Save Money As An International Student In Canada

How To Save Money As An International Student In Canada?

Moving to Canada was never easy as I have to change a lot of things from lifestyle to income, and shifting from completely expense mode to saving. And I can understand how hard it is to save money as an International student in Canada.

From day one when I start saving and how I manage to save enough money to pay for my fees which I thought will be most difficult part to walk.

So, Today I will give a in-depth guide on what to do, where to start, and how to be successful in your saving journey. But before moving further, I have written a few piece of article on “How to make money?”.

6 Step Guide To Save Money As An International Student In Canada

1. Reduce Your Expenses

Reducing your monthly expenses is the crucial and the first stepping stone towards saving money. Start with keeping track of all your expenses i.e., coffee, household items, shopping, grocery bills, phone bills and many more.

You can start tracking by making a simple money management spreadsheet or use any free expenses tracker app. Follow the tracking method for atleast two months to get an idea about what are the most crucial part for expenses and what the things you are buying due to impulse decision.

Impulse decision can be buying things just because you see at your favourite grocery store. For example, whenever I go for grocery shopping I end up buying chips, cookies or muffin even if I barely eat sweet due to my eating habits.

Tip – When it comes to habits of expending, it is crucial to understand the definition of financial habit and how it plays as a first stepping stone for Financial Freedom.

2. Prioritize Saving Account

As an International student, we often miss this part as saving money is never the main goal. I recommend you to start with creating a separate account exclusively for your savings and putting a minimum of 6% to 20% per month of your total income after taxes.

This process will eventually help you to make an emergency fund that can be later useful in difficult situations like loss of jobs, health issues and many more. For example, if you are making $1500 per month then saving $90 to $300 can be pretty achievable.

3. Affordable Accommodation

Find the right accommodation is the most challenging part for any international student living by themselves. When I moved to Canada, I had no option to stay with someone which will lead to booking an Airbnb for first 20 days and then moving to a rented place.

As Rent is one of the significant expenses for students. Look for affordable accommodation options such as shared apartments or student housing provided by your university. Living with roommates can help split the costs, making it more affordable. Consider living slightly further away from campus if it means lower rent prices.

A quick tip or students – Don’t compromise with your mental health just to save $50 to $150 while renting your place. If lucky you may have a great roommate to share the place but the other side is just not worth it.

4. Cook Your Meal At Home

Eating out can be an expensive option, so try to cook your meals at home as much as possible. I know not everyone know how to cook but with 2-3 month of practice and taking help from YouTube, you can cook a pretty decent meal for yourself at home.

As eating out can cost you a minimum of $15 per meal which can go up to $50 per meal for a high-end restaurant which is seriously unaffordable for students managing their expense by themselves.

Well, it does not mean that I am telling you not to eat anything. But putting a fix number of meal in a restaurant is far better than going to restaurant every other day. For example, I cook my meal at home but there are days where I feel tired due to my studies or work and I end up buying some fast food.

This means that I lost one day of meal at a restaurant and I have a maximum of two meals per month and in some cases three. And believe me, meals at restaurant are not that great and healthier.

5. Check Entertainment Expenses

While it’s essential to enjoy your time as a student, be mindful of your entertainment expenses. According to data provided by Prweb, “66% of students are spending $1,200 or more each year on entertainment (bars, restaurants, live music, media, alcohol, marijuana, etc.); more specifically, 21% spend $3,000 or more, and 6% spend $6,000 or more.”

While it may seem less to students getting financial aid from their parents but students who are taking care by themselves need to restructure their budget or create a complete new budget. I recently written a detailed guide on How To Create An Effective College Budget For Students, that can give you step by step guide on what to do.

Additionally, look for free or low-cost activities, such as exploring park, visit Waterfront for a walk (if you are living near Vancouver) or joining university clubs or do volunteering. If you prefer reading, visit community, city or university library.

6. Use Public Transportation

Using public transport is much more affordable if compared to owing a car. You can look for discounted transit passes or consider cycling, e-bike or walking if possible. Public transportation in Canada major cities are very reliable and on time but there will be delays in winter and

Additionally, if you are studying in universities like University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, they offer semester based transit pass. If you are student of these colleges then I suggest you to check with your university faculty member and avail this benefit.

When I started my education, my colleges was not offering this options and per month transit cost were $180 approx. which was taking a toll on my monthly expenses. And in case if you are planning to buy a car with part-time job then you need to evaluate your expenses and total income.

Final Words

Moving to Canada is a tough journey but with proper understanding of your finances, you can easily manage to have a tension free lifestyle and you don’t have to worry to piling up Credit Card debt or any loans.

I still remember those initial months where getting a job was the most difficult part and the first job was paying a minimum wage. Over that, I was making continuous mistakes and the track of my monthly cost of living were quite messed up.

Thats why, I suggest you to prioritize reducing your monthly expenses and creating a new saving account. This will help you to reduce expenses and help you in saving $50 – $200 per month which will seriously help you in the most difficult situation.

I hope you enjoy reading and get an understanding on the saving money as an International student in Canada. It will take time but things will be in your favour when you follow the process.

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