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August 11, 2021
Opinion Piece

How to Survive and Thrive on a Student Budget

There are twelve ways to ‘pimp up’ a packet of 2 Minute Noodles.

Twelve officially recognised recipes that can make that little pack of Maggi magic feel like a gourmet meal. And if you’re a student, you’ve no doubt discovered twenty ways to do this.


The joys of student life are an absolute privilege. But for most of us, the joys of student life on a budget are an absolute reality. A large part of your student life of searching for the meaning of life will be focused on searching for the means of money to fund your search for the meaning of life.


After all, the road less travelled for a student is a road less travelled purely because most students don’t have the cash to put petrol in the car that will take them on the road less travelled.


So how will you negotiate possibly the most exciting time of your life but one that will require you to budget like your dad on that family trip to Plett that one December?


Well, you could try walking forty Toy Poms at a time to earn extra cash. Or convince a long-lost uncle to invest in your newly launched‘ Help a Student Make it Through the Week Foundation’. Or you could apply some basic financial principles that will unleash the inner banker in you and turn you into the Batgirl of Budgets or the Wolverine of the Wallet.


So here you go. This is Oakfields College’s top four tips on how to make it through the zombie attack of inflation alive and still have fun. And to make it easier for you to remember these, we’ve created a handy little acronym.


Welcome dear Student Saver, to OAKS (see what we did there?)


O – Organise

The success of any budget is organising your expenses. Todo this, prioritise what you have to pay over what you want to buy. What you have to pay are things like petrol, accommodation, food (basics, not restaurants etc.) and so on. What you want to buy include things like new clothes, new technology and so on. Be ruthless. Prioritise paying the essentials first. Otherwise, you’ll be playing catch-up with your finances and instead of enjoying your student life, you’ll be drowning in doubt and worry.


A – Accept

Accept that you can’t do or have everything. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do or have anything. It just means changing your focus and, just like prioritising your expenses, you also need to prioritise your experiences. If you’re going to spend money on something, make sure it’s worth it. And not ‘in the moment’ worth it. Before hitting spend, give it a day or so if you can. Think about it. That will help you decide if you really need it. And then make a calm and considered decision.


K – Kredit

We’ve deliberately misspelled this one, because credit is a dangerous thing. Anything beyond tuition fees and maybe textbooks bought on credit will haunt you like that Goth haircut from high school. Try and pay for everything with cash. Credit is ‘the man’s’ way of putting a leash on you. It gives them, and not you, control. If you don’t have the cash for it, it’s simple - you can’t have it.


S – Save

Saving is a superpower. Really. It’s amazing what even a little bit of saving can do. And if you know anything about compound interest, you’ll know it’s like Karma – a little good comes back to you in a lot of good. Don’t get too hung up now about how much to save. Just save what you can. It will help you buy that thing you so badly wanted but couldn’t afford at the time. It’ll give you a little extra when you least expect it. Saving is the present you give yourself. From you to you.


So, there you have it.


Apply a little bit of OAKS and get the most out of not only your budget, but also your student experience.

Check out our student funding options with Student Hero to help with your college fees.

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