs that can provide you with any useful books on discounts.
For grocery shopping, you can collect as many coupons as you can to avail of some handsome discounts.
4. Avail of Student Discounts
Take pride in the fact that you are a student. You can always flash your University identity card at restaurants, bookstalls, or whether you are going out to a movie, traveling, or buying gadgets. Your student card can often save you up to 15 percent in expenses. Your card will prove to be a significant asset for you in such situations, so carry it wherever you go. Even at places where you don't see any advertised discounts, do not hesitate to ask for a student discount.
The foremost rule here is to resist any impulsive buying. Check your budget first to determine if you can buy any extra stuff with the amount of money you have. Although emergency purchases cannot be ruled out, and even an occasional shopping spree will not topple your budget, but compulsive buying can land you in trouble with your budget.
Small savings a day can add up to bigger savings later. You can shop at dollar stores for your school supplies and household goods. An occasional visit to the Thrift store can also fetch you some good deals. You will find plenty of such discount stores in most cities in Canada.
6. Food and Groceries
After rent, your major expenses would be on your food and groceries. Most students may prefer eating out as it is easy and full of variety, but it can easily become a costly habit. Your expenses can soon spiral out of control if you don't put a check on how much you spend on your food.
The smartest way is to enhance your cooking skills and start preparing your own meals. You may have to spend on some cooking pots and pans initially, but your food expenses will come down considerably within months. You can also do your grocery shopping in bulk to avail of store discounts and plan your meals accordingly.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
This might be the most challenging thing to do for most of us. Sometimes, comfort and convenience come at a considerable cost. You need to be vigilant enough to figure out which expense is essential and which one can be parked aside altogether or for a later time. You can save a couple of dollars by preparing your own coffee rather than spending on it twice a day. Your coffee beans and coffee mug will be your best companions during your college days. You will also be amazed at the amount of money you saved just by curbing your coffee bills.
Similarly, instead of spending glamorous evenings at night clubs every weekend, you can opt for University clubs and participate in their numerous social events. If your health and location permits, you can go hiking, cycling, or sightseeing in the area around you. Even a walk to the nearby park will do you good.
8. Seek Assistance in Need
This is especially important for students who may not be aware of when to seek the right financial assistance. Avoid getting into credit card debt, which is an easy trap to fall into. Be watchful of your spending. If you feel you need assistance, try contacting the right people at the right time instead of using shady means or delaying payments. You can inform your family members back at home or ask them for money.
These tips can surely help you a lot if you implement them in your student life. Design a solid budget plan and make efforts to stick to it. Once you learn how to keep a firm hand on your finances, your University life will be much more fun and relaxing. You can then create memories that you can cherish for a lifetime, rather than graduating with a debt burden on your shoulders.