Living a student life is no easy task and is rather hard to define. It comes with continuous changes and its set of benefits and challenges, and you can only get the true sense of it when you experience it. Students must juggle multiple priorities, from assignments to extracurriculars and internships to finances. Out of this, finances play a significant role in determining the student’s quality of life. As a student, getting a sense of managing money would give you a good idea of your priorities and help shape your financial future. When you get a chance, saving money from the beginning is essential.
Here are five ways in which you can save money as a student:
1. Buy Second-Hand Goods
Buying second-hand or pre-loved goods can help you save a good percentage of your money. Items like books, chairs, kitchen essentials, utensils, stationery, and even clothes can be bought second-hand online or in stores. When you move into your student accommodation, these things are necessary for convenience. You can find online student groups that sell these items at super-discounted rates and in good shape and condition. As a student, you only need these items for a few months or years, and it only makes sense to buy them second-hand.
2. Cook for Yourself (and your friends!)
It is a known fact that buying groceries and making food at home is much cheaper than going out to restaurants. The salad you eat at a restaurant will cost you double (or more) than the salad you make and eat at home, and the ingredients you buy will last you for more than one meal. You can go grocery shopping twice a month and cook for yourself; it can sometimes be very therapeutic and healthy too! Student housing places like IQ Arkwright House and Onyx Accommodation come with furnished kitchens, making it convenient for students to cook and channel their inner Nigella Lawson!
3. Search for Free or Discounted Entertainment
As a student, you will find student discounts in retail stores, movie theatres, concerts and recreational places. Use these discounts to your advantage by keeping your student ID on you. Choose a student accommodation that is close to attractions in the city, like museums, theatres and sports clubs, which would help in saving money for transportation as well. If you get coupons or discounts online, use them at your disposal and try shopping during discounts seasons like Black Friday and late June and July. You can also search for free entertainment on campus and join extracurricular groups of your interests to take a break from studies and school. It is also a great way to make friends.
4. Use Free Online Tools
Freeware or free online tools are alternatives to expensive software. Every college student needs apps and tools for work, and generally, this software costs a lot of money. By doing some research, you can find suitable alternatives to antivirus, image editing, video creation, software, content writing and project management. Some colleges offer discounted rates or free subscriptions to apps like Microsoft Office, which students use daily. Remember to ask your university if they offer such subscriptions.
5. Keep Track and Budget
The most common option and opinion you may get is to keep track of your finances and budget according to your priorities. Map out your money to make the rest of your student life easy. Set aside money for rent, groceries, transportation and utilities, which are necessities. Develop a monthly or weekly budget so that you have a certain amount left for emergencies. Use budgeting tools where you can record and report your spending. You can add your expenses, and the tools will help form a plan for you that suits your lifestyle and spending.
A few other ways you can save money include:
- Paying bills on time.
- Sharing your room with friends to cut rent.
- Finding student-friendly bank accounts.
The best time to learn how to manage money and finances is when you are a student. You get exposed to the realities of life when you have very little income, and that puts you in the situation to adapt and learn. The earnings you get as a student are very little compared to what you will earn as a professional in the future, and this experience only humbles you and teaches you important life lessons.
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Madhura Ballal plays many roles – a cat person, a food lover, an avid marketer and a postgraduate from the National University of Singapore. You can find her painting, doing yoga and spending time with her friends when she’s not playing one of the most critical roles that she has taken on writing.