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  • Writer's pictureAlmeera Eman

How to Fund Your Gap Year

Updated: May 27, 2022

Before even considering a gap year, people are held back by this idea that taking a gap year is expensive, but in reality the price tag on a gap year can really range and it can be affordable! In this episode, I share steps and tips you can take to make your gap year accessible.

That being said, if you want to grow during your gap year, you have to invest in yourself. Think back to all the times you did spend money to develop yourself. Whether it be tutoring, sports, dance classes or Drivers-Ed, you invested in these things because you knew it would help you and improve your overall life experience.

Now that you’re ready to invest into yourself, follow these steps and tips to make your gap year accessible:

Step one: define your goals & budget

  • Before you make a budget, determine what you want to achieve during your gap year.

  • How much were you ready to spend if you didn’t take a gap year? Use this as a guideline to plan your budget

  • Make a projection to plan out how much money you will be making

Step two: research and don’t edit yourself

  • Research ways you can achieve your goals and don’t edit yourself, go ahead and make that dream list

Step three: list all sources of income and all sources of expenditure

First, focus on the income you’ll be making

  • Of course, try to find a job

  • You can even pick up odd jobs like babysitting or projects around the house your family would pay someone else to do

  • Break it down: How much will you be earning? How much do you need to save away for school? How much is going towards your experiences?

  • Savings: were you saving up for something that can be redirected to your gap year fund?

Ideas to make more money or save on your gap year experience:

  • When it comes to gifting for birthdays or holidays: ask for cash, tuition, supplies or air miles donations

  • Fundraising: Utilize your skills to make money. Host a bake sale, sell your crafts or photographs

  • CrowdSource: You’d be surprised to find out how much your family and friends are willing to support you. Get creative and make donating fun! For example, if you play an instrument you can do covers requested by your donators to thank them.

  • Scholarships: There are so many available for non traditional learning experiences, for example: RBC Future Launch, Youth Travel Foundation and the Travel Access Project all have scholarships

If you choose to take a program during your gap year:

  • They will have bursaries and scholarships available

  • Apply early for early-bird prices

  • Merit based and needs based scholarship – just ask, lots goes unclaimed

  • Or utilize your skills and offer to photograph, blog or vlog during the program and provide them with content in exchange for a discount.

  • A few programs are RESP eligible, some are charities and therefore tax deductible. (Check out Discover Year)

Cash in on rewards:

  • HigherED Points is a program where you can donate your rewards programs point to pay for experiences.

  • You can pay for CanGap Programming with HigherEd points using your Areoplan, TD, American Express or CIBC rewards

Don’t forget to save any “bonus” money:

  • Tax refunds, money found in your pocket, change jars, $20 bucks from grandma - every dollar counts!

So what if your income doesn’t match your desired spending:

  • Push the date back on your program to earn more money, but remember that things like deposits and flights all have to be paid before departure

  • Look for similar programs with lower price tags

  • Make a Pros and Cons list – how important is it to you? Are you prepared to sacrifice one thing over another?

Need more help? Register for the Gap Year Toolkit for a step-by-step guide to plan your gap year.

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