Get started with budgeting for school
School is an investment and, yep, it can be expensive. Knowing in advance what your expenses are and having a plan will help you avoid financial stress.
First, know what you need to pay for
As a student, you’ll have tuition and fees to pay, plus textbooks and supplies to buy. You’ll also have day-to-day living expenses, including rent/mortgage, clothing, food, insurance and more.
Figure out your average monthly spending by grabbing a few months’ worth of bills and categorizing your expenses. Then add the one-time costs or lump-sum payments.
Next, figure out your funding options
There are a variety of resources available to help you finance your education. Explore your options, including:
- Student loans: Apply early to ensure your loan is processed as soon as possible. Visit studentaid.alberta.ca or your provincial student aid office.
- Awards and bursaries: There is over $5 million in awards available to SAIT students.
- Student line of credit: Many financial institutions offer a Student Line of Credit — check in with yours.
- Employment: If you plan to work while you’re in school, the recommended maximum is about 15 hours per week.
Then, manage your money with a budget
Budgeting is about creating a plan to spend your money based on income and expenses. Making a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. Try these simple steps:
- Money in — record your income from all sources.
- Money out — list and track your expenses.
- Evaluate — based on your money in and money out, do you need more income or fewer expenses?
- Repeat — follow this process monthly.
Keep in mind, what you’re earning now might not be the same while you’re a student.
👉 Check this out: Money Mentors: Your home budget calculator
👉 Check this out: Campus Well: 7 steps to pain-free budgeting
Five tips for saving money as a student
- Create a meal plan for the week — this helps avoid the temptation to order in or eat out, plus leftovers are a money saver.
- Make your own coffee on the regular and treat yourself with the fancy stuff.
- Sign up for rewards programs and look for student discounts – they’re out there for food, travel, technology, retail, tickets and admission, and more.
- Use prepaid and refillable grocery cards to keep your spending on track.
- Try having two active bank accounts: one for paying bills and one for everything else.
Learn more about financial support and funding options — connect with Financial Advising at SAIT.