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Tips and tricks to cut your expenses

Having trouble living within your budget? Hoping to keep you debt load as low as possible? Our Financial Aid Counselors and your fellow students have compiled a list of handy tips and tricks to help you live like a Frugal Scholar. Students with tip ideas of their own should submit them to FrugalScholar [at] mcgill [dot] ca for a chance to win great prizes!

Get informed

  • Consult the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) website for information on a variety of financial products and services, as well as your rights and responsibilities when dealing with financial institutions.
  • Choose your bank carefully; each one has its own student service package that could save - or cost - you money.

Shop smart

  • Always comparison shop. From apartments and furniture, to books and clothing, saving a few pennies here and there adds up.
  • Consider buying used - the McGill University Bookstore, for example, offers reduced prices on used textbooks and rentals! You can also find great deals on all kinds of items at the McGill classifieds.
  • Try to resist using your credit card for impulse buying. You will avoid high interest charges and monthly payments that might not fit into your budget.

Eat for less

  • Bring a grocery list with you when you shop for food. It will help keep you on track, and recognize when you're buying things you really don't need.
  • Watch for specials. Grocery Alerts Canada posts Canadian coupons and shows the best grocery flyer deals to use with coupons to maximize the most savings on groceries.
  • Try to avoid doing too much shopping at convenience stores because their prices are generally higher.
  • Consider buying generic products rather those with a brand name.
  • Bring your lunch with you to school instead of eating out. You'd be surprised at how quickly those meals add up!

Change your habits

  • Reduce daily habits that seem insignificant but can add up to big spending in the long run. Buying a $3 coffee every day can cost over $1000 over the course of a year!
  • Take public transportation, carpool, bicycle, or walk as much as possible to save on transportation costs.

Cut utility costs

  • Prioritize your entertainment expenses (i.e., do you really need cable TV?). Ask for student specials on entrance fees and use coupons from student newspapers. Enjoy free activities on campus.
  • Beware of mounting cell phone costs. Familiarize yourself with the true cost of a cell phone plan to see if you can afford it before signing the contract.
  • Long distance phone calls can be expensive. Try setting a timer to limit your calls to a certain length of time. Use email or online chatting to stay connected for less money.