Budgeting & Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

You can view the Financial Literacy video in full screen on YouTube. Want to skip to a specific topic? Click on the topic below!

A video transcript for the Financial Literacy webinar is available.

Cooking on a Budget

You can view the Cooking on a Budget video in full screen on YouTube. Want to skip to a specific topic? Click on the topic below!

A video transcript for the Cooking on a Budget webinar is available.

Cooking on a Limited Budget: Tips from a U of G Chef

View the Cooking on a Limited Budget: Tips from a U of G Chef video in full screen on YouTube.

Watch these cooking demonstrations with a U of G chef for help with making budget-friendly meals!



Paying for your education begins with a plan. A good financial plan will include an estimate of resources and costs over your academic career. A financial plan provides an opportunity to evaluate your current financial situation and make sound decisions for the future.

Developing a Budget for Your Academic Year

  • Step 1: Include all realistic resources available to you, such as savings, employment earnings, Government Assistance (loans and grants), family support, scholarships and bursaries.
  • Step 2: Search out all possible sources of funds available. The Student Financial Services website is a good place to start.
  • Step 3: List your expenses. Be realistic, accurate and budget for the unexpected.
  • Step 4: Track all your daily expenses and compare them with your budget. There are free expense tracker apps available for your phone and computer to help track where your money is spent.
  • Step 5: Review your plan and make the necessary adjustments to be financially successful! Remember your most expensive months will likely be September and January.

If the expenses exceed income and you come up with a negative figure, you need to re-evaluate your financial plan. Spending in certain areas will have to be reduced to keep you financially healthy. Cut back wherever you can to ensure that your resources can cover all your expenses.

If you do happen to have money left over, that's great! Put this into a savings account or other investments. That way, you can save to meet future goals. Keep your budget up to date as your income and goals change.

Example of estimated costs for 2021-22 for two semesters. Please note this is an example and expenditures may vary depending on program of study, living costs, etc.

Expense Item On-Campus Living Cost At Home Cost Off-Campus Living Cost
Tuition & Fees (Arts) Domestic: $7,400
International: $30,400
Domestic: $7,400
Domestic: $7,400
International: $30,400
Books & Supplies $1,400 $1,400 $1,400
Residence - Double $6,976 0 0
Meal Plan (Full) $5,720 0 0
Rent ($600/month, including utilities) 0 0 $4,800
Food ($350/month) 0 0 $2,800
(Cell phone, clothing, entertainment, laundry, etc.)
$2,250 $2,250 $2,250
TOTAL Domestic: $23,746
International: $46,746
Domestic: $11,050
Domestic: $18,650
International: $41,650

Government Student Assistance Payments

Government student assistance is paid in two installments, usually at the start of each of your study semesters. Government loans are usually allocated 60% in the fall and 40% in the winter semester; government grants are usually split equally between the fall and winter. It is important that your financial plan reflect these lump sums and that you make use of them appropriately over the two semesters.

Still a little short or looking for some extra money?

Consider applying to one or more of these U of G's programs specifically created to assist students with demonstrated financial need: Bursaries, Work Study, and/or Undergraduate Research Assistantships



  • Buy used textbooks and sell your text books back at the end of semester.
  • Make a list when shopping for groceries and stick to it. Find a friend to share the cost of bulk items and don't shop at a convenience store where items are usually more expensive.
  • Enjoy free activities on campus or in the community. Borrow movies and magazines from the local library.
  • Pack a lunch every day to save money.
  • Plan to treat yourself once in a while, and make sure you include this in your financial plan.
  • Bring a reusable mug with your coffee already made; it is good for the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid impulse purchases; stop and ask yourself "do I need this or do I want this?". If you think you need the item, first look for bargains and sales. You can ask a store to put an item on hold for 24 hours while you do a bit of price checking.
  • Save each day's loose change to make a weekend fun fund, or have a small amount automatically transferred to a savings account each month.
  • Use credit with caution. Check the interest rates on credit cards. You should never carry a balance on a high interest credit card. If you need credit, it is better to see if you qualify for a government loan or a student line of credit at your bank.



If you have questions about income tax (such as how it works, when to file your tax return, and what tax credits and benefits are available), check out these resources from the Ontario Ministry of Finance:

For information about tax forms issued by the University of Guelph, visit the T2202 and T4A webpage.