How to Survive and Still Have Fun on Your Student Budget

College is expensive.

OK that’s all for today. See you next week!

Alright, you probably already knew about the price of school, residence, books, meal plans etc. and after all that you probably don’t feel like a millionaire. This poses a problem for the average college student who wants to get the full experience.

College should not take place just on your campus but include other things that usually cost even more money, so today I’m going to give you a few tips that will help you spend without going broke. Hopefully.

1)Transit Fare: If your campus is like mine, an hour away from anything interesting to do besides walk down to the waterfront (and that gets old after 1 or 2 times), then you’ll probably have to use transit to get anywhere worth visiting. Campus stores will usually sell discounted tickets or tokens. For example, while everyone is paying $3 for a token at the subway I am using a $2.50 token instead. It may not seem like much but it really begins to add up. Look at it this way, I’m saving $5 for every 10 tokens I buy in the book store. That’s two more tokens!

2)Plan Ahead: This is just a quick tip that relates back to transit. Since you are paying so much to get to and from your destination, try and do as much as you can while you are there. If I’m going downtown I make sure it’s for more than just picking something up quickly. I’ll usually make a day around one errand or event to get the most out of my fare.

3)   Do Your Research: Find out if there are deals on certain days at a restaurant. Most movie theaters have cheap Tuesday deals if you don’t mind lines. Also, if you’re looking for a haircut or something along those lines look up reviews. I was able to find a cheap place to get my haircut and even though it wasn’t expensive it was still done really well.

4)   Explore! Use your time downtown to find new places. Try out weird looking restaurants (if they are within your price range). You may find a new favourite place. Try areas of the city that are student friendly and you’ll probably find some cool places to check out. For example, while not everything is cheap I spend most of my time on Queen St. West. If you’re in the GTA you should definitely check out Java on Queen at Augusta (http://www.blackbookmag.com/guides/details/java-house-queen-west). Amazing daily deals, tons of awesome food and really good serving sizes. Not to mention that the atmosphere is so much fun and from the ‘patio’ or the front of the restaurant you can people watch. It’s amazing what kinds of characters you can spot walking down Queen Street. Other awesome places nearby are The Black Market where any article of clothing, no matter how hilarious, costs $10. This is either a steal or totally not worth it but no matter what, it provides hours of entertainment if you enjoy shopping.

5)   Free Stuff: You don’t always need to spend money to have fun. For example, there is always something going on in downtown Toronto. Check out if the city you’re in is planning any free events.

6)   Residence: If you are in residence there are probably cheap events going on as well. These are usually like fun ‘field trips’ to a theme park or, for lack of a better example, a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. While they aren’t always discounted they’ll at least get you off campus.

Anyway, these are just a few of the things I’ve discovered in my four months as an impoverished student. I’m sure there are many other things that you can think of and if there are be sure to leave a comment below.

Only two weeks left until I’m done my first semester of college. Crazy, right? Well, Happy Friday! Good luck on exams! See you next week!

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