How to Save Money While in Co-op

How to Save Money While in Co-op

By: Ashley Schultheiss
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Sounds silly at first, but have you ever received a paycheque on the 15th and by the 20th you have no idea where it went? Here are a few ways to tackle sneaky spending.

Coffee Runs

It's easy to get caught up in the coffee run loop, especially when it is technically a break and also a chance to gab with coworkers.

1. Bring your own coffee to work

  • Coffees add up, especially when you're getting more than just drip!

2. Tag along for the walk!

  • It’s a great way to maintain the social aspect of coffee breaks while you bring your own coffee to work.
  • This trick works great (especially if you leave your wallet at the office).

3. If the first one is too 'tall' of an order (Starbucks pun intended) bring your own coffee mug to the cafe

  • You will save a few cents (and the planet!) for making this switch.


Packing your own lunch seems obvious, but here's a few tips to help make it easier.

4. Plan your lunches for the week

  • This helps with prep as well as grocery shopping.

5. Prep your meals at night

  • I got so good at this I started packing my breakfast too, granted that only lasted for a week.

Stick to a Routine

This will also help with your coffee & take out lunch habit. Planning is key!

6. Pay your bills as soon as you get your paycheque.

  • My parents taught me that it hurts less to rip a band aid off fast rather than slowly peeling it off.
  • Paying your credit card bill right away will prevent late payment charges.
  • Paying your rent on time will help you earn a good landlord reference. Rip off the band aid!

7. Put aside a set amount of money at the beginning of every month

  • Set up a savings account and an automatic transaction with your bank to deduct a set amount of money (e.g. $25) at the beginning of every month.
  • At the end of your co-op, you'll have stowed away $100 for when you really need it (e.g. back in class).

Treat Yo' Self

This may seem strange in a post about saving money, but play is just as important as work!

8. If you are going to go out with your friends for the night, bring a set amount of cash and don't use your cards.

  • This way, when it's gone, it's gone.

9. Do your homework!

  • Apps like Brewhound use your phone's location to tell you what the Happy Hour specials are near you. This way you can save a few bucks and still get your craft beer fix.
  • Love Spotify Premium? Spotify actually has a student price ($5!) that saves you money as opposed to the basic Spotify Premium subscription.

Asking For Help

10. Don't be afraid to ask for help

  • Guilt is a common feeling when asking for help. It's important to remember that nobody expects you to be able to live, work, go to school in Vancouver financially independent.
  • Asking for help may not even be in forms of money, but in terms of mental health, chores, advice, etc. - Help may look like registering for a program like Quest Outreach or SFU’s food bank program to help with cheaper groceries. Applying for Financial Aid & Awards through SFU. Or taking advantage of SFU's Health and Counselling program - it's free!

Image Credit: Unsplash

Beyond the Article
  • On your first work term? Jamie shares tips on how to master the 9 to 5 lifestyle.

  • Do you still feel like newbie at your workplace?  Tyler offers some advice on getting the most out of your work term as a new Co-op student.

  • Have more questions?  Ask a Communication Co-op coordinator! 

Posted on October 18, 2018