11 ways to save money and still have fun
1. Find free events on campus
Campuses are a treasure trove of free or almost-free events. Don’t turn your nose up to them. Embrace them! Go to your favourite movies. Take free ballroom dancing classes. Cheer on your university’s football team.
2. And free events in your city
There are also tons of cheap and awesome events that are happening around you. In the summer a lot of cities now have free outdoor movie nights. Or in the winter, they offer free outdoor skating times. Read the local city blog or newspaper to find events in your area.
3. Bike or walk to school
They are both totally free ways to get around. And great exercise. Also, check to see if your school has negotiated a student discount for the transit system. If so, take advantage!
4. Ask about student discounts
Cashing in on discounts is a good way to have a life without feeling the pinch when it comes time to pay your bill. Generally a student discount will be between 10% and 15% off. Don’t just ask at your grocery or clothing store either. Local museums, art galleries and attractions usually have a cheaper student rate. All you have to do is ask.
5. Stick to your meal plan
It’s already paid for. So use this first before you spend your hard earned money on any other food.
6. Cook from scratch
If you don’t have a meal plan, then you will have to fend for food on your own. While takeout and ready-made food may seem like a super convenient option, they can also be super expensive. Cooking from scratch is much cheaper, and often healthier too. Not to mention something to brag about on your dating profile.
7. Find the cheapest grocery store
Grocery stores are not all made the same. So do some research to find the cheapest one. Ask around campus to see where other students shop. Or, during your first couple months shop around and keep the receipts. Then compare standard items across all of them (milk, bread, eggs, etc.) and see which one costs the least.
8. Make friends with coupons
Once you have a favourite grocery store, visit their website any time before you go shopping. Find their flyer or coupon section and print out any that you can use on that grocery shop. You can also try meal planning around that week’s flyer. Either of these strategies can save you major coin at the register.
9. Shop with a list (and never while hangry)
Grocery stores are amazing places. Every possible food is there. And it can be easy to go nuts and buy a lot of things you don’t need. So be prepared. Bring a list and stick to it. Pro tip: don’t go when you are hungry. That’s when you will make impulse buys. And if you sign up for the Simply Save program, you can put a little money aside into the savings account of your choice when using your TD Canada Trust Access Card for all your debit purchases.
10. Use energy-efficient appliances
If you pay for your hydro, you need to be smart about you appliances. Don’t run the dishwasher until it is totally full. Bake with a toaster oven instead of a full oven. Use the small element on the stove instead of the big one.
11. Unplug electronics you aren’t using
Many plugged-in electronic devices continue to use a small amount of energy when they are in standby mode. All of these devices can drive up your hydro bill. So if you have devices you rarely use, like a coffee pot, game console, or hair dryer, unplug them and save yourself a big bill next month.