5 Smart On-Campus Spending Tips for Post-Secondary Students
Another school year is again upon us. Are you excited for what it has in store? If you’re fortunate enough to have an RESP, you may be able to get by without taking on a lot of student debt. While an RESP is great, you’ll want to spend your money wisely to make sure it lasts the entire school year and beyond.
Here are five smart on-campus spending tips for post-secondary students.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Scholarships and Bursaries
Many students assume they have to get straight A’s to receive these, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. You won’t know what’s out there unless you take the time to do the research. Scholarships and bursaries aren’t just available at the beginning of the school year, they’re available throughout, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. Applying for scholarships and bursaries can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Set some time aside every week to apply. Aim to apply for one or two per week.
Tip #2: Save on Student Housing
Next to tuition, the most costly expense for students is housing. Although you may be looking to enjoy the “post-secondary experience,” living on campus can set you back a pretty penny. If your college or university campus is within commuting distance, consider living at home. By living with mom and dad, you can potentially save thousands of dollars over a four-year degree – not bad!
If living at home isn’t an option, you can still save money. Consider living off-campus instead of in student housing. And do your homework; you might be able to find a nicer place for less rent off-campus. If you don’t mind sharing your personal space, roommates can be a good way to split the rent and save.
Tip #3: Buy Second-Hand Textbooks
Textbooks are a major expense for students. According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, post-secondary students can expect to spend between $800 and $1,000 a year on textbooks and other materials. Spend less on textbooks by buying them used. Many colleges and universities have bookstores where you can buy used books and sell your old ones on consignment. There also might be a Facebook group or website set up for students to buy and sell their used textbooks. Get in the habit of selling your textbooks once the semester is over and buying second-hand ones. Many textbooks are also available as electronic versions at a fraction of the cost (The only downside is that you can’t resell them once the semester is over).
Tip #4: Cut Your Food Budget
You don’t have to eat ramen noodles every meal to save on food expenses. Instead of ordering takeout, cook at home whenever possible. Get in the habit of buying groceries from the supermarket. You’ll save a bundle versus eating out. Similar to your parents, make a shopping list and comparison shop at discount supermarket chains.
Tip #5: Get from Point A to Point B for Less
Buying a vehicle while you’re in college or university can set you back some serious money. It may make sense to pay slightly higher rent to live within walking distance of campus to save on transportation costs. If living close to campus isn’t an option, look for other ways to save on transportation. Instead of buying a car, consider taking public transit or a bicycle to school. If you can’t get by without a car, consider carpooling with some of your classmates and splitting the gas.
I hope you enjoyed our smart spending tips for students. Seize the day and make the most of this school year. Happy studying!