Congratulations on taking this huge step and for being accepted into a college of your choice! Now, we know you’re excited and trying to figure out important things like visa and flight paperwork, class schedules, on and off-campus activities, and so on, but don’t forget to check out our tips on saving money as an international student.
After all, there’s nothing like an empty bank account and the accompanying struggle to ruin the experience of living in a new country.
Without further ado, here are our ten best ways to help make your life easier and save money as an international student in Canada.
1. Apply For International Student Scholarships
Many students depend on their parents or families to fund their studies. Some work for several years to save up enough money to be able to pursue postgraduate studies. Either way, resources are limited. Between tuition fees, travel, accommodation, and other living expenses, it’s easy to find yourself staring at an empty bank account. A scholarship will help pay for some of those necessities.
While some scholarships may require you to pursue a degree or a specific field of study, others simply ask that you demonstrate financial need.
2. Get A Job On Campus
Many organizations, like the student union, offer part-time employment opportunities. This is a great way to get experience, interact with people, explore options you wouldn’t have considered before and earn some money to support your living expenses. Working a handful of shifts per week won’t take away from your study time, and it won’t ruin your social life.
3. Find Cheaper Accommodations
On-campus accommodation is a top priority for most international students. And why not? It’s safe. It helps you get settled in a new country. With housing sorted, international students don’t have to worry about the legwork of accommodation hunting. However, on-campus accommodation is expensive and can take a lot out of your savings.
Off-campus accommodation is cheaper and just as safe. It also offers you more independence and privacy. There are fewer distractions, and your rental history will make it easier to get better accommodation when you graduate.
4. Get A Student Credit Card
Credit card companies offer annual interest rates of 5% to 9%, depending on your credit history. It may not seem like much, but that 5% or higher charge can add up every few months. You can get a student credit card that cuts down on the amount of money you owe each month (and the extra fees you pay because of it.) Student credit cards are usually easy to get approved for and can help keep a good record of your spending habits, which is a great way to keep yourself from going into debt.
5. Open A Student Line Of Credit
Most banks offer student loans—services that can help students cover the fees associated with going to school. So if you’re struggling and can’t get a scholarship, a line of credit can help with your study-related expenses. However, you shouldn’t use a line of credit unwisely—there is a limit to how much you can borrow, and eventually, you will have to pay back the borrowed sum.
6. Be Wise About International Transfers
You may not know this, but if you transfer money from your bank account in your home country, you’ll be charged more in transfer fees than if you had sent the money from within Canada. You can avoid this by opening a Canadian bank account or using apps like Paypal and Wise to minimize the costs.
7. See If You Can Qualify For Free Healthcare
Yes, all registered students have access to free healthcare, and while that will bring you much relief, it is important to know that you may have to pay for a few things. Dental care, for instance, is not covered under free healthcare. Ensure you understand the differences between Medicare and a health insurance plan and learn what is free for you as each college and province will follow different rules.
8. Bank On Student Discounts
If you have a student ID card from your school, you may be able to get a discount on goods and services. This can include things like buying a car, getting a house, or even renting an apartment.
9. Cook Your Meals
Student life is practically synonymous with take-out food and store-bought snacks. While it takes a bit out of your schedule to grocery shop and cook your meals, do explore that option. Not only will you save a ton of money on food, but you’ll also eat healthier.
10. Stick To A Budget
It’s easy to overspend when you’re not tracking your expenses. To avoid this, make a budget, keep track of your expenses, and revisit this frequently to see where you slipped up. Set goals for how many meals you’ll eat out or how much money you’ll spend on entertainment each week. You can also consider money-saving alternatives like buying second-hand books, furniture, or clothes.
Thank you for reading! We hope our suggestions provide you with a flying start on your new, exciting adventure!