School can be expensive — and that’s not even counting tuition. I found myself blowing away a lot of money during my first year of university on things that I could have easily saved an extra few bucks on, which (believe me), adds up. I spent excessively partly due to the nature of post-secondary education and my own circumstances— which meant textbooks, commuting, and buying food. Despite needing to spend a lot more than when I was in high school, I decided to cut back after my first year of university ended. For those of you who are about to go to college or university, or are spending way too much in school, here are some tips for saving money:
Make or Bring Your Own Food
Sure, the five dollar price tag on that Tim Horton’s sandwich may not sound like much, but get it five days a week and you’re out 25 bucks. Monthly, this would cost $100 dollars, and $300+ for a school term. Instead of buying food on campus, try preparing your own food and bringing it from home. In a similar vein, avoid buying coffee. Try making it at home and bringing it in a travel mug.
Make Some Changes to Your Commute
Using public transportation can add up. For example, a one-way Toronto transit fare is $3 – pile on another $3 for a return trip and you’re at $6, totalling $30 for a full week of classes and $120 for a month’s worth. If you live reasonably close and the weather is nice, try walking or cycling to class instead. For those of you who have no choice but to take the bus or subway, consider investing in a Post-Secondary Student Metropass if you have regular classes — it costs $99 and requires photo identification to be taken. More details can be found on the TTC website. Monthly passes are also tax-deductible, so that might help you save a bit more too. If you drive to campus, compare your parking and gas costs with those of public transportation to see which one has larger savings for your wallet.
Scour the Internet (and Other Places) for Discounts
This one is fairly evident. According to stats quoted by the Globe and Mail, the average Canadian postsecondary student spends about $500 to $1,000 on textbooks and course materials each semester. That’s a hefty amount, which is why there are many other ways to acquire textbooks. Search for places to trade or buy used textbooks, such as Toronto University Student’s Book Exchange, or Rye Books. Other options are even more general classified ad sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji. Try keeping an eye and ear out for potential sales or trades on your campus as well.