10 Tips on How to Save Money in Canada as an International Student

Tips to Save Money in Canada

Source: CBC News

In recent years, the number of international students seeking overseas education has been multi-folded. Canada is one such popular destination that attracts thousands of international students every year for higher studies. Top universities that offer excellent quality education, practical teaching methodology, abundant job and internship opportunities, a very safe environment to study, etc., are some of the reasons why international students are flocking Canadian universities to pursue their education. However, ”cost” is a factor that the students have to consider if they choose to study in Canada.  Though tuition fees and cost of living are relatively affordable compared to the US, it is still not inexpensive to live and study in Canada. Hence, if you opt to study in this country, you must figure out different ways to save money in Canada as an international student.

One of the benefits of studying in a foreign nation is the opportunity to travel and explore. The true essence of overseas education is a holistic personality development attained through a culture-rich learning experience. Students from multiple ethnicities, religions and other nations studying under one roof impart a global-level exposure that broadens your horizon and perspective. Travelling, networking, socialising, interning, etc., are the activities that get you the required global exposure. To do all that, you must save money in Canada while you seek an overall learning experience.

Ten Tips on How to Save Money in Canada

Let us discuss in detail a few tips on how you can save money in Canada as an international student.

1. Apply for Scholarships

As an international student, you can apply for scholarships at Canadian universities. The government of Canada and several international and non-profit organisations offer many grants and scholarships for international students. If you successfully procure a scholarship, you will either get partial or complete funding for your studies, depending on the type of scholarship. Getting a scholarship will save a significant cost for your studies.

Here is a list of scholarships for Indian students for graduate and research studies in Canada.

Program Managed / Funded by
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Government of Canada
Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Government of Canada
CIFAR Global Scholars Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
CIHR Fellowship Canadian Institutes of Health Research
IDRC Doctoral Research Awards International Development Research Centre
IDRC Research Awards International Development Research Centre
Mitacs Elevate Mitacs
Mitacs Globalink Research Internship Mitacs
Research Associate Program National Research Council Canada
Sauvé Scholars Program Jeanne Sauvé Youth Fondation
Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships Trudeau Foundation
Trudeau Research Fellowships Trudeau Foundation
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Government of Canada
Visiting Fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories Program Participating government departments and agencies

2. Optimise your Cost of Studies

Different factors contribute to the overall expenditure of studying in Canada. While living expense is a separate entity, the cost of studies is one major factor that you can optimise to save money in Canada as an international student.

Here are a few ways through which you can minimise your cost of studies:

Apply for Universities with Low Tuition Fees

Numerous Canadian universities offer graduate/undergraduate programs at a lower tuition fee. If the university is reputed enough and provides the same quality education, you can apply for such universities and save on tuition fees.

Fast-Track your Graduate/Undergraduate Program

If the master’s program you are applying for is a 3-year degree, you can opt to go for an accelerated degree program that you can complete in 2 years. You can condense the program to 2 years by taking more classes and accumulating the required credits to complete the course faster. You can save an entire year’s living expenses by choosing an accelerated program.

Re-use Books/Study Material

You can look for used textbooks or tools that are required for your studies. They are lesser in price or sometimes free of cost and will help you save quite much.

3. Get a Part-time Job

Student Working at a Coffee Shop to Save Money in Canada

Source: SEDA College

As a student, you will have a reasonable amount of time to spare during off-college hours and weekends that can be used judiciously. A part-time job is a great option to save money in Canada while you study. You can apply for part-time jobs off-campus or within the campus to work in the late evenings or over the weekends, of course, without compromising on your study hours. You can save up quite a lot and manage your expenses with the money earned through these jobs.

Here are a few lucrative part-time job options for international students studying in Canada:

  • Paid Internships
  • Shopping Outlets/ Retail Stores – Sales/ HR/ Billing/ Accounts/ Bookkeeping/ Marketing Jobs
  • Coffee Shops/Restaurants/Fast-food Joints – Managing cafe/Waiting tables/Accounts/Bookkeeping jobs
  • On-Campus Jobs – Admin/Personal Assistants/Tutoring/Swimming instructors/Note-taker/Personal Trainers at Gyms
  • Libraries – Bookkeeping/Data-entry/Assistant Jobs

4. Save on Accommodation

Housing rent is one of the major costs of living in Canada. International students have many options for accommodation – shared rooms, dormitories, student hostels, apartments, etc., either within the campus or off-campus. Usually, living within the campus is more expensive than off-campus. Since students have huge discounts on the public transport system, travelling from off-campus will not be expensive, compared to the cost that you may incur living within the campus. Also, going for shared rooms will cut down your rent by half, helping you save up.

Do read this article to learn about various accommodation options available in Canada for international students.

5. Save on Travel/Commuting Expenses

Transport System for Students in Canada

Source: Wikimedia

As an international student, you may need to commute to your campus every day, which is a regular expense. Here is how you can save on transportation expense in Canada:

Use Public Transit/Public Transport System:

Public transits in Canada offer discounts for students and are very affordable. You can apply for public transit passes and use these passes for unlimited travel to and fro from your home to campus or travel anywhere within Canada.

Walk/Commute on Foot:

If the weather permits and you stay close enough to the campus, walking to your university is a great way to save money in Canada; this will get you your daily dose of exercise without spending a penny at the gym!

Read this detailed blog to learn about various transportation options for international students in Canada:

6. Save on Recreational Travel Expenses

When you live in a foreign country, you may wish to do a bit of travel during your school semester breaks. You may also want to go back home once a year to see your family and friends. This is a big expense but something that you may not wish to avoid. The below tip will help you save on this major travel cost.

Student Travel Cards

Apply for a student travel credit card and accumulate points when you use the card for your regular shopping and travel needs. Credit points and student discounts on this card can be redeemed when you wish to fly locally or internationally. You can save a lot when you plan your yearly visit to your home country or travel recreationally during your semester breaks.

7. Cut Down on your Overall Cost of Living Expenses - Food & Groceries, Shopping

Food, groceries and other shopping needs contribute to your overall cost of living, apart from accommodation and travel. You can manage these expenses effortlessly by following the below tips.

Food

Learn to cook your meals. Regularly eating out is never a wise option wherever you live. Stock up your pantry; prepare quick and nutritious meals that are filling, healthy and far lighter on your pockets. You can treat yourself to a take-out or a fast-food meal once a week.

Groceries

Shop at local supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and use coupons and student discounts to save on grocery expenditure. Plan your meals and shop weekly to avoid stocking up unnecessarily.

Shopping/Miscellaneous Expenses

Canada is a cold country, and you may need to invest in suitable winter clothing, appropriate footwear and accessories. You may also have other miscellaneous expenses that need to be taken care of. Shop wisely during holiday sales or even online, where you can find the same good quality stuff at half or lesser prices. Spend smartly on miscellaneous expenses like phone and internet bills by opting for discounted plans.

Click the link below for a detailed article on the Cost of Living in Canada.

Health Insurance in Canada for International Students/Healthcare Cost

Many provinces in Canada offer free public healthcare plans for international students. However, this varies from one province to another. If the region you are residing in does not provide public healthcare insurance for international students, then you would be required to arrange for private health insurance for the complete duration of your study program. You cannot evade this cost, but you can look for health insurance providers who provide maximum benefits at low premium rates.

Learn more by clicking on this link below:

8. Avail Student Discounts

Canada is a student-friendly country offering enormous discounts for students on travel/public transport, groceries, shopping, electronics, hotel stay, etc. The International Student Identity Card for international and domestic students gives the students access to student discounts in Canada and also worldwide. Make use of this card and save money in Canada and other countries when you travel.

Click the link below to avail your International Student Identity Card:

9. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses

Humans tend to hoard!! We stock up on unnecessary stuff, thinking we may need them at some point or another. Control this urge to shop nonessential items as you will have other pressing expenses to take care of. Buy what you need and borrow/re-use things that are only required for short-term usage. Also, keep in mind that you are in that country for a short period and disposing of items becomes a challenge when you relocate at the end of your program.

10. Manage your Finances by Sticking to a Budget

To save money in Canada, you must first prepare a budget outlining the different expenses you will incur as an international student. Once you fix a budget, maintain a weekly financial record of the costs, and manage your finances by allocating a fixed amount for each expense. If anywhere you have spent extra during the week, try to make up for it by saving it elsewhere. Setting and sticking to a budget allows you to keep track of where and how you spend your money.

Given below is a list of expenses you will incur through the course of your study duration in Canada:

  • Tuition Fees
  • Study Material Cost
  • Accommodation (Rent)
  • Food and Groceries
  • Commuting/Transportation
  • Communication (Phone/Internet)
  • Clothing/Personal Expenses
  • Health Insurance
  • Recreation
  • Travel Expenses

Conclusion

Tuition fees, study material cost, accommodation, food and living expenses, commuting, and other miscellaneous expenses contribute to your overall cost of living in Canada. This article focuses on all such factors and outlines ten practical tips on how you can save money in Canada in every possible way. As you soar high in your academic journey, you must learn the most essential life lesson along the way, saving for a living!

Click here to check out the Top 10 Public Universities in Canada:

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