Let’s face it. Going to university is an expensive affair, hence saving money is an essential part of university life. It doesn’t matter if you’re an international student from a different part of the world or a local student, every dollar saved is a dollar made. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 easy tips for university students to make the most of their money.
1. Plan your grocery shopping. Set a budget for every grocery run and stick to a list of items you need. This will help you prevent you from making impulsive purchases. Buy essential food items like rice, pasta, cereal, cooking oil etc. in bulk if you get a good deal on them. Just make sure not to buy perishable items in bulk. Grocery shopping in the evenings is a good idea, since the supermarkets try to mark down fresh produce and bakery items to sell them by the end of the day.
P.S. Do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Ever.
2. Borrow textbooks from the library or buy used ones. You don’t have to buy a new text book every time! Always check if your professors have put textbooks on reserve at TRU Library. For buying used textbooks, you can choose from various buy-and-sell groups on Facebook or go to Kijiji. You can also buy eBooks online for a fraction of the cost.
3. Know your discounts as a university student. There are various stores and restaurants in Kamloops that offer student discounts. My personal favorite is 40% off menu prices for TRU Students at Domino’s Pizza Kamloops. Get yourself a SPC Card to get the best bang for your buck at various outlets. If you are an international student, apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) to get great discounts on travel, clothing, entertainment and much more.
4. Make your own meals and drinks. Cooking at home means you can make a big batch of your favorite food and pack small meals for the next couple of days. You can also customize your food for different meals of the day, while keep it all healthy and affordable. Always keep some snacks or energy bars with you while you are in school or at work, because staying hungry is staying foolish. Lastly, avoid the long line ups at coffee shops by brewing your own coffee at home and carrying it with you in a flask. FYI if you bring your own reusable mug, you get a 50¢ discount at Common Grounds Coffee Shop.
5. Commute smartly. Do you really need a car for your daily commute? Are the monthly insurance, maintenance and fuel expenses really worth it? You can walk, use BC Transit buses or ride a bike to get around the town instead of having a car. Make use of services like TRU Rideshare, Zipcar and Pop Rideshare. You can save the environment and your money, howbow dah?
5. Two words: LOYALTY PROGRAMS. It’s the easiest way to earn money while you are spending money. Most of the supermarkets will provide you with a points cards, which comes in super handy if you regularly shop at a specific store. Your favorite restaurant and café might have a loyalty program as well, so don’t be afraid to ask about it.
7. Make the most of price match policies. A lot of stores like Superstore and Walmart do price match, no questions asked. Electronics giant Best Buy matches the price and gives you 10% of the difference on top of it. Just keep an eye out for good deals in the weekly flyers, take the flyer with you to the store of your choice and ask for a price match.
8. Pay your bills on time. Because why would you want to rack up late payment fees? And if you have a credit card, make sure to pay it off as soon as you can. Not only will that help you avoid the late payment charges, but it will also help you establish good credit.
9. Slash your utility bills. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them, use energy-saving bulbs and unplug devices that are not in use. During winters try wearing a few extra layers of clothing instead of turning the heat up and getting a huge bill at the end of the month.
10. Make the most of student services and resources available on campus. Most of the universities have tons of resources that are often underutilized. You can avoid the overpriced gym membership fees by using your TRUSU UPASS to get a 50% discount at Tournament Capital Centre (TCC). Is sports your thing? Enjoy any TRU Wolfpack home game at for just $2. Need some entertainment? Choose from Thompson Rivers University Student’s Union (TRUSU)‘s list of free events or go for an exciting trip with TRU LEAP at a subsidized price. There are tons of student clubs on campus that keep hosting free events, workshops and fun socials every now and then.
BONUS: Apply for student awards and financial support! TRU is able to offer scholarships, bursaries and awards worth over a million dollars every year. Check out your options to see if you are eligible for anything.
Don’t forget to share these tips with your friends and family! Cheerios!
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