It’s tough enough living on a student budget. Sure there are ways you can make extra cash, and disciplines you need to adopt, like making a budget and sticking to it. But there are some common-sense tips you can use to help your rand stretch a little further.
When you sit down to do your budget, do a reality check. What can you afford? We’d all like a bigger apartment or a fancier set of wheels but come on, we’re students. We need food and beer too! So set your sights on what’s affordable and remember, there’s time to buy the sexy stuff when we’re successfully employed.
Shop for specials
Sounds like advice from grandma but it works. A little planning around your local supermarkets and their “specials cycles” can save you quite a bit of cash. Stock up on non-perishables on special (they last) and try and create your meal plans around the items on sale at reduced prices.
Part-time work ideas
If you find that your current income isn’t quite covering everything you need it to, there are plenty of little things you can do to earn money. Perhaps you could babysit, tutor, have a garage sale, offer your social media skills to a local small business, give guitar or art lessons.
Walk don’t ride
We are generally an unfit nation. And often quite lazy. So instead of wasting money on petrol or fares, take a hike! To the shops, to a friend’s, or to class.You’ll feel better for it.
Movie night and a meal at home (with you as chef and host) is a lot less expensive than going out on the town. And your friends will be more than willing to contribute for a good night in.
Take your own lunch
Midday meals from your local fast-food outlet are tempting. And expensive. Try get into the habit, as often as possible, of keeping leftovers from the night before to pack as a lunch.
It’s become quite acceptable, even trendy, to buy, sell and wear second-hand clothing. The same goes for your textbooks, furniture and electronics. Gumtree and local social media groups are full of great deals.
Use your student card
Use it whenever and wherever you can. Many retail stores offer student discounts on food and clothes. Also take advantage of student discounts at gym, movies, sports events and nights out.
Open a savings account
Choose a bank that gives you a choice of savings plans to suit your personal goals. Fixed, flexible or tax-free savings plans are available. Compare interest rates and monthly service fees. Having a savings account creates a framework of discipline to help you stick to your plans and reach your goals.