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Off Campus Survival Guide

How to save a Buck $$$

By Jennifer Anderson

  • When choosing a place to live, boarding options are usually cheaper since you don’t normally have to buy dishes, linens, furniture, cleaners, dish clothes, etc
  • Borrow old dishes, cloths, towels, utensils from family members
  • In general, getting rent with utilities included is less hassle and in a leaky house, can be cheaper as well
  • Use the dollar store or raid garage sales for dish cloths, hand towels, furniture cooking pots, etc
  • Student banking packages are available at most banks – they can help to save on service charges, have no annual fees, possibly grad bonuses, etc
  • Ask for student discounts! You might be surprised what discounts you can get! (www.spclive.com for SPC discounts)
  • Buy used textbooks – networking with seniors that have the books you will need for next year is a good way to save major cash
  • Shop on a full stomach! Groceries are ALOT cheaper when you don’t impulse buy
  • No name products are the way to go at the store…look for them and flyers too
  • Apply for every single scholarship/bursary – you might be the only one who applied...
  • Work out a budget – add up expenses like rent, utilities, food, gas for your car, tuition, books etc and add up income from jobs or loans and make sure you know how much you have for spending money each month

Example Budget

Expenses $ $ Income $
Tuition 2146
(2 semesters)
2146 Parents Contribution 1000
Books 500 X 2 = 1000 Summer Job 5000
Rent 350 X 8 months = 2800 Part time job  
Utilities 150 X 8 months = 1200 Investments 1500
Gas 100 X 8 months = 800 Tax Refund 300
Food 90 X 8 months = 720 Scholarships
Toiletries 35 X 8 months = 280 Loans/OSAP
Line of Credit
Totals   $8946 for 1 year of school   $9800
Income minus(-) expenses $9800 - $8946 = +$854

*remember to add car payments, insurance, internet, cable and pet bills as applicable

Money Around the House

By Jennifer Anderson

  • Close drapes at night to keep the heat in and open them in the day to let the sun heat the house
  • Economy light bulbs and showerheads will save you big energy bills in the end
  • A weighted jug in the toilet tank saves on H2O bills
  • Get leaks fixed quickly and turn off lights and computers when not in use
  • Turning the thermostat down 1 degree can make a difference, so throw a sweater on
  • Make sure furniture isn’t blocking any vents
  • You can heat insulate windows by taping up cling wrap or polythene to window panes
  • Once you are done cooking in the oven and its turned off, leave the oven door open a little to let the remaining heat into the house

Cooking Basics

By Jennifer Anderson

For those of you that haven’t fended for yourself yet, this is for you! There are a couple of helpful hints and general rules for cooking for yourself.

  • Make sure you cook meat thoroughly; cutting meat into small pieces before cooking it can make this easier and it’s faster!
  • If you have oil in your pots or pans when you are done, pour the oil into a glass container so that the oil doesn’t congeal in pipes
  • Cook more than 1 meal’s worth so you have leftovers for the next day (it’s cheaper and less work!)
  • Affordable AND Easy foods: rice, pasta, meat pies, perogies, sidekicks, cereal, canned soup/pasta/chili, frozen vegetables


By Jennifer Anderson

Finding a housing arrangement that meets your needs and a landlord that works for you means saving more money and reducing your stress, provided you ask the right questions. The University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus web site has a complete list of off campus housing that you can view online.

Make sure you know what you want out of your living arrangements (for example, must have laundry facilities, be under $400 a month and close to the school if you have no car).

F.A.Q. for landlords before deciding on a place:

  1. How much is rent? Is it monthly? Utilities included and if so which ones? When will it be available?
  2. Are there laundry facilities? Does it cost extra?
  3. Written or verbal lease? If written lease, for how long?
  4. What maintenance is required by me and which are you responsible for?
  5. Are there laundry facilities available? Is there a charge for them?
  6. Is parking available?
  7. Can I bring pets? Any limitations on them?
  8. If boarding: who covers supplies like food, laundry supplies, dish soap, paper towels, toilet paper, dishes, garbage bags, cling wrap, fridge space, cupboard space, chore list/schedule etc?
  9. When is garbage/recycling day?
  10. Can I get receipts for my rent? Post-dated cheques ok? (Receipts are mandatory for tax purposes)
  11. 10. Can I have guests? Do you require a curfew?

Once you are in, you can avoid disputes if you give the house (or room) a once over:

  • Make note of holes, leaks in windows/doors, stains and tell landlord in writing
  • Check that every electrical outlet works
  • If boarding, be aware of off-limit areas
  • Decide on chores to be done in the house and what supplies are your responsibility

If you end up having a serious problem with your landlord, there are resources for landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities.

University of Guelph Off Campus Living
Landlord and Tenant Board
Ontario Tenants Rights

Time Management

By Nick Bennett

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task"
By William James

The key to time management is understanding what tasks need to be done. Most procrastination originates from fear of the unknown! The first step to beating the fear is by writing down everything from the BIG projects to the tiny little daily tasks.

Once this is done organize the tasks:

  1. First is to write down what needs to be done in the semester. For example tests, assignments, exams and any other events that you are going to take part in. This can be done at the beginning of the semester and can be altered as the things change.
  2. The next step is to create a weekly agenda. Each week a bit of time should be set aside to create this list. The first step is to take all your big projects and break them down into small manageable sections. For each section, allot the amount of time you think it would take to carry out the task. Add all the times together and multiply by 1.5. This gives you a “safety zone” to account for sickness or other events that will stop you from work. Once you have the total, divide by the number of weeks until the assignment is due. This will give you the number of hours per week you need to get the assignment done.


  1. Finding Topic 1.00 hours
  2. Research 3.00
  3. Creating a thesis 2.00
  4. Writing introduction 1.00
  5. Writing Body 6.00
  6. Writing Conclusion 1.00
  7. Make a list of references 1.00

15.00 x 1.5
Total = 22.5 hours
6 weeks
Hours per week = 3.75

The next step in creating a weekly agenda is to allot time for each of the other weekly tasks you have like quizzes or labs.
Within a week there are tasks that are important and others that are urgent. Important task are things that are significant and have a direct result on your future academically and individually. An example of importance is an assignment that is worth 50% of your mark. Urgent tasks are tasks that need to be completed soon but are not necessarily important. Rank the tasks in your week out of ten for importance and ten for urgency. Add up the two numbers for each task and it will show you the ranking of tasks to be done, with the highest number being tackled first.

Urgency Importance
For Example:

Topic Importance
(out of ten)
+ Urgency
(out of ten)
= Ranking
Math Quiz Friday
(2% of total mark)
5 + 6 = 11
Work on body of essay
(30% of total mark)
3 + 9 = 12
Finish Lab
(0.5% of total mark)
9 + 1 = 10
If you are feeling that you do not have the time to do all your tasks use this link to find out how much time you really have for homework! It will surprise you!

Academics are not the only reason why you are at university. To be balanced you should incorporate physical (exercise, nutrition and sleep) and social activities into your schedule. If you are active socially and physically it will be easier to tackle work, but a balance does have to be found. If it is a night you designate to schoolwork, try and keep to it and if you have planned social events make sure everything is under control so you can enjoy your time without guilt.

How to do laundry

By Nick Bennett

  1. Make sure you have change for the Laundromat
  2. Have a laundry basket or bag so you can actually make it to the Laundromat
  3. Make sure you have detergent. It isn’t always at the laundry mat. When deciding what type of detergent you want, the easiest way to choose is to buy the same product as your family uses. You know the smell and know it works
  4. If you are going to use bleach ONLY use it with whites! I find it easier not to deal with the whole situation
  5. Once you are ready to actually wash the clothes, start by separating them. Putting everything into one load is just asking for disaster
  6. Sort the clothes into
    • Whites
    • Light colours
    • Dark colours
    • Delicates
    • And if you have clothes that are covered in grease, oil or are caked in mud, it probably would be best to wash them separately
  7. While sorting, check your pockets for change and paper
  8. Choose the cycle and water temperature. Reading the tags on the clothes will give you a good idea what temperature is needed but here is a basic rule to follow
    • Whites can use hot water
    • Light colours can use warm water
    • Dark colours can use cold water
    • Delicates use cold water
  9. Start the machine up and once there is some water in the machine, add the detergent
  10. Use half a cup for whites and lighter loads and use a full cup if you have a heavy load
  11. Throw in the clothes evenly around the spinner but don’t overfill. If there is no room for clothes, there is no room for the water to work its magic
  12. Once the wash is over, load up the dryer unless you plan to air-dry to save money
  13. Check the labels to find out what type of drying the article of clothing needs
  14. Most clothes need 30 to 40 minutes in a dryer
  15. Once drying is done, fold the clothes, this can help stop wrinkling