Here’s How to SAVE and MAKE Money (And Still Have Enough for a Splurge or Two)!

Needless to say, university can be really expensive.

With rocketing tuition costs, overpriced cafeteria food, hidden fees, and friends who constantly want to spend money on entertainment, it feels like we students are constantly being robbed of our last few pennies as we walk the halls of the school. While the OSAP debt and credit card bills are currently laying dormant (out of sight, out of mind), the little money we do have still feels like it’s being stretched.

I, just like you, am totally sick of spending more money than I can afford. So, how can we save up those few coins rusting in our wallets for more important things, like treating yourself after a long day?

Ways to SAVE Money:

  1. Buy a reusable mug and make tea/coffee at home
    • I do this all the time with plain green tea. You can get a box of 100 tea bags or a tub of instant coffee for about $3 at any grocery store, and of course boiling water is free. Boom! You save the $2 you spend every morning on coffee and tea!
  2. Use the hot water dispenser in the student center
    • Craving some extra tea or coffee in the middle of the day? Got a packet of ramen noodles lying around at home? The hot water dispenser is convenient, free, and a life saver!
  3. Make most of your lunches
    • It might take a bit of extra time out of your late night or early morning, but assuming you buy a $10 meal five times a week, it will save you about $200 per month!
  4. Bring lots of snacks
    • Fruit is ideal, but granola bars, cookies, extra lunches, and other food works.
    • This will prevent you from getting hungry in the middle of the day and spending $3-$10 on fries, rice, sandwiches, salad, and all the other completely overpriced snack. Can you believe they sell a cup of fruit for $5?
  5. Use the student center printer
    • Library printer: 10 cents per page.
    • Student center printer: 5 cents per page.
    • It makes a big difference, especially when you only have a few coins in your wallet and have a huge report to print!
  6. Use the Blind Duck convenience store
    • They sell toiletries, drinks, freezies, and ice cream for a really good price!
  7. Buy lunch at a grocery store instead of on campus
    • My bus stops at Metro before I board a second one, so I have time to grab a much cheaper lunch (they actually sell the same sushi in IB for $1-$3 less!)
    • If you encounter a grocery store on the way to school, you’ll find bigger meals for a bargain price
  8. Shop bargain
    • Yes, this means the clearance section. Search for those red tags on items and clothing. You’re not cheap, you’re smart! *taps head*
    • Price matching is a thing, and Walmart does it the best
    • Download FLIPP, the price matching app, for WAY cheaper grocery shopping!
  9. Buy alternatives
    • Examples:
      • Don’t buy textbooks from the bookstore; use Facebook’s Buy and Sell group
      • Don’t buy a matcha green tea latte from Starbucks; buy it from Second Cup, it’s a few dollars cheaper
      • Don’t buy fancy notebooks from Staples for all of your classes; get the 50 cent ones from Walmart
  10. Shop at the Asian super markets
    • Cool things you can get to fulfill your Asian food cravings:
      • Roasted seaweed
      • Miso soup packets (why spend $2.10 at IB when you can spend $2 on an entire packet and use the hot water dispenser?)
      • Tapioca and bubble tea mixes ($5.60 for a single cup at Chatime, or $10 for multiple cups at home? Your decision)
      • Steamed buns (red bean, pork, vegetable, etc)
  11. Get a refurbished laptop instead of a new one
    • If you’re like me and only need a laptop for Word, Excel, and anime, then why bother getting a $900 laptop when you can get a $300 laptop?
    • I got my Lenovo ThinkPad for almost $350 on Amazon, and it’s strong and durable and still alive today!

Ways to MAKE Money:

  1. Sell or commission art
    • Tumblr is the perfect medium for this!
    • People commission their art for as little as $5 and as much as $50 a piece
  2. Fix computers
    • My brother did this throughout high school and to present day and has made thousands that have all gone to savings
    • He was able to pay off his OSAP loan in about 2 years!
  3. Tutor
  4. Get a part time/on campus job
  5. Run an Etsy
    • If you love crafting, this one’s for you!
  6. In general, if you have a marketable talent and time…freelance!

Things you SHOULD spend on:

  1. Pens
    • Smooth note taking during a lecture can make even the dullest lectures bearable!
    • An inky black pen, preferably from Mooji in Square One, is the most therapeutic thing in the world.
  2. Backpack
    • If you’re going to be walking from Davis to IB with 2 textbooks, your bulky headphones, a giant pencil case, and your laptop, your backpack had better hold!
    • Your back health is important, so invest in a good quality backpack that won’t dig into your shoulders or scratch against your back.
  3. Headphones
    • This is specifically for people who commute or spend a lot of time alone on campus. You’re going to be listening to a lot of podcasts, episodes, and music, and a good pair of headphones can make any alone time enjoyable.
    • I bought a pair of wireless red headphones from an online company called “Bluedio” for $30 no tax. Good quality, good price!
  4. Jacket
    • Winter can hit Canada at any time, and will last basically all of the university year. Make sure the coat you buy is warm, cozy, and strong.
    • It may seem like an expensive purchase when you drop $200 on a new coat, but it’s definitely an item worth investing in.
  5. Shoes/Boots
    • Same reason as above for boots. Winters are harsh, don’t let your precious feet experience the cold and slush.
    • You’re always going to be running from one end of the campus to the other, so purchasing a pair of good quality shoes is recommended. Protect your paws, show them some love.
  6. Gloves
    • Same reason for boots and coats. Frostbite really sucks.
  7. Treats
    • Here’s the one case I say you’re definitely allowed to splurge once in a while.
    • If you save up enough money, buying yourself small treats occasionally is enough to make the day a lot better.
    • It’s like investing in your mental health and acts as a de-stressor.

When it comes to finances in general, the moral? Managing money is an important skill that everyone should begin to develop and nurture as early as possible in university.

Using these tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a money management star!


One thought on “Here’s How to SAVE and MAKE Money (And Still Have Enough for a Splurge or Two)!

  1. I love this! I know I could save a lot if I make my own lunch instead of buying, but … I’m lazy, and it does take a little time.
    Also! It’s frustrated me so much that I love writing, but can’t think of a single way to make some profit from it. Artists have it lucky. Also craftspeople! Those things are easier to appreciate than writing — easier on the eyes and almost no effort to appreciate a drawing or a bracelet.
    I’ll figure something out, I hope …


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