It’s important to be financially conscientious, especially as a student at the University of Toronto. Tuition fees are high and additional necessities put pressure on your bank account. Therefore, strive to make wise decisions when it comes to your spending habits and university lifestyle. This money-saving guide will provide useful tips that you can put into action while navigating your financial journey at the University of Toronto.
8 Money-Saving Guide Tips:
1)You may qualify for Emergency Financial Assistance.
This is the first money-saving guide tip. The University of Toronto offers options to undergraduate and graduate students who are in need of adequate funding in situations of financial difficulties or stresses. You may apply for this grant online. Alternatively, if you are a full-time student at the University of Toronto, check out other grants that are available too. There are lots of excellent grants. Many of these take a little under an hour to apply, so it’s worth the effort. However, many students underestimate the likelihood of receiving one and, thus, don’t apply.
You’d be surprised by how many grants you might receive. Even if it’s every few months, apply to as many as you qualify for! A grant is money that you do not have to pay back, and you may use it however you need it. That said, do not get carried away. Always put this money towards your education.
Scholarships can support your education. The University of Toronto honours excellence in various levels of study. There are all kinds of scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students. Whether it be in-course related, admissions-related, and beyond! In the meantime, visit https://future.utoronto.ca/finances/scholarships/ to find current opportunities and start applying.
3) Meal Prep
Hungry? For all the activities in your busy week, you have to keep well-nourished. All the while not straining your budget. Don’t spend $10 on a small snack from an overpriced store on campus!
You are better off eating something with better nutrition. Therefore, pack your own lunch from home. Better yet, check out the school’s meal plan options for students! Meal plans are available to students living on or off-campus. If you have special dietary needs, the University of Toronto is happy to accommodate you. Visit https://ueat.utoronto.ca for more information. It is very easy to eat healthily on a budget. So, put your money towards good health and a hearty meal.
Most importantly, students underestimate how much of their money goes towards their daily coffee (or multiple coffees a day) and fast-food meals. If this applies to you, my money-saving guide tip is this: cut that out completely. Even if it takes a gradual method of removing your favourite latte from daily purchases, it will save a lot of money. Additionally, it is better for your health since those beverages are calorically dense.
4) Commuting to Campus
Your commutes to class will be a regular occurrence. However, you can save money as a student at the University of Toronto. For students who commute a long way, we understand what you go through! Nobody likes getting up at 5 AM to sit in a crowding train, which may be delayed due to traffic, weather, or unforeseen circumstances.
If you’re driving, park at convenient locations around campus and sign up for a permit. The University of Toronto St. George offers permit options to students. However, if you are looking for parking passes for the University of Toronto Mississauga or Scarborough campuses, you will have to visit their websites for details.
In the warmer months, take your bike! Check out the biking paths around the city. If you do not have a bicycle of your own, borrow one with permission. Bike Share is a great asset to transportation throughout the city. Most importantly, public transit is a major method of daily commutes throughout the City of Toronto. So you have a lot of options available to you.
GO Transit and TTC
The GO Transit Student ID will significantly discount your train trips. Also, there’s a TTC Student Monthly Discount Pass for your bus, subway line, and streetcar lines of commuting.
If you commute from the west of Toronto (or are trying to head west), the University of Toronto Mississauga campus has a shuttle bus which operates regularly. For this shuttle bus, there is a small fee for non-UTM students, but it takes you directly to the downtown St. George campus. Keep in mind that it takes over an hour to get back to the UTM campus during the evening rush hour due to downtown traffic! Visit UToronto Public Transit for more information.
It’s always cheapest to walk to your destinations. Of course, this may not be possible (some students may have a long distance to travel). But if your route involves the GO Train to downtown Toronto, then change sections of your route. I saved so much money by walking the few kilometers to and from campus from the GO Train Station. Moreover, it’s beneficial to add extra exercise to your day. It gets easier when the weather is warmer. You can do it!
As part of your membership, take advantage of the clubs, events, recreational activities, and arts that your student life has to offer. A ton of these come at no additional cost. All that is required is your time. However, since your time is money, make sure it is well spent. This money-saving guide is meant to remind you of that. Therefore, use the time between your studies to relax at one of the school’s many gyms or take a fitness class. Hart House is a very popular location for hosting a good mix of events from fitness classes to club meetings and arts performances and displays. Unwind with some arts and crafts or watch a live band. If you want to join a club that’s specific to your interests, you most certainly can.
There are hundreds of initiatives for student wellness too! Each of them have something great to offer. Or, why not start a club of your own? Visit https://future.utoronto.ca/university-life/campus-life/ for information on how to get involved.
6) Learn How to Opt-Out
Did you know that you can opt-out of services you don’t think you’ll need? This will save you money in the long run. In fact, I wish I’d known this early on. For example, if you don’t think you’ll be needing the full dental coverage, which is part of your yearly tuition, completely opt-out of this. The University of Toronto covers you through extended health insurance, but you need to figure out what you are being covered for by visiting the University of Toronto Student Union website.
Typically, students of the St. George campus will be redirected to the Student Care website. You can view the lists of benefits including dental, vision, physiotherapy, and mental health-related services. Discover what you are eligible for, as well as the period of time you are able to request a refund (if applicable). Or decide which services you would like to opt-out of in the future.
Annual Opt-Out Process
Please keep in mind that if you choose to opt-out for the current policy year, and are returning to school as an eligible student the next year, you will be automatically re-enrolled into the UTSU Health and Dental Plan. In other words, it will appear as a charge on your tuition bill next year. If you want to opt-out again, you must renew this online. Keep in mind that even if you are opting-out, you still need to pay the tuition fees before each due date and be reimbursed later for the opted-out fees. This is quite easy.
7) University Merch Limitations
Do not spend your money on unnecessary university merchandise. It can be tempting to buy the latest hoodie released by your faculty, but really, you can put that $60 somewhere more productive. Be careful of “sales” that look like sales but are not. Remember this money-saving guide if you feel tempted!
While we love the University of Toronto, there is so much merchandise that can be tempting. Feeling the need to buy school merchandise is not a bad thing, but keep it under control and know your limits. New students will want to buy merchandise to represent their school, but end up spending hundreds of dollars on shirts and hoodies! That’s so much money.
Therefore, proceed with caution. Ask yourself: is this quality material? Will it last longer than a few years? If the clothing is comfortable for the price, then go ahead. Sometimes you might catch a good sale at the University of Toronto Bookstore, especially if the item is out of season!
8) Student Rent
This is my final money-saving guide tip. A place to live while you’re studying at the University of Toronto is a topic that everyone worries about. It can be intimidating and overwhelming for young adults who are trying to find an affordable place to live. Realistically, living on-campus is often expensive (I’ll take an overcrowded train out of the city over paying extra thousands of dollars every year, thanks). Some on-campus residences may be full already. Therefore, off-campus housing may be the way to go.
The University of Toronto wants to facilitate your experience beyond the campus walls. This means, there is help available to students who are planning to live off-campus. There are many things to know, especially if this is your first time renting a place in the city of Toronto. This resource is a useful one indeed: http://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/hs.
There are SO many scams in the housing market that prey on university students. Therefore, it is important to stay informed. URent sessions are highly informative talks that discuss topics of selecting roommates, budgeting, and what you need to know when signing a lease. If you’re looking for a place to call home, the University of Toronto wants you to have an affordable and safe experience.
Hopefully this money-saving guide helps you be more financially conscientious!