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Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec has a student population just under 2,500, making it the size of many high schools. For third-year biology student Eva Sheppard, the quality of the program and the small-town vibe are part of what drew her outside her hometown of Ottawa. She is also able to save a lot more money compared to living in a big city in Quebec or elsewhere.

“Here you can’t even spend money that much, which is actually kind of nice,” she laughs. “When I go back to Ottawa I spend so much more.”

Eva has a concentration in health sciences and has earned two academic scholarships totalling $4,000 to offset the cost of her tuition.

“Tuition is easily the most expensive thing for me. I make sure to put aside money just for that each summer.”

Eva is not working during the school year but is living off personal savings of $8,500 from her summer jobs working as a server, painting houses and teaching at a daycare.

“What I’ve found to be really helpful is putting aside the majority of every paycheque,” she says. “Say I had a $500 paycheque, I’d put away $400 and I don’t even look at it. It’s like it’s not even mine. That way I don’t really realize that I have it, so when I have to actually use it, it’s there. It’s all about allocating where it’s going to be spent.”

Eva also puts aside a small amount of money into a mutual fund every month.

“It’s satisfying to see I’m saving money and when I finish my university degree I won’t be in a bunch of debt, and I won’t have to start in the negatives.”

Below is a complete breakdown of Eva’s monthly budget. Want to see how your budget stacks up?

Try the RBC Student Budget Calculator or download RBC mobile banking apps to take advantage of useful tools like NOMI to help you summarize and categorize your spending.

Third-year biology student Eva Sheppard says she isn’t a huge spender but she has some effective strategies when it comes to saving.

Money IN:

Money from Parents: $425/month for rent
Scholarships: $1,500/semester + $1,000 one-time scholarship = $500/month Summer savings: $8,500 = approx. $1,062/month

TOTAL IN: approx. $1,987/month

Money OUT:
Rent: $425/month “I have three roommates and we’re about a 10 minute walk from campus.”

Tuition: $3450/semester = approx. $855/month “That’s after my $1,500 scholarship. Last semester I did a French course so I also got $500 off my tuition.”

Utilities: $44/month “That’s for hydro and Internet.”

Textbooks: $13/month “I really avoid buying textbooks. I’m somebody who learns well from videos. I have one textbook that I use religiously and that was $80 that I got last semester. I spent $15 on a lab manual.”

Groceries: $110/month “I stock up so that I can avoid eating out as often.”

Eating Out: $100/month “Near the end of the month when my groceries are getting thin…it’s little purchases that add up. But at the beginning of the month it’s a lot less.”

Cell Phone Bill: $0 “I’m on a family plan with my parents.”

Gym Membership: $0 “It’s included in the school fees.”

Alcohol: $40/month “I don’t go out that often. I’ll usually go two to three times a month and I’ll spend maybe $10 at the bar. Everything is so cheap here.”

Clothes/Shopping: $50/month “I don’t go shopping very often. I’ll probably go shopping once every three months and spend around $150.”

Uber/Taxis: $20/month “There are no Ubers in Sherbrooke. In Ottawa I don’t really take taxis or Uber very often but if I’m going out I’ll probably spend around $10 every two weeks.”

Holidays/Vacations: $50/month “I’ll go home once every two months. Either my boyfriend will drive or I’ll get a Rideshare.”

Investments: $25/month “I’ve made a mutual fund account so I have automatic contributions each month.”

Miscellaneous spending: $65/month “That’s just for random small purchases here and there.”

TOTAL OUT: $1,797


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