How to have fun in Toronto on a budget this fall

Living in Toronto can be really, really hard once you realize how expensive it is to live here. Rent cost an absurd amount and then you've got to pay for food and transportation as well, plus — since we all deserve it sometimes — treating yourself to a show, movie or a meal or night out. There's lots of good, money-saving tricks to living in Toronto for everybody, especially students. Here's a list of discounted or cheap ways to have fun in the city, which several that can only be accessed by students but a few that are open to everybody.

Grab a smoothie at Booster Juice

From now until December 31st, when you visit a Booster Juice location up to one hour after it opens or one hour before it closes, you'll get 50 percent off your smoothie, fresh juice or grilled food. The deal doesn't apply to all stores such as locations on college or university campuses, however, so check out the fine print before you head out.

Go on a little bit of retail therapy

IMG_9254.jpg

Shopping is something that most people love to do, but it can get expensive.

The SPC card is honestly one of the best cards to have as a student, saving you up to hundreds of dollars per year for things you'd probably end up buying anyway. It's a card that offers discounts at lots of retailers including 10 percent off at ALDO, Bath and Body Works, Club Monaco, Levi's, Old Navy, Payless and many more. You get a higher percentage off at Frank and Oak, Indigo, Keurig, Tom's and a few other stores. The card does cost $10 per year plus tax, but I find it to be worth the purchase — it pays for itself if you're planning on spending more than $100 at any of the stores over the next year.

If you're feeling too lazy to go out and shop or just don't want to get out of bed, Amazon also offers six months of Amazon Prime for free to students, which includes free shipping on millions of items.

And, for any athletes out there, or people who just like comfy clothing, Adidas offers 30% off full-price and 15% off sale-price merchandise for students if you enter your email on this webpage.

Rent a bike from BikeShare Toronto

Using a bike share is such a great concept in a city like Toronto for two reasons. First, it means you don't have to actually own a bike to use one and secondly, it means that it it won't get stolen. There's supposed to be a few more nice, above-ten-degree-weather days left, which makes it perfect to go for a ride along the waterfront. Day passes are only $7 and include an unlimited amount of 30-minute rides. Basically, this means that you'll have to dock your bike and take another one out every 30 minutes to avoid more fees, but it's fine if you're biking near stations (there's a lot of them downtown). If you feel like that's too much of a hassle and live near Humber College's Lakeshore campus or  UoT, you can try out Dropbike, which only cost $1 per hour and can be left anywhere on campus once you're done with it.

Hit up a free museum or gallery, like Allan Gardens or the ROM on Tuesdays

Though the Royal Ontario Museum isn't free everyday, it is on Tuesdays for post-secondary students which means you can check out all the general galleries (no, that doesn't include the new exhibit about vikings) for free. There's a few other attractions throughout the city that offer some sort of free or discounted day for students, plus Allan Gardens which is open 365 days per year from 10-5 pm.

Find something to eat using Feedback

Feedback is an app with a really neat idea that I discovered a few days ago and, full disclosure, have yet to test out. The idea behind it is when restaurants are closing at the end of the night, they usually have a bunch of food left over; instead of throwing the food away, why not sell it at a discount to customers instead. There's a variety of deals in the app: a Big Burrito from Fat Bastard Burritos for $7.49 (regularly $8.79), a salad bowl from The Goods for $8.99 (usually $12.99) and a slice, side and drink from Sbarro for $6.99 (normally $9) are just some examples. You'll have to beware of the hours these deals are available, as they're usually for a few hours or less before the place closes for the day and they usually sell out quite fast.

See a Carnegie Hall Presents show

When you pay with a MasterCard using Masterpass, you'll get a $25 e-gift card if the ticket costed you more than $30 — though the website doesn't say if that's before or after taxes, so it's presumably after. This promo is only valid for one ticket per performance, so if you want to go with a friend, they'll need to purchase a ticket with their card at the same time as you.

Head to the Christmas Market during the week

IMG_2742.jpg

During the week from Tuesday to Friday at 6 pm, the Toronto Christmas Market is completely free to enter. There'll be loads of light exhibits shining bright when it gets dark out, Santa's House, and the heart and joy signs to take pictures in front of. The festival doesn't open until November 16.

Check out the new blockbuster movie (but only if it's discount Tuesday)

Movies can be super expensive if you go all the time, but they're nice to treat yourself to every once and a while. Tuesday is obviously the optimal day to go because tickets are around half-off, plus you still get the same amount of Scene points. For those who really want to save some money — because, let's face it, movie snacks can be somewhat expensive — hit up the dollar store for some cheap snacks and stick them in your pocket before you head to the movie.