There are about as many different types of living arrangements as there are types of students and there are lots of ways for you to reduce your costs of living.
Living at home — The easiest way to cut down on your living expenses is to live at home with your parents. Even though you are living at home, you may still want to budget for things like cellphone bills, parking, food and entertainment. Have a discussion with your parents about what they will and won’t pay for and be sure to budget for any shortfall.
For those students who can’t live at home, there are lots of different living arrangements to consider.
Living in residence — The costs of living in Residence can vary greatly, depending on the type of room you want and the number of people you are willing to live with. Residence is a good deal, when you take into account the amount of money you save by not having to pay to commute to campus and for utilities.
Living with a roommate — A lot of students choose to find their own accommodations off campus. You can help keep your costs low by living closer to campus to reduce commuting costs. Try to find a place with the utilities included so you don’t have a nasty surprise when you get your winter heating bill, keep the luxuries to a minimum. Rent and utility prices vary greatly across the city. You can find notices on bulletin boards all over campus for people looking for roommates, so keep an eye out, or you may want to check out the Students’ Association’s off-campus housing list.
Room and board — If you hate to cook and wish that somebody would do it for you, a room and board arrangement just might work for you. Some community members open their homes to students and offer to prepare meals and take care of the property for an additional cost. If you do make arrangements for room and board, you may pay a little more, but you may save money in the long-run if you end up eating out less. There are lots of housing lists in Calgary, and also listings for Mount Royal students posted on the off-campus housing list.
Living on your own — Living on your own is an expensive prospect for almost everybody in Calgary. Not only is rent higher, but you will also be solely responsible for things like paying utility hook-up fees and damage deposits. However, if you know you really want to live alone, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you cut costs. You may not need both a home phone and a cell phone. Living further away from school may cut the rental costs, but may cost you in commuting expenses, so don’t forget your bus pass! There are lots of housing lists in Calgary, and also listings for Mount Royal students posted on the off-campus housing lists.
Using public transportation (U-Pass)
- U-Pass is the Universal Calgary Transit Pass
- Full-time students who have paid their tuition do not need to pay any additional fees to access Calgary public transportation.
- Fee applies in Fall and Winter Semesters only
- The U-Pass fee is a mandatory Students' Association fee for all full-time credit students. There are no opt-out provisions available
- Further information regarding the fee and administration of the pass is available on the Students’ Association website
Using your own vehicle
The costs associated with using your own vehicle will likely include:
- Vehicle cost (one-time or monthly financing payments)
- Fuel and maintenance
- Parking on campus
The Mount Royal C-Choices program encourages students, faculty and staff to use alternate forms of transportation to get themselves to campus.
Not only can you help the environment and save on commuting costs, but Mount Royal offers support to C-Choice participants who:
How much you spend on groceries and eating out is difficult to predict. You may want to talk to your parents about how much they think they spend on food for you. Remember to budget for eating out if you know you’re going to eat out a lot.
Your food budget will be based on a number of factors, including:
- how often you eat out
- how much you eat
- where you shop
- if you buy brand name or generic
- if you watch for sales
- if you have specific dietary requirements
Top 5 Tips for saving money on food
- Pack a lunch. The less you eat out, the less you’ll spend.
- If you don’t have time to cook during the week, cook extra on the weekend and freeze it.
- Have dinner parties with your friends. Rotate who hosts the meal each week.
- Shop around. Watch flyers and try to figure out the cheapest place to buy your groceries.
- Buy generic.
Depending on your medical coverage, you may not qualify to have 100% of your costs covered by insurance. If you have recurring medical costs that aren’t completely covered by insurance, be sure to budget for those expenses.
The cost of Extended Medical and Dental Insurance is included in the tuition fees charged to full-time students.
- You can opt out of this plan and may qualify for a reimbursement of the fees charged for the health and dental insurance plan, if you can prove you have sufficient coverage elsewhere.
- If you plan to opt out, you must do so by the opt-out deadlines.
There are also some miscellaneous expenses that may not have been covered in the major categories above. While they don’t represent a large percentage of your living expenses, those costs will certainly add up over time if you don’t set aside some money for these regular expenditures.
- Household supplies — This would include such fundamentals as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, trash bags, etc. They’re probably not the most glamorous items on your shopping list, but someone has to buy them.
- Laundry — Not only will you have to buy laundry detergent but you might have to shell out $3 per load (wash and dry) at the laundry-mat or when using your apartment building’s coin-operated facilities.
- Personal grooming — We know you like to look good and even the most low-maintenance student will probably have to buy soap and shampoo. You may also want to budget for haircuts, makeup or hygiene products.
- Clothing — you probably won’t be going out to buy a brand new wardrobe in the middle of the school year, but you might want to replace those thread-bare socks or buy a new pair of jeans when you blow a huge hole in your only pair.
- Entertainment — while you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum, you still need to have a little extra spending cash. Every once in a while you’re going to want to go to a friend’s birthday bash or take that special someone out on a date, so plan for some low-cost fun.
- Tenant’s insurance — Tenant’s (or renter’s) insurance is recommended for all renters. It protects your belongings in case of a fire or break-in and usually includes some liability insurance, should an accident occur in your home.
Many Mount Royal students have children and must also budget for child care.
- Students may qualify for subsidies at licensed day cares throughout the city, including the Mount Royal Child Care Centre.
- Students should start to research child care facilities early to get an idea of the costs involved and to ensure their child(ren) will have a spot in day care when school starts.
- There are many subsidies available for students with children, so it’s important to find out what you qualify for and apply early.