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How to Save Money as a Student

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Published 1 week ago

How to Save Money as a Student

Are you tired of constantly running out of cash before the end of the month? Do you feel like you're always one step behind your expenses, struggling to make ends meet? 


That’s okay. We’ve all been there at some point or another! With so many expenses to juggle, it can feel like you're always one step behind your finances. 


But the good news is that you don't need to be a financial guru to get your money under control. By making a few simple changes to your habits and mindset, you can save money and avoid unnecessary expenses.


From creating a budget to cooking at home, taking public transport, and finding student discounts, we've got plenty of ideas to help you make the most of your money. And don't worry, we'll keep things fun and engaging along the way.


So, whether you're a broke college student or just looking to stretch your money a little further, let’s dive into how you can save money as a student.


Create a budget 

Okay, let's talk about budgets. I know, I know, the word "budget" can sound about as exciting as watching paint dry, but hear me out. Creating a budget is a crucial step in managing your money and making sure you have enough dough to cover your expenses.


To start, make a list of all your sources of income. This could be money from your part-time job, your parents, or even that random RM5 bill you found on the street (hey, every little bit counts!). 


Next, list out all your expenses, from rent and utilities to food, transportation, and entertainment. And don't forget to include any subscriptions or memberships you may have, like Netflix or Spotify.


Once you have all your income and expenses listed out, it's time to do some math. Subtract your expenses from your income, and voila! You have your monthly budget. If you have some money left over, great! Consider putting it into savings or treating yourself to something nice. But if your expenses are greater than your income, it's time to make some tough decisions.


Think about where you can cut back on expenses. Can you skip the daily Starbucks run and make coffee at home instead? Can you carpool with friends instead of taking an expensive Grab ride? And hey, you can even try making your own meals at home.


Remember, your budget is not set in stone. It's okay to make adjustments as needed. And don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up and overspend one month. We all make mistakes, and the important thing is to learn from them and keep moving forward.


So, grab a pen and paper (or a spreadsheet if you're fancy like that) and start budgeting like a boss! You got this.


Cook at home 

Cooking at home is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money as a student. Sure, it may take a little extra time and effort, but trust me, your bank account will thank you in the long run.


Eating out at restaurants or ordering in can be expensive, especially if you do it frequently. But cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients you use and the portion sizes, which can ultimately save you money. Plus, it's a great opportunity to experiment with new recipes and get creative in the kitchen.


Start by making a meal plan for the week ahead. Choose simple, affordable meals that you enjoy and that can be made in bulk, like pasta dishes, soups, or stir-fries. Make a list of the ingredients you need and stick to it when you go grocery shopping. Don't be tempted to add any unnecessary items to your cart, and always compare prices to find the best deals.


If you're new to cooking or don't know where to start, don't worry! There are plenty of free resources available to help you learn. You can find simple and affordable recipes online, watch cooking tutorials on YouTube, or even take a cooking class. And remember, cooking at home doesn't have to be fancy or complicated. Sometimes the simplest meals are the most delicious.


Use public transportation 

Using public transportation is a great way to save money as a student. Not only is it way more affordable than owning a car, but it's also more eco-friendly and can help ease traffic congestion.


Luckily, there are several types of public transportation available in KL, including buses, trains, and taxis. Each mode of transport has its pros and cons, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.


Buses are the most affordable option, with fares starting as low as RM1. But they can also be crowded and take longer to get to your destination due to traffic. Trains, on the other hand, are faster and more comfortable. 


To save even more money, consider getting a monthly or weekly pass for public transportation. This can help you save on individual fares and make budgeting easier. 


Of course, there are some downsides to public transportation, like having to deal with delays or sharing a ride with strangers. But if you're willing to be patient and flexible, it can be a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint! 


Buy second hand textbooks 

As a student, one of the best ways to save money is by buying used textbooks. It's like finding hidden treasure that's already been excavated for you!


Buying used textbooks is a great option for many reasons. First, it can save you a ton of money. Used textbooks are usually much cheaper than brand new ones. Plus, it's a great way to reuse and recycle. 


Check out your school's bookstore or library. They often have used copies of the books you need, and you can usually get them at a fraction of the cost of a new textbook.


But, if you want to explore more options, try checking out online marketplaces like Carousell, Mudah, or Facebook. You can find a wide selection of used textbooks that are in great condition and ready for a new home. It's also a good idea to compare prices from different sellers to make sure you're getting the best deal.


Another fun idea is to create a textbook exchange group with your classmates. You can share textbooks, buy and sell them with each other, and even make some new friends in the process!


Use student discounts 

Being a student has its perks, including access to student discounts. By taking advantage of these discounts, you can save money on a variety of products and services, from food to clothing to travel!


Many retailers and service providers offer student discounts, so it's always a good idea to ask if they have one available. Apple and Samsung, for example, have great student discounts. 😉


Many restaurants, flights, theme parks and cinemas also offer student discounts as well. So don't be afraid to ask if they have any promotions or deals for students! 


Don’t cave into peer pressure 

Let's be real - peer pressure can be a pain in the wallet! It's tough to resist the urge to keep up with our friends, even if it means spending more than we can afford. 


First things first, don't be afraid to speak up! If you're feeling pressured to spend more than you can afford, have an honest conversation with your friends. Let them know that you're on a tight budget and that you need to prioritise your financial goals. Who knows, maybe they're in the same boat and just need someone to speak up first.


Remember, just because your friend is splurging on a fancy dinner or a new gadget, it doesn't mean you have to do the same. It's all about setting priorities and sticking to your budget. 


So, if you're feeling the pressure to keep up, try suggesting a more budget-friendly activity like a movie night or a game night. You can still have fun and spend time with your friends without breaking the bank.


And if all else fails, just blame it on your wallet! You can always use the classic line "Sorry guys, I can't afford it this time" and no one can argue with that. Plus, who knows, maybe your friends will appreciate your honesty and start suggesting more budget-friendly activities.


🔥 Bonus cheapskate tips 

If you want to save even more money as a student, here are some bonus tips that might help. It may sound funny but it works! 


Eat only economy rice, roti canai or nasi lemak

It’s not fancy but it gets the job done! And no, we’re not talking about that drool worthy Village Park Nasi Lemak. We’re talking about the cheap Nasi Lemak bungkus sold on the street. 


Charge your devices in public places 

Want to save money on your electric bill? Charge your phone, laptop and ipad on campus or in restaurants. After all, you’re out most of the day anyway! 


Go out less 

Seriously though. If the lockdowns have taught us anything, it’s that staying at home is way cheaper than going out. Just think about it for a second — if you leave the house, you have to spend on commuting, eating out, and temptations are everywhere. If you stay at home, you won’t have to spend on any of those things, and you can save on your laundry and makeup as well! 🤣 This also goes without saying, but use the fan instead of the aircon. 


DIY everything 

You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by learning how to do things on your own, instead of paying someone to do it for you. For example, learn how to thread your own brows and paint your own nails. You could also learn how to tailor your own clothes and build your own furniture! 


The Bottom Line 

Saving money as a student can be challenging, but it's definitely not impossible. 


By implementing some of these tips and tricks, you can make the most out of your student life without breaking the bank. From creating a budget, to cooking at home, to taking advantage of student discounts, there are plenty of ways to save money and still enjoy yourself. 


Remember, being financially responsible doesn't mean sacrificing your quality of life. It's all about finding creative and fun ways to save money that work for you. So don't be afraid to try new things and make the most out of your student experience. 


Happy saving!

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On this page

Create a budget 

Cook at home 

Use public transportation 

Buy second hand textbooks 

Use student discounts 

Don’t cave into peer pressure 

🔥 Bonus cheapskate tips 

Eat only economy rice, roti canai or nasi lemak

Charge your devices in public places 

Go out less 

DIY everything 

The Bottom Line 

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Written by

Sabrina Loh

I’m Sabrina, a versatile writer with 7+ years of experience and I’ve been published by household names such as Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, Mindvalley, and Cosme Japan.

👇 Follow my journey on my social media accounts 👇

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