How I Save Money as a Student in Toronto

By York University - Glendon Campus Modified on June 29, 2023
Tags : Books | Campus Life | Money | Student POV

Keeping more of your hard-earned money while studying in one of Canada's most expensive cities.

How I Save Money as a Student in Toronto

By Natashia Mavin, Honours BA & BEd student

Students, here are a few ways you can save money as a Glendon Campus undergraduate student in Toronto (Future Glendon students, click here!). I'm no expert, but I like to save money where I can. If you're wondering how you can save money as an undergrad university student, then keep reading.


I chose to live at home, as I wanted to stay in my own room, and to be able to spend time with my family regularly. However, this means that I commute to school by car on highway 401, from Whitby to North York's Glendon Campus.

In order to save money, I try to buy gas at night when the price goes down, and I also change my tires at home with my family to avoid spending money at a dealership or an autoshop. I even ask for gas gift cards for birthdays and special holidays. If you can, also consider carpooling!

The perks of living at home

While I don't love commuting on the highway, I love living at home! I'm lucky enough to live rent-free, and I'm not required to buy my own food, or to pay for any utilities. So, I'm able to save a lot of money. Of course, it also allows me to spend time with my family, and to enjoy family dinners.

Even if you live at home, you can still establish some independence from your family. Get a door with a lock!

Snack time

I typically choose to bring my own food to school to save money; some snacks include grapes, nut mix, cucumber, plantain chips, and cookies. I'll occasionally treat myself to the Glendon Marché or even to Tim Horton's, but for the most part, I bring my own food. The little purchases add up, so give yourself a treat budget, and bring food when you can. Also, bring a reusable water bottle so that you don't have to buy a bottled drink: there are refill stations on campus!

Part-time job

I've been lucky enough to work on campus as a work-study student. As an eAmbassador, I create and post content to share my experience as a student, so future students can see what university life is like here at Glendon.

If you're looking for a job, I recommend that you ask about any work-study opportunities on campus that interest you. There are so many options, and this means that you're making money while you're at school!

Insurance opt-out period

As part of the York Federation of Students, our tuition automatically includes access to a Health and Dental plan; however, if you're like me, you may already be covered under your parent or guardian's insurance plan.

While the school health plan's a great deal for those who aren't already covered, I choose to opt-out and receive a refund for this service, which I will not use. Make sure to check the deadline for the opt-out period if you would like to receive this refund.

Used textbooks

One other great way to save money is by looking for used textbooks and other class materials, like course kits and novels. I have used both Facebook marketplace and Glendon's Book Buying/Selling Facebook group to purchase used books. Also, I have contacted friends and other students to see if they have course materials for classes they've already taken. I definitely recommend asking around for class materials to buy them at a cheaper price.

Scholarships, awards, and bursaries

These are simply ideas for saving money, but of course, this list is not limited. In addition to university entrance awards, there are also scholarships, awards, and bursaries to apply for. I recommend applying to as many scholarships as possible!

Additionally, there are student rates for services such as printing, and for events around Toronto such as Raptors tickets. Make sure to stay up to date on emails, and to check the Glendon Instagram and other York social media accounts so you don't miss any opportunities to save money.

Have fun at university!

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