10 Creative Tricks to Ease Your University Student’s Budget


How can you help your university student’s budget? Here is a list of tips and tricks to save them money! 

Let’s face it. Having your child attend post-secondary school is a costly endeavour. You have to pay for tuition expenses, textbooks, rental agreements, on-campus residences, meal plan cards, laundry, transportation and more. On top of that pressure, we want to guide our children towards saving as much money as possible. 

Along with basic student tips, there are programs offered by banks such as BMO and reward programs through Swagbucks that can ease a university student’s budget. Moreover, BMO provides a great Family Bundle Offer to help you get your university student’s budget in check and stretch their dollar. Therefore, benefit from this list of creative tricks, so your university student can focus on what matters most during their academic career: studying!

Used Textbooks and Textbook Rentals

Textbooks are incredibly expensive. A great way to ease your university student’s budget is by urging them to purchase used textbooks from the school bookstore and Kijiji/Facebook Marketplace, or to rent textbooks from Amazon. When they are finished taking a university course, they are unlikely to ever open that textbook again. So, why should they be paying full price?

Meal Planning

University students can save money by preparing meals in advance instead of ordering takeout. A great way to start this is by cooking more food than one person can eat in a single meal. By tripling the amount of ingredients, they will have three extra meals that they can take for lunch over the next few days. Ultimately, setting aside a day to plan their food ahead of time allows them to organize their meals and do some extra cooking so they don’t have to think about it later.

Don’t Grocery Shop Hungry

Grocery shopping on an empty stomach leads to buying more food than intended. (They should eat before going!) The best way to grocery shop is to create a list of items that are needed and stick to the list. This will help them stay within their student budget.

Avoid ALL Late and Interest Fees

Bills should always be paid on time. This includes credit card bills because those late fees are never cheap. In fact, adding interest to a bill will only make it more difficult to pay it off and lower the balance. This can also lead to a bad credit score, which can negatively impact a student later in life. Therefore, students should not regularly spend more than they can afford. This means no impulse purchases

Public Transportation

If this is included in tuition costs, then your university student should be taking advantage of it rather than driving their own car. Yes, it may be time consuming but it will save them money on gas, parking passes, and vehicle maintenance. 


Swagbucks allows students to earn cash back from their online purchases, so they can put the money towards gift cards for groceries, coffee, and more! Also, they can obtain extra Swagbucks rewards by participating in surveys and playing games in their spare time.

Sell Used Items

Plenty of thrift stores, websites, and apps allow students to sell their used clothing, furniture, games, books, technology, etc. They can begin by checking out Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, or Kijiji.

Student Discounts

University students should shop discounts since many places offer student prices. All one needs is a student ID to prove that they are in school. If there is any uncertainty over whether or not a place offers student rates, then ask! The worst thing they will do is say no.

Earn Cash Bonuses

Banks such as BMO offer cash back bonuses for those who sign up with their credit cards. In fact, BMO offers two no annual fee student credit cards to choose from. These student credit cards either offer customers cash back bonuses or air miles, so they can earn money or points while they spend.

Pay Zero Monthly Bank Fees

Is there an option for zero monthly bank fees? Yes! Until May 31, 2021, customers can earn up to $350* cash bonus when they open a new Canadian Dollar Primary Chequing Account with BMO. This can be done at any BMO branch or online.  

To qualify for the offer, you must open an eligible account and deposit any amount to the Lead Chequing Account by July 4, 2021. This will be the only account with a monthly fee. After opening a new Canadian Dollar Primary Chequing Account, you must complete at least two of the following requirements

  1. Set up a pre-authorized debit (at least $50). This would be a pre-authorized payment to a BMO loan, mortgage, investment account, line of credit, etc. or a pre-authorized bill payment to a utility bill from your Lead Chequing Account. This also requires two consecutive monthly payments to be debited from the account before July 31, 2021. 
  2. Set up a recurring direct depository from your pension, employer, or the government into your Lead Chequing Account. Additionally, deposits must be made into the account for at least two consecutive months by July 31, 2021. 
  3. Fulfill a bill payment using BMO Online Banking or the BMO Mobile App (at least $50) for at least two consecutive months from your Lead Chequing Account by July 31, 2021. Please keep in mind that a transfer from your BMO Chequing Account to a BMO credit card does not qualify and will not be considered an eligible bill payment. 

Most importantly, you can invite a family member (such as your university student) to open an account with your plan as part of the Family Bundle or Family Bundle Offer. They will enjoy unlimited no-fee banking, which includes no-fee transactions, as long as they are new BMO customers. Basically, they will be saving money on bank fees! 

You can add a family member account as part of the Family Bundle Offer to a new Eligible Plan that qualifies for the Chequing Account Offer; however, this new family member account must be opened before May 31, 2021. They may also be required to visit a branch to verify their identity. 

Moreover, everyone’s accounts in the Family Bundle Offer are kept private. This means that only accounts in your name are allowed to be viewed by you


Help ease your university student’s budget by utilizing these creative tricks and tips. From textbook rentals to a Family Bundle Offer at BMO, there are many ways to help your child save money where it matters so they can build towards a successful future


*Conditions apply. Visit bmo.com/350 for full details.


Written by: Christine Rees