Okay mans listen up! Living a good life in the city doesn’t have to be expensive! Does it require a little more effort and stepping out of your comfort zone? Yes. But it’s a lifestyle worth exploring, especially because it keeps money in your pocket to spend on that one big thing you’ve been dreaming about AND nobody can even tell you’re cheap. Issa win-win if you’re a broke student in the 6ix.
1. I have to start off with the best, Curry Kitchen.
It’s an Indian restaurant but the heat levels allow everyone to enjoy the food. The portions are big and you can easily have some leftover. My go-to is the chicken biryani which is only $5!! No tax, if you pay with cash! It’s so good, I could gush about it forever. Plus it’s literally less than a 5 min walk from Ryerson and it’s halal so get moving!
2. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been wanting to join self-defense and dance classes for ages.
Fortunately, the Sony Center for the Performing Arts offers those for free! And there are loads of different classes at different times so you can always squeeze one in somewhere. Studies show that this stuff is good and helps you do well on exams too so get up, get that booty into shape, and have some fun! More details here.
3. If you wanna be healthy but not spend $100 every week for those vegetables that you can barely get down anyways, don’t go to places like Loblaws and Sobeys fam!
Give your wallet a break and those legs and lungs some movement. Grab $20, walk down to Spadina and Queen St W and get everything you need from the Chinese markets. There are also some up on Gerrard St a few blocks before Gerrard Square if that’s closer. But I’m not kidding, it’s so worth it. That pack of strawberries you just got on sale for $2.50? Yeah I got two of those and saved $0.50 at those amazing Chinese stores. Now that’s a good deal.
4. The city is a treasure chest of locations for that Instagram account you’ve struggled to maintain.
Every part of downtown is different, walk around and you are guaranteed to run into a stunning mural at some point. And it’s spring now so the blossoming trees and plants are everywhere. Get creative!
5. There are so many free things on your birthday to try that it’ll be impossible to have a bad one.
Get a free breakfast at Denny’s, pick up a gift from Sephora, grab a pastry or dessert from Panera Bread, or a dessert that looks like $50 bucks from Boston Pizza. You don’t even have to have friends for these things. Spoil yourself, you deserve it!
6. Constantly check Eventbrite for free events.
There are loads and you can even get a free lunch or dinner for just showing up! And it looks like you’re being social and being invited to do cool things on Snapchat. You might learn some new things, make some cool friends or meet a sugar daddy! Who knows! Some give really good goodie bags too!
7. The hotdog stands!
They’re everywhere, especially near UofT and they give good quantities. Perfect if you’re super broke. Not the healthiest but let’s be real, after those exams you want to look forward to a serving of warm, thick and crunchy fries not kale salad.
8. Invest in a bike.
It’s fast and the cheapest form of transportation. You also get to explore the city more freely. That Presto balance can add up quickly so save it for the brutal winters!
9. Clothing in the city is usually overpriced.
Either wait for the big sales or do your shopping at home and bring it with you. If you live in the city, plan a day to go out with your friends to the suburbs and do all your shopping there
10. Lastly, participate in some research studies.
They usually don’t take long and as a broke student, every dollar counts. Spend an hour or two and earn an extra $20, it’s time well spent and you’re contributing to science.