Building a Budget

As an international student, we know that life in Canada can get expensive. Setting a budget right from the start will help you manage your money, keep track of your income and ensure that you have enough money to meet your regular expenses. This helps you to meet your financial goals, set spending limits and live within your means.

A great way to start building a budget is to keep track of all the purchases you make in a month; keep all your receipts and bank statements. Your next step is to sort your spending into categories such as rent, groceries, transportation, entertainment, clothing, personal items, etc. This will help you to get an idea of where you spend your money, how much you normally spend, as well as determine where you are able to save (e.g. making your own lunch vs. buying lunch everyday).

Microsoft Excel is a great tool for creating a budget. It has several pre-made budget templates which you can use; it takes a lot of the work out of building a budget from scratch. There are also a number of budget and expense tracking apps for free, e.g. Mint. Some apps can even be synced to your bank account.

Check out this article that delves deeper into making a budget.

The Canadian government also provides a series of financial tools and calculators to help you get started.