Summer Savings

On Saturday, June 18th, I wrote the provincial government’s Security Guard licensing exam. Then, on Monday, I checked my results online. And I passed! Woohoo! This means that I can now work as a security guard in Ontario, which also means I officially have a job! It took me two months, basically, and a lot of money towards the training course, but I did it. Soon I’ll be raking in the dough and saving up for next year’s tuition. Isn’t that awesome? Yes. Yes it is.

And this job has come at an extremely opportune moment, since my finances are dipping into the double digits at the moment and I am in serious need of some spending money—not just savings for next year. See, I’ve written a few times about good ways to save money during the school year, and budgeting your money and stuff, but it never crossed my mind that I would have to budget during the summer as well. There are things that I want to do, people and places I want to visit, and I have to do all this while saving the majority of my money for school. So how will I pull it all off?

Most of my money so far has gone into buying bus tickets, to get to work or to visit friends, or just to get around in general. Bus fare actually eats up a lot of money. So I’m thinking, to save money next month, I’m going to buy a bus pass. If you take the bus 5 days or more per week, a monthly pass is more cost-effective than buying tickets. Calculating out things like that is a good way to save.

I wish that I could drive a car, but unfortunately I only have my G1 licence at the moment, and in the past year I’ve only used it for ID. Living in Toronto for the next 4 to 5 years, I didn’t see the point in getting my G2 right away, and now I can’t afford to. The driver’s ed classes to lower my insurance rates are nearly $1000, which I can’t afford, and without the driver’s ed, I can’t afford to pay the insurance. So I’m stuck in a predicament where I will never be able to drive until I graduate. Luckily, my G1 doesn’t expire for another 4 years.

Another big money saver is resisting the urge to dine out. I know from experience that when you’re hanging out with your friends, it seems like no big deal to order a pizza or go out for dinner, but when you’re hanging out with them every day, this starts adding up fast. My friends and I economize by buying pizzas at the grocery store and baking them ourselves. It’s cheaper, and honestly, the grocery story pizza is a lot healthier too.

Another trick for when you’re going clubbing is to drink before you go—if you are of legal age, of course, which is 19 or 18 in Quebec. Drinks at clubs and bars cost WAY more than if you buy your own alcohol at the LCBO. Just don’t try to sneak you own drinks in, because that IS illegal.

Little tricks like that can save you a lot of money in the long run, and then you’ll have more left over for fun stuff like going camping or going to Montreal to party. Save your money for school and the really big stuff, rather than frittering it away on junk food and things you don’t need.

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