How to Avoid Being Broke as a Student in Canada

Dear scholar, you can only continue one more academic year in Canada on the availability of funds.

Before you got enrolled in any designated learning institution in Canada, you were able to prove that you had enough funds to sponsor your staying and coming back.

You achieving that goal is solely on how well you manage funds.

Don’t be among the unfortunate many who are deported yearly because they were unable to fund their education, find out how to avoid being broke as a student in Canada.

How to avoid being Broke as a student in Canada

Here is how to avoid being broke as a student in Canada:

#1. Budgeting

Creating a monthly budget is the first and essential step for students to manage their finances effectively.

A budget provides a clear overview of your income and expenses, enabling you to make informed decisions about spending and saving.

By having a budget in place, you can work towards reducing debt, which is especially crucial upon graduation. You don’t want to enter the working world burdened with substantial student loans.

#2. Track Your Spending

Keeping track of every purchase you make is crucial to understanding your spending patterns.

Whether you prefer pen and paper or a budgeting app, tracking expenses helps you become more aware of where your money is going.

This awareness allows you to identify areas where you can cut back and save money, making it easier to stick to your budget.

#3. Know your Needs & Wants

While it may seem straightforward to differentiate between needs and wants, students often find themselves rationalizing certain spending decisions.

By focusing on buying only what you genuinely need, you create more flexibility in your budget and avoid unnecessary expenses that can add up over time.

#4. Stay on Budget

Making a budget is the first step, but the real challenge lies in adhering to it. Remember that a budget is not set in stone; it should be dynamic and adaptable to changes.

If your circumstances change, update your budget accordingly to ensure it remains effective.

#5. Take Advantage of Free Money

As a student, there are numerous opportunities to access free money through scholarships, awards, and bursaries.

Surprisingly, many scholarships receive few applications, increasing your chances of securing financial assistance.

.Put in the effort to research and apply for these opportunities – it can make a significant difference in offsetting your educational expenses.

#6. Pay Fees the Smart Way

When it comes to paying tuition or housing fees, it’s essential to choose the most cost-effective payment method. Avoid using credit cards, as they often incur additional fees.

Instead, opt for payment methods like bank transfers or checks that don’t involve extra charges.

Take advantage of any discounts or incentives provided by the university to minimize your expenses further.

#7. Go Easy on Your Meal Plan Dollars

If you have a meal plan, make the most of it by being mindful of how you spend your meal dollars.

Opt to eat at on-campus dining halls where you can get a 25% discount on each purchase using your basic meal dollars.

Additionally, consider using your flex dollars at UBC Food Services locations to get a 5% discount

By using your meal plan strategically, you can stretch your dollars and avoid wasting them on unnecessary expenses.

#8. Save Money on Textbooks

Textbooks can be a significant expense for students, but there are ways to cut costs.

Look for used textbooks from former students on online platforms like Craigslist, Kijiji, or UBC Used Textbooks Facebook groups.

The UBC Bookstore may also have a rental program available for certain books, providing a more affordable option.

Additionally, don’t forget to check websites like Amazon for potential textbook deals and discounts.

9#. Sell Your Textbooks

Once you’ve finished using a textbook, consider selling it to recoup some of your expenses. You can sell your textbooks back to the UBC Bookstore or Discount Textbooks.

Alternatively, try finding other students who may need the books and are willing to purchase them from you at a lower cost.

Selling your used textbooks can put some extra money back into your pocket.

#10. Cook Your Food

Eating out frequently can quickly drain your budget, so consider cooking at home as a cost-effective alternative.

Prepare large meals and store leftovers in Tupperware containers, making it convenient to bring homemade meals with you to campus.

Schools like UBC provide microwaves around campus, so you can easily heat your meals and save money on costly cafeteria or restaurant food.

#11. Buy to Store

Buying in bulk is an excellent way to get more value out of your purchases. Team up with friends to do grocery runs and purchase family packs of items that can be shared.

Dividing the food into plastic bags and freezing the extras ensures that you have food available for future meals without spending extra money.

#12. Schedule Your Meals

Planning your meals for the week allows you to create a shopping list with specific ingredients, preventing impulse purchases and reducing food waste.

By knowing exactly what you need, you can stick to your budget and avoid overspending on unnecessary items.

#13. Make Your Coffee

If you’re a coffee lover, buying a cup of coffee daily can quickly add up. Consider buying coffee beans in bulk and brewing your coffee at home or in a travel mug to bring with you to campus.

Making your coffee can save you a considerable amount over the school year compared to buying individual cups from coffee shops.

#14. Don’t Underestimate Coupons

Take advantage of any coupons or discounts available to lower your grocery bill. Look for coupons in newspapers, magazines, or online platforms.

Many stores offer digital coupons that you can access through their apps or websites.

Using coupons whenever possible can result in significant savings on your grocery expenses

#15. Don’t Buy by Impulse

One of the most effective ways to save money while shopping is to resist the temptation of impulse buys.

Before making any purchase, especially on non-essential items, take a moment to pause and think about whether it aligns with your budget and needs.

Impulse purchases can quickly derail your financial plans and lead to unnecessary expenses.

By practicing restraint and thoughtful consideration, you can avoid buyer’s remorse and keep your finances on track.

#16. Shop at Discount Stores

When looking for household goods, school supplies, and other essentials, consider shopping at discount stores.

A dollar store is an excellent option for finding affordable items. Thrift stores are also great for purchasing used clothing and various household items.

Vancouver has several thrift stores that offer budget-friendly choices. By shopping at discount stores, you can save money without compromising on quality.

#17. Buy Generic Goods

Choosing generic or store-brand products over expensive name brands is a simple yet effective money-saving strategy.

Whether it’s food, medicine, toiletries, or household items, generic options often provide the same quality at a lower cost.

At the grocery store, opt for house-brand products, as the small price difference can add up to significant savings over time.

By being open to alternatives, you can stretch your budget further and allocate your savings to other important expenses.

#18. Request a Student Discount

As a student, it’s essential to inquire about available student discounts whenever you make a purchase.

Many stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues offer discounts to students, but these deals are not always prominently advertised.

Don’t hesitate to ask store employees or check their websites to see if they offer any student discounts.

Having your student ID ready can help you take advantage of these cost-saving opportunities, allowing you to enjoy various products and services at a more affordable price.

#19. Join Free Social Activities

Having a social life and participating in extracurricular activities are crucial aspects of the university experience.

Fortunately, there are plenty of enjoyable social activities that won’t strain your budget. Take advantage of Vancouver’s natural beauty by going hiking, cycling, sightseeing, or having a picnic in the park.

Vancouver offers numerous free events and festivals throughout the year, providing opportunities for entertainment without spending money.

Additionally, as a student(e.g. in the UBC) you will have access to various on-campus attractions with free entry or significant discounts.

Such as the UBC Aquatic Centre, ARC and Birdcoop Fitness Centres, the Museum of Anthropology, the Nitobe Memorial Garden, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

Joining university clubs and attending their social events is another fantastic way to have fun and meet new people without breaking the bank.

With a little creativity, you can enjoy a vibrant social life while staying within your budget.

#20. Reach Out for Help

Financial struggles are not uncommon for students, and it’s crucial not to hesitate in seeking support when needed.

If you find yourself facing financial challenges, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to your family about your situation and explore the possibility of receiving financial assistance from them.

Additionally, you can seek advice and guidance from Enrolment Services Advisors at your school.

These advisors can help you create a budget and develop a plan to address your financial concerns effectively.

Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of responsibility and proactivity, and it can lead to valuable solutions to ease your financial burden.

#21. Use The 50/30/20 Rule

The 50/30/20 rule is a popular budgeting strategy that can help you manage your finances effectively and stop being broke.

50% for Needs

The first step is to allocate 50% of your net income toward your essential needs.

These include expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transportation costs, insurance premiums, and necessary medications.

By ensuring that half of your income covers these fundamental requirements, you build a strong foundation for financial stability.

30% for Wants

The next portion of your income, 30%, is earmarked for your wants and discretionary spending.

This category includes non-essential expenses such as dining out, entertainment, cable or streaming services, hobbies, and other personal indulgences.

While it’s important to enjoy life and treat yourself, the key is to keep this spending in check and avoid going overboard.

20% for Savings

Finally, the remaining 20% of your income should be dedicated to savings and financial goals.

This is a crucial aspect of the 50/30/20 rule as it sets the groundwork for building wealth and security.

Allocate this portion towards an emergency fund, retirement savings, investments, or other long-term financial objectives.

By prioritizing savings, you create a safety net for unexpected expenses and lay the groundwork for a more prosperous future.


How can I create a budget as a student?

To create a budget, make a spreadsheet comparing your income and expenses for the year. You can find useful budgeting resources on UBC’s Financial Planning page, including a budgeting basics worksheet and a budget planner.

What if my expenses exceed my income?

If your expenses are greater than your income, consider ways to reduce spending or find opportunities to increase your earnings. Reevaluate your budget and make adjustments accordingly.

How can I save money on textbooks?

Save money on textbooks by purchasing used ones from former students on platforms like Craigslist, Kijiji, or UBC Used Textbooks Facebook groups. Additionally, explore rental programs at the UBC Bookstore and look for deals on websites like Amazon.

How can I reduce food expenses as a student?

To cut down on food expenses, cook at home, buy in bulk with friends, plan your meals, make your coffee instead of buying it daily, and use coupons whenever possible.


Being enrolled in any designated institution abroad in Canada is a start. Your finishing depends on your spending habits.

Everything I have told you in the article is summarized in these popular sayings; live below your means, spend less, earn more.

Always see why you should cut down on costs. Remember, this phase you’re in is for education, to cut off the dating fever. Good luck.


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