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I’m sure you all know the financial struggles of being a full-time student. Since many of us do not work during the year, paying for tuition, rent and daily expenses can become very difficult.

But there is still hope! Here are some things that I have found to be useful to help save money as a student in St. Catharines:

1. Make a budget (and stick to it)
I know you have probably been told this before, but making a budget is the key to saving! An effective budget is one that is realistic, and divided into categories of major expenses. For those of you that don’t like keeping track of receipts and maintaining Excel worksheets, I would highly recommend using an app like Mint that automatically records transactions and maintains a budget for you. All you need to do is plug in your account details, and it tracks your income and expenses. Initially, I was a little skeptical of security concerns, but Mint was acquired by Intuit, the company that made TurboTax, where security is clearly one of their strengths. Knowing how much money you can afford to spend every semester, will help you stay within your budget and plan on how much you should spend every month.

2. Shop on Tuesdays
A lot of Brock students shop at Zehrs at the Pen Centre since it is the closest grocery store to campus. A lesser known fact is that Zehrs offers a 10% discount for students on Tuesdays. This is an easy change to make from your daily routine, and it will help you save! If you have a car however, driving to Walmart or No Frills in St. Catharines will help you avoid paying higher prices for essentials.

3. Pick restaurants that offer a student discount
When it comes to restaurants, there are several restaurants in St. Catharines that offer student discounts. Finding them and eating at those restaurants instead of those that do not have discounts will easily save you some money. Especially for those of us that like eating out and have meals in restaurants more than twice a week, this step can help you save between $10-$20 each week.

4. Cook your own meals
I know making your own meals can seem like a daunting task for some, especially with the limited time in the day, after classes and extra-curricular. But searching for recipes online for quick, healthy meals can really make a difference – both in your lifestyle and your wallet. Grocery shopping on Tuesdays coupled with making your meals can help you save considerably. I usually meal prep during the weekend for the rest of the week, and eat out once or twice every two weeks. Cooking your own meals also has other benefits like having a healthier diet and time saved travelling to/from restaurants.

I hope these simple steps will help you save some cash, and be a little less in debt by the end of university.

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