Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is the basic understanding of, and ability to function within, one’s economic and tax system. This includes balancing needs and wants in a way that allows for the development of short and long-term financial goals and budgeting skills, as well as the ability to avoid unnecessary debts, pay one’s bills and debts on time, and to live within one’s means. This also includes behaviour choices that ensure adequate income, insurance, health benefit coverage, and investing and saving for future needs. Strong financial wellbeing allows for the capacity and opportunity to make contributions that support others (friends, family/children, and not-for-profit organizations).

Financial wellness includes, but is not limited to:

  • Managing short/long-term financial goals
  • Budgeting/cost saving skills
  • Having a working understanding of finances/taxes
  • Living within one’s means/adequate income
  • Avoiding unnecessary debts/paying bills and debts on time
  • Planning for emergencies (savings fund)/ Retirement planning
  • Understanding of our own state of wealth
  • Differentiating between needs and wants
  • Charitable donations
  • Adequate insurance coverage/benefit plans

Tips On Managing Financial Wellness

  1. Learn how to budget: budgeting is a great way to keep track of your expenses, from living expenses to tuition, and manage your finances so that you don’t spend too much. There are also many and simple ways to save money here and there, such as buying discounted flyer items when grocery shopping, or buying a bus pass instead of paying per ride. The university also has a first-year budgeting calculator that helps calculate your approximate expenses for the entirety of first year undergraduate studies.
  2. Goal-oriented savings: setting financial goals such as wanting to put a down payment on a home, creating an emergency fund, or just wanting to treat yourself to a wee can help guide how you set savings aside. There are different savings and investment options available for long term and short-term goals, and choosing the right plan can help you achieve your goals more effectively. Contact your local bank for options on how to save and invest to achieve these goals.
  3. Apply for funding:  There are multiple funds people can apply for to support their studies or research at the University of Waterloo. Scholarships are awards for students who demonstrate academic excellence. Bursaries are non-repayable awards for students who are in financial need. OSAP is government aid for Canadian nationals, permanent residents, or protected persons and come in the form of loans, grants, and bursaries. There are also multiple research grants available to apply for that are presented by privately owned sponsors and national agencies. For information on applying for research grants, visit the University of Waterloo Research site here. For information on student financial aid, visit the Student Awards and Financial Aid site here.
  4. Take advantage of university benefits: did you know that you can get benefits being affiliated with the University of Waterloo? There are benefits for current students and alumni. For example, alumni can save on insurance, travel, and leisure activities, while current students are able to sign up for an SPC Card, a discount card membership for enrolled students that offers benefits from fashion to food and travel. For more information on alumni benefits, visit the Alumni Benefits page here.


Looking to enhance your financial wellness? Below are some resources both on and off campus, as well as general information related to financial wellness.

On Campus Financial Wellness Resources
Off Campus Financial Wellness Resources
General Financial Wellness Information