people who live alone and pay for school how are you doing it

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 21st, 2013 5:08 pm
Jan 13, 2011
461 posts

people who live alone and pay for school how are you doing it

I expect my rent to be like 850 a month but I want to do this without relying on loans like my friends do are you basically working 40 hours a week or something
25 replies
Deal Fanatic
Aug 14, 2007
8057 posts
Save a lot of $ beforehand, don't go out as much and find a balance between school and work and be very very tight with $...
Jr. Member
Jan 12, 2008
144 posts
My rent + monthly utilities (hydro, internet, cable) is around $1000 a month. I saved a lot of money for a few years before I could feel confident in doing this. As a graduate student, I get paid to go to school so that helps too.
Deal Addict
Aug 14, 2012
1379 posts
Well how often will you be going out, how much will you be spending each month

Figure out a budget to live off
Figure out how many hours you'd have to work to meet that budget
Factor in working summers to boost your cash flow to give some breathing room

Why do this without loans? You will probably graduate into a much better paying job then "Harveys" if you know what I mean, so why be hard on yourself and try and pay for school and live off harveys salary when you can take a loan for some of it.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 16, 2008
652 posts
You may not like this but, if you want to live in downtown TO try:

1. Liquidating all your Assets: school textbooks, car (last resort) electronics etc.
2. Find a job, slave work,
3. Move up north to a cheap 1 bedroom place or anywhere with cheap rent.
4. Save, offer your talent as small business, on kijiji or craigslist. Maybe a mover, painter, landscaping etc.
5. Winter will end in a few months, secure a landscaping job with a small company right now before they are all taken up. Go though YellowPages and call them up. Small companies have less red tape.
6. Sublet your place with a friend. Pay $450
Sr. Member
Jan 12, 2013
777 posts
go to waterloo and do engineering coop, if lucky, can get a high paying job
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
7900 posts
Well I can't speak for Toronto since I go to school in Ottawa, but my monthly budget ranges at around 700$ a month all in. I work roughly 20h/week to meet this budget with some to spare just in case (or simply to save).

What I noticed though is that I try to save on the little things because that's the stuff that people tend to overlook and which add up. For example...
- I rarely if ever buy lunch at school or buy snacks/coffee. I'd rather save the 10-20$/week for a nice meal out with friends/family/gf.
- I also watch my "going out" money as opposed to filling my fridge with booze or going clubbing 2 times a week.
- I've more or less worked out a phone plan that does what I need at a price I can work with (so less than 40 pre-tax).
- I have more or less given up most impulse purchases and even stuff that I kind of need, I'm being stingy about and asking if I *really* need it. I basically will browse flyers or RFD to see if the stuff I need ever comes on sale and wait if I can before buying.
- Food consumption is variable. This is a big one. I buy a balanced diet but based with what's on sale at the supermarkets that week.
- I've more or less stopped buying textbooks. I either buy used or get the electronic versions.
- Rent I shopped around a lot before settling for something at a location I was ok with and a price I was ok with.

At say 1000$/month all in it's a bit harder to work with but I'd say if you have savings already and can fund 75% of those spendings with a part-time job (so that'd average at about 20h/week at minimum wage in ON) you should be good. The key is really to have a budget and set amount you're not willing to go over. So if say you budget 125$/week of food for a house of 4, you try not to go over.
Oct 7, 2012
82 posts
Do you really need to live "alone"? Do you mean alone - without your parents?

During school I had roommates. Some of them I liked. Sometimes we'd just have to share a kitchen and a washroom but my room was big enough. All in I'd spend 500 dollars with parking, internet, utilities, free washing/dryer and maybe even cable television. I would work 20 hr/week to pay it off and then some.

Loans are not a bad thing, especially OSAP. Just work the system and read the threads.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 21, 2010
1955 posts
^ Relying on loans is not a bad thing. You are in University to learn. If your grades start to suffer because of your stubbornness to not get loans, I have no good advice for you other than stay frugal with your finances.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
7900 posts
I dont mind loans personally but I think students should try not to rely 100% on them and try and be financially independent as well. Lots of my friends rely purely on OSAP and have never had a job. I work 20h/week and I have the same workload and get the same kind of grades. If anything a job has taught me better time management.
Deal Addict
Jun 20, 2009
1049 posts
Not me but someone I knew who did this did it by living in a house with many room mates. She paid $400 per month. On top of that she would always work all that she could in the summer and earned a bulk of money that way.
Jan 13, 2011
461 posts
xlc_88 wrote:
Feb 4th, 2013 10:05 am
^ Relying on loans is not a bad thing. You are in University to learn. If your grades start to suffer because of your stubbornness to not get loans, I have no good advice for you other than stay frugal with your finances.
not stubborn into having loans its just that I already have alot
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 6, 2010
7900 posts
Well there's no magical solution's just a combination of one or more of the following:
- loans
- bursaries/scholarships
- working
- watching spendings
May 4, 2009
4 posts
Oh boy, I go to UTM and live just around the campus

$400 rent for a single room with window, shared restroom+shower with 2 other UTM students, kitchen is shared by 4 students, internet, hydro, electricity all included.
At UTM, u have a free transit pass for Mississauga transit if you remain full-time studies, so transportation is clearly out of the way =D
Bring your lunches and a water bottle (ya, fill that bottle with fountain water !) There's microwaves around the food court at school to heat up your food. Food prices on campus are ridiculous (3 chicken fingers are $6.40 =_-)

Groceries can be bought at discounted price at local Chinese markets, especially meats and vegetables, their prices are much lower compared to Food Basics, Metro, or NoFrills
(this apply to any other areas in GTA)

Find sports or team sports to play, especially in school, they are much cheaper activities compared to say Clubbing. and its a great way to meet ppl as well
Sr. Member
May 29, 2012
743 posts
Save a lot beforehand, or take a loan.

Theoretically you can rent a place and share it with many friends/roommates, but it is difficult to make it work in practice (e.g. stealing, cleanliness issues, people willing to live that cramped, etc.). Also, most landlords do not allow more than a person/bedroom unless it is a couple. Rent here including utilities in Vancouver in a basement usually runs about 700-800/month per bedroom, and apartments are 1000+/month. You could halve that if you got someone to share a room or take turns sleeping on the couch.

Cannot speak for your location, but Vancouver tends to be pricey and it is difficult to spend less than 300/month on groceries. 200 is possible if you eat very little meat and bread, but it is very hard ($6.67/day) and forget about junk food/snacks. For example, this is something like my list:

- Eggs: 2/day; 25 cents/egg x 2 eggs x 30 days/month = $15/month
- Milk: one “glass” a day (500ml) @ $4.75 for 4L Jug; $0.59/glass; $17.70/month
- Apples: $1.69/pound; approx. 3 apples? 56 cents/apple @ 1/day; $16.90/month
- Fresh juice: one cup a day (250ml) @ $3.69/2L carton; $13.84/month
- Bread: 8 slices a day, $4/loaf; approx. 16 slices, depending on which one I buy; $0.25/slice; $60/month
- Ham/other similar meat for sandwiches (e.g. chicken or pork): 250g/day @ $1.79/100g, 20 days; $90/month
- Canned roasted eel or other similar fish: $2/tin, 10/month; $20/month (one tin = 200 calories approx… it’s not a lot)
- Strawberries: 5 boxes/month, $5/box; $25/month
- Cucumber: 1/2 a day, $1.29/ea; $19.50/month
- Vegetable juice: 3.5 bottles/month @ $4/bottle; $14/month
- Misc. stuff like olive oil, sauce, salt, sugar, lemons, margarine, vitamins, etc.: $20/month

Misc. expenses (hygiene products, cleaning products, stationery, toilet paper, paper towel, tissue, etc.) usually add up to about 30-50/month. Phone is 50/month. Clothing depends, but give it perhaps 30-50/month in the long-run if you are very cheap with it.

And then, unexpected expenses. You will need to get a computer sometime, or may get sick and need medicine.

Assuming you have 0 entertainment costs and do not have habits like coffee, buying drinks/snacks outside, smoking, etc., best case scenario you will burn about 1000-1100/month. If you work about 25 hours a week at a typical lower-end service job, you may barely come up with this. Now for tuition... I do not know of anyone coming up with that money without using a loan, parents, or taking time off to work a job that pays considerably higher than min. wage.
UBC Year 3 BA Student: Major in Mathematics
Unrealistic dream :cry: : Law school...
Goal: Pursue a MA in Economics and a designation- CFA maybe?
Vancouver is nice if you have money and like the rain...