5 Ways to not break the bank this semester

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to cut back after splurging on presents and savory treats. Sound difficult? We’ve come up with some simple ways that students can save their money rather than spending it.

Photo: Isabelle Docto

Photo: Isabelle Docto

1. Splurge: Buy new textbooks
Save: Buy used textbooks

At the start of a new semester, students are usually required to buy a list full of textbooks for their courses– but they don’t have to be brand new books. There are used bookstores on and off campus that can contain texts from most courses. You can also try searching for deals and student discounts on websites like Amazon or SlugBooks. Students from other universities might also have the right texts for your course through the Toronto University Student Book Exchange (TUSBE) website.

Photo: Isabelle Docto

Photo: Isabelle Docto

2. Splurge: Eat out
Save: Pack a lunch

Do you know how much money you can save per week just by packing your own lunch? By spending at least $5 a day on fast food, which is both unhealthy and expensive, you are spending $20 per week on average. Save that cash by packing leftovers or a simple sandwich or salad. Taking that extra five minutes to prepare a lunch will save you hundreds in the long run.

Photo: Oriena Vuong

Photo: Oriena Vuong

3. Splurge: Buy coffee
Save: Bring a thermos with coffee or tea

Waiting in long line-ups at Tim Hortons or Starbucks every morning before class is an unnecessary hassle. Make sure you get to class on time by bringing your own hot coffee or tea in a thermos cup. It’ll save you the trouble of lining up, and it will keep your beverage warm for more than just an hour. For fresh coffee or tea, bring your instant coffee or tea bag of choice and add hot water to it in your thermos throughout the day.

Photo:  "wyliepoon" via Flickr Creative commons

Photo: “wyliepoon” via Flickr Creative commons

4. Splurge: Sign up for a gym membership
Save: Use the campus gym

Why spend money on a gym membership when you’ve already paid for one? With facilities like the Mattamy Athletic Centre and Ryerson Athletic Centre open to the public– and included in your tuition– there’s no need to be using outside gym facilities. The gyms on campus are easy for students to access, so you can fit in a workout before your afternoon class.

Photo: Oriena Vuong

Photo: Oriena Vuong

5. Splurge: Buy a new outfit
Save: Thrift an outfit

Continually buying new clothes for upcoming occasions can really throw your savings out the window. Instead of shopping at major retailers, take advantage of Toronto’s bargain hunting shops like Black Market on Queen St. West where everything is only $10. Another great find on Queen West is the Kind Exchange, where you can exchange your old or unwanted clothes for new ones. Thrifting has become a trendy way to stay stylish without the big price tag.