As some of you may know, I recently started university at Ryerson here in Toronto. I’m having an awesome time so far, but like most students I’m stressed AF about all the money I’m spending on tuition, and trying to manage my finances. I really like when I can go out with my friends but also pay my rent.. I’ve been doing a lot of research on financial planning and ways to save money, and I figured I’d share some with you!
Make a Budget
I know, it sounds boring. But trust me, it’s worth it. For most people the issue isn’t really that they have no money, it’s that they have less money than they think they should have. The only way to avoid this is to keep track of where your money is going. It doesn’t have to be complicated, mine is actually really straightforward. I’ve figured out my fixed monthly expenses (rent, internet, groceries) and kept track of my income. This is usually easier for people who have jobs with fixed hours, but I don’t. Because of this I track my income as I get my pay cheques to ensure that I have enough money at the end of the month. Other than this, I just write down every single time I spend money. It’s as easy as that. It gets a bit tedious to do, but online banking makes it really easy if you use your debit card consistently, you can just use that to make sure you haven’t missed any charges. I found an awesome template for mine from here.
Use your TFSA to your advantage
With most banks you can sign up for a TFSA for free, and they’ll set up an auto deposit. Basically that means any time you use your debit card, it’ll automatically deposit any amount you want. I chose 50 cents, but you can go as low as 25. It’s such a small amount that you’ll never miss it, but it may mean up to $20 in savings every month!
I didn’t realize how many contests there were aimed directly at students! And most of the time all you have to do is share a photo or enter your email. The most famous one is Canada’s Luckiest Student where you can win like $20,000, but if you do a bit of digging you can find lots of lesser known ones, where the odds of winning are actually pretty high! One awesome one I found is from Lowest Rates, that includes a MacBook Air and a bunch of gift cards, right up a university student’s street!
Explore small shops
Especially in a big city like Toronto, big popular stores will have a markup, because they’ll be your only obvious option to buy what you need. However if you can find a hidden gem in your neighbourhood, you’ll be saving tons of money! My boyfriend and I recently moved and we bought all the random odds and ends we needed at a place called Discount Supreme for less than $10. Sometimes this can even turn into a bit of an adventure in itself!
Take advantage of student discounts
Many stores offer a discount just for showing your student card. Especially here in Toronto, lots of stores around the Ryerson campus offer a 10-20% discount just for being a student. You can also get 6 months of Amazon Prime for free if you sign up with your student email.
I saved the best for last, Groupon is definitely my favourite! I’m pretty late on the bandwagon here, but I recently signed up for Groupon and it’s basically rocking my world. So far I’ve bought a 2 month unlimited yoga membership for $70 (worth like $300!) and several date night activities for me and my boyfriend. I’m even thinking of starting to post some of the best weekly Groupon deals here on my blog. If you want to keep up with fun activities and meals out while on a budget, Groupon is the best way to do so!
Let me know some of your favourite money saving tips!