By Hania Ahmed
The new year often comes with many resolutions – a common one is to save more money. Being a student and living on a budget can be difficult, but it is possible.
Here are a few tips to take advantage of the deals in Toronto.
Groceries on a budget – You need to eat but you may not have the money to always eat properly.
The Community Food Room, on the second floor of the Student Campus Centre (SCC), is open to all Ryerson students and provides non-perishable food as well as fresh produce. You just need to show proof that you are a Ryerson student. Right next to campus is the Metro on Gould Street.
It offers cheap meals and if you show your OneCard from Tuesday to Thursday you get 10 per cent off your bill. The Loblaws on Carlton Street and Shoppers Drug Mart both offer rewards cards. If you have some time to spare, check out Chinatown on Spadina Avenue. Groceries are cheaper there, but beware of overripe fruits and vegetables.
Fast food and meals — You are surrounded by many cheap eateries around campus. The Ali Baba’s on Church and Dundas streets has cheap food for all dietary needs, including falafels for vegetarians and shawarmas for the meat lovers. Most items on the menu are between $3 and $9. Salad King is a Ryerson classic, just north of Yonge and Gould streets.
Its menu consists of Thai dishes under $10. Or if you’re looking for something even cheaper, go to Ginger at 355 Yonge St. Their menu of Vietnamese food is under $10, and you get 10 per cent off your bill if you show proof of being a student. If you have some time to walk, head down Yonge Street past Shuter Street for Ritz Caribbean Foods. They serve dishes like jerk chicken, roti and salt fish for under $13.
Booze — Drinks at bars are expensive, so stick to what you can buy at the LCBO and The Beer Store. However, there are a few places nearby that have cheaper drinks. The campus pub, The Ram in the Rye, has domestic pints that start at $5.50 and shots that begin at $3.50. Bistro 422 at the intersection of College and Bathurst streets has pitchers starting at $10 – it’s filled with students and is a good place to pre-drink before going out. The Green Room on Bloor Street between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is also popular with students. Pitchers of beer start at $13 and you’re a short walk from popular venues like Lee’s Palace and The Brunswick House.
Books and supplies – Instead of going straight to the campus bookstore to buy supplies, consider all of your options. The Used Book Room in the basement of the SCC resells books and supplies from previous students at fair prices. BMV Books at Yonge and Edward streets also sells used books, though the chance of finding your specific textbook is not as good. There are a number of university-specific groups on Facebook for selling used textbooks.
Tusbe.com is a website where students in Toronto can buy and sell their textbooks. Kijiji and Craigslist are filled with ads for used textbooks and supplies too.
Freebies — Companies are always giving out free samples on campus to promote their products.
If you see some freebies, pick some up, tell a friend and go back for seconds. You never know when you’ll need that second mini-bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
Write it down – Spending money is easy, but it’s harder to save it. Take note of each expense every week so that you know where you need to cut back.