In this segment, we ask Minti Patel, a second-year student at the University of Toronto, the best advice on managing finances while in Canada, and at the same time, making the most of student life! Here are her experiences and advice.
SIN Number and Banking
Banks and mobile phone service providers will ask for your SIN number, and without it, you will have a tough time getting these things done. When you go to the bank, you’ll be able to activate the student account that you applied for from India. It’s advisable to apply for a credit card as well since leasing house companies or owners will often ask to see your credit score when you choose to live off-campus from the 2nd year, and a credit card and help you build your credit score.
I chose Scotiabank to open my account with. They have good customer services and are located all over Canada. Additionally, they do not charge extra fees for online money transactions, which some banks do. Also note, if you have a relative, close family friend or any other guardian that has a permanent residence in Canada, provide their address as address proof instead of your on-campus address. Since this will be a safer place for your credit card to arrive, and moreover, when you move out of campus, your residential address might change as well, making it a hassle to keep updating your address with your bank.
My university does provide me with a Miway unlimited bus pass, however, some universities do not. And other transportation methods require a presto ticket or a presto card. Therefore, if you plan to rely on public transportation extensively, it is necessary for you to get a presto card, as it will make travelling easier and more convenient. To save money, try using public transportation more often than Uber or Lyft because these services tend to be quite expensive!
Food and groceries
Cooking your own meals is less costly and you will get eventually get tired of campus food. The best low-cost places to go for grocery is Walmart or farmers market. And if you wish to go to the farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables then visit at night because they will lower their prices to sell off the remaining produce they have. And do not worry about not finding Indian food, because Walmart does have a few of Indian snacks and essentials. Additionally, you’ll be able to find Indian supermarkets as well. I, being a vegetarian, rarely ate at my own campus, so it might be wise to get the smallest meal plan!