Tuition is expensive enough
Four back-to-school tricks that will save you hundreds of dollars.
1 LIVE OFF -CAMPUS
Living in campus housing can be a great way to meet new people in your first year, but after that, ditch the expensive $1,000-per-month room, overpriced meal plan and restrictive quiet hours for a spot of your own or with friends. The more roommates you have, the less expensive your rent will be, but you’ll also give up quality when looking at large properties. To save even more, venture into the north end or Dartmouth—you’ll enjoy cheaper rent, more diverse neighbours and a variety of trendy restaurants and bars.
2 BUY TEXTBOOKS SECOND-HAND OR ONLINE
Instead of ponying up your hard-earned (or borrowed) cash at your school’s bookstore, search for used versions of your required reading. Often, course reading lists only change slightly year to year, which means you can procure perfectly good textbooks from your fellow students at dramatically discounted prices. Start your search by checking bulletin boards in your faculty and asking older students in your program for recommendations. You can also take your search online by checking your school’s classifieds site, setting a new listing alert on Kijiji or joining the Halifax buy and sell groups on Facebook. It’s possible to score an entire semester of textbooks for as little as $100 if you’re diligent in your search and reach out to possible leads right away.
OPTIMIZE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
When you register for a semester, you usually get an itemized bill outlining not just course fees but also the ancillary fees that are part of your full tuition bill. These fees include your bus pass fee, your students’ union fee and your health and dental insurance coverage. The thing is, if you already have health and dental insurance through your parents, you shouldn’t pay for that extra coverage because you don’t need it. Fortunately, you can opt out and save those extra bucks. Just Google your school name plus “health insurance opt out” for instructions, or talk to your student union rep for more details.
DITCH YOUR CAR
If you live reasonably close to your school, it’s likely you only really need your car for trips to the grocery store and the occasional visit home. If this is the case, consider going car-free entirely and use CarShare Atlantic instead. If you have a student ID and a UPass, CarShare Atlantic will waive your membership bond— resulting in a membership costing only eight bucks a month. To put things in perspective, the average cost of car insurance in Nova Scotia is $65 per month. The only drawback to this plan is that you must be at least 19 to join.