How to Live on a Student Budget
Many people will give you advice on budget living and how to scrimp a few pennies, but few people cannot appreciate the cost of living until they try it for the first time. How you treat your money now will be an indicator of your future monetary success. You will have to decide if your future will be filled with riches or debt. Here is your guide for how to live on a student budget.
The 99¢ store is not your best option
People really think that the 99c store is the bee’s knees for being on a budget, but $20 will go much further in Wal-Mart than it ever will in the 99c. The items in the 99c store are not worth the money. If you really have to shop there for anything then you should buy non-food. Plastic tubs, mops and household items may be cheap Chinese goods, but they are still cheaper than supermarkets who will often inflate the prices to make up for the fact that the items take up so much floor space. Otherwise, there is no point in buying six tins of off-brand beans from the 99c store when you can get eight tins for $1 at Wal-Mart.
Wear the same trousers three days running
This may sound disgusting but your legs are one of the biggest areas of your body that are good at keeping themselves clean. Your feet sweat nearly two pints of sweat per day, your armpits and upper back produce a high number of excretions, but your lower half is fairly excretion free except for the parts that are covered by underwear. So wearing your trousers for an extended period will not cause a pollution hazard.
Force yourself to live on a certain amount
Put your money into a different bank account and leave the bankcard at your parent’s house. Budget yourself a certain amount per week and put the rest of your money in an account that is difficult and inconvenient to access. Visit your parents each week to remove the money you need (and no more).
Eat a packed lunch every day
This will not only act as a meal, but allow you to snack on it too. You can make a very handsome sized packed lunch and enjoy it whenever hunger strikes. Aggregate the cost over the week and you will see that you save a lot of money.
Make sure you eat breakfast every morning
It stops you snacking and promotes a healthy routine that will stop you becoming extremely hungry during the day. Extreme hunger pangs are the things that make you buy takeaway food or over-priced convenience food and snacks.
Leave the dorm with as much money as you need
Do not take your bankcard; just take as much money as you need so that you will not be tempted to purchase anything extra. Even if you really want something, you will be forced to leave it (and not waste the money).
Budget the amount of ready meals you eat
Ready meals are fun and convenient, but are an expense that you could do without. Even the frozen 99c ready meals are so small and lacking in nutrients that you are hungry again within 2.5 hours. It is better to budget them and eat them as a treat (i.e. the treat of not having to cook).
Learn the art of cooking leftovers
You will find a few button mushrooms left over, and a few slithers of bacon and a tomato, etc. These are all parts of the meals you made in the week, but why not try mixing them up so that you can eat them. Boil a packet of the dried noodles you bought for 12c and stir-fry the mushrooms, bacon and tomatoes. Throw in some soy sauce, Worchester sauce or Hoi Sin sauce, and sprinkle with salt. Keep the juices to pour over your noodles and you have a quick Chinese meal from your leftovers.
Be prepared to try cheaper foodstuffs
Don’t go buying cheap caged chicken that has no nutrients, but do consider things such as tinned potatoes, tinned beans, dried noodles and packets of rice. Consider eating spaghetti hoops on toast for dinner, and save a decent meal for teatime.
I found this blog post very helpful. Being a student who is studying abroad, I am my own financial manager and no one has control over my account. To be able to eat at the end of the month is determined by how you spend your allowance wisely over the past month and I have been in that position for four years now. Asking for extra allowance when you are broke is not easy and also being a student studying abroad makes everything harder especially when you have to deal with the volatility of the economy as well as the exchange rates. So, imagine having my parents to constantly keeping up with the exchange rate. It is troublesome. Having to be discipline with your spending is important. And also all these tips are very helpful and familiar to me as they are my own tips as well even before I read them.