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?
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 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
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
SAVINGS SURPLUS: $190/month
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