Student Life: Full on Fun, Slim on Budget

all-nighter-main_fullThere is no cheerier time in my mind’s eye than those compact years I spent attending university. Between residence living, football games, goofy themed parties, collective all-nighters writing term papers, and general congeniality that comes with the age and stage of life- they were good times.

They were also useful times- because it was when I was first really responsible for my own money. Yikes.

Let me think back (way back) to those days, and some lessons I learned-outside the classroom.

Second Hand Everything

Shiny new is not a student luxury. While buying used may seem obvious when it comes to some bigger ticket items, like furniture, apply this mentality to everything, from clothing to textbooks (much savings there).

New stuff is for when you have a career, later.

Make Friends

Now this goes beyond the obvious social benefits of making new friends in the university or college environment. There are budgetary benefits as well.

Shop with your friends to receive group discounts. Chances are at least one or two of your friends in the group have a car- which can make grocery shopping easier-and make it easier to go to different stores that are offering the best deals.

And, chances are at least one of your friends has parents or family living in the same city- which means a sweet Sunday dinner now and then. Bonus.

Discount Days

Students get the best discounts, pretty much everywhere. Make it a habit to ask for a student discount, every single time you make a purchase. Even if it’s not advertised, many places to offer a discount of some variety (or a freebie here and there).

Be prepared to show ID.  Use your school ID and subscribe to the Student Price Card (SPC) card. What a nugget of savings that is. For a small fee, you get loads (and I mean loads) of discounts.

Limit Your Fun (financially)

That means, when you are going on a night out, take out the cash that you are going to use before you hit the bar, movie or restaurant.

When it is spent, that means that your evening is over. Leave credit cards at home.

Another idea is to physically put a little money aside every week in an envelope or jar for your “fun” fund- which is even more easily accomplished if you have a part-time job.