Budgeting and Saving

A budget is an important tool to plan for spending your money. Having a budget is one way to reduce stress and it will assist you in planning for needed resources and expenses. Explore these budgeting and saving tools and resources to support your financial planning as a graduate student, and beyond.

Evaluating Your Needs Versus Wants

To create an effective budget, it is important to first understand your needs versus your wants. Explore the link below to understand and prioritize your needs and wants as a graduate student.


A budget also requires that you clarify and understand your costs and expenses. Try using the tools available here:

You may find it helpful to use a budget planner:

Financial Goal Calculator:

The Hart House Financial Committee provides financial literacy sessions for students:

12 Budgeting and Saving Tips!

1. Plan your budget before the start of each academic year.
2. Keep track of your spending, to understand your spending habits and trends.
3. Review your budget regularly and adjust for changes in your circumstances.
4. Use financial assistance convenience and technology wisely! Consider a banking app to stay up to date with your accounts and transactions. If you prefer, use a spreadsheet to track your spending.
5. Mobile payment notifications can be helpful to show what you are spending immediately instead of at the end of the month.
6. Use ATM machines at your branch to avoid charges. If you take out money at a different bank or branch, you may be charged by both institutions, which can add up.
7. Pre-authorized bill payments will mean you never miss a payment; you won’t incur late penalties and you will maintain a good credit report.
8. Understand and evaluate your needs vs wants (see above), and then spend less on non-essentials.
9. Reduce ‘non-sufficient fund’ (NSF) charges by making sure you know how much money is always in your account.
10. Take advantage of student discounts and initiatives, such as free events on campus, the University Work Study Program, and student rate bank accounts (they should offer lower rates when you are a student).
11. Use Award Explorer. Also, communicate with your graduate unit about upcoming scholarships. For major awards and scholarships, students are often required to apply one year in advance.
12. Consider your purchase practices—for example, plan your meals ahead of time and make your own coffee. Invest in a thermos, make meals at home, and if you do enjoy takeout—limit to once a month and try to avoid delivery charges.

Disclaimer: Please note that financial resources are provided for educational purposes only. Any information and resources provided do not substitute for professional advice.