9 Budgeting Tips That Add Up!

With the rising cost of living, it can be difficult to save money, especially as a student. But even between buying textbooks and groceries, paying tuition, and paying off student loans, it’s possible to create a budget and live within your means! 

Here are 9 ways that may help you save some money:

1. Make a budget and stick to it

Creating a budget might seem unnecessary, but it’s a great way to see where your money goes each month and how your spending adds up. Check out these budget spreadsheet templates from Mint – there are both simple and detailed spreadsheet options! 

The second part of making your budget is sticking to it. Cook a meal instead of ordering food, cancel a subscription you’re not using, or shop around for sales, and put the money you’ve saved toward something else instead!

2. Save when buying textbooks

The Fall semester is wrapping up soon and you’ll be starting new courses in January, which means you’ll need new textbooks.

Check out our past blog post that details some ways to save money when buying books!

3. Find free events and activities

Instead of paying for events and activities, find some that are free! SAMRU hosts a number of free events and programs throughout the school year – take a look at our calendar

Joining a SAMRU club is also a great way to participate in activities that you enjoy for free or at a low-cost with like-minded people!

4. Visit the Peer Support Centre

If you need food or financial support, visit the Peer Support Centre (room Z210 in Wyckham House). Here you’ll find programs such as Free Breakfast, Good Food Box, a Food & Hygiene cupboard, emergency student funding, and a free Tax Clinic during tax season!

If you’re looking for longer-term support, the Peer Support Centre can also help with referrals to the Calgary Food Bank or provide additional resources.

5. Use your student health and dental benefits

Making use of your student health and dental benefits instead of paying out of pocket helps you save money on prescriptions and services. Take a look at what’s covered, download your benefits card, and submit claims.

Make sure to check out Wyckham House’s basement health services too! There’s an optometrist, dental office, and pharmacy right on campus with student-friendly pricing and offers.

6. Apply for scholarships, bursaries, and other awards

Applying for SAMRU Awards and other MRU scholarships, bursaries, and awards takes a bit of time and effort, but it’s well worth it! There may even be scholarships or bursaries that are specific to your program, which could give you a better chance at receiving one.

SAMRU Awards applications open in January 2023! The deadline to apply for MRU’s awards is March 1, 2023.

7. Check for grocery sales or other deals

Checking an app like Flipp can help you save money while shopping for groceries or other items. Search for specific items, or look at flyers for the stores you shop at. You’re also able to make a shopping list or watch list within the app to make sure you get the best deal on the items you’re looking for.

Another tip when shopping for groceries is to buy generic items instead of name-brand. It’s the same item at a more affordable price!

8. Plan your meals and cook at home

Planning your meals and cooking at home is a great way to save money (and to brush up on your cooking skills)! Pick a few nutritious, simple meals that you want to make and get your ingredients (hello, Flipp app!). If you have leftovers, you can save them for lunch the next day, or some meals will even freeze well.

If you do eat out, checking if the restaurant you’re planning to eat at has any daily specials or a happy hour can help save a bit of money. Lots of fast food restaurants offer in-app or paper coupons as well.

Making coffee or tea at home is another way to save. It may seem like buying coffee isn’t that expensive, but it does add up! You might even want to consider purchasing a budget-friendly espresso machine to make lattes at home if you think it’ll help save money in the long run.

9. Get a high-interest savings account and a student chequing account

Make your money work for you (and avoid the temptation of spending it) by starting a high-interest savings account. Visit your bank’s website to see what kind of savings accounts they offer and what criteria you may need to meet to start earning!

If you don’t have one already, switching to a student chequing account is another way to save on fees while you’re in school. Meeting with an advisor from your bank can give insight on what’s right for you in terms of banking.

We hope that these tips make it easier to focus more on your studies and less on your finances! If you are needing further information or support, visit samru.ca/financial or reach out to us at info@samru.ca