Living on a tight student budget


Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

What is the one thing people wish they had more of? Some people might say love, life, time off and family. These answers aren’t wrong by any stretch but I’d be willing to guess that most people would say money. It’s a very real proclamation that people from around the globe probably believe whole-heartedly.

There aren’t many things you can do without having at least a little bit of money, especially as a student. Being university students puts us behind in terms of financial freedom. We have student debt, rent to pay and what seems like hundreds of textbooks to buy. But sadly we don’t live in a perfect world. You can try and subsidize these costs by working in the summer or even part-time during school but even then, money seems harder and harder to hold on to.

So what do students do with no money? A lot of you are probably thinking the answer to this burning question is easy — make a budget. This could possibly help you stop the constant abuse your debit card receives, but realistically most people probably won’t stick with it. With all this said, being broke isn’t necessarily the worst thing ever. It may not be ideal but you can still operate within the minuscule slice of budget you have.

Third-year Wilfrid Laurier University student Graeme Goodfellow said the hardest part about living within a tiny budget is the entertainment side of things.

“I can usually get by with eating on a small budget but those impromptu nights out can really set you back,” he said.

Goodfellow, even though quite organized and money-conscious when it comes to rent and food, said he finds it tricky to hold on to those last few greenbacks if a night out at the Turret is put in front of him.

For most students, this is the biggest wallet drainer. Those spontaneous little splurges here and there can add up quickly. On top of that Goodfellow, like most students, have a flawed back-up plan that isn’t always a hit.

“Sometimes I try and ask my parents for some extra money but that never really works,” he said.

The trick is to save money where you can so that dishing out that extra $20 for a random surprise bowling excursion doesn’t feel like you just lost your life’s savings. This is an everyday strategy for third-year Laurier student Chad McFarlane.

“You would be surprised how much fun you can have for free in Waterloo,” he said.

“If you’ve already got some skates you can head to uptown and have a few hours of free fun. It’s easy.”

Not only is McFarlane a free-fun hunter he is also an avid walker and bus rider that is stern on not taking cabs home when possible.

“If you cut out the little expenses here and there you find yourself with a little more money at the end of the week.”

Cash may seem to rule everything around us, but that is true only to a certain extent. Living within a small budget is do-able, even at the university level.

Try your best to cut out some unnecessary expenses so your nights are open to spontaneous adventures.



Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.