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Student life is the most exciting time of your life, discovering new people, new things and interacting with all of your surroundings.  These are the things we will all remember about our student life. However we will also remember how we struggled to make ends meet, how we sometimes felt the pressures of not being able to experience all that we should, simply because our pockets aren’t as deep as our needs.

Today Mafadi thought it would be a smart idea to help our fellow students make the best of their shallow pockets.  Giving you 10 student saving tips that will help your pockets grow with a few inches.

Lets get to it…

1. Budget

Today we will start with the best student saving tip, that is to BUDGET.  No matter your income or your situation, students should always budget.

Start by calculating what you need to live on:

  • Food
  • Social/Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Rent
  • Cellphone/Internet
  • Health insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Household insurance
  • Clothing
  • Once off yearlies

I would suggest that you take your ‘yearly income’ deduct the once off expenses and see what remains.  Dividing that by 10/12 month and you have your monthly income.  This amount you will of course have to divide according to your needs and wants for what you will have to pay every month, like food, social, clothing, rent, est.

But I will give you a post about student budgeting and the different kinds of budgeting you get.  It is important to try different styles of budgeting.  My gran use to have a weekly envelope of cash for her budgeting technique, a tad old I would say for us, but it worked.

2. Textbooks

Textbook are ridiculously expensive, so don’t just go out and buy them all.  Many of your textbooks aren’t essential and you can most probably buy most of them secondhand, or even rent them.  Talk to your prof. and classmates, they will be able to help with some advice.

“The library will hold many of your textbooks, get to know your library”

For online book shopping try Amazon and Kalahari.

For dedicated South African student bookshops try:

3. Never make impulse purchases.

As a student you can’t afford to pay a bit more here and there, those small amount do count up.  It is always best to research for the best deals. Also you need to know the difference between your needs and your wants. You don’t need an IPhone, you need to make calls and sms.  There is a difference, I’m sure of that.

“Know the difference between your needs and your wants ”

I can only say that as a student you will be most proficient at finding the best deals out there.  Knowing the advantage and disadvantage of the different cell phone companies, finding the 2 for 1 deals and sharing cost will be your forte.

4. Food, hunger and socials.

When it comes to food – Never go shop hungry, you are going to buy expensive junk food that is going to run your pockets empty and make your ass bigger.  Try and buy your food in an organised manner.  Make a shopping list and buy only that.  Prethink the weekly meals and plan them.  This way you ensure you are eating healthy raw foods, that is good for the waistline and the pockets.

For the social aspect of dining out, limit the amounts per month.  Also a good idea is to pre eat something small if you and your mates are going out for the night.  Saving on eating a starter and not a steak will make a massive difference to your pocket.

“It is important to not feel left out because of your financial situation, make it work”

5. Finance

You are entering the path of becoming a fully grown adult, this means you will actually have to pay the bills, simply because you are over 18 and you don’t want a bad credit rating.  It is best to pay those bills on time, you are going to have to pay them anyway – why not pay them on time then, right?

Also paying your bills like a responsible adult will ensure you get the best credit rating you can.  This will actually help you in life when you actually want to buy your first car or home.

A credit cards is great way to build a credit rating, but be assured if you are even slightly going to be irresponsible with it then don’t get it. Many of our South African banks currently have a one month free interest policy, this is perfect to build that credit rating.  You can do this by going into debt every month deliberately and before the interest start kicking in you pay the money back.  This way you never pay interest and you build your credit rating.

“Never get more than one credit card, you don’t need them”

Sell the stuff you don’t need and don’t use.  Why clutter up your dorm room, when you can sell the stuff and make a few extra bugs.  Start by selling last semesters old textbooks.

6. Transportation

Living close to varsity is the best advice, living close to varsity and the social hangouts are even better.  Try and avoid using or getting a car, they simply cost you money you can spend somewhere else.  Use the public transportation system, find out about the busses and the trains.  Also the Gautrain, if you haven’t tried it yet is amazing.  I love it!

7. Student Discount

Never ever leave a shop without asking about student discounts.  You will be surprised by how many shops/restaurants do have student discounts on the down low.  Also if you have to get a job it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try and get it at your favorite shop.  Staff discounts are often more than any student discount can be.

“Remember your student card, they will always want to see it”

8. Get a Roomy

It is always a good idea to find ways to share cost.  Getting a roomy is the best way.  You can share the cost of not only rent, but also your internet, household insurance, food, television, est.  Also if you are lucky you will make a friend for life.

O by the way if you are looking for student accommodation that will save you tons of money then go check out Mafadi’s student accommodation

9. Campus facilities

Your university or college will be your home for the next few years.  You will fall in love with the campus and all that she offers.  It is for this reason that you should always try and make most of everything that she offers.  Use this gym that is available to you, instead of finding a gym in town.  Get involved in the socials of the campus, like movie nights.  These social activities of the campuses tends to be much cheaper than the equivalent in town.  Also you will be interacting with like minded people on campus, not so much at Ster Kinekor.

I hope these student saving tips will help.  I will soon make a post about different budgeting techniques.  Keep coming back!

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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