How to reduce student financial stress


student financial stressIt’s no secret that going to university comes with its fair share of financial stress. For  many students facing these financial pressures for the first time, trying to stretch your money from September to April can be extremely difficult. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful over my university experience to help reduce financial stress.

  1. On-campus jobs –  If you are looking for a job during the school year, look to see what campus jobs are available. Working with other students is  a great way to meet people and allows for more flexibility around school schedules. I work for a student service at my university and have always found it easier, working with other students who understand academic stress, makes it easier to find someone to trade shifts if you need extra time to study. Another benefit is the location – when you  work on campus, it cuts down on travel time and costs.
  2. Textbook prices – There are now many alternatives to buying new textbooks, which I’ve found to run $150 per course. Check with your professor to see if they put copies of the textbook in the library, allowing you to sign out the text for a couple hours at a time. If you prefer to have your own copy, you can check out the used book store. These textbooks tend to run significantly cheaper. If you have a tablet or an eReader many textbook companies allow for online downloads for a fraction of the price. Another great new alternative is renting textbooks. For my textbooks, I pay around $30 and the textbook is mine for the duration of the course, and then I return it so other students can rent it.
  3. Look for deals – Many stores and restaurants near campus have student days. Ask around to see what deals are available near you. One of the best deals I’ve found is at the grocery store where they have a student discount day once a week. If you bring your student card, you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase. See if your favourite pub has a discount day, such as Sunday, where you can go enjoy food and drinks at a reduced rate.
  4. Budget  – At the beginning of the year or semester, budget out each month. Be realistic! Allow for some spending money to have some fun like going out for dinner  or to a concert. Update your budget regularly throughout the year. Try your best to stick to this budget so you don’t find yourself with empty pockets come April.

If you need help planning out a budget or just need to talk to a financial expert, call your Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1 866 833-7690 or visit


About the author

Entering her final year at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Claire Sargeant is a student majoring in psychology. For the past three summers, Claire has been working in the Communications Department at Shepell∙fgi. During the school year, she is actively involved with Queen’s Health Outreach, a student-run NGO that promotes international health initiatives. Claire also enjoys working with kids and is a long-time volunteer at Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children affected by cancer. When she graduates, Claire hopes to balance her love of travel and working with kids to promote positive physical and mental health.