How to Live a Frugal Life as a Student
N.B.: When I was a student, I scrubbed floors and cleaned office furniture to free my parents from the burden of college tuition. Though I worked as an assistant to our College Guidance Psychometrician, my daily tasks (aside from conducting exams and checking test papers) involve taking on menial jobs and running errands. Looking back, I am quite proud of myself as I managed to graduate from college without debts and even helped my parents to minimize our expenses.
The daily allowance my parents gave me was only Php50 ($1.23). It was quite small for a full-time working student with a big appetite. But, I managed to squeeze it with the help of the little allowance I received as a working scholar. I still can’t forget that I often brought rice from home to school to listen my lunch expenses. And I only eat Chinese Ngohiong with it so that I would only spend around Php10 for my meal.
When I was a student, I can’t remember that I entered and ate in any fast food chains. This is the very reason why I’m quite amazed these days watching students going in and out of fast food restaurants and other expensive diners. Either they are really well off, or they just don’t give a damn about money.
Below is a guest post by my fellow blogger, Linda Forshaw, that teaches students these days on how to minimize their expenses and be more responsible in handling their parents’ money. – EOD
Living a frugal life is not about going without the things that you need; rather it is about living a life that avoids waste, extravagance, and unnecessary expenditure. As a student, money is likely to be tight, so there is never a better case for living a frugal life than while you are at college. Here are some top tips to help you do exactly that.
A budget is always the first place to start
When attempting to live a frugal life as a student (or in any other capacity for that matter), creating a budget should always be the very first thing you do. Include all income (from scholarships, student loans, part time work, and parental contributions) and all anticipated expenditure. Understanding how much you have to “play with,” is paramount to keeping on the financial straight and narrow.
Free is good but affordability is better
It goes without saying that free is always a good option. Whether it’s hooking up to free wifi to avoid data charges or joining your local freecycle group, you never know what you can pick up for free (and would otherwise have paid for). Cheaper (although not quite as attractive as completely free) is a close runner up. Adopting the mantra that every time you need something you will try and find it cheaper is a good plan. A good place to start is making full use of grocery coupons and visiting the store toward closing time to pick up any discounted food stuffs.
Sharing is sensible
There’s a lot of truth in the saying that “two can live as cheaply as one,” so imagine the savings that can be made from teaming up with more than one other person. As a student, most of your peers will be in the same boat financially speaking, so team up to help each other out. This could involve any number of things. You could each buy a textbook from a required reading list, start a supper club (whereby one of you cooks each night), or team up to benefit from bulk buy discounts, The possibilities to make savings are fairly endless.
Alternatives can be attractive
Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. It can be as simple as when you fancy watching a movie, renting a DVD instead of forking out for an extravagant trip to the cinema. It could be that you really need a haircut. Could you wait until next week and bag yourself a cheaper appointment with a trainee hairdresser? This is all about seeking viable alternatives to the things you want or need. If you can’t wait for a better deal, remember to always ask for a student discount. Such discounts might not be widely advertised by a company, but they are often available.
Living frugally as a student doesn’t mean you won’t have any fun. You’ll probably have just as much fun as the other students in your class. The only real difference is that you’ll be getting a better deal.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
About the Guest Author
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay