Another helpful hint students tend to overlook is making use of the health services available on the various campuses, where no consultation fees are charged. Remember to take your student card along to these visits. Prescribed medicines are suited to your budget, so do your homework and compare the prices between pharmacies before purchasing medicine. Do not wait until you are sick and bedridden to seek assistance, but visit the doctor as soon as symptoms appear.
Accommodating the cold
Take advantage of the free heat from the sun this winter by opening your curtains and windows during the day to allow the sunlight to heat your room, as well as to ventilate your living space. Trap the day’s heat for use at night by closing the windows and curtains again before dusk. Investing in a few warm pieces of clothing that can last more than one winter is far better than impulsively buying clothing, and this is why careful consideration is necessary when shopping for clothes. Keeping in mind that the majority of body heat lost is through the feet and head, closed shoes and beanies are essential. Keep quality in mind when purchasing a jacket. Even though an expensive jacket will put strain on your current budget, it will be an investment for future years.
Another tip to consider is the insulation properties newspaper has. So, when you have finished with this edition, keep it under your feet while studying instead of throwing it away. This will create a barrier between your feet and the cold floor.
Lastly, remember that while a heater is cheap to buy, it is expensive to run and alternatives such as microwavable heating devices or even old-fashioned hot water bottles are better options.
Successful nourishment involves hydration, healthy eating and clever shopping, as shopping without a plan can break anyone’s budget. Hydration is essential in keeping healthy during winter. Taking a flask of coffee or tea to campus with you is also a wise way to save. This is also true for packing snack-packs, which will prevent wasteful spending when you are ravenous and irrational due to plummeting blood sugar. Replacing the sugar portfolio in your budget, which has a hand in weakening your immune system, with vitamin C, wholegrain breads and budget foods such as beans and lentils is a wise decision. Choose rice and oats over instant alternatives, as these are lower in sugar, sodium and calories and are generally cheaper.
Communal eating is also excellent for a budget, and a dinner where everyone contributes an ingredient can be cost-effective and fun, where leftovers can be shared for freezing. This can also replace eating out, as eating out frequently is a big stress on a budget and acts as a big culprit to adding to your winter weight and a weakened immune system.
Clever shopping is done on a full stomach and is not attempted in a rush or without a list. This is because hungry shoppers are more likely to be tempted and tend to break their budgets listening to their cravings over reason. Shopping with a list is an excellent way to stay within a budget and, combined with a smartphone’s calculator, will keep you focused while braving the seductive shopping aisles.
Loyalty cards are available at most retail outlets, and are extremely useful weapons for students to save, combined with ensuring that your bank account is student-friendly as student accounts have less bank charges. Careful inspection of the unit prices on the shelves will reveal the best deal between package sizes and brands, so allocate enough time to allow for this. Avoid pre-packed and prepared vegetables, as it is cheaper to buy whole vegetables and prepare them yourself. Do this as soon as you return from the shops in order to have readily available snack-packs. Also remember that frozen vegetables have a similar nutritional value to fresh vegetables, and are usually cheaper. It is easier and more efficient to shop for less more often as your food stays fresher for longer, preventing wastage and making it easier for you to carry if you are restricted to two hands.
Find out which grocery stores have specials or accept vouchers. Some stores even offer student discounts when you shop on certain days.
For those who do not have the luxury of taking the bus to campus, carpooling is a must for budget savings. Walking is a wonder for warming up in winter, so arrange a group to avoid walking alone.
By keeping the WANT acronym in mind this winter, it is possible to stretch those rands. It goes without saying that you should not deprive yourself entirely of your favourite treats, as your budget will become a burden. Make one day a week your treat day where you can give in to luxury a little. However, spending more conscientiously and planning effectively is a real rand stretcher.
Illustration: Monrique Henning