Tips to manage your budget as an International Student in Canada

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Preparing a monthly budget is the first step towards staying on top of your finances. Budgeting gives you a bigger-picture view of your money, so you can make informed spending and saving decisions. It also helps reduce the amount of debt you have once you graduate because, trust me, you don’t want to enter the working world with $30K of debt.

  1. Make a Budget:

List your expenses and income, Red flags for expenses and Green for income. If you find more green flags Great! continue doing the same, but if it is the other way round then you may need to reconsider your lifestyle.

  • Track your spending:

Using budget apps like Mint,  Wally, Mvelopes or Goodbudget will help you track your spending easily. Keeping a track record of your expenses will help you follow your budget and save money.

  • “Needs” Vs “Wants”:
    While it seems like a simple distinction, you would be surprised at our ability to rationalize certain spending decisions. Saving money by buying only what you need gives you more flexibility in your budget in the long run.
  • Stick to your Budget:
    Making a budget is the easy part; putting it into action is the real deal. Remember a budget is not a permanently fixed thing. On the contrary, it is meant to be dynamic. So keep updating it with time and need. Most importantly “Follow” your budget.


University is expensive and the bills can add up, especially in September and January, when tuition is due and you need to buy books for class. By making smart choices and putting in some extra work, you can reduce the impact of these big costs on your wallet.

  1. Look out for free money!
    While we all know that money doesn’t grow on trees (#SAD!) There are many surprising places to get it for free.
    Apply for scholarships, awards, and bursaries. Many scholarships don’t receive such applications, so it’s worth putting in the effort and giving it a shot.
  2. Be smart about how you pay your tuition fee:
    Avoid paying for your tuition or housing fees with a credit card, as a 1.75% fee is added on to the total. For a tuition payment of $3,000, that’s an extra $30 lost. Instead, use another payment method such as a bank transfer or cheque.
  3. Save money on textbooks:
     Buy used textbooks from former students on Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook groups. Don’t forget to check Amazon for some great deals.
  4. Sell your Textbooks:
    When you’re finished with a textbook, sell it back to a new student who needs it.


Besides rent, your biggest monthly expense should mostly be food. While eating out all the time is the easiest option, it’s also the costliest. Adopting a do-it-yourself attitude for food consumption is a smart way to both save money and work on your cooking skills.

1.Cook at Home:

If you limit the number of times you eat out each month, then you can save a lot of money. Cook big meals and preserve the rest. Bring the leftovers with you to school and heat them up to save money on meals.

2. Buy in bulk:
Purchasing in bulk helps you get the most value out of each purchase. Do grocery runs with friends and buy family packs. Separate food into plastic bags and save extras in the freezer.

3. Plan your meals:

By planning out your meals for the coming week, you know the exact ingredients you need to buy. Make a shopping list and shop strategically. Only buy what you need. This also helps reduce wasted food at the end of the week.

4. Make your own coffee:

Instead of purchasing a $3 coffee, buy coffee beans in bulk, and make it yourself. Purchase a travel mug and carry it with you to keep your coffee warm.

If you are looking forward to starting your educational career in Canada then please click here to check our program offerings. You can always email us at

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