Student Budget: COVID-19 Edition

student budget covid-19 edition

Finances may be tighter than what you’re used to since the appearance of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Budgeting carefully can help you feel more in control and reassured in these uncertain times. Unfortunately for some students, losing a part-time job was also a part of their COVID-19 experience. While student loans continue to go ahead, as usual, some students have been struggling financially without the extra income. Here are some tips to help you start tracking and managing your money flow:

Budgeting Resources

Download CanScribe’s monthly Paycheck Tracker. It’s a helpful tool to see where your money is going and where you can make adjustments. Alternatively, there are a variety of budget-tracking apps available for download. Play around with a few before deciding which one best suits your needs.

Direct Debits

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your spending is to monitor the money leaving your account each month, according to It will help you avoid situations such as paying for things you never use, any app payments you forgot to cancel after the free trial was over, and freezing any memberships, you’re unable to use due to COVID-19. Online banking is the quickest way to find out which direct debits are leaving your account, or you can try an app that will help you find and cancel unwanted subscriptions and track your monthly outgoings. It’s something to consider if you have more than one bank account.


Things look different these days. It’s much more challenging to catch a movie with friends and end the night with a few drinks or dessert at your local restaurant. Focusing your entertainment around your favourite streaming service is less exciting, but it is a very effective way to save money.

Recreating your favourite foods from restaurants is another fun way to keep costs low and broaden your skillset. However, if you decide to give in and get the occasional meal delivered, you will generally spend less than you would on a restaurant meal. Here are 10 things to do on a student budget.

More Ways to Save

  • Switch to a cheaper phone plan; try one with fewer data and fewer minutes.
  • Cancel entertainment subscriptions and memberships. Remember, you can always recommit when the outbreak is over.
  • Lower your monthly bills in small ways. Save water and give your plants water you rinsed food with, such as rice, and save energy by unplugging appliances.
  • Buy groceries in bulk at discount locations. It’s great to support local, but there should be a limit if it impacts your finances. Go shopping after you’ve eaten an excellent meal to avoid buying items you don’t need. A shopping list is also a perfect way to remind yourself what you need and helps to limit your time in a public place.
  • Limit the times you order takeout or home delivery. Cooking your meals not only saves money but comes with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Avoid paying interest and late fees by staying on top of payment deadlines. Write the due dates on a wall calendar for a visual reminder.
  • Use your car less. You can try walking or riding a bike. For places that have reopened public transit, only use this option if you’re comfortable and remember to wear a mask.
  • If you have a surplus in a particular category, make the conscious decision to transfer it. For example, you can allocate leftover food money to emergency funds.
  • If your expenses outweigh your income, you will have to take a more frugal look at your spending.

If you think you need more financial help than you thought, please talk to a Finance and Administration Officer about your options.

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