I was in a very similar position. Went to school at the University of Waterloo 1981-87 (took one year off in the middle), co-op engineering. My parents helped pay until I started work terms, then I paid my own way. I even ended up with money in the bank when I graduated. Tuition was, I think, about $800/semester or $2,300 in 2015 dollars, about 1/3 of what it is now.
Of course, my lifestyle fitted my income. I was below the poverty line (I earned about $9,000/year, I think, and that covered living and education expenses). No car, very little partying, fast food about once a week, ate at home the rest of the time. No girlfriend, either. Partly because I was a shy nerd in engineering, and partly because I couldn't afford to do a lot of social things to meet girls.
I got into the habit of comparing the money I had to the things I wanted, and being brutally careful about living beyond my means. That continues to this day. The only loan I've ever taken was the mortgage on my house.