Life at the University of Toronto often feels like the life of Mr. Bean from the popular animated kids' TV series Mr. Bean. There are certain experiences in Mr. Bean's life that resonate with plenty of students at the university: feeling out of place in a big city, working hard on an assignment only to be overshadowed by someone who finished it at the last minute, and having a teddy bear as a best friend may all be commonalities between Mr. Bean and a U of T student. However, there is one running gag that strikes a special chord for many students: when Mr. Bean opens his matte black wallet, only a solitary fly buzzes out from its empty interior.
Between tuition, residence fees, commuting costs, and living expenses, being a student can be expensive. Luckily, I have some life hacks to help you save as a university student.
Buying new textbooks from the U of T Bookstore can be both physically and financially draining. Second-hand books can be a lifesaver. Plenty of Facebook groups — such as U of T Used Book Exchange, UofT Textbook Exchange, UTM TextBooks Exchange — act as forums for the sale of used textbooks. This can help student buyers, who can purchase required course materials on a tight textbook shopping budget, as well as sellers, who can get rid of old textbooks and make a quick buck. Students can also buy used textbooks from the bookstore, or they can rent them and return them at the end of the semester. Additionally, using e-books is another great option that can often be cheaper than buying physical books!
There are a lot of places near campus that offer good food for affordable prices. Toby's Pub & Eatery, which is a 15-minute walk from UTSG, offers a 15 per cent discount to students from Sunday to Thursday. Future Bistro, another place close to campus, gives students 20 per cent off on all breakfasts from Monday to Friday. Additionally, meal planning — making a week's worth of food ahead of time — can help you save time and money.
An abundance of stores across the GTA offer student discounts. The Metro located on Bloor near UTSG offers a 10 per cent discount to students from Tuesday through Thursday. All Bulk Barn locations have a 10 per cent discount for students who come in on Wednesdays. The Shoppers Drug Mart on Bloor Street gives a 20 per cent discount if you show your TCard, and is a great place to shop for anything from toiletries to makeup.
Additionally, sites like UNiDAYS often collect really good student deals from a variety of stores — everything from extended free trials for services like Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ to sitewide discounts on popular clothing brands — and showcase them in one place.