College undoubtedly is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. You make new friends, pursue your goals and learn something new every day. However, it’s also a time when one way or another you learn some student budget lessons too. Everyone knows the college student stereotype - no money, always hungry, living on noodles and toast. But just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to be broke.
Here are the top 6 ways how to avoid going broke.
1. Take advantage of the free things
First of all, always look out for something you can do even if you have no money. Does your university offer free activities and entertainment for students? Is there a gym or a football team you can join? Or guest lectures and art exhibitions you can visit for free? And it goes beyond the free activities. You can also get your food for free if there are food sharing initiatives in your city (such as Food Sharing Maastricht). So do your research, make sure you’re aware of what you can get without damaging your student budget and take advantage of that.
2. If it’s not free, use your student discounts
Make sure you haven’t lost your student ID because it’s pure gold. It can get you many discounts and deals in a wide variety of places. In fact, we’re talking cheap movie tickets, reduced prices in restaurants and even more affordable clothes and technology. If you have no money, spend some time on these websites to learn about all the discounts you can get just because you’re a student.
3. Switch on your “no money” mode
If there’s something that can help you get out of your financial trouble it’s living within your means. If you have no money for it, don’t get it. Stick to the essentials like rent and food and avoid crazy shopping sprees. In addition, sticking with like-minded people can be extremely helpful to save money and live a lean lifestyle. Spend your time with other broke students. This way you won’t be tempted to live a lifestyle you cannot afford.
4. Get healthcare and housing allowances
As a low-income student, you can save some money by applying for healthcare and housing allowances. In short, the housing allowance is a monthly contribution to your rent, while the healthcare allowance is a contribution to your monthly health insurance bill. You can receive even more than 5 000 EUR per year from the Dutch government in those allowances. So don’t miss your chance and apply for them using our healthcare and housing allowance tools. These tools will help you calculate the estimated amount of the allowance, apply for it and get your application checked by certified accountants. Ultimately, if you meet the requirements, you’ll receive the allowance every month.
5. Create a student budget (and stick to it)
Start budgeting and it will save your ass. And it's not complicated at all. Just figure out how much money you are getting and how much you’re spending (don’t forget to count in your bills and living expenses). Try to keep track of your student budget. Knowing how much you spend on what will help you understand where you have to make some cutbacks. Basically, if you don’t spend more than you earn, you’ll be safe from going broke!
6. No money? Get a job!
Finally, you can save all you want but the only way to have more money is to make more money. Of course, you shouldn’t sacrifice your studies for some extra cash, but a part-time job can be an important part of your overall college experience. By working next to your studies you can make not only money but some great friends too. And you will be more responsible with the money you have earned on your own. Are you convinced? Check out the jobs for international students on our job board.
Have you been broke yourself? Connect with us and tell about your experience!