How to Save Money at University

When I chose to attend U of T I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but my young adolescent self didn’t consider the woes of rent costs, hydro bills and trips home. With the neighbourhood of Yorkville adjacent to my first-year residence, the temptations of elegant dinners and shopping trips were also undeniable.  While I've worked part-time jobs all throughout my university career, I’d like to think that I’ve also devised methods of living economically at school. SO without further ado, here are some strategies I've learned over the years concerning spending money on campus. Proceed with caution Textbooks Ah textbooks. These wonderful anthologies that most of us are required to buy definitely fill us with knowledge, but empty our wallets. When I’m assigned textbooks for a class, my first move is heading to google to see if the book is available online. Next I would turn to the U of T Textbook Exchange page and library resources. The U of T bookstore also offers used books for lesser prices and has listings of all texts needed (if you login with your Acorn account). At the end of the day, some books can only bought new, but at least this exhausts all resources Grocery Shopping Living down the street from the Bloor street Metro, I realized that they have student deals at least 2 days of the week! While it’s only 10% off, it’s bound to save a few bucks. Snacks on Campus My favourite subject, but also my economic downfall. It’s so tempting to grab a muffin or a sandwich at the cafes around campus, but it ADDS UP. Last year I started bringing light snacks with me throughout the day or packing a lunch to ensure I had enough energy and didn’t find myself in the Robarts Starbucks line every hour. Also throughout the winter bring tea bags with you! Coffee shops are almost always willing to serve hot water to students. Transit While there’s isn’t exactly an easy- money fix when it comes to transit around Toronto and students' commuting situation varies, there are options. I bought a presto card a few years back and registered it at Union station as a student pass. While this doesn’t cut costs completely, at least I was getting the proper rate for my age and not having to fumble with change in subway lines. Activities There are so many free and exciting events on campus for students. To name a few that I've attended...
  • Friday night movies at Innis College run by the Cinema Studies department.
  • Meditation classes at Hart House.
  • Pancake breakfast at Victoria College once a week.
  • The Astronomy Club runs monthly star watching programs.
Grab some friends and try something new! Those are a few things I've learned about living cheaply on campus, but there's also several services offered by U of T that focus on these issues. I've used tools such as  "Setting your Budget" by The Faculty of Arts and Sciences and there's resources available at most colleges detailing scholarships and bursaries. My biggest lesson when budgeting has been to stay on top of my expenses, but not stress out. I know sometimes that's easier said than done, but as long as I'm mindful of spending habits and costs, life as a student gets a little bit easier. Until next week, happy saving.  -R

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