by Aparajita Bhandari
Happy New Year, New College! With the fresh start provided by the new year and the new semester many of you undoubtedly are in the midst of making your new year’s resolutions. A popular resolution for many, especially students, is to save spend less money and save more so in this post I have some tips that can help all of us save right from the beginning of this semester.
1. Keep track of your spending
In order to know where you can save money you need to understand where you spend your money in the first place. Set aside an envelope in which to collect all of your receipts, then at the end of each month empty out the envelope and go through all of your purchases. It’s very easy to underestimate the number of coffee runs you make on weekends or the amount you spent treating yourself after midterms, so having regular reflections on your spending is vital.
2. Set flexible and realistic budgets
Budgeting is important in managing your finances; however, many people’s budgets fail. They fail because they are too rigid and incomplete. It’s important to include money for going out, presents for friends and family, and occasional impulse buys in your budget, as realistically these are all things you will spend money on. One place where many students spend a lot of money without realizing it is on food. Back-to-back class schedules and late night study sessions, along with all the easily accessible cafeterias in campus, make it hard to find the motivation to go home to one’s apartment or even residence dining hall for a meal. Rather than trying to commit to never eating out, you should consider buying a prepaid debit card and using that card only when going out to eat. This provides an easily manageable way to occasionally enjoy eating out without going way over budget.
3. Apply for scholarships
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money goes unclaimed every year, simply because not enough people apply for it. Even if you’re convinced that you don’t have a high enough GPA or diverse enough extracurricular activities to win a scholarship you should still apply. Many scholarships and bursaries are awarded based on criteria beyond grades and it definitely won’t hurt to apply.
Check out these websites for some scholarships you might be eligible for:
4. Look for student discounts
It’s no secret that students tend to be on the broke side of the spectrum so many places, from restaurants to clothing stores, offer student discounts. Specific stores near campus that have student discounts are:
- The Metro on Bloor offers 10% off with a T-card on Tuesdays
- Bulk Barn offers 10% off to students on Wednesdays
- Shoppers Drug Mart on Bloor offers 20% off to U of T students on Thursdays.
- UTSU also offers various tickets at discounted prices for students. Check out their website to see what they’re currently offering.
5. Collect your change
I find that my change tends to disappear really easily. It’s so easy to drop and misplace coins when moving money from your wallet to your backpack or when paying for the TTC or using a vending machine. Collecting all of your change at the end of the day in a piggy bank or jar may not seem like an especially lucrative endeavour but it can be surprising how much those coins can add up to by the end of the year.
Do you have any money saving tips or tricks that might help out a fellow reader? Spread the wealth and share them in the comments.