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How to Save Money as a University Student

Do you have a child who is a university student? Or are you (yourself) a university student, trying to figure out ways that you can save more money and manage your budget?

University is a financially stressful time. If you (or someone you know) is a university student, that person is probably trying to figure out how to pay their bills at a time when they’re not earning very much.

Here are a few tips that can help even the most broke university students find a little extra wiggle room in their budgets.

1. Learn basic meals.
Learn how to prepare the same basic foods again and again. Variety might be the spice of life, but it also can make a serious dent in your budget.

You don’t need a cupboard that is stocked with loads of ingredients and spices. Instead, just prepare the same four or five basic meals over and over, perhaps one for each school day of the week. You’ll get enough variety to keep you interested, and you’ll become quite fast at making these meals — which means that you won’t be tempted to dine out, on the excuse that cooking will take too long.

Because you’re making the same meals again and again, you won’t need to buy a huge variety of ingredients. The same basic staples will work for most of your meals. A few favorite options include turkey curry with rice, spaghetti with a meat and veggie sauce, roasted potatoes and veggies with chicken, and basic bean and rice burritos, perhaps also with chicken or beef if you prefer.

2. Live with plenty of housemates.
Generally speaking, the more housemates you have, the cheaper the per-person cost. Living by yourself often tends to be the most expensive option because you’re the only person paying for the overhead of the common areas like the kitchen and living room. Living with just one other housemate cuts this cost significantly. And if you are willing to live with five or six housemates, the per-person expenses will most likely be significantly lower.

In general, the cost of each additional bedroom in a four or five-bedroom home will be lower than the per-bedroom cost in a two-bedroom or three-bedroom home. Your utility costs will be lower as well. Do the math, of course, to make sure that this is true for your specific area.

3. Avoid driving if possible.
If you can try using public transportation or cycling rather than maintaining your own vehicle, you’ll save substantially, not just on the cost of the vehicle itself but also fuel, maintenance, and other associated expenses.

Whether or not you can realistically use public transit depends on where you live of course, but if you’re in an area where that might be a reasonable option, give public transit a try.

4. Share textbooks.

Rather than buying books (new or used) from the campus bookstore, ask around to see if any of your friends are willing to sell you their used textbooks. You will get an even cheaper deal from friends than you would if you bought used textbooks from a store.

If that’s not possible, check eBay, Gumtree, or other online options before you go to the bookstore. The best deals often tend to be online, because those sellers have the most competition.

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