The broke student's survival guide

Benjamin E. Timmermann

Updated August 24, 2021

Life as a student can be hard, not only do you have a small budget but for many it's the first time managing a budget, so here are some great tips on how to budget smart so you don't run out of money in the middle of the month.

Make a lot out of a little

With the start of Uni just around the corner, the time has come for you to take one step closer to being an adult, this unfortunately means taking charge of some less fun stuff that are inevitably part of "adulting", like having a budget and having to pay for rent, studies, books and food whilst still trying to have money left over for some more fun stuff so that you can get to properly enjoy your Uni years. So we have 7 great saving tips to help you stretch your money so you can enjoy your time at Uni and not be broke in the middle of the month.

Meal prep

As tempting as it may be to buy take aways or meal deals for every single meal, we guarantee you that this indulgence will be a short lived one. Instead opt for not only making your own meals, but meal prepping in advance. This is a great way to make sure that you're not spending too much money, it's also great for when you're feeling lazy or have a lot of school work to get done, you can just pop one of your food boxes in the microwave.

Make sure to create meals that you won't easily get bored of, this may mean cooking a few different dishes or making different sides to accompany your main meal and make sure not to forget to makes some snacks as well. When food shopping remember that pre-cut and bagged fruits and veg may be the easy option, but will always be more expensive. Look at the comparative price weight to see how much the true value of the product is.

Be your own barista

Coffee is without a doubt every student's lifeline; especially if you have both classes and projects that need doing. It may be tempting to grab a coffee from the student cafe, and although the prices may seem relatively low it will still be more expensive than making your own coffee. And unfortunately it's the small extra expenses that add up. So save yourself some money and make your coffee (or tea!) at home and bring it with you in a thermal mug. Or why not ask for a more pro coffee maker for Christmas, then watch a few youtube videos and you'll be making your own cappuccino's and flat white's in no time.

Become an at home gym rat

Exercising is very important not only for your physical health but also your mental health, but a gym membership that you might not always have time to use could be pricey. So set up your own home-gym with some simple items like stretch bands, hand weights and a yoga mat, even just using your own body weight as resistance is more than enough to get a good workout. For the cardio bit why not head out into the great outdoors for a run or a bike ride to get your daily dose of fresh air and exercise. If you however absolutely can't live without the gym then a perk is that many Uni's have a local gym that offer great gym membership prices for students.

An at home dining experience

Restaurant visits may be few and far in-between when your a student, but that doesn't mean that you can't still have the restaurant experience, just at home. Look up some fancy but doable recipes that you feel comfortable making, then set the mood with some candles and music and you won't miss the restaurant at all (especially not the bill at the end of dinner.)

Find offers and student discounts

As a student your student discount is your super power, you can use it on pretty much everything from food to clothes to electronics, you name it! So make sure to always double check what you can save on before buying anything. Charity shops are also great for when you might need a new outfit for freshers week or other themed parties. PriceRunner also has whole pages dedicated to discount codes and deals.

Use your bike

If you don't have an all too long way to travel to your different classes then a bike is a healthy and cost efficient mode of transportation. You'll save money on not riding public transport as well as not needing a gym membership! There may be an initial cost in the actual bike and protective gear but consider it an investment in your health, spirit and wallet! If your place of study is a bit too far away for a bike ride then look into student discounted travel passes.

Buy used school books

Buying brand new books for your course can quickly become very expensive. That's why it's always a good idea to try and buy used literature, it will make your wallet happier as well as the student who no longer needs their old books, and as an added bonus it's better for the environment. There are some websites as well as social media groups that usually list old school books, you can even ask the years above you if anyone wants to sell off some of their old books.

In short don't forget to ...

  • Make use of student discounts

    One of the perks of being a student is all those student discounts and vouchers, make good use of them and make it a habit to check for deals and discount codes before completing your purchase.

  • Have a budget

    A great tip is to set up a monthly budget, the more detailed the better. First set aside money for necessities and once all the boring stuff is done you can spend your money as you please, just make sure you budget that as well so you don't run out of money in the middle of the month and check your bank account regularly.

  • Take a look through what you have

    Got piles of clothes or other things you don't really need or use anymore? Then why not give them a second life whilst also making some money off of it. Everything from clothes to books and furniture are great things to find a new home for.

  • Pay the family a visit

    Why not make it a habit to go home and visit your family once a week? They'll be happy to see you and you'll save some money on food, if you're lucky you might even get some leftovers to bring home.

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