As college students, sometimes you’ll struggle with saving money when you have so many fees, tuition and bills to pay for. So here are a few tips I try to stick to in order to stretch out my monthly budget.

It’s really hard to properly time out your purchases as a student because sometimes there are emergency/necessary purchases that have to happen NOW. Or maybe you’ll get tempted by a seemingly good deal somewhere.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to try and anticipate expenses. But let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to do that. It sometimes feels like different shops have every other month, at varying prices. But here are some tips that will help:

1. Some Sales Aren’t Worth It

Typically, the best sales some stores will have are during; Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day. As well as the low-key sales, by that I mean those sales limited to anyone who has an account with them/is on their newsletter. Most sales outside of these aren’t really worth it.

2. __% Sales For Low Quantity Purchases

Single discount sales are really common, you can see them as 40% off and onwards. These types of sales happen semi-often throughout the year, and typically a certain product line is what’s on sale. These sales are great if you just need to pick up a few items, but only get what you need.

3. Wait For Private/Limited/Newsletter Sales

These sales are very low-key, and often the easiest way to get on these sales is to be on the newsletters. The sales percentage sometimes isn’t that low (typically about 20-30%), but rather than only having one product line qualify for the sale, it could be a few or it’s a site-wide/store-wide sale.

These are great sales but like before, buy only what you need and could get. These sales make it so easy to overspend your budget. To avoid mail spam, I use a very old email account as a “spam” type thing so it keeps important things separated from important things.

4. Scope Out Flash Sales

Are you familiar with flash sales? It seems like every store/site will have them now. They are probably one of the sales that will make people impulse buy things they don’t need so be careful. That’s not to say that they aren’t a great sale though, because if you get lucky, sometimes you can find something you need on sale.

I think it’s much easier to set a price drop notification though, because, as I said before, flash sales can lead to impulse purchases.

5. Look For Student Discounts

Many places will offer student discounts, on their official websites/web stores. It’s usually offered through Student Beans or some other program, and the discount offered is usually 10-15% off. I would use this discount for newer products that aren’t really included in other sales, but sometimes you’ll be restricted on which products you can use that discount on.

6. Sign-Up Discounts

Sometimes when/if you sign up on a brand/site’s newsletter, you’ll get a sign-up bonus or discount for you to use. It’ll come in the form of credit, a discount code (in % or $ off) or a coupon that’s emailed to you or automatically added to your account. Not every place will have this, and I’ll see if I can add a list of ones I’ve used sometime soon so be on the lookout.

7. Referral Discounts

Last but not least, referral discounts are where you can let your inner influencer run free. They’re a type of reward program where you share a link for your friends to use to create an account or make a purchase from and you earn rewards!

Now from my experience, there seems to only be two types of these referral programs/discounts:

1. Rewards for all! This system will reward both people, you’ll essentially be sending a discount code, a gift with purchase or a voucher to your friend. And when they make a qualifying purchase, you (as the referral) will also receive a reward.

2. The affiliate link. This system will only reward the person who sends the link after a qualifying purchase is made through their link.

Personally, I prefer the referral discounts and sign-up discounts over regular sales since most of the time, the things that I end up wanting are almost never on sale.

Aside from that, when you can I would recommend buying used/lightly used products instead of something brand new if you can help it. Of course, there are certain limitations to that and you should also keep in mind how comfortable you are using a used (insert product here).

If you’re buying electronics, I personally believe that it’s a good rule of thumb to shop around. Laptops, computers and etc I would typically save up to buy a new one, and accessories like keyboards, mice etc. I would look towards buying used.

A good place to look would be the Amazon Outlet (if you don’t mind shopping on Amazon), you’ll get fairly good deals there, but there are reasons why it’s in the outlet and not being sold as new so read carefully. If you prefer not to shop from Amazon, you could also check Canada Computers or computer shops/repair shops.

In Toronto, one place to look would be Pacific Mall’s computer shops. You can shop around various stores, though I wouldn’t buy Bluetooth keyboards from just any shop. I’d go somewhere like PC Gate Computers or etc.

And as many people would already know, thrifting clothing can garner great finds. But beware where you go, since some places (I’ve heard) will overcharge you. I’ve never really thrifted clothing before, but I’ve bought books second-hand there and you can get some great deals.

Student Tip: If your school bookstore offers a textbook rental program, opt to rent used textbooks to save money. New rentals are great too, but they will have a higher rental price, so up to you!

Finally, look into using cash-back systems or coupon-seekers like Rakuten cashback and Honey. I tend to shop online throughout the year and I end up using them to help me save some money whenever possible. I hope this helps!

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Toronto-based Beauty and Lifestyle blogger focusing on the world of Korean Skincare and Beauty, particularly product reviews and where to get them in Canada.

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