Cost Cutting Tips
Living frugally is all about being intentional about when and where you spend your hard earned (or loaned) cash. Living in a great city like Edmonton may seem pricey, but here are some ways to cut back on expenses without sacrificing the fun.
Be deliberate about transit. Take the bus or try to carpool rather than owning a car. For $75/month (ish) you have access to all of Edmonton. Cars require gas, maintenance, and insurance.
Moving out? Buy used! Shop garage sales and second-hand stores to find gems and treasures of all sorts - especially furniture! For health and safety reasons, it is NOT ever recommended to buy a mattress second hand. Also, if you buy from the web, safety is in numbers so don't go into a stranger's house alone or without someone knowing where you are going and when you are expected back.
Have friends over rather than going out. Spending quality time with friends doesn't require going out. Have a Dutch Blitz tournament and ask everyone to bring a tasty snack or rent a cheap movie or two. If you stack this up against going out for dinner, you've saved yourself anywhere from $10-50 per person. Want to head out? There’s a lot of free stuff to do around Edmonton so take advantage of it! Check out the ‘Affordable Edmonton’ link.
Vintage is IN. Channel your inner hipster and before hitting up the mall, try the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Value Village, Good Will, or consignment store and 'pop some tags'. All sell clothes at a fraction of the cost they’d be new. You might even snag some killer vintage finds.
Compare grocery stores. The first rule of grocery shopping, don't shop on an empty stomach or you'll impulse buy and probably regret the poor choices that you make in the process. Try to buy bulk and split it amongst other students/roommates. Also, shop the perimeter of the grocery store, the stuff that is "bad" or at least worse for you in generally in the middle aisles (pop, candy, chips... you get the picture) so stick to the outside walls.
Budget for your beverages. If you bought a coffee every day that costs $2.75, for the school year alone (just 8 months) it would cost you over $450 (just on one drink per day!). Brew your own coffee at home and bring it with you. Treat yourself from time to time on campus (or off) but in making your own, you reduce your expenses, not to mention your carbon footprint by using a travel mug. Save coffee purchases for your 'treat' days.
Make use of the Public Library. Who knew that the library would be so fun? Yes, we said fun. Did you know that you can rent CD's, Wii games and DVD's? And the best part is, it's FREE! Can’t find what you want to read, watch, or listen to? You can put in a request for the library to buy it (just don’t try it with textbooks, it doesn't work)!
Have a cost saving idea to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org