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 handy Cheap Sheet - a list of Montreal and McGill resources for lean and mean budgets. (Students with tips 'n tricks of their own should submit these to FrugalScholar [at] mcgill [dot] ca for a chance to win great prizes!) Also, here's some useful info to help you live like a Frugal Scholar:
- 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.
- 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.
- Seek out free entertainment in montreal!
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.