A Comprehensive Guide to Manage Debt While Studying in Canada 

Manage Debt While Studying in Canada
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The excitement and opportunity of studying in Canada most of the time is supported by financial support. It is really essential to manage finances as per the requirements and demands of the time. An international student studying in Canada needs to manage and plan finances responsibly. If you are the one facing the complexities of debt management, this blog is just for you! In this blog, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to managing your finances and debt while studying in Canada. Let’s get started!

Identifying Your Debt

Identifying Your Debt

The primary and basic requirement is to identify your debt. What you owe should be identified and written down. It is really important to gather or list all your statements, balances, and bills. Be sure to calculate the total amount of debt which may include interest rates and monthly payments. While identifying the amount of debt you must include the following points for each debt.

  • Title (e.g., mortgage, personal loan, etc.)
  • Total amount owing
  • Minimum monthly payment
  • Interest rate
  • Credit Cards
  • Taxes you owe
  • buy now, pay later plans
  • Unpaid utility bills (cell phone, electricity television, etc.)
  • Any loan from relatives, family, friends
  • any other unpaid bill (property taxes, store financing, etc.)

Generally, after identifying your debt you should have the total value of your debts and the amount of interest to be paid on each debt. Confront your debt head-on. Being in debt can sometimes feel worse than it actually is. That’s why it’s always better to rip off the band-aid and take a look at it right away before it becomes unmanageable.

Also Read: Seeking details about education but don’t know about documents required; Check our blog Education Loan: Essential checklist for international students who are availing Education Loan in 2024!

Restructure and Negotiate Your Debt

Restructuring and negotiating debt sometimes come as a great help to improve the financial situation for the time being. Restructuring will basically help you out in reducing your financial burden by reducing the amount of interest you have to pay each month. It will combine all your debts into a single loan with a more preferential repayment interest rate. This amount of interest will be restructured after a period of time whenever payment is possible.

The restructuring terms and conditions may vary from lender to lender. Be sure to check out the loan agreements for detailed information about terms and conditions. Generally, the option may be available from under certain conditions such as an acceptable credit score and a reasonable income. ​ 

It is advisable to contact the lender at least once for restructuring and negotiating terms. Don’t hesitate to enquire about the certain aspects, terms, and conditions of your loan. The lenders generally offer better repayment options and terms to ensure that they are repaid. The biggest advantage of restructuring is it pushes the repayment deadline and reduces the monthly payment burden. The disadvantage is that it leaves a lasting impact on credit history for at least 6 years which can be improved later on with on-time payments. It is really important to have and maintain a good credit score and rating to avail loans in the future. 

Review Your Budget

Review Your Budget

Budgeting is the key to managing finances during overseas education. Don’t miss out on making strategies for budgeting and financial management as an international student in Canada. Budgeting will help you out in planning and managing your funds effectively. It will help you figure out the funds you have, what you need to spend, and save. It also supports you in balancing your income and expenses. It also helps you to reach your financial goals with proper planning and execution. 

Reviewing your budget will help you in repayment of the debt easily and effectively. Always prioritise your needs over wants and plan your budget accordingly. Keep reviewing the budget regularly, so that you can make adjustments accordingly. Be flexible to cut down your ‘wants’ budget as per the demand and requirements of the time.

Plan a Strategy to Manage Debts

Plan a Strategy to Manage Debts

Once you know your debt and are sure about the budget you have, plan a strategy to repay your debts accordingly. 

  • Choose a reasonable and affordable time frame to make repayments of debt. Neither choose a long time frame as you may lose focus nor a short-term plan as it can be quite unrealistic.
  • Identify the debt you should clear off as a priority. Prioritise the debts to pay off as per the interest rate, agreement, terms and conditions.
  • Try clearing off the debts with the highest interest rates to pay less interest. While identifying your debts, be sure to jot them down in order of interest rates from highest to lowest. Make the minimum payment on all your debts.
  • You can clear off your debts with the lowest interest rates as well and it is easy to pay them soon. However, you may end up paying more over time.
  • Make plans to repay the personal loans lent by your friends, relatives, and family. Don’t miss the commitment, issue a post-dated cheque to maintain trust for the future.
  • Don’t miss closing the accounts of the debts you have already cleared off. To maintain a long-term credit history keep your older credit account open.

How to Consolidate Debt?

How to Consolidate Debt?

The debts you can’t pay off should be consolidated. Consolidating debts means applying for a loan to pay off multiple debts with high-interest rates. Student loan consolidation basically simplifies the repayment process and helps you get free from multiple loans. It is really helpful for the ones who need some time to clear off their loans. 

You can get better interest rates which will reduce the overall cost of all the ongoing loans. You can even negotiate with your bank/lender over the repayment period and select the best-suited repayment plan subject to terms and conditions. 

Create a Debt Repayment Plan

Create a Debt Repayment Plan

It is important to determine your debt repayment method to make a proper debt repayment plan. Making a debt repayment plan and sticking to it will help you out in clearing off the long-due debt. There are various strategies to pay off your debt. Some of the most common strategies which will help you as an international student are mentioned below.

  • Avalanche method: It is one of the most preferable methods in which the borrower starts paying debt of the highest interest rates with available funds. It will help you out in reducing the overall amount of interest by putting more money towards paying off the principal of the highest-rate debt.
  • Snowball method: The Snowball method is just the opposite of the Avalanche method. In this method, the borrower repays the debt of the lowest amount because it helps meet minimum obligations.
  • Loan consolidation: Loan consolidation is basically an amalgamation of both methods. In this method, the borrower appeals to manage multiple debts under one umbrella. This method is really helpful in reducing the rate of interest with an effective repayment plan.

Also Read: International students must possess basic financial prowess. Read our article on the Importance of Financial Literacy to know more.

Use the 50/30/20 Rule

Use the 50/30/20 Rule

It is essential to use the 50/30/20 rule to manage your finances in an efficient manner and timely payment of your debt. This ratio may vary, but it is advisable to start with a 50/30/20 rule. This means that 50% of your spending should be for ‘must-haves’ or ‘necessities’, 30% should be for wants while the rest 20% should be for debt repayment(if no debts then savings).

Tips to Get Rid of Debt

Tips to Get Rid of Debt

Credit card debt, auto loans, student loans, personal loans… Whatever your debt situation is, here are some basic tips to get rid of debt.

  • Never go for minimum monthly payments.
  • Always pay more than minimum payments.
  • Prioritise your needs and spend less on your wants.
  • Start paying off your debts with the highest amount of interest.
  • Go for quality second-hand goods rather than buying new ones.
  • Try saving on your groceries to save more money.
  • Get a second job and pay down your debt aggressively and actively.
  • Find ways to earn extra income.
  • Keep visiting your budget, track your spending, and be flexible with the budget.
  • Identify the areas where you can cut down on spending.
  • Pay lower interest rates with the help of loan consolidation.
  • Plan a budget and stick to it.
  • Understand your spending and strategise it.
  • Try paying balances on time.

Also Read: Need help managing your education loan repayment? Check this blog and understand all about Education Loan Payback Time: Everything You Need To Know!


What is an effective way to manage debt while studying?

The most effective way to manage debt while studying is to earn during your academic journey. Explore some of the best on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities that complement your studies. 

How can I strengthen my credit history in Canada as an international student?

Apply for a Canadian credit card. Make timely payments and use it responsibly. This will improve your credit history over time.

Can I work full-time as an international student in Canada?

An international student is allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during designated holiday periods as per study permit regulations. 

Which debt should I choose to pay first?

The debts with the highest interest rates should be paid as a priority. This is also called the avalanche method. 

Is it advisable to use credit cards as an international student in Canada?

Credit cards play a vital role in maintaining a good credit history. But, be sure to use it responsibly and make the payments on time to avoid a dip in your credit score.

Financial management for overseas education is quite crucial but with careful financial planning, debt can be managed easily and effectively. Manage finances with proper planning and execution. Create a realistic budget, make informed decisions, and make your academic journey debt-free.

To know more about the loan application processes, scholarships, grants, the best bank accounts for students, forex and banking experience for global students, or international money transfers, reach out to our experts at 1800572126 to help ease your study abroad experience.

Additional Reads:
Financial Aid For International Students In Canada
Non-Government Scholarships for International Students in Canada
5 Ways to Fund an Overseas Education Other than Fixed Deposits
Guide to Top 5 Canadian Government Scholarships for International Students
Understanding Legal Consequences: Education Loan Defaulter Legal Action

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About Farina Khan

Farina Khan is a journalist by profession and a writer by passion. She carries over a decade of experience in Journalism and Mass Communication and worked with some renowned media organisations like Doordarshan and Zee Media. She performed numerous roles during her work tenure including reporting, anchoring, and heading output as well. Her passion for writing, combined with dedication in delivering high-quality content, drives her to excel in the dynamic field of content writing. From thought-provoking articles to SEO-friendly blog posts, or engaging website content, She is here to bring the ideas to life through words.

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