Budgeting tips and resources

Paying for university studies can be challenging. The good news? You have lots of options to help manage expenses and reduce costs while having a great university experience. We’ve compiled these resources and tips for students - reach out to us with questions!

Budgeting and planning

A budget is a plan that helps you manage your money. It helps you figure out how much money will be coming in and how much you can expect to spend during your studies. It might help you see where you could fit in some part-time work to help finance your studies, or where a student loan or a scholarship, award or bursary could make a difference.

Paying for school is a challenge.

See our Financial Options check list for some ideas to consider.

Other ideas for you

Foundations for success

VIU offers courses that contribute to academic success. Try time management and study skills courses. These can help you achieve academic and career success. Time management and study skills are helpful if you are in Co-operative Education or Internship programs, or getting work experience.

More than 400 students worked in on-campus jobs last year. Learn about on-campus student employment. And learn about co-operative education, practicum and internships. 

External job postings

It can be challenging to work while attending university. Staying organized and developing excellent study habits can help. You might pursue off-campus work - check out the following resources to get started:

For more options, check out 

Budgeting does not have to be complicated.  Here are some ways to help you be financially responsible and stay on top of your money:

Income tax forms

You can access your VIU T2202 and T4A tax slips by clicking on the Finance tab within your online student record.

Community Income Tax Service

Nanaimo Volunteer and Information Centre Society offers free assistance with filing your personal income tax. Trained volunteers provide essential assistance for people on low and fixed income, to individuals on pensions, or disability claims, and to the unemployed. Appointments are available year round to people who qualify for this valuable service. 

Financial Aid and Awards Experts

Are you a VIU Staff, Faculty or Student Leader or an external organization looking for a Financial Aid and Awards Expert to speak about financial aid resources at your event? Submit a request for an in-person or virtual event no later than 2 weeks prior to your scheduled event. Late requests may be considered but not guaranteed.

Grocery shopping

  • plan your menu and shop once a week
  • join friends and buy in bulk
  • don't shop when you are hungry
  • substitute beans and grains for meat
  • check weekly flyers for deals and coupons

Other shopping

  • buy used books - available at VIU Student's Union
  • hold clothing swaps and shop at consignment or thrift store
  • ask yourself, "do I really need this, or do I just want it?"
  • watch for sales and specials

If you must eat out, clip coupons and take advantage of restaurants that offer nightly specials. Use the Student Saver card available from VIU Student's Union

Other saving and earning ideas

  • arrange car pools
  • check out cheap night at the movies
  • hold a second-hand sale with friends
  • walk or cycle when possible to save money on transportation costs
  • participate in volunteer opportunities at community gardens and food kitchens
  • avoid buying gifts for friends and instead offer your time for a chore

Education Planner BC

Education Planner BC helps you make well-informed decisions about your education and career options. Use the "Plan Your Education" section to find articles and information about the different paths along the student journey.

Help for new immigrants 

Each year the Immigrant Welcome Centre at the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society welcomes hundreds of new immigrants from over 50 countries around the world – and almost as many different languages!

With specialized programs, services and supports for newcomers, this Nanaimo-based organization can help you make the transition to a new life in Canada a little easier.

Connect with the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society if you need help to get settled in Nanaimo, want to learn English, or need assistance finding a job.