Living on a Budget as an Art Student

By OCAD University Modified on September 07, 2018

You don’t have to be a starving artist just to get by.


If you’re a student, financial matters may come as a new responsibility so it’s a great idea to get ahead by doing your research and being prepared. Below are some tips to help you out.

  1. 1. Check out the CREATiveFund$ Series
    A fun way to learn how to manage your finances is to check out the CREATiveFund$ video series. The videos are short so it won’t take up to much of your time and a great way to kick-start your financial journey.

  2. 2. Review the 10 Steps to a Successful Financial Plan
    It’s never too early to plan ahead. Read this interactive brochure that was created for students to help them navigate financial matters specifically in the context of art and design.

  3. 3. Calculate Your Expenses with the Cost Calculator
    Use this cost calculator to estimate your costs as a student. Outside of tuition, it’s important to budget for supplies and other miscellaneous fees.

  4. 4. Talk to a Financial Aid Advisor
    All universities have a financial aid team that can help. Book an appointment with a financial aid advisor and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  5. 5. Buy Supplies Second Hand
    Save money by buying your art supplies second hand or take part in your community sharing depot. Be sure to familiarize yourself with art supply stores around you and compare prices before purchasing.

  6. 6. Socialize Without Spending
    Socializing with your peers can come to a cost. Activities like eating out can really add up so try suggesting something like cooking and eating in or a picnic at the park.

  7. 7. Get Entrepreneurial by Selling Your Work
    Sure you could get a part-time job but why not sell your work on the side if you can? You can create an online portfolio to promote yourself and sell your work but there are other avenues as well. Social media and online marketplaces like are also popular. To get started, talk to your professors or peers and see if they have any other tips or advice.