How to save money as a student: The best tips & tricks

written by: Christina Pichler, 07.01.2021

Student often live off of low-paid mini jobs or marginal employment. That’s why the monthly budget is oftentimes quite tight and saving money is a daily task for students. After graduation, you’ll surely find a better paid job. Being thrifty is always a good idea and as a student it is actually really easy to implement that into your daily life. Here are 11 exciting and versatile tips on how to save more money in your everyday life as a student.

1. Student discounts

Students oftentimes get discounts for all kinds of leisure facilities and culture institutions. Museums, cinemas and theatres usually have special prices for students. Libraries also have student prices. Public transport offer student tickets (e.g., “Climate ticket for Austria”, ÖBB card, semester tickets, one-way tickets, etc.). Sport facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and the like offer a discount for students. We recommend that you always ask if there is a discount available. Check out iamstudent, a website with all the discounts available!

Attention: Many student discounts in Austria have an age limit of 27 and are only applicable with a valid student ID!

2. Student offers for electronic devices

Smartphones, tablets, notebooks and the corresponding software are expensive but indispensable purchases for students. Many big companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, as well as various online shops often provide special offers for students.
Sometimes universities or colleges offer hardware and software at a discount or for free. For example, you can buy tablets and notebooks at a discount at u:book. The IT department of at universities oftentimes provide a free version of MS Office and other important software programs.

Inform yourself before you buy a new device because you can really save some money!

3. Saving electricity

At home, there are many ways to save electricity and money. Small changes in your daily life can help. Here are the most common options for your kitchen, bathroom and living room: 

  • Defrost the fridge and freezer regularly. 
  • Heat water in a kettle and only as much as you really need.
  • Preheat the oven only when it is really necessary for the success of the dish, which is rarely the case, by the way! 
  • Use residual heat for cooking. 
  • Always cook with the lid on the pot and pan. 
  • Use eco-programs for washing machines and dishwashers. 
  • Dry laundry on a tumble dryer instead of putting it into the dryer.
  • When buying new appliances, such as TVs or refrigerators, pay attention to energy consumption (class A+).
  • Switch off devices completely and do not leave them on standby.
  • Use a fan instead of air conditioning on hot days.

Here are 30 tips for saving energy!

4. Reduce heating costs

As the last months of the year approach, it will get colder and more uncomfortable outside. Time to get cozy at home! For most people, this means turning up the heating. However, with these tips you can heat more efficiently and reduce heating costs:  

  • Radiators should be free and not crammed by furniture or covered by curtains, so that the heat can spread easily.       
  • Radiators need to be ventilated regularly. If your radiator makes funny noises, it is an indication that it needs to be ventilated. Air in the radiator disrupts the heating. 
  • Shock ventilation: Ideally, you open your windows twice a day for a few minutes to let in fresh air and not lose too much heat.
  • Leave your oven open: Your pizza is ready after a few minutes at 180 degrees? Use the residual heat of the oven for heating by leaving it open.       
  • Rugs and carpets: If you have a wooden floor in your apartment, small carpets or rugs can bring a natural warmth to your apartment and protect your feet from getting cold, especially in frequently visited places.

5. Second-hand

Extending the life of devices and objects is not only great for the environment, but it also saves you some coins. If you do not already live in a fully furnished and modern STUWO student apartment, you can purchase second-hand household items on various online platforms, such as willhaben. Many items are available at a very low price or even for free.

There are also some local Facebook groups, which offer free furniture. If you do not mind that electronic devices have tiny flaws, such as scratches or dents, the electro-b market is the right place for you to shop. They sell branded devices that have been damaged during transport, but are still in the original packaging at a discount. Another online market to check out is refurbed, they also offer cheap second-hand tablets, smartphones and notebooks.

A special tip for Vienna: You can shop at the carla shops of Caritas Vienna at low prices. The 48-man Tandler also offers many great treasures in its old goods market. You can even find instruments and sports equipment there. Not only do you save money, but you also shop environmentally-friendly.

6. Grocery shopping

Everyone has to eat, no question. However, you can save quite a lot of money when grocery shopping with the right plan. Try these tips:

  • Weekly meal plan: Think about next week’s meals. Maybe you already know on which days you are going to eat out with friends or cook at home. This helps you plan your purchases because marching into the supermarket without a plan often means buying more than you actually need and thus wasting some of the food. Here are some zero waste tips!
  • Shopping list: You have already planned your meals for the next few days? Awesome! Now you can think about which ingredients you need. Writing everything down carefully can really help you save money! Check beforehand what you have at home to avoid unnecessary double purchases because then you only buy what you really need and avoid wasting food. This is a win-win situation.
  • Supermarket brochures: Sometimes the many brochures in the post box can be really annoying and they are certainly not ecological, but they help you spend less money on groceries. You will save a good amount of money. If you do not like or don’t receive brochures, you can also check the current offers on the respective supermarket website.
  • Never shop hungry: “Hunger is the best cook,” they say. However, it is not a good shopping guide because we tend to buy too much when hungry. So before going out to get your ingredients, eat a snack.
  • Compare prices: We automatically assume that larger quantities help us save money. However, always check the price tag and compare the price of grams or litres with the smaller packaging units to be sure.
  • Document purchases: Collect receipts when buying food and write down the sums. When you run a small cash register, you always have an overview of how much you actually spend on food.

Here are more tips for saving money in the kitchen!

7. Restaurants and bars

Especially restaurants and bars in university districts tend to offer special deals for students, such as a lunch table or a happy hour. Good offers usually quickly spread among students. Sometimes it is enough to ask peers.

Check out student bars in Vienna, Graz and Linz!


Another good deal is the service Delinski. Restaurants in bigger Austrian cities can set up a certain number of remaining tables or seats at marginal times for their restaurant. As a customer, you get up to 30% on the entire bill, depending on the time window booked. Pure luxury for students with limited budgets.

Too Good To Go is another insider tip for students. Via the app, you can find restaurants in your city, which sell leftover meals and food shortly before they close up for the day. Foodsharing also works with your neighbors or roommates.

Here are more helpful apps for students!

8. Semester tickets, car sharing and car pooling

Transportation is expensive. As a student, you probably commute regularly or go on trips with friends. But even just getting around in your own city is expensive. Owning a car is not only relatively expensive due to the fuel, maintenance costs and high parking fees in the cities, but it is also not particularly environmentally-friendly.
Depending on the route and the accessibility of your destination, you can save money with the following tips:

  • Cheaper tickets for public transport: Students under the age of 26 usually get cheaper tickets. Normally, you also receive financial aid from your home town.
  • Bicycles: Riding your bike works well for getting around in the city. You also avoid looking for a parking spot, waiting for the bus and annoying traffic jams. It is good for your health and gives you the opportunity to move daily on the way to university.
  • Car sharing: Instead of thinking about buying your own car, you can use car sharing services. In bigger cities, you can use providers such as ELOOP for all-electric car sharing in Vienna or the classic provider Share Now. If you need your vehicle, for example for a day trip, you can use the car sharing service of ÖBB Rail&Drive.
  • Car pooling: Join forces with others and join people who have a similar route. This gives you the possibility to comute at unbeatable prices. Sometimes you get to know each other in the lecture hall and start commuting together. If that has not yet happened to you, you can also look up providers such as Blablacar for a suitable connections and car pooling.

9. Student bank accounts

You definitely need a bank account for your finances. Most bank institutes offer free solutions for online banking, account management and bank cards for students. Raiffeisenbank also includes free accident insurance up to the age of 24. Other providers, such as the Erste Bank, also provide a credit card free of charge until the age of 27. Here is an overview of all providers!

Another hot tip: Many bank institutes give you a recommendation reward when bring new customers. So talk to your fellow students before getting a student bank account.

10. Rent instead of purchase

If you are not a craftsman yourself, you rarely use your toolbox. But if you want to work on something, you will probably need some tools.
Larger equipment, such as impact drills and the like, is very expensive. The same applies to costumes for masquerade parties and electronic devices, such as a high-quality camera for hobby photographers.

Ask your fellow students or neighbors if they lend you their equipment or costumes. They will certainly be happy to help you. If no one can be found, you can rent tools and other things on Shareonimo on a daily basis.

11. DIYs

You can easily make products for your personal hygiene yourself at a low price or swap them out for a more environmentally-friendly alternative. Did you know that you can wash your hair with rye flour, for example, or make your deodorant yourself with just three ingredients? The topic is so broad that we have put together many different DIY tips in this article. 

Conclusion

By slightly changing up everyday habits, you can easily save money.
This becomes even more interesting when you put your savings aside and after a year, you will be positively surprised by how far your thrifty lifestyle has actually got you. Of course, this is not easy by any means. But even just getting some of your groceries on your shopping list at a lower price or saving some money during your visit to the museum, wil have a positive impact on your budget. Your piggy bank is certainly happy to be fed and you will be amazed how much you save over a long time. Because many pennies make a dollar. No matter what you decide, these tips can make saving really fun!

Questions?

We are happy to help!