How to Save Money as an International Student in Canada

Recently, Canada has become a top destination for international students. The number of international students in Canada has grown over the years, and students from all corners of the world come to study here. The country is celebrated for its cultural diversity, and this extends to its educational institutions. The standard of education here is top-notch.

How to Save Money as an International Student in Canada

As an international student, you will find yourself in a welcoming and inclusive environment where you can interact with peers from all over the world and yes, Canada is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries globally. In addition, Canada provides excellent post-graduation opportunities, which allow you to gain valuable work experience after completing your studies.

How to Save Money as an International Student in Canada

However, the cost of living in Canada can be high, this is why it’s crucial for you to manage your finances wisely. If you are looking to study in Canada, here is how you can save money as an international student. The tips here will help you achieve this. Are you ready for them?

Create a budget

  • Creating a budget is the first step to saving money. List your income sources (e.g., scholarships, part-time job, family support) and expenses (e.g., tuition, housing, food, transportation).
  • Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your spending. Apps like Mint or YNAB can help you monitor your financial health.

Accommodation choices

  • Opt for on-campus housing or shared apartments to reduce housing costs.
  • Consider homestays or co-living arrangements for a more affordable alternative.
  • Always read your lease agreements carefully to understand your financial responsibilities.

Transportation savings

  • Use public transportation or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft instead of owning a car.
  • You can take advantage of student discounts on public transportation passes.
  • If you must have a car, carpooling with friends can help cut down on fuel and maintenance expenses.

Food and grocery shopping

  • Cook your meals at home instead of dining out frequently.
  • Buy generic or store-brand products, which are often cheaper.
  • Look for local farmer’s markets and discounts at grocery stores.

Student discounts

  • Always carry your student ID card to take advantage of discounts (for students) at restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.
  • Subscribe to student discount programs and apps like UNiDAYS and Student Beans.

Part-time work

  • In Canada, international students are allowed to work part-time during their studies. you can work to earn more money.
  • Look for on-campus jobs or part-time positions related to your field of study.
  • Be mindful of work-hour restrictions to balance your work and studies effectively.

Banking and financial services

  • Open a bank account in Canada to avoid international transaction fees.
  • Compare banks to find accounts with low or no monthly fees.
  • Consider using online banking for convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Healthcare and insurance

  • Understand your health insurance coverage and access to healthcare services, insurance can help you save money on medical emergencies.
  • Consider purchasing additional health insurance if necessary.
  • Use walk-in clinics or campus health centers for non-emergency medical issues.

Textbooks and study materials

  • Buy used textbooks or digital versions to save on book costs.
  • Utilize library resources and borrow books whenever possible.
  • Share textbooks with classmates if you’re studying similar subjects.

Entertainment and leisure

  • Check out free or low-cost recreational activities in your city, such as hiking, biking, or visiting museums on discounted days.
  • Limit spending on entertainment like movies, concerts, and nightlife.
  • Organize potluck dinners or game nights with friends instead of costly outings.

Emergency fund

  • Set aside a portion of your income as an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
  • Aim to save at least 10% of your income, if possible.

Avoid credit card debt

  • Use credit cards responsibly and pay off the balance in full each month to avoid high-interest charges.
  • Only use credit cards for essential expenses and emergencies.

Scholarships and Grants

  • You should continuously search for scholarships and grants available to international students. Many universities and external organizations offer financial aid opportunities, scholarships can help you save money and reduce the financial demand of studying in Canada.
  • Apply for scholarships well in advance of deadlines and ensure your application materials are complete and compelling.

Utilize free campus resources

  • Take advantage of the free resources on your university campus, such as fitness centers, libraries, career counseling, and academic support services. Don’t always be in a haste to pay except you can’t get it free.
  • Attend workshops, seminars, and events organized by your university or student associations to gain knowledge and network without additional costs.

Energy efficiency

  • Be conscious of your energy usage in your accommodation. Turn off lights, unplug devices, and adjust the thermostat when not needed to reduce utility bills.
  • Consider using energy-efficient LED bulbs, which consume less electricity and last longer.

Second-hand shopping

  • Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces (e.g., Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji) can be great places to find affordable clothing, furniture, and household items.
  • Consider buying and selling second-hand items to save money and reduce waste.

Cook in batches

  • Cooking in batches not only saves time but also money. Prepare larger portions of your favorite meals and freeze them for future consumption.
  • Plan your meals and create shopping lists to minimize food wastage.

International student associations

  • Join international student associations and clubs on campus. They often organize affordable cultural events, outings, and gatherings.
  • These groups can provide a sense of community and support while helping you discover low-cost ways to have fun.


It is not easy to manage your finances as an international student considering that you pay for everything you use but you don’t have a choice.

With careful planning and disciplined spending, you can save money while still enjoying your Canadian experience.

You can create a budget, make informed choices about accommodation, transportation, and other expenses, and take advantage of student discounts and part-time work opportunities. If you follow these tips and are financially savvy, you can make the most of your time in Canada without breaking the bank.

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