How to Save Money on Holiday Gifts as a Student

However much you love the holidays, there’s one thing you definitely don’t look forward to: exceeding your budget on gifts. Avoid stress this year by following some basic money-saving tips.

1. Decide How Much You Can Afford

Look at your monthly budget and decide how much of it you can afford to allocate to gifts. It’s important to do this before you start buying anything — otherwise, you may end up spending almost your entire budget on a couple people and have nothing left for everyone else. Also determine who you want to give gifts to. If you want to purchase more expensive presents for some people than others, come up with a rough amount of how much you’ll spend on each individual.

2. Spread Out Your Holiday Shopping

Start buying gifts as early as possible. This will enable you to use a portion of a couple months’ budget rather than needing to find the whole amount you need at once. If you won’t be seeing some family members or friends until the beginning of next year, you can even wait to buy gifts until after the holidays.

3. Organize a Gift Exchange with Friends

An easy way to save money on buying gifts for friends is to arrange some kind of gift exchange. You could do a Secret Santa, where each person in the group is anonymously assigned someone else to buy a gift for, or a White Elephant, where you all bring one gift and everyone chooses one to take at random.

Either way, you’ll have the freedom to spend a decent amount on one gift instead of needing to buy a large number of small gifts. If most of your friends are college students as well, the likelihood is they are also strapped for cash and will appreciate this idea.

4. Make Your Gifts

You’ll spend even less if you make your gifts. Plus, an added benefit is that your presents will have more meaning to the recipients. If you know how to knit or crochet, you can make great gifts like scarves, hats, or socks. Alternatively, you could collect some photos from over the years to create a memory book or make cosmetics — bath bombs can be particularly impressive, but they’re cheap and easy to make.

5. Save Money on Holiday Activities

Gift giving is just one expense you face over the holidays; another major one is holiday activities with friends and family. However, there are plenty of things you can do that cost little or nothing. For instance, you could have a movie night at home, go for a drive around your neighbourhood to see the light displays, or have a potluck dinner with friends instead of going to a restaurant.

You’ll save money year round if you move into an off-campus apartment. The Niagara College student housing at Foundry Lofts is comfortable and convenient with a range of great amenities — from free yoga classes and a 45-seat movie theatre to a WiFi-equipped study lounge. Apply now to join the waitlist for next year.


5 Ways to Reconnect with Hometown Friends Over Winter Break

One of the best times of year to catch up with hometown friends is winter break. You’re all back home for an extended period, likely with plenty of free time in your schedules and no need to think about schoolwork again until next year. Plus, unlike spring break, the end of the school year is still a long way off and unlike summer, most of your friends won’t be going on vacation or be preoccupied looking for an internship.

To properly reconnect, there are a few different activities you should consider organizing. If you have plenty of time, you may even like to do them all. At the very least, they’ll keep you from feeling bored and strengthen the bonds you have with old friends.

1. Quick Coffee with the Group

Meet up with your entire group of friends over a morning coffee. This will allow those who have other commitments to leave early — and the rest of you can stick around for longer. Your friends should be able to fit a quick coffee into their schedule, even if some of them are busy with a job, gift shopping, or preparing for next semester.

2. Brunch and a Movie

Spend the whole day together — without pushing anyone to get up early — by arranging to meet for brunch. This will give you plenty of time to chat about university, jobs, roommate drama, and everything else. Complete the day by heading to a movie theatre to see a latest release that you’ve been unable to see yet due to being busy with finals.

3. Hit the Bars

If your friends have more time in the evenings, heading to a local bar or even organizing a proper night out could be ideal. Your friends need to let off steam just as much as you do — this could be the perfect choice to help you relax.

4. Go for Dinner

Organize a special end-of-year dinner at a fancy restaurant with all your closest friends from your hometown. Choose a restaurant that you’ve always loved or try out one you’ve never been to before. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to dress up and feel more like part of each other’s new, adult lives.

5. Have a Slumber Party

If you want to do the opposite and feel like kids again, hold a slumber party. It’s sure to make you think of the old times and how much fun you used to have at high school. Incorporate some of your favourite activities, whether that means having a movie night, baking and decorating cookies, or playing video games. What you choose to do doesn’t matter nearly so much as the fact that you’ll all be together again.

You’ll likely stay in touch with friends over the school year through social media and texting, but nothing compares to meeting in person. Instead of waiting for another break, why not invite friends over for the weekend while you’re at college? You’ll find apartments near Brock University with plenty of space to host guests at Foundry Lofts. Apply now to join our waitlist to hear when new spots open up.


How to Avoid Cramming for Tests

Cramming for tests is always a bad idea. For one thing, it’s much harder to retain information this way. Worse, if you pull an all-nighter, you may even fall asleep while cramming, sleep through your alarm, and miss the test entirely. No matter if you’re prone to procrastination or you’re not sure how to prepare for tests other than cramming, there are ways you can improve.

1. Study Every Day

As soon as you know that you’ll be having the test and what it will cover, start preparing. It’s enough to dedicate just half an hour a day to studying — you’ll soon find the information starts to stick and you’ll stop struggling to remember the fine details. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to schedule time each day to ensure you actually do study.

2. Condense Your Notes

An effective way to solidify your knowledge is to rewrite your notes by condensing them down to just the main points. You can even rewrite each set of notes more than once, making them more condensed each time. If you have typed notes, make sure you write them out fresh each time rather than just making a copy of the document and deleting the extra information.

3. Pay Attention in Class

Your notes are no good if you failed to pay attention in class. If you have gaps, you’ll need to go and look up the missing information instead of preparing for your test. This will add to your workload and increase the risk you’ll need to cram the night before.

If you’re finding it hard to focus in class, remove any distractions. Instead of sitting at the back of the room next to a friend or looking at your phone every few minutes, move to the front of the room to be right in front of your professor.

4. Form a Study Group

The best study group is formed of people who want to do well on a test and will help each other understand the material. The worst people to have in a study group are often your best friends, as the study session can easily become another socializing event.

An alternative to forming a study group is to ask a TA or tutor to help you. The important thing is to study with someone who will push you and make sure you understand the material fully.

5. Experiment with Different Study Methods

It’s difficult to know which study methods work for you until you’ve tried them. Many students find it useful to prepare flashcards to test themselves on key concepts and facts. You could also draw a mind map, flow chart, or another type of diagram to summarize what you’ve learned or how key points are linked.

Having a comfortable place to study throughout the semester can make a world of difference. Dorm rooms are notoriously terrible for studying — it’s much better to live in Brock University off-campus housing. At Foundry Lofts, you’ll be able to study in your private bedroom or in our 3,600-square-foot WiFi-equipped lounge. Apply now to secure your suite.


What to Do If You & Your Roommate Don’t Get Along

Whether your roommate is a friend or someone you’ve never met before, making the adjustment to living in close quarters can be difficult. The situation is worse if you and your roommate don’t get along. Since you’ll need to put up with each other for at least the rest of the semester, it’s important to take steps to resolve any problems you have before they become overblown.

1. Think About What You Could Do Differently

It’s easy to blame your roommate for everything wrong with your living situation, but you need to consider how you’re contributing. Just like your roommate has annoying habits, you most likely do things that bother your roommate without you even realizing it. In fact, you could be adding to the tension.

If you’re living with a complete stranger, another factor could be that you simply don’t know your roommate yet. You could be interpreting behaviour as hostile or unfriendly, when actually your roommate is just shy or feeling homesick. Give your roommate the benefit of the doubt and put in the effort to get to know one another. There’s no need to become friends, but life will be easier for both of you if you learn to get along.

2. Take Steps to Prevent Conflict

You’re going to have to deal with conflict no matter who you live with. You undoubtedly had conflicts with your parents and siblings when you lived in your family home. The conflicts you have with your roommate may be quite different, but that’s just because you come from different backgrounds. Always consider your role in any conflicts and what you could do to prevent problems in the future.

3. Spend Less Time in Your Apartment

You may find you’re getting on each other’s nerves simply because you’re around each other too much. Perhaps your roommate likes to lounge around in the living room for hours or spends a long time cooking every evening, making it difficult for you to use the kitchen. Instead of becoming frustrated, find ways to stay out of the house more. Perhaps you could visit friends, sign up for more activities at college, or find an opportunity to volunteer.

4. Have Conversations About What’s Bothering You

Resolving problems requires action from both of you — which means you need to communicate. It’s no good to expect your roommate to just know what to do. Worse still is leaving passive aggressive notes, such as to point out that something needs cleaning or to complain about your roommate’s guests.

Instead, you need to have sit-down conversations.

Start the conversation by pointing out that you want to get along and you need to know if you are doing anything that annoys your roommate. Give your roommate time to talk and make sure to listen carefully. Only then should you explain what’s bothering you. Together, you should figure out ways to resolve the issues.

It’s common to find that this first conversation goes much better than you may have expected. The fact is most college students want to have a pleasant living experience and are willing to work with their roommates to make it happen.

5. Vent to Someone

There may be some small things that bother you that you just need to put up with, especially if it would seem petty to ask your roommate to change. Alternatively, you may be stressed in general, which could mean the things your roommate does bother you irrationally. Venting to a friend can sometimes help, but an even better solution is to talk to a counsellor. A professional may have ideas you can use in your specific situation to make your life more comfortable.

You’re much less likely to have conflict with your roommate if you don’t share a bedroom. A great alternative to on-campus Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. You’ll have a private bedroom in a suite with a maximum of four other students and you’ll only need to share a bathroom with two other people at the most. Secure the floor plan you want by applying today.


A Guide to Making New Friends at University

Although everyone is eager to make friends when they start university, it becomes more difficult to connect with new people as time goes on. However, it’s still possible to make new friends at any point during your time at university — all you need to do is keep some basic tips in mind.

1. Be Authentic

Making friends is not a numbers game — there’s no point investing your time in someone with whom you have nothing in common. By being genuine, you’ll find friends with similar interests and ensure your personalities click. This is a key way to build friendships that last.

2. Meet Others Living in the Same Student Housing

Look beyond your classes when searching for opportunities to make friends. It’s particularly convenient to hang out with people who live in the same building as you, especially if there are facilities on site like a lounge or fitness centre. The students living in the same place as you may be taking a completely different major or they may even attend another university. This will mean you’re exposed to new perspectives and ideas.

3. Join Plenty of Clubs

Another way to expand your friend circle is to join clubs and organizations. Attend meetings for anything you find intriguing and explore new passions. It will be easy to make friends when you can bond over a hobby.

4. Let Your Uniqueness Shine

Don’t be afraid to show the unique side of your personality. If you have an uncommon hobby or character quirk that your current friends love, embrace it. When you’re memorable, the people you meet will seek you out.

5. Ask Questions

Of course, it’s also important to avoid making everything about you. Take a genuine interest in the people you meet and ask plenty of questions. If you find that the standard small talk starts to become boring, ask more original questions — without being intrusive, of course. For instance, you could try to find out what you have in common with people. You’ll immediately have something to talk about, as well as a reason to meet up again later.

6. Expect to Like People

Reserve any judgement until you actually know someone. When you meet new people, always begin with the expectation that you will like them. By keeping an open mind, you’ll likely find that you connect with people who would never otherwise have become your friends. Plus, you’ll gain a reputation for being a nice person yourself, which will mean people are more willing to approach you.

7. Broaden Your Knowledge

Learn about things that interest other students. For example, stay up to date with pop culture references, what’s happening in the news, and sports. Whereas no one likes a know-it-all, having a basic knowledge of a variety of topics will allow you to have conversations about anything with anyone.

8. Invite People to Routine Activities

Think about all the things you do everyday anyway and consider if you could invite new friends along. Perhaps you could find some gym buddies or have a jam session with fellow musicians.

You’ll find it much easier to make friends if you live in a building made up of student rentals. St Catharines students have Foundry Lofts. Our student housing has a variety of amenities that make it easy to socialize and meet new people, including a game room, movie theatre, and TV lounge. Secure your lease before spaces fill up.


Tips for Earning Income as a Student

Earning an income while studying can mean you’re able to maintain the lifestyle you want and keep your student loan debt low. However, if you take a job that requires too much of your time, your grades may suffer or you may lack time for a social life. With the following ideas, you can gain the income you want while having free time to spare.

1. Offer Tutoring Services

Tutors are always in demand at universities, since many students can benefit from some extra help in certain subjects. If you’ve done exceptionally well in any of your past classes, it should be easy to convince students who are now taking those classes that hiring you will be worthwhile.

2. Assist a Professor

If you’ve developed a great relationship with any of your professors, reach out and ask them if they need any support. There may be an opportunity for you to become a research assistant, which will be valuable to have on your resume if you want to go to grad school or enter a career in research. Alternatively, you could become a teacher’s assistant, which involves grading assignments and helping with admin tasks as well as some research.

3. Provide IT Support

Students and staff alike run into computer problems all the time. Specify the hours when you’re available and allow anyone to call you. If you develop a good track record of being able to resolve IT issues, you’ll find that people will reach out to you frequently.

4. Answer Surveys

Filling out surveys and taking part in market research studies allows you to earn an income from the comfort of your own room. Sign up through survey websites and take part in studies whenever you have free time. You’ll find that some surveys offer gift cards rather than cash, but if these cards are for stores you buy from anyway, it’s almost like earning income.

5. Using Your Typing Skills

Put your typing skills to good use by searching for transcriptionist or data entry jobs on freelance sites. As you’ll be able to choose how many jobs you take, you never need to feel like work is taking up too much of your time.

6. Edit Student Resumes

Business majors know exactly what makes a resume stand out. Use your knowledge to help students who are graduating create resumes that will impress potential employers.

7. Sell Academic Materials

When you’ve finished a class, instead of throwing all your materials out, sell them to students who are just about to take the class. As well as textbooks, you may be able to sell your study notes and guides — provided they’re detailed and easy to follow. Bear in mind that you may have more success selling online than just trying to find buyers among students at your university.

8. House, Baby, or Pet Sit

Use your free evenings and weekends to care for someone’s house, kids, or pets. Find opportunities online or use your contacts in the area. Housesitting is ideal if you want to make an easy income with minimal responsibilities. Babysitting can be low effort, too, such as if you take jobs late in the evening. If you love animals, you may find taking care of a pet relaxing — there could even be the chance to gain a regular job walking a local dog.

9. Deliver Food

All you need is a vehicle (or perhaps even just a bike) and you can sign up with a food delivery service. The great thing about this job is you often make extra money from tips.

10. Sell Your Clothes

Instead of keeping your closet full of clothing you’ll never wear again, list items online. Ever more people are interested in purchasing quality second-hand clothing, both because of the chance to save money and because it’s better for the environment.

You can avoid needing to earn an income simply by reducing your expenses. One thing to do is search for cheaper rooms for rent. St Catharines students can find affordable, comfortable housing right next to campus at Foundry Lofts. Apply today to secure the unit of your choice before it’s too late.


Affordable Travel Destinations for Students

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” column_margin=”default” column_direction=”default” column_direction_tablet=”default” column_direction_phone=”default” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” row_border_radius=”none” row_border_radius_applies=”bg” overlay_strength=”0.3″ gradient_direction=”left_to_right” shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]University and college students barely get the chance to travel, thanks to the competition for better grades and budget constraints. But just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t travel.

Travelling during summer breaks is your best chance to unwind, relax, see new places, have unique experiences, and create lifelong memories. The good news is that you can travel as a student without breaking the bank.

Some destinations are affordable yet offer amazing experiences even if you have limited funds to spend. Thus, there’s no excuse not to rekindle your inner adventurous spirit.

It’s time to decide whether you’d want to spend your summer break in your Brock off-campus living facility or leave for an adventure spree.

Of course, we hope you’d choose the latter! And if you do, here are the top places to travel on a student budget.


While Bolivia is a popular travel destination for everyone, its inexpensive accommodation and commuting options make it an excellent place to travel to as a student. In addition, Bolivia’s colourful culture, fascinating art, and marvellous landscape are sure to leave you awe-struck.

You can live here for an average of $20 a day by planning your tour in advance. This amount can cover your housing, food, and drinks.


Ecuador is an excellent and affordable place for students who love seaside destinations. It’s a warm and beautiful region that welcomes tourists from across the globe. You’d love the Galapagos Islands, historical cities, lively marketplaces, and the rich heritage of Ecuador.

The best part is that accommodation cost is reasonable in Ecuador, and the overall security situation has improved in recent years. So as long as you’re careful with your money and travelling, you’re unlikely to face any problems.


If you’re a fan of the Mediterranean Sea but don’t have the budget to visit mainland Europe, Albania is a great alternative. It’s one of the few affordable travel destinations in Europe, thanks to lower living costs. This welcoming country will surely leave you with some incredible memories.

Albania is home to some great museums and art galleries, so you’ll get a chance to learn about European history and culture. Want to know the best things about Albania? Pocket-friendly accommodation and delicious gourmet meals! So, start saving money to fund for your (mini) Euro trip while you’re in college or university.

Panama City, Florida

Soaking in the Florida sun doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find some fantastic off-season deals and tick Panama City off your bucket list. This warm city by the beach has some world-class condos and resorts, but you’d want to live in one of the shared camp houses and hostels if you’re on a budget.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is a good place for foodies and those who love grabbing special hour deals. In addition, you can enjoy water sports, participate in boat races, have beach parties, and experience nature’s tranquillity along the Atlantic coast without spending a fortune.

San Juan has many affordable hostels where you can live for an average of $15 a night. The best thing is that you’ll get the chance to meet other travellers and students from across the world and enjoy the local rum-packed mojitos.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is yet another excellent and affordable travel destination in Central America for students. You can indulge in many adventure experiences here without exceeding your budget.

The cost of living in Costa Rica is low, and you can easily find some excellent and cheap hostels to live in. Or you may choose to stay at one of the many affordable BnB lodgings that offer free breakfast. Travelling to Costa Rica from Canada is also pretty inexpensive.

Final Thoughts

Travelling as a student isn’t easy, especially when you’re under the pressure of assignments, coursework, exams, and more. But since travelling re-energizes you and allows you to have beautiful experiences, consider travelling during summer breaks, if not during your semester.

Since summer break is in full swing for most students, pick your travel destinations from the list above and start preparing for your adventure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


How to Prepare for Living Off-Campus

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” column_margin=”default” column_direction=”default” column_direction_tablet=”default” column_direction_phone=”default” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” row_border_radius=”none” row_border_radius_applies=”bg” overlay_strength=”0.3″ gradient_direction=”left_to_right” shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]On-campus and off-campus student accommodations come with their pros and cons. Some university students choose to live on campus. They find it more convenient because they live close to classes and can easily walk to campus.

While it is true that on-campus life may seem more attractive to new students, off-campus life has its own perks, which is why many students choose the latter. They do so because they feel more comfortable living away from campus and in a less restricted environment.

Off-campus life gives you the chance to live on your terms and be the master of your routine. You get to enjoy more freedom living off-campus than on campus. But you have to consider many different factors before deciding to live off-campus.

Here’re some essential tips to prepare yourself for living off-campus:

Consider the Costs

How much can you afford to pay for living off-campus? That’s the most important factor you must take into account. Unfortunately, students living in any type of accommodations are likely to underestimate their expenses, but setting a budget ahead of time can help you prepare.

Rent is a major expense, but don’t forget to consider utility, grocery, transportation, cable and internet charges in rooms for rent. St Catharines fortunately has plenty of housing options with all-inclusive rent, meaning that the cost of utility, internet, cable, and other on-site facilities is built into the cost.

Consider Including Roommates

While you can choose to live in a private bedroom, one way to divide off-campus accommodation costs is to live with one or more roommates. The cost of living would go down significantly when you’re sharing the expenses.

Of course, you don’t want to keep cramming in roommates to reduce your expenses. But a few people together can help everyone stay on budget and also have some fun.

Look for Accommodation Options Near Your University

Once you’ve determined how much you need to pay for expenses and whether or not you’ll have housemates, you can start looking for accommodation options accordingly.

It’s always a good idea to look for safe off-campus accommodation facilities near your college or university. Student housing properties near campus can cut commute time and travel costs. For example, if you’re a student at Brock University, you could choose one of the nearby facilities in St. Catharines.

If you need help with house hunting, you can also contact reliable real estate agencies to point you in the right direction.

Consider Transportation Options

In case your off-campus residence isn’t within walking distance from your university, you’ll also need to consider transportation options. For some students, public transport may be the solution. But others may need their own cars or bikes.

But buying a car can be expensive. Besides the upfront cost, be sure to consider insurance, registration, maintenance, fuel, parking, and more. These expenses, along with rent and living cost, may exceed your budget, so know what you’re signing up for and whether you can afford it.

Create a Chore Chart

Living off-campus will likely mean sharing a space with others, so you won’t be able to fall behind on chores such as cleaning and grocery shopping. Also, you have a larger space to look after, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and bedroom.

Fortunately, sharing a space also means there will be more hands available to help. It’s a good idea to create a chore chart to divide the responsibilities among everyone living in the apartment. Doing so will prevent conflicts and ensure that all the chores overburden no one person.

Know Your Neighbours

Most people living next to students expect some noise and parties. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a good neighbor.

Take some time to introduce yourself to the people living next door and give them your cell phone number in case they ever need to contact you. Putting the right foot forward will help you build a good repertoire with your neighbours.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]