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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Budgeting as a university student

July 30, 2021

Being a university student can mean dealing with finances on your own for the first time in your life. We are here to give you some advice on how to make that a little bit easier. 

First: Detail your expenses

Many people like to start with income, but when you are a student you may not have copious amounts of income, or you need to figure out how much you need to work. List all of your expenses, and total them. A good practice is to look at past expenses and write down the most common amounts for those expenses. Then, you need to decide if you are comfortable with that amount. If you see that you usually spend $100 on Starbucks a month and you feel like you are spending too much, decide on a new realistic figure and then aim for that goal. The goal for budgeting is not to restrict, but to be comfortable with the amount of money you are spending on various expenses so that you feel in control. Below are some examples of expenses to help you on your way. 


Examples of expenses and ‘typical’ monthly amounts for university students:


Expense

Average Budgeted Amount (yours may be higher/lower)

Rent

$600

Internet

$25

Phone Bill

$70

Insurance

$120

Groceries

$200

Gas

$80

Clothes/Toiletries/Personal Care

$100

Takeout & Going Out

$100

Books (twice per year & varies based on program)

$500

Tuition (once a year)

$9000

Second: Income

Next, you need to total your income and figure out if you need to work and how many hours a week. Some people work one or two jobs during the year, and some do not work at all. Both are totally ok, but you need to figure out how much money you spend, how much money you have, and if there is a gap between the two numbers. 

Some examples of student income are:

  • OSAP or other student loans
  • Bursaries
  • Working
  • Money from family (RRSP)
  • Money from the government (GST/HST, Trillium Benefit)
  • Birthday/gifts 

Third: Determine any gaps

The next step is to look at any gaps in the money you expect to spend, and the amount you have as income. If you do not have enough money to support yourself, you may need to look into getting a job. Some great options including the University Works Program are available through the school and they will work around your school schedule. There are peer tutoring options, teaching assistants, and other various positions available. If you find that you have more money coming into your account than you expect to spend, you should consider adding a ‘save’ column into your budget. Often, we can see money in our accounts and think to spend it on wants or things that we do not really need. A treat is good, but you should include it in your budget so you are not spending out of alignment. 


Fourth: Review your budget monthly

Every month I make small adjustments to my budget. Sometimes I have birthday gifts I need to buy or purchase random items such as a winter coat, umbrella, or small student fee like purchasing an ID. Including these items in your budget can help you have an accurate budget. If you start letting items slip through your budget, then you no longer have an accurate representation of where your money is being spent which can make you feel out of control with your finances. Going through your bank statement at the end of the month can help you see if you have areas where you feel that you are spending too much still or areas where you could increase the allocated amount. 


Find an app or platform to track your spending

There are so many amazing budgeting apps out there where you can update where you are spending your money in real-time. Some, such as Mint, update your finances by linking directly to your bank. There are plenty of downloadable excel spreadsheets as well or other budgeting templates.
By Grace Atkinson