How To Have A Social Life When You’re A Broke Student

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Between textbooks, rent and transport, it’s easy to find yourself struggling to afford those weekly catch-ups. No one likes to be that person who’s always bailing on nights out, but when you’re totally strapped, what choice do you have?

More than you’d think, actually. Although most of us are conditioned to believe that socialising and spending go hand-in-hand, that needn’t be the case. Here are just a few of the many ways you can have a social life, even if you’re broke.

Invite People Over To Cook Dinner

Eating out isn’t just expensive, it’s poor value – both in terms of nutrition and, usually, atmosphere. What restaurant is more comfortable than your own home? Skip the twenty-dollar salads and have a big night in instead.

You can ask everyone to bring a dish each, or they can help you cook. And some of the best banter tends to happen when people are bustling around a kitchen, rather than sitting around a restaurant table.

Take Advantage Of Your Campus

I hate to sound like an information kiosk, but there’s more to unis than the classes they offer; there’s also a ton of social activities going on at any one time.

University societies, sporting teams, workshops – all of these things you can jump into for little or no money. Plus, keep your ear to the ground for upcoming gigs, trivia nights and athletics competitions on campus. Bonus points if there’s free food.

Break Out The Movies And Board Games

Yeah, I know, board games are lame – but that’s kind of the point. The value of a board game isn’t necessarily the game itself, it’s the petty rivalry it breeds between friends; the more seriously everyone takes the game, the more hilarious the results.

If board games simply aren’t your thing, one of the benefits of living in the new millennium is the unlimited access to cinema. Get a good flick streaming, heat up some popcorn and settle in for an awesome movie night.


Enjoy The Fruits Of Your Tax Dollars

If you’ve ever held a job, at least some of your earnings have gone toward building and maintaining parks. You’ve helped pay for them, so why not enjoy them? Going to the park with a frisbee, a hamper full of snacks and thermos of chilled water is an awesome and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.

Besides, as a uni student, you’re going to need all the vitamin D you can get.

Prioritise Your Spending

Cheap activities are all well and good, but what if someone decides to host a really special occasion at a restaurant or hotel? Should you just not go?

You don’t have to go to everything, but neither do you have to miss out on important moments.

Instead, look at your spending habits and see if there’s anywhere you can cut back. Do you splurge on uni supplies instead of scouting around for deals? With a little shopping around, you can save big on laptops, stationery and all of those other uni essentials.

Cutting back in everyday areas and putting the savings aside will let you build up a “social fund”, which you can tap in the event of an unmissable engagement.

Take The Initiative

If you don’t have frugal-minded friends, you might be waiting a long time for one of them to suggest an activity you can afford. Why not take matters into your own hands?

Appoint yourself the group’s event manager – and just happen to make sure all the events are cheap ones. Just because you’re broke, it doesn’t mean you can’t be the fun person who comes up with ideas.

Be Honest

Talking to your friends about finances can be uncomfortable, but it’s definitely worth doing. Letting your friends know you simply can’t afford nights out at the club or weekly café dates will massively reduce the pressure on you to spend money.

If you’re afraid of judgement, don’t be – we’ve all been there! In the end, socialising is about spending time with people and enjoying their company. As long as everyone’s comfortable and relaxed, you rarely have to spend a cent.

(Lead image: Legally Blonde/Metro Goldwyn-Mayer)

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Posted by Uni Junkee on Thursday, 22 February 2018