With a new semester approaching, it can be daunting to know you may have spent more than you had planned on expenses.
January is a great time to replenish the savings account and cut back to pay off that holiday bill. According to a 2014 study, the average Canadian planned on spending about $1,500 over Christmas. While most students likely aren’t spending this amount, it still goes to show just how much over their regular budgets people tend to spend during the holidays.
Now that the new year has arrived, you likely have tuition for the winter semester to pay on top of textbooks and other school expenses. If you’re feeling worried, we have some tips to help you cut back and save money in the New Year.
Pack a lunch!
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s just way too convenient to grab lunch once or twice a week, right? But at some student cafes, a bottle of water alone can cost $1.99.
While there are premium lunch options that are going to cost more, such as sushi, even a simple wrap and regular coffee can total about $6.50 per day. Multiply this by five and you’re looking at about $32.00 spent on food per week without even buying an expensive item. Though buying a quick coffee a couple times a week won’t break your bank, the amount you spend on food can add up very quickly. Try packing dinner leftovers, which are fast and easy, or throw some healthy snacks in your bag to avoid temptation.
A good thing to keep in mind before the start of the semester is not to go out and start shopping for textbooks right away. Sometimes, professors can change the course textbook or let you know on the first day that it’s not needed. But if you do need it, make sure you shop around first before going to your school’s bookstore, which are well-known to have sky-high prices. For a lot of undergraduates, the average cost of books per year can total anywhere from $800 to $1,200.
Off-campus bookstores are often not far from university and college campuses and can offer better prices on used and new textbooks. As well, these bookstores are often within a short walking distance from your university or college. Make sure to research where your local off-campus store is located before the semester begins.
Hard Work Pays Off
If you’re really struggling and could use some extra money to get you going, try checking out websites like scholarships.com or your school’s bursary and scholarships page.
A lot of bursaries and scholarships available through your school can be based on academic merit, financial need, volunteer hours or involvement in the community. If you don’t think you qualify for a scholarship, bursaries are also easy to apply for and often only require a decent average and demonstrated financial need. Work hard for your grades and check to see when your school is accepting bursary forms and other applications so you don’t miss the deadline.