Hello fellow readers! It is Malcolm here again bringing you my weekly two cents on student life and experience. This week let’s discuss the ups and downs of student life. As students we are typically 3 things – tired, hungry, and strapped for cash. It seems the less we are the latter the less we are of everything else – which is a good thing. However, as students our bank account balances have a tendency to go down faster than they go up.
If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve heard “you need to budget your money properly”. However, I’m not a huge fan of hardcore budgeting plans – I feel they leave no room for fun or flexibility and you end up breaking the budget anyways. I’ll admit to you all I am not a big spender but I am a frequent spender (is there a difference?). I’ll spend 5 or 6 dollars here or there each day but it really adds up. Over the years I have devised a few key budgeting and money saving tips and tricks that I believe have helped me through my university education.
Pack your own lunch, dinner and snacks.
I used to eat out every day of the week because I was too lazy to pack my own food. I don’t remember what compelled me to start but I’m glad I did. On average I found out that I was spending anywhere between 7-10 dollars a day on lunch not including snacks or coffee. Even if you just pack your lunch you save anywhere from 35-50 dollars a week; that’s $140-200 a month.
Bring your own coffee thermos and instant coffee or tea bags.
This is a tip I got from my friend – he told me that Campus Express has a hot water tower now which you can use for free – I’ve confirmed this and this is true. Not having to buy coffee from Tim Hortons not only saves you money but time as well. 2 cups of coffee at Tim’s is around $3 each, $15 a week $60 a month – you do the math. As students of UTSC we are no strangers to the lines regularly grace the Tim Hortons. Before this hot water tower was available another friend of mine used to keep an electric kettle in his locker and boil his own water. It takes 3 minutes for those types of kettles to boil water – to put it in perspective think about how long you wait in a line up at Tim Hortons. As an alternative you can also keep a microwavable cup in your locker to heat up water you get from the water fountains and pour it into your thermos.
Take good class and textbook notes and keep them.
When you sell your textbooks you typically can snag an extra 20 or so dollars if you include a copy of your notes with the textbooks you sell to another student. The more money you can get back from your textbooks the less stressed your budget will be later on.
Print at the SCSU office.
You can cut your printing costs in half by printing at the SCSU office. The only catch is that you have to go when the office is open. The SCSU offers printing for 5 cents a page whereas printing elsewhere in the school will run you 7-10 cents a page. This is not about penny pinching as much as stretching your money as far as it can go and getting the most value possible.
Use your skills and get paid for them.
There is a plethora of job opportunities available on campus that you can use your skills to make some money. There are honorarium and work study positions widely available for students to gain some experience as well as some extra cash flow. Typically an honorarium will grant you anywhere from $500-1000 per semester depending on the job. A work-study position grants you $10.66 per hour at a max of 10 hours per week for the semester (works out to be about $2000). These jobs don’t require an intense amount of your time so you can still keep your part time job and have time for school and partying. ;)
Live within your means.
This is possibly the most important piece of information you should take away from this. It basically means don’t spend more than you make. Most students already have a pile of student loans having credit card debt on top of that makes the debt become harder to deal with – and nobody wants that.
I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful! Remember to subscribe to the blog and share your favourite posts with your friends. If you have any more money saving tips and tricks that I didn’t mention please let me know in the comment section below – it’s as easy as typing in the box below! Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates and awesome from ME - @malcolmwong1