Saving During Your First Year At Mount Royal University

Photo by: @joshappel on Unsplash.

Saving money is hard, spending it is easy. Finding that balance between spending and saving can be tricky, especially during university. Here are some tips and tricks for saving to use while attending Mount Royal University – or really, anywhere!

Don’t Buy Books Before Classes Start

I get wanting to come to the first day of class prepared. It sets the tone for the rest of the classes to come and shows that you’re prepared. In university though, prepared means you’ve glanced at the syllabus and have something to take notes with. That doesn’t mean having the textbook. Professors don’t expect you to have the textbook on the first day. Buying your books beforehand means you’ll probably spend way more money than you need to. If you need the textbook for the class, your professor will tell you or they will put it directly in the syllabus. 

If you do need a textbook, follow these tips:

  • Buy a used copy from another student (Facebook groups are great for this).
  • Ask the professor if you can use the previous edition (those are always cheaper).
  • Maybe split the costs with a friend in the class and share a book.
  • Ebooks are your friend if you need an actual book instead of a textbook.
  • Shop around (Amazon, Chapters, AbeBooks, used bookstores here in Calgary).
  • Only buy from the bookstore if you have no other option (they always increase the price).

Live in Residence or Share an Apartment

Getting your own place is expensive. Yes, it’s nice to be on your own. But unless you are making/have at least $1500 to spend on housing and food and utilities, living alone just isn’t possible without living in some sketchy apartments. By sharing an apartment, you can get the nice apartment you want and only pay a fraction of the rent and associated costs. 

Living in Residence is often cheaper than getting your own place too. That puts you right on campus and the RA’s on every floor host lots of games and events in Residence. This means you can spend less money on going out and save more for next year.

Living with your parents during the summers for as long as you can also saves you a ton, especially if you live in Residence or rent furnished. Living at home might not be your dream, I know, but that means (probably) no rent for the summer months!

Spend Wisely

Don’t just buy whatever you want whenever you want it, especially if you are on a fixed income (living off savings and your student loans). Being a student means living off the least amount of money possible and somehow staying alive. Here are some tips to save on groceries:

  • Only buy groceries that are on sale.
  • Buy store brand instead of name brand.
  • Shop at the dollar store for canned goods and pasta. It tastes the same as the stuff at the grocery store at a fraction of the price.

Trying to limit your spending? Here’s some tips to help with that:

  • Look at how often you go out (foreign concept, I know). But try to limit yourself to one outing every two weeks.
  • We all love watching Disney+ AND Netflix AND Hulu AND Amazon Prime. But do you really watch them all enough to make it worth it?
  • Delete the food delivery apps on your phone. If they’re not there, you won’t spend money on them.

Student Discounts FTW!

Student discounts can save you so much money. Lots of places have them, they just don’t advertise it. If you go into a store to purchase something, ask if they have student discounts. If you like clothes shopping, get an SPC card and use that to save some. Places that typically have big purchases usually have some type of student discount. 

Set a Budget and Stick to it!

What is a budget? It’s simply a plan for how you spend your money. Budgeting can be a tricky process – there are so many ways to do it and you never know which one is going to work for you. But once you figure out which method works best for you, you’ll save loads. Maybe you’ll be able to afford to treat yourself to that new pair of Converse you’ve been eying up. Click the links below to check out some common budgeting methods that might work for you. Or make up your own!

Published on September 8, 2021

About Skylar Brebrich

Skylar is a recent graduate of the History program at MacEwan University who spends most of her time buried under towers of dusty old books. When she manages to dig her way out, you'll find her travelling the world in search of castles and curios, or curled up in bed rewatching CSI for the millionth time.