As a student I know how hard it is to stick to a budget, so here are all my tips to save money and avoid being broke af:
1. Look for student discounts
There are so many stores that offer discounts for students, UNiDAYS is a great app for that since you can find discount codes for lots of brands (Missguided, Asos, American Apparel, etc.).
Museums, movie theaters and theaters often offer student discounts as well, so make sure to always carry your student card.
2. Cook your meals
Sure, fast foods and school canteens may have great prices, but meal prepping and cooking in batch will save you tons of money.
Pick one or more moments during the week to prep your meals for the week or make bigger portions when cooking your dinner so that you can bring the leftovers the next day, it doesn’t have to be a fancy meal, there are tons of recipe that take less than 30 minutes to make and you’ll have more money to spend on other things!
3. Bring your own bottle and cup
Spending money on a water bottle everyday is basically just wasting your money, invest in a great reusable bottle and carry it with you everywhere.
Investing in a reusable coffee cup and making your coffee at home before leaving your apartment will also save you tons of money and even if you don’t have time to make coffee, many coffee shops offer you a small discount if you bring your own cup.
4. Make your own products
Making your own cleaning products, toothpaste or deodorant isn’t just better for the planet, it’s also better for your wallet!
I make my own toothpaste simply by mixing equal amounts of coconut oil and baking soda with a little bit of peppermint extract, it’s easy, cheap and efficient.
Here are some other products you can make instead of buying (you probably already have most of the ingredients):
- Cleaner (http://trashisfortossers.com/3-ingredient-homemade-nontoxic-cleaner/)
- Deodorant (https://simplegreensmoothies.com/recipes/green-beauty/homemade-deodorant)
- Drain cleaner (http://trashisfortossers.com/unclogging-your-drain-naturally/)
5. Buy second hand
Second hand stores are a student’s best friend, because seriously, how can we afford a 2000$ sofa?
Look for the second hand stores in your aera, you’ll find so many cheap clothes and furniture that are still in great conditions.
You can also swap your old clothes with your friends or see if there are any clothes swap events organized around you (you can even host it if you find some people interested!), this is a great way to have new clothes in your wardrobe for free.
6. Take part in studies
Taking part in studies is an easy way to earn money as a student, find out if there are any studies and research taking place and how you can get involved, just make sure that the research you’re taking part in is serious.
7. Don’t buy new text books
I bought used text books that were still in great conditions for not even a third of the initial price.
See where you can find old text books for great prices or buy them used on Amazon, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try checking out your school library and make copy of the pages you need (if you can).
New text books cost a fortune and most of the time you only need them to read a few pages, you can also try finding a free PDF version of what you need, this will save you lots of money.
8. Skip the gym membership
Want to get in shape? Many schools have a free gym for students or offer courses, this is a great way to do sports and get to know new people.
If not, find a way to exercise for free: go running, biking or exercise at home, even just walking to school everyday is a good way to stay in shape.
9. Track your spending
Plan a monthly or weekly budget and keep track of your spending in a journal to see if you can stick to it, this will help you be more organized and see how much you can still spend.
10. Shop in bulk
Buy everything in bulk, from toilet paper, to dish soap or pasta, this will save you so much money in the long term, always check the current sales and offers at grocery stores to see what you can get.
11. Drink before you go out
If you’re planning to go to a party, you can save money by pre-drinking instead of buying alcohol there.
Just have some friends over and I promise you: pregames sometimes turn out to be even funnier than the actual party.
Here‘s a list of budget-friendly cocktails you can easily make at your place, you’ll thank me later.
12. Never underestimate the library
Instead of buying books, movies or newspapers, try going to the library, you can borrow so many dvds, magazines and books for free!
13. Don’t skip university events
Well, you don’t need to attend all of them, but so many events involve free food, alcohol or movie screenings, it would be a shame to miss them!
It’s also a great opportunity to develop new interests and meet new people, and if you didn’t, you’ll still have a free dinner.
14. Look for Asian grocery shops
Instant noodles, vegetables, fruit and spices are so much cheaper there and you’ll find so many products you can’t find in regular shops, seriously this is a life saver for me.
15. Go grocery shopping in the evenings
Another food related tip: go grocery shopping just before the closing times, shops usually reduce everything in the evening, you’ll find so many great deals.
16. Always keep snacks with you
When you’re a student, hunger kicks in all the time and it’s always better to be prepared than spending all your money at the school cafeteria.
Granola bars are a great snack to bring around with you, you can buy them in bulk or make them yourself.