Being a student is not as easy as everybody thinks. We have our needs as well as an overwhelming desire to enjoy, explore and live to the fullest. However, such desires come at a price – a price not all of us can pay. So, below is a list of the ultimate money-saving hacks to help you make the most of your student life without going bankrupt.
1. Don’t buy new textbooks!
Textbooks are probably the biggest money sinkholes in the whole of the universe. Buying new ones each semester is basically the same burning your cash (unless you take care of the book enough to resell it after). Anyway, there are ways to “cheat the system”:
- Borrow textbooks from public or school library. The thing is, these days people tend to forget libraries exist and are helpful. Go early and get the books if possible.
- If you can’t take them out scan reserves or print an ebook version (more and more universities offer textbooks in ebook format to satisfy the demand).
- Find a cheap second-hand version online – Amazon is your friend!
- Check campus pin boards or university forums – many students are selling their books after they are done with the course.
2. Forget Netflix of Hulu. Make use of the library!
While streaming is convenient, it’s not cheap and (let’s face it) the internet on campus is far from being referred to as “fast.” You can borrow movies and TV series from the usually large collections of your University or public library. You can do it all year round and entirely for free! A library is simply the best DVD store!
3. Find an alternative to Starbucks
You might love your triple caramel skinny soy frappuccino with cream on top but buying it on a daily basis is unsustainable. Starbucks is one of the most expensive cafes you can choose. Instead, if in need of caffeine and sugar, opt for smaller unassuming cafes.
They are cheaper, often offer a student discount or, if you hit the jackpot, even free refills.
4. Get creative with noodles
Instant ramen noodles are probably eligible to become the designated student food on an international scale. With a few hacks that can even be edible and nutritious. You can throw in an egg or frozen veggies to introduce some protein and vitamins to your carbs.
The same can be done with many other instant products; they are a perfect base for a meal. It’s fast to prepare and still cheap.
No matter how cheap the campus cafe is, it’s not as cheap as a supermarket. When heading out of your place, you can never know what’s gonna happen or how long you get stuck on campus. Carrying snacks with you at all times will save you from impulse food shopping when the hunger strikes.
6. Group-up for dinner
Get a group of friends together for dinner. Shopping for dinner for 4 or 6 is more economical than shopping for one, and you can afford a bit more variety. Plus, it’s a bit more fun than stuffing yourself with pasta while watching YouTube videos.
7. Set an “entertainment budget”
This is quite obvious, but surprisingly very few people actually do it. The simple act of setting an amount you are willing to spend on entertainment and free time activities will help you plan ahead and make better decisions. After all, it’s not about quantity but the quality of the experiences.
8. Drink at home, dance at the club
Another money sinkhole is the party fuel. Going out is fine, but alcohol prices are staggering to a limited student budget. My recommendation is: always have a little pre-party at home and only pay for entrance to the club or one more beer in the pub.
You will save a LOT of money as well as control your drinking and stay safe. It will be impossible to get too drunk outside, and if you get too drunk at home, you probably won’t have the energy to go anywhere anyway.
9. Watch out for free food and events on campus
The campus is your heaven! Always remember that and watch out for special deals. Many clubs organize events with free food. So, even if the theme of the meeting is not exactly your most favourite thing, free food will make up for it. Also, take advantage of the free film screenings, concerts or festivals organized on university grounds.
10. Make the most from the end-of-the-year massive move out
The truth is most students plan their end of the year responsibilities poorly and when it’s time to move out they end up throwing out a lot of great stuff. You can find literally anything including dishes, appliances, cool posters, furniture, even a mini fridge.
Being around when everybody is desperately trying to get rid of stuff can save you a lot of money for the next year. Plus, if you don’t need what you find, you can sell it at the beginning of the new semester!
11. Apply for scholarships
A ridiculous amount of scholarships internationally goes to waste. Students don’t apply because they don’t think they are eligible. There are thousands of small scholarship that have nothing to do with academic results and are simply there for students in need. Do some research and a bit of work – it’s worth it.
12. Get a job that brings along freebies!
Well, having a job is a great plus already. However, having a job that offers free food, free cinema, or ridiculously discounted clothes is a gold mine. So, when you intend to work, choose your job wisely!
Special thanks to Andrea Boffo for providing us with this article. Andrea is a frugal living enthusiast and who likes to share his insights and share the happiness of frugal living. As a content creator, she gets lots of inspiration to write about saving habits and showcasing the benefits of it. Andrea is CEO of PlusVoucherCode, a website that provides discount codes to save money on online purchases.