Higher education is very different from what it was a decade ago. Everyone wants the best courses in the best colleges. But this doesn’t come free. Whether you are studying in India or abroad, you need to spend a considerable sum to pay for your course. And apart from the course fee, there’s also living expenses to think about if your institution, as is usually the case, is away from your home city.
After taking a huge loan to pay for higher education, students often look for ways to reduce their daily expenses and live on a small budget. Since money saved is equivalent to money earned, we give you 14 money-saving hacks that can help students in India and abroad sustain themselves on a low budget:
- Stay with flatmates: If you need to move away from home to pursue your studies, you’re going to need a place to stay. Renting an apartment on your own will cost you a pretty penny, especially in Indian metros and foreign locales. Opting to share an apartment with a flatmate will save you the burden of paying the entire rent from your pocket. Besides, staying with a flatmate could be a fun experience if you find your partner in crime!
- Save on transportation: Have your doting parents permitted you use of the second family car to get to and from your university? It might be a good idea to decline this generous offer. It could save you a whole lot on fuel charges. Instead of using a car or a bike, consider the use of bicycles to commute to the university and public transport to explore the city.
- Cook at home instead of eating out: Eating out on a regular basis can burn a giant hole in your pocket. Instead of ordering food in, make efforts to cook at home. It will save you a lot of dough. And if you are a vegetarian studying abroad, cooking at home might make even more sense as there are limited eating-out options for vegetarians (especially the picky ones) in foreign countries. And if you live with roommates, you can even share the grocery expenses with them!
- Can’t avoid dining out? If you absolutely must eat out, make the most of discount sites to get offers on dining out, make the most of ‘Happy Hours’ at restaurants and if you’ve been given an add-on Credit Card by your parents, use it to get cash back on your spending.
- Borrow books: A rather expensive and unavoidable expense is buying books for your course at the university. Since the prices of books are sky rocketing, check out the library and borrow the required books instead of buying them. But if you really want to buy your course books, consider getting them secondhand from a senior student.
- Use your Credit Card carefully: If you have been entrusted with a Credit Card, it might be a good idea you get yourself up to speed on how Credit Cards work. Use your card responsibly and sparingly and shop for things only when you really need to. You wouldn’t want more debt piling up on top of your Education Loan! Don’t forget to make sure that your Credit Card bill is paid on time to avoid interest and late-payment charges.
- Do your own laundry: Instead of spending money on laundry services, make it a habit to do your own laundry. Wash and iron your clothes by yourself and you will be surprised at how much you can save. Check if you can buy a secondhand washing machine with your roommates to ease the expense of staying clean!
- Draw a budget and live by it: At the start of each month, plan a budget considering how much money you have and how much you can spend. If you draw up a budget and start following it religiously, you will find yourself saving quite a bit of moolah after cutting out those unwanted expenses.
- Buy in bulk from discount stores: Never ignore a sale or a discount coupon as they can be great money savers. When you are shopping at a sale or discount store, stock up on items that have a long shelf life. This way, you can take full advantage of the sale. Buying in bulk will save you money as you won’t have to buy the same product again at a higher price. Please note: We’re talking about things like groceries and household essentials, NOT shoes, clothes and accessories!
- Buy and sell goods through move-out sales: Buying goods from a move-out sale is the best investment a student can make as you can buy secondhand things like books, a study table, bed, electronics, etc. at surprisingly low prices. And once you are done using these items, you can sell them again by organising a move-out sale. Sounds like a plan, no?
- Look for part-time jobs: A part-time job can fetch you an extra income that can add to your savings. But make sure that the part-time job doesn’t come in the way of your academic performance. Studies over everything else, remember?
- Get economical phone packages: Opt for a phone plan that has cheaper call rates so that you can easily stay in touch with family and friends back home without worrying about the phone bill. And there’s always the cheaper (free?) option of video calling over the internet. Don’t you agree?
- Short trips and holidays: Consider using public transport options when you want to go on a trip with your friends. And if there are enough of you, renting a car makes perfect sense. If you have to stay overnight at some place, choose hostels instead of hotels. Yes, hostels are cheaper and more fun!
- Keep your eyes open for student discounts: Wherever you go, whatever you buy, always keep your eyes open for student discounts. There are restaurants, clubs, grocery stores, and supermarkets, etc. that offer student discounts on purchases. All you have to do is show your college ID. So, keep it handy at all times!
Now that you have learnt about a few money-saving techniques, make use of these hacks to manage your expenses. Start saving already, buddy!