A penny pincher’s guide to personal finance

By Briercrest College Modified on March 27, 2019

Top tips to help you cut back on spending in the last six weeks of school.

A cute piggy bank.

It's March; you're close to the end of school, but you're also close to the end of your bank account. With summer employment just around the corner, all you need is to make it for another six weeks until a steady paycheck is coming in. Don't worry, we've got some tips and tricks for you to pinch every last penny.

Know your schedule and bring food accordingly

If you know that you have three classes and a lab in your schedule, it's going to be a long day. You need to plan your meals accordingly, because if you don't, you'll be making another trip to McDonalds. It may only cost $5 this time, but in the course of a month those trips can add up. Do your bank account a favour: plan your day so that you're not resorting to fast food. A simple app like SuperCook can help you make the most out of the food that's already in your fridge.

Splurge appropriately

Choose your moments for splurging. Working hard for an afternoon does not mean you should treat yourself to something fancy. The more you splurge on small things, the less special they become. Try and save gifts for yourself for when you've accomplished significant personal goals, like getting a good grade on a midterm or celebrating with friends at the end of a semester. Just like fast food, those celebratory fro-yos add up.

Make your own coffee

I know it's tempting to get that last sticker for your McCafé coffee card or to earn rewards when you go to Starbucks, but the biggest winners in those scenarios are always the companies. According to Fortune 500, they're doing fine on their own. Save yourself that toonie and make your own coffee at home. Start your day by making your own great tasting cup of joe.

Take advantage of your school's transit pass

True, it's cold outside — but if you live in a large city and your classes are during rush hour, you won't be saving much time by driving. By taking the bus, you'll feel like you're part of the city! Plus, you can get a head start on homework during the ride home. It's not like driving home can be considered relaxation time, anyway.

Better yet, think about how living on campus could save you time and money on transportation.

Try the shotgun approach to scholarships

Everyone knows it can be difficult to get scholarships. They're competitive and sometimes we can count ourselves out too soon. When it comes to scholarships, sometimes it pays to think quantity over quality. It's always good to apply for a $10,000 scholarship, but don't neglect the smaller ones. There are no limits on applications, and if that full tuition scholarship doesn't pan out, those couple other $500 - $1000 scholarships may be really helpful.