Monday, 29 July 2019

Smart Investor - How to be a Financially Smart Student in Canada

By Natasya Sugirin
Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia

Oh no, you’re living out of the country? Alone? And you don’t want to be broke? Have no fear! Here are some tips for you.

Studying abroad, outside of Indonesia can be a fun and exciting journey. Kebetulan, I just finished my first year at university in Vancouver, Canada. It was really hard at first, juggling my , academic life and homesickness (kangen nasgor sama nasi padang, biasa lah). But besides all the sadness and kangen masakan ibu, I learned how to be more independent. Whether itu cari cara-cara untuk masak di kamar yang ga ada dapur or finding my way around Vancouver ga pake mobil soalnya ga ada sim and especially being more financially smart dengan uang di bank.

Vancouver City overlook from Stanley Park

Vancouver is considered one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, after Toronto. It’s a big city with a lot of people, both local and international. This makes Vancouver not a cheap place to live in. Mostly everything I find to be very expensive, even groceries!

For the first semester (which is 4 months), my budget was $2,500 Canadian dollars. This was money from my parents that I could use for groceries, textbooks or just simply eating off campus. In my bank account, I had 2 accounts; checking and saving. One tip I always tell my friends is to cut the money you receive in 2 where you can put money in the checking account and the other half in the savings account. The only account you should use is the checking account and the savings account should only be used for emergency purchases ONLY!. Visit for details.

It’s also good to be aware of the interest you would have to pay if you spend the money from the savings. I always remember to put the money from my savings to my checking if I needed an extra bit of money to pay for something and avoid paying interest to the bank.

I learnt to be very strict on myself when spending things because I did not have an income and I only had little money to survive for 4 months. Because of that, I decided to shop more in Chinese markets and Save-on Foods because groceries are cheaper there than the other grocery chains. You can also find a lot of student discounts that are offered in multiple shops. There will always be a financial advisor on campus that will help you save money!

As an international student di Canada, we have the right to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Which is cukup because we need to be able to manage time to work, go to school and do homework (and you’ll definitely get a lot of assignments dari sekolah). You can always look for job openings online but I recommend going to the place of work to apply for the job! Employers are eager to see people who put in the effort to get employed at their place and it would also be easier to discuss your schedule with them in person! Remember to prepare a CV that is outstanding! You can definitely get help from family, friends and student services at your university.

I will be going into second year university this year and I’m still working on finding new ways to be more financially smart. So good luck in university, everyone! And remember to always be financially smart!

The University of British Columbia campus