Well, you are not alone if you are planning to move to Canada. Every year, numerous students arrive here with dreams of graduating from some of the renowned universities located in various Canadian provinces. Leaving dreams aside, a reality check is that moving to another country for studies comes with a lot of challenges. Adjusting to the local environment, finding accommodation, managing finances to meet every expense, etc. Today we will cover the financing part for a student so they can avoid shocks and potential student debt.
1. Jot Down All Your Expenses
A student has to bear various types of expenses in Canada. Students must list down every expense they have to incur every month or day for budgeting purposes. Here are some common categories of expenses to give students a basic idea.
Tuition fees are the amount that students have to pay at their university or school to enrol in a program and attend the same classes.
Tuition fees may vary depending on:
- The program students study
- The school students attend
- The territory of students’ school
- Students’ residency status or citizenship
- The number of classes students take
- The type of classes students take
- Whether they are a part-time or full-time student
Students can check their university’s or school’s website for details about the tuition fees that they will pay.
Books and Other Course Materials
The cost incurred on books and other course materials depends upon the student’s program and school. To give students an approximate number, they are about $700 to $1,100 per year, a reasonable estimate for an undergraduate student. Students can also check with their schools and universities or with someone already enrolled in the program for a more accurate number.
Students can reduce the cost of books and other course materials by doing the following things:
- Buying used books
- Buying textbooks from online retailers that may offer items at a lower price than the campus bookstore
- Getting the electronic version of course materials such as textbooks and articles
- Sharing textbooks with roommates or classmates
- Checking your school library to see if any of the course material is available to borrow
- Selling your used textbooks
- Using an older edition of the textbook if possible
How much a student pay for living expenses can have a big impact on their budgets
Living On Campus
If students plan to live on campus, they will have to check the availability of accommodations and meal plan costs at their school or university site. Students can consider living in a shared room to save up some dollars, as they are a much cheaper option than single rooms.
Students can also choose to live off-campus. They have various options to choose from, such as living with roommates, living independently, or living with their family or relatives. If students have the option to live with their family or relatives, we would suggest they choose that. Living with them can save thousands of dollars a year.
And suppose students don’t have the luxury of choosing the family option. In that case, they can consider living with roommates as it is a way to reduce all the costs of heat, electricity, Internet, and tenant’s insurance.
Make sure that the expense of meals is factored into the budget planning when planning to live off-campus. Certain grocery stores offer student discounts on specific days of the week; always remember to ask for them.
2. Calculate All Sources of Income
When creating a budget plan for student life. It is crucial to understand where the money to incur expenses, whether from part-time jobs or personal savings.
Students also need to add to these sources an income if they have any:
- Part-time jobs(being an assignment helper, working in food chains, babysitting, etc.)
- Government student loan
- A student line of credit from a financial institution
Tax deductions and tax credits for students
There are various tax credits and deductions that are available to students. The amount of deduction a student can get mainly depends on whether they are part-time or full-time students. Always remember to file tax returns on time to avoid any unwanted penalties.
A non-refundable tax credit decreases your tax liability. For example, you may be entitled to non-refundable tax credits for the following expenses:
- Tuition fees
- Public transit
- Interest paid on your student loans
Taking advantage of these tax credits and deductions will greatly impact a student’s annual tax return.
3. Monitor and Evaluate
Budgeting is not a one-time procedure. A student will have to complete this process several times and adjust their expenses and income if they are not satisfied with their planning.
The financial ecosystem in Canada will most probably be different from that of the home country. As an international student, it can be a tedious task to get used to the environment and information. But students can be prepared for any contingency if they plan out everything beforehand.