Parents have reason to complain about how often their children call them on a monthly basis asking for an extended allowance. Failing a module or three is definitely expected, but most parents/guardians/sponsors (sugar daddies, cougars and gigolos excluded) don’t anticipate how quickly a student’s lifestyle can burn massive holes in their pockets, especially in a vibrant and expensive city like Pretoria.


You do, however, get the very fortunate students: their parents have “old” money. These students could probably afford to use R200 notes for toilet paper. On the other end of the spectrum are the students who try, and sometimes fail dismally, to keep up with fast and expensive lifestyles.


With a fresh and bright season upon us, it would only be right to find awesome and affordable ways to have fun without breaking the piggy bank. If you can afford to blow money fast and hard, then you can turn the page or offer some friendly and generous financial assistance to the oke that is going to continue reading this article.


One of the best things to do if you’re on a budget while in Hatfield, or any other student-centred place, is to know all the specials of the really cheap bars and maximise on them by bar-hopping and getting intoxicated by the alcohol specials. If you want to go clubbing, then being a lady is always an advantage, because ladies are almost always “free before 10 pm”.


Another way to have an awesome time is to have a very simple picnic after a fun swimming session. You can never go wrong with a day at the public swimming pool followed by a cheap but effective hot dog lunch. This would be most effective if you had really awesome friends to provide some free entertainment and thrills.


Braais are also a good way to relax and have fun in good company, as long as you organise a BYOB (bring your own beer/boyfriend/boerewors) where everybody invited contributes fairly. Any random venue would prove useful, from a park, to someone’s back yard or a camp ground.


Many people could live in a place for a really long time and never find out exactly how beautiful the place is. One activity that will never grow old is sight-seeing. Every place has an abundant history, and with sight-seeing you get to partake in that city or town’s heritage. Taking time to visit your city’s main attractions can be entertaining. Student life should actually come with a survival guide, with an elaborate chapter dedicated to cheap and fun living.


Perdeby decided to ask a few students what they most like to do if their budget is limited. This is what the came up with:


Magnus Mbanze, a third-year applied maths student, shared how he has cheap and affordable fun with his friends: “My friends and I usually alternate between game nights and movie marathons. We order lots of pizza, buy snacks, cool drink and popcorn. Movie nights without bucketloads of flavoured popcorn is regarded as sinful in my circle, so that is a definite cheap must-have.”


His sister, Rositta Mbanze, who is in her third year of BA English Studies, believes in thrift shopping as a lifestyle. “I cannot afford to buy things from expensive retail stores on my budget. I believe there is an art to buying an item for less than R30 and rocking it as though it cost more than that. I swear by the Salvation Army and second-hand stores,” she shares.


There is something very adventurous and exciting about planning a financially convenient date, shared Sanele Mthethwa, a final-year BCom Marketing student, and Kabelo Kgoele, a second-year supply chain management student. “A great way for a guy to have fun with his lady is to have an indoor date, where they teach each other how to make their favourite dishes,” they said. This makes for convenient, creative and intimate fun. “And as for dessert …” Ryno Ellis, a final year BA Journalism student, shared fun, free and sometimes risky adventures of the past. “For free drinks, I used to go dance at Drop Zone in the Square. They have these poles on the middle of the dance floor, and on them are these little bars for people to put their drinks. While I was dancing, I would grab someone else’s drink. It’s called to roofdop. Be careful it doesn’t backfire, though. I once stole someone’s beer and ended up swallowing a cigarette butt, and that was not a particularly fun experience,” he chuckled.


There is always something interesting and low-budget to do, and if that does not work, then a good idea would be to make a couple of generous and wealthy friends who will be willing to sponsor a couple of drinks after a few potent vodka shots and a cocktail or two.


Photo: Desré Barnard


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