Surviving a month in off campus accommodation on a budget

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Living off campus or living in self-catering res is challenging unlike living in catering res. Most people are not rich so we do not have a lot of money to play around with so the choices we make with regards to how we spend our money might come back to bite us where the sun don’t shine before the month is over. Res people only have to worry about waking up on time to catch breakfast and being back at res for the other meal times, whereas if you live in self-catering res or off-campus and you do not budget properly you will have no food at home to cook after a long day and you will run out of money for take-aways.

surviving on a student budget in south africa
learn to make your money last you

Some tips to survive for the month

* You must learn to budget, part of living in self-catering accommodation is that you are forced to be more responsible for yourself. If you get a set amount of money per month, divide that allowance up so you know how much you have for what.

* Prioritize food over everything else. The first thing you should do when you get money is to buy groceries that will last you the whole month. Buy braai packs, lots of tin stuff like Koo beans and tin fish and also a big box of eggs, get yourself lots of 2 minute noodles for those lazy days and some cereal for breakfast. If you are a foodie and not a basic person like me then you will want to eat other fancier foods. Don’t be afraid to spend a lot on food so that you do not suffer later in the month. The only disadvantage of buying the bulk of your groceries at the beginning of the month is that you risk finishing your cash before month end and will probably spend the last week of the month cooking all your meals and not being able to afford any takeaways. But that is still better than having no food and having to bug your parents for cash or having to borrow cash from people.

* If you can’t cook I suggest you learn how to cook now. You cannot survive the whole month eating 3 meals a day worth of take-aways that is going to be really expensive believe me I have tried it. Learn to cook and save money.

* Read tip number 2, don’t spend all your money on going out and shopping, clothes will not keep you functioning, and they will not fuel your body. If you want clothes that badly save up for them, no need to starve yourself.

* Limit the amount of times you go out, going out is expensive especially if you are a guy, I know it’s tough to say no to your friends when they want to go out, but explain your situation and they will understand and most off the time if it’s not too expensive your friends will cover you (not all the time though).

* To the guys out there get girlfriends who are really into you and understand that you are a student none of these I need money for a new weave types (that stuff is expensive) or a high maintenance girl who expects you to take her out all the time even though you are both on NSFAS. Get a girl who understands you and appreciates the little you do for her when you can afford it. No need to put yourself in debt for a chick who may dump you any day.

* When you go to varsity you may want to be cool and hang out with the rich kids and try to keep up with them in terms of fashion, gadgets and going out to fancy places all the time, but you have to be realistic. You cannot keep that up and you will run out of cash sooner than later and end up stressing your parents like o’skhothane. It’s not wrong to chill with the rich kids but you must realize when you are not a rich kid and it’s probably better to chill with a friend group more like you, but if you do chill with rich kids if they are your real friends they will understand if you can’t afford to buy the things they buy, go to the places they go to all the time because you have a smaller budget.

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