A student’s guide to living on a tight budget

 

Student life is one of those phases when we are perpetually running out of money. There is just never enough to cover for a meal and get a new sweater at the same time; we always have to make choices. If you are living this life or are about to begin, this blog can help you navigate these choppy waters a little more intelligently.

Photo by Jack Alexander on Unsplash

 

Finding a place to live in Stuttgart may be one of the most difficult tasks you would do once you move to the city. Moving to a new city as a student is already a challenge and the last thing you would want yourself to worry about is having a shelter. So it is important that you act smartly and work in advance.

Live in student dorm

Stuttgart has a bit of a housing crisis (nobody likes to call it that but that’s what it is), but there are several student dormitories that offer rooms with necessary facilities to students for low rent. Once you have made up your mind that you are coming to Stuttgart, apply for a room at Studierendenwerk Stuttgart. Do this well in advance; ideally six months before you need to move in. You need your admission letter to apply for the student room and if you are offered a place, you are required to pay around 400 euros as deposit to secure your spot.

Having seen people struggle with finding a place to live, all this trouble so early is worth it.

Live close to campus

Whether you choose to live in a student dorm or a private apartment, make sure your place is close to your university campus. This way, you won’t have to buy the expensive transport tickets and you can reach your classes by walk or by bikes.

Student discount on public transport

If you happen to live far away from campus and have to take the public transport to reach university, you have two options.

Depending on your class schedules, you can buy tickets for the morning and return home after 6pm as the city’s public transport system is free for students from 6pm onwards during weekdays and all day during the weekends.

The other option is to buy the semester ticket which is worth around 180 euros and is valid for the entire semester.

Cook at home

While you may be tempted to eat out and save your precious time for studying, in the long run you will realise this habit will leave a big dent in your wallet. Also, the chances are you will be eating unhealthy food and will get bored of it after some time.  

So, to eat healthy and save a ton of money, cook food at home. You will have to work out a plan for yourself but it is best that you spend your hard-earned/hard-saved money wisely.

Discount stores

Germany has many discount supermarkets such as Penny, Lidl and Aldi and you can buy groceries from here for very low price. The quality may be not great but everything sold there is fit for human consumption and that’s why they make a great place to shop as a student.

From food, cleaning supplies to clothes, these discount supermarkets have everything you need to survive your university life on a budget.

First-week shopping

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Speaking of shopping, you may need to buy quite a few things in the first few days of moving in. Even if you carefully brought essentials from your home country, there still could be something wrong or missing. Your mobile charger may not fit the sockets, you may need a WiFi router and you could be without a pillow and duvet.

In such a situation, what most students do is panic and then binge-shop from whatever stores they can lay their hands on. This is a classic mistake most of us make and only realise it months later when we get to know the city better.

To avoid spending unreasonable amount of money thoughtlessly, look for less-pricey stores such as Euroshop, Primark and Conrad. These stores can supply you with everything you may need for settling in at a very cheap price. Lucky for you, they all have at least one branch on Königstraße. Eurostores have everything from kitchenware, stationery to toilet products – all for the amazing price of just one euro! Primark can cover for your clothing and home interior needs as it is a big fashion chain selling products such as bedding, shoes and candles. Go to Conrad or Saturn for your ‘electrical’ shopping; they sell a variety of products and you can choose items according to your needs and budget.  

Once you understand the city better and are a little settled, venture into long term shopping because then you won’t be spending money in emergency.

Trip to IKEA

If your situation demands that you make big purchases such as a bed and a pot set, head to the nearest Ikea. There are two stores near the city and you can take public transport to reach them. Make sure you go with a friend because you will have to carry all the stuff home on your own – unless you plan to pay a heavy price to the transport company.

You can do some online research about the products available in stores to get an idea about the variety available and the price range. In addition to products in catalogues, there are always some items with big discount; keep your eyes peeled and you could find a brilliant yellow-coloured table lamp for just 12 euros.

Freebies

Either for your moving-in shopping or regular purchases, join the many Stuttgart Facebook pages where people sell their used products for ridiculously low prices as well as give them away as gifts, for free.

People sell and give away everything from cars, kitchen cabinets to baby diapers. If you are prompt at checking your notifications, you could find yourself a sweet deal in a matter of seconds.

Extracurricular activities

Photo by Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash

If you want to maintain a healthy balance of study and fun without getting ripped off, look into the diverse sports program offered by the Allgemeiner Hochschulsport. According to its website, the Hochschulsport caters to around 5,000 registered participants per semester; it has 180 courses in over 70 different sports per semester plus many workshops and excursions run by its 110 active trainers.

Aside from common sports such as soccer, volleyball or gymnastics, the Hochschulsport offers back fitness, Nordic walking, aerobic, fitness gymnastics and bodyfit. Additionally, it has programmes for yoga, tai chi, lacrosse and ultimate frisbee as well as excursions for hang gliding, skiing and snowboarding.

 

Farah

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