A broke girl with a bucket list

Budgeting When You’re Broke

Budgeting When You’re Broke

How to save as a student

Whenever I travel people seem surprised at how young I am and how I am able to afford to go overseas. It’s not easy, sure, but if you treat travel as your priority it’s a lot simpler than everyone makes it out to be.

1 – Food

This is the hardest for me. If you haven’t noticed, this blog is partially an ode to food. I love trying new places and going out to cafes with my friends, but it can be a huge drain on money. First off, definitely don’t feel like you have to sacrifice restaurants, cafes or even take away for good. The most important thing is still being able to do what you love while being mindful about the amount of money you are spending. If food is important to you, plan an outing every two weeks as a treat and budget for it. You don’t have to give everything up when you’re saving money, but moderating things certainly doesn’t hurt!

Another thing that makes a huge difference if you’re like me and cook your own meals is bulk cooking ahead and freezing food. This saves a heap of time and money and will make sure you always have something to eat at home! I am the biggest fan of using my slow cooker to pre-make weekly meals, which means I’m saving money and also getting good food. Here’s to not having to live off two minute noodles!

2 – Clothes

Again, if clothes are your thing, plan ahead to budget for a shopping trip, or create a savings jar for those shoes you really want. Another idea is to use the many, many (if you live in Sydney like me) second hand and op shops. Hot tip: it is worth the trek if you go to wealthier suburbs or areas of your city to shop as the secondhand clothing is usually all moderately unused, cheap and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find some pretty nice brands as well!

3 – Luxuries

Here’s the hard part: figuring out exactly what you really, really need in your life and what you can actually live without in the name of travel. Stop buying drinks when you’re out – it’s so much more expensive and just a waste of money when you can drink a lot cheaper at home before you leave!

Movie tickets are another killer: make the most of cheaper Tuesdays or student nights but try and limit your trips to only those movies you really want to see! Netflix family accounts are way cheaper, have way more options and you can split them with other poor students looking to save!

Finally its the big one: the gym membership. I struggle so much with keeping myself on track without one, but here’s a compromise: opt for a six month membership instead of a yearly one, and go walking or exercise outside in the warmer half of the year! A yearly gym membership could equate to the cost of return flights to Asia.

4 – Saving

It’s no secret I’m pretty bad with money, but if even I can manage to save money for travel it really can’t be that hard! The first thing I did was get my parents on side and transferred a certain amount in savings every two weeks for them to keep aside. Another great idea is to set up a savings account alongside the one linked to your Debit card, which means you can see where your money is going and exactly how much more you have to save!

Another trick is to get a very casual, cash paying job – like nannying, tutoring, babysitting or gardening work – that will give you a weekly ‘allowance’ so you’re not spending the money that goes straight into your account! This works so well as you can literally see the amount of money you have to spend that week, rather than getting caught up tapping away all your savings on your card.

There’s also a pretty cool thing called the $5 challenge which I am doing this year too: basically get a jar and put every single $5 note that you get into it! It adds up so quickly – I think I had about $50 in the jar after only 3 weeks!