Budgeting Help for Students

If you had tons of money to spend, you wouldn't have qualified for student loans and grants. So for student loan users, budgeting is usually pretty important.

How can you plan to have the money you need to last you all year plus keep your debt as low as possible?

Skip right to the online student budgeting tools, or read on for advice to help you integrate your loans and grants into your budget.


Getting through the first few weeks:

  • You won't have your student loan and grant funding until 5-10 days after classes start. If you've run into a delay or problem, it may take even longer. Between books, equipment and fees, these can be an expensive few weeks.

    Plan to use the money you saved from your pre-study period earnings to get you through this first part of the school year.

Money Coming In:

  • Take a look at the Deposit Timeline. You could receive money in two or more deposits:
    • First deposit: 5-10 days after classes start. This will be what's left after your tuition and fees are paid to your school.
    • If your Canada Student Grant amounts increase once you've submitted your PSR, you could get an additional deposit several weeks after classes start and after your PSR is in.
    • If you're eligible: An additional deposit is made 5-10 days after the halfway point in your program (this is mid-to-late January for most students who start classes in September.)
  • Will you have study-period earnings from a part-time job? How much money will you earn and how often will you get paid?

  • Will your parents be helping you out?

  • Do you have other funding coming in to help you pay for school?

Money Going Out:

What do you plan to spend all year for:

    • books
    • rent & utilities
    • transportation
    • child care
    • food & personal care, including medications
    • printing & internet access
    • laundry
    • interest payments on debt (student loans are interest-free for F/T students)
    • misc. other spending, including gifts & entertainment

Making a Budget:

If you're an Excel wizard or accounting major, maybe you don't need any more help from here. But for the rest of us, many major banks offer student-focused banking and budgeting tools. Check with your local bank or credit union to see what they can offer you.

Canada's Top 5 national banks all offer a student budgeting tool. Here they are, ranked by bank size. Depending on where you bank, you may be able to integrate this budget with your actual bank account or just choose a budget tool from anywhere that feels comfortable for you.

Other Nova Scotia Student Assistance Resources:

Check out these other topics to help you understand your borrowing decisions and learn how you can finish school and repay your loans as quickly as possible.