6 Money Tips to Survive on a Tight Student Budget


According to a Student Village study, students spend around R 35,328 annually, which means they are outspending the average South African. Given how expensive it is to be a student, you must learn the basics of managing money wisely in South Africa. As you read on, you will discover the top tips recommended by experts to ensure that you can survive your student years without going into debt.

  1. Have a proper budget

Creating a budget and sticking to it will go a long way in improving your financial health. Put aside a small amount for a rainy day and ensure that you have enough money to cover all your basic requirements. If you ever find yourself wanting to make an expensive purchase, first consult with your budget and see where it leaves you financially. In most cases, taking the time to think about what you will buy will lead to you losing interest in it. 

  • Reduce your textbook costs 

Textbook costs are notoriously high, so think twice before purchasing the latest editions. Some of them may not even be essential. If a book hasn’t changed much over the years, you can get secondhand versions or borrow them from your seniors or faculty members. Also, you can check out these dedicated bookstores for students in South Africa:





  • Live at home or get a roommate 

Rent is going to be your biggest expense. It would hence be prudent for you to stay at home whenever possible. You can always visit your friends’ dorm or apartment when there’s a party. If that’s not feasible, you also have the option of getting a roommate to share your rent costs. 

  • Get a side hustle 

Starting an online business or working somewhere part-time will serve the dual purposes of augmenting your resume and helping you financially when you are a student. You also can avail of employee discounts and save money if you work part-time.
Just ensure that it doesn’t take your focus away from your studies. 

  • Learn to cook at home 

Preplan your meals and cook them at home rather than eating out. You will be surprised at how much this will improve your health and financial wellbeing. When you go to the grocery store, have a plan for what all you are going to need for the week and ensure you don’t buy anything beyond what you need for meal preparation. 

When you go out, do your best to stay away from expensive meals. Having a small dinner before you head out with your buddies is a great way to make sure you don’t end up splurging on food. 

  • Be on the lookout for discounts 

Another great way to save money is by making use of your student discount. Wherever you shop, remember to flash your student id card – small savings are still a saving!


Following these simple budgeting tips can greatly elevate your student life, as it will reduce your stress, enable you to have more fun with the money you have, and prevent you from falling into the debt trap at a young age. 

Have fun, but remember – do it responsibly!