student budget

Living It Up On a Student Budget

By Ingle International

Living off of $50 a week or counting dimes and nickels to buy a snack. Part-time jobs amidst homework, housework, and more homework… Does this sound all too familiar?

If your answer is yes, you may find yourself anxiously living from paycheque to paycheque. But don’t let your finances control you and your ability to have a good time. Simply learn how to budget as a student! Give the following tips a read if you want to make life on a student budget less about survival and more about living it up!

Start a new tradition: Game Night.

No, I’m not talking about gaming as we know it in the 21st Century. Forget the Wii or the Xbox. Rummage through your attic and pull out your parents’ dusty old board games to have some time-travelling fun with your pals. The more the merrier (games and people)! Have everyone B.Y.O.B. and dramatically cut down on costs associated with a Friday night out. Not to mention, it’s fun to play real, tangible games with real, tangible people. Try it!

Walk, rollerblade, or bike to your destination.

The cost of public transit in Canada isn’t getting any cheaper, and travelling by taxi has never been an affordable option for students. So why not use your legs to get to where you’re going? Walking is the simplest and least expensive way to get from Point A to Point B. However, if your destination is too far to make walking a realistic option, throw on your roller blades or pull out your bike for a much quicker way to get there. Not only will you save a lot of cash, but you’ll also avoid nasty traffic and will keep fit while you’re at it!

*Let’s imagine a bus ticket is $2.50 one way and, on average, you use the bus twice a day. That’s $5 x 30 days. That’s a whopping $150 you could be using for something else – every month!

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

See? Shakespeare can be used in practical, everyday life! What is he trying to say here, class? That’s right! What’s in a brand name if (A) nobody knows that your tattered, ripped jeans are an overpriced brand and (B) you look and feel good wearing a no-name item of clothing? So, next time you’re drooling over a name stitched on to a tag of clothing, take a look at the price tag instead. Is the name alone really worth $200 when you can get something that looks and feels the same for $20? Take it from Shakespeare, the answer is no.

Be smart about your part-time job.

When selecting a part-time job, be… selective! Yes, a part-time job is the means to a little bit of extra spending money; but did you know that choosing a job that is well-suited to your daily routine or personality could mean even more money to play with? For example,

  • If you know you have a hard time saving your money… Go for a waiter/waitress job! The tips will be perfect for you, Big Spender!
  • Coffee lover? Think of all the free coffee you can get if you take a job at a café! (Keep in mind, coffee may seem cheap, but a coffee a day adds up… quickly!)
  • Already super thrifty? Get a job at a shop where you can receive discounts on everyday necessities such as shampoo, toilet paper, or bananas!

You’ll be surprised by your fatter wallet if you choose the right part-time job for you!

Try a clothing swap!

With the reality of… er… reality shows like Wife Swap, doing a clothing swap doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea, now does it? If the items in your closet are starting to feel a little stale, why don’t you talk to your roommate (or that cool dresser down the hall) about switching it up once a month? Hand over a few pre-loved items and get some cool ones back. Not only will you suddenly have “new” clothes (for free!), you’ll learn to love old favourites again. You know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

This article, written by Kathleen O’Hagan, is provided by Ingle International, specializing in travel insurance since 1946.  Ingle International has partnered with StudentAwards to provide students with the best travel health solutions for their overseas adventures. For more information, visit our partner site at