How to Save Money as a Student

Alleviate your student debt one home-cooked meal at a time

Isabella Scholda

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(Shandis Harrison)

According to the Canadian Federation of Students, 65 per cent of the province’s full-time undergraduate student population is in debt. Whether you’re amongst them or not, here are some handy tips on how to save money during your time at KPU.

It may sound very grown-up and boring, but plan your budget in advance. You can find a lot of budget planning tools online that will help you to estimate your costs. Once you’ve set yourself a budget, your next challenge is to follow through. Try Apps like BillGuardor Fudgetto keep track of your spending.

You can also try the old school envelope budgeting system. Divide your spendings into categories, create an envelope for every category, and fill each envelope with the money that you’ve apportioned to that particular category. Aim only to spend what you allowed yourself. Thus you get an overview of your budget,  a sense for your outgoings, and maybe even some money for the future.

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(Shandis Harrison)

In addition to a budget plan, you should also try to spend less on food. Try to keep the number of times you’re buying your lunch at the campus to a minimum. If you buy a cream cheese bagel at Tim Hortons, for example, it costs you $2.00. If you buy a pack of six bagels and a pack of cream cheese at the supermarket, it costs you $6.00 which makes $1.00 per bagel. Try to prepare your lunch at home instead of spending money at Tim Hortons.

You can plan all of your meals on Sunday and make a trip to the supermarket on Monday. By trying not to buy any more groceries for the rest of the week, you’ll learn to stick to your meal plan and avoid impulse buying when you’re hungry or bored.

The next tip is to talk to the people around you. You’re not the only student at KPU who wants to save money. Perhaps there’s someone in your class who’s selling a textbook you might need for another class. Maybe you have a friend who’s great at giving haircuts, so you can save yourself a hairdresser. Instead of ordering pizza or sushi, just cook something together with friends. Instead of working out at an expensive fitness center, grab your friends and go running or hiking with them. Instead of buying new clothes every month, be sustainable and upcycleyour old ones. You can find a countless number of upcycling ideas online.

Last but not least: Think before you shop! Remember that spending money on material things doesn’t permanently make you happy. In the book The Happiness Makeover, best selling author M.J. Ryan writes: “There is no magic happiness lying in wait in the newest car, computer, or Manolo Blahnik shoes.”

We are bombarded daily by ads that try to fool us into thinking we’ll be happy if we buy some stuff we don’t really need. You may feel excited in the moment you’re buying it, but how will you feel when your credit card bill comes in? Instead of searching for short-term happiness in material goods, try to find lasting happiness by meeting friends or doing something that you’re really passionate about.

And as M.J. Ryan likes to say, “Always remember that real happiness is found in places other than the mall.”

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