How to save money as a student: Here are our tips and tricks to stretch your budget!

written by: Christina Pichler, 07.01.2021

Low-paid temporary jobs, waitressing or using the weekend to work: Proper income as a student leaves something to be desired. But that’s ok, too. After all, you are still in a training phase and working towards your goals. And as much as “being broke” sucks, it is somehow part of the student life. And hopefully, after graduation, the money-making phase will come very quickly. Being thrifty is never a mistake and as a student it is actually really easy to implement into your daily life. We are about to give you eleven exciting and versatile tips on how to save more money in your everyday life as a student.

1. USE STUDENT DISCOUNTS

Sometimes it is not so obvious at first glance, but some leisure opportunities offer discounts for young people in education and study. You can visit all kinds of museums or take advantage of other offers at discounted prices, such as cinema or theatre performances. In Vienna, for instance, you will get the library card as well as the entrance to the municipal baths for a reduced price. It is definitely always worth asking for a discount. We also recommend you visit the website iamstudent. There you will find the latest discounts and vouchers for students in Austria as well as individual cities, such as Vienna. However, beware! In Austria, many student discounts are limited to the age of 27. If you already belong to the students aged 30 or older, the discounts no longer apply to you. However, do not worry. There are plenty of savings tips for you, too.

2. USE STUDENT OFFERS WHEN BUYING ELECTRONICS

Smartphones, tablet PCs and notebooks as well as the associated software are already large acquisition items, but mostly indispensable. Many large companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, as well as various online shops, often provide special offers for students.
Sometimes you can also get discounted or even free software packages through your university or college. Inform yourself before you buy a new device. Because with those student discounts you can really save some money!

3. SAVING ELECTRICITY MEANS SAVING MONEY

At home, there are many ways to reduce the electricity bill, and already the tiniest behavioral change can help. Here are the most common options for kitchen, bathroom and living room: 

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

4. SAVE HEATING COSTS

As the last months of the year approach, it will get colder without doubt and more uncomfortable outside. Time to make yourself cuddly at home. For most people, this means turning up the heater. With the following tips you can also protect your student budget in regard to heating:  

  • Radiators should be free and not crammed by furniture or covered by curtains so that the heat can escape well.       
  • Radiators need to be ventilated regularly: if your radiator makes some funny noises, it is an indication that it needs to be vented. If there is air in the heating element, the radiator will not heat properly. 
  • 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? Perfect, then use the remaining heat of the oven for heating and leave 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. BUY USED DEVICES AND OBJECTS

Extending the life of things 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 student apartment, you can purchase used household items on various online platforms, such as willhaben, most things offered are really cheap and sometimes even free of charge.
There are also some local Facebook groups, which offer free furniture. If you do not mind that the devices have slight flaws such as scratches or even a dent, the electro-b market is the right place for you to go to. They sell transport-damaged but original-packaged branded devices cheaper than the original price. 

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

6. BE SUSTAINABLE BUT ECONOMIC WHEN BUYING FOOD

Everyone has to eat, no questions asked. However, you can save quite a lot of money when food shopping with a plan.
Try one of the following options:

  • Create a 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 to think through your purchases. Because marching into the supermarket without a plan often means buying more than you actually need and thus spoil some of the food. Throwing away food means: Valuable resources end up in the garbage, but also that part of your money ends up in the garbage too. 
  • Write a shopping list: You have already planned your meals for the next few days? Awesome! Now you can think about which ingredients need to be obtained. Writing everything down carefully can really help you save money – we promise! The view into the fridge and the kitchen shelf avoids unnecessary double purchases. Because then you only buy what you really need and avoid food spoils. This is a win-win situation.
  • Check brochures from supermarkets: 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 food shopping. Because with those offers you can often 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 little bit and satisfy your hunger.
  • Check whether large packs are really cheaper: We automatically assume that larger packs will help us save money. However, always check this on the price tag and compare the price of grams or litres with the smaller packaging units to be truly safe.
  • Document purchases: Collect a receipt 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.

7. SAVE WHEN EATING OUT AND WHILE GOING TO BARS

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

Don’t forget to check out our guide on great student places in Vienna!

Another way to save on eating is the provider Delinski. Here, restaurants in the larger cities of Austria 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 invoice, 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 the restaurants in your city, which sell leftover portions and food shortly before they close up for the day. Foodsharing also works with your neighbors or roommates.

8. SAVE ON TRAVEL – SEMESTER TICKETS, CAR – AND RIDE-SHARING

Transport is expensive. As a student, you probably commute home one or two times a semester or take a trip with friends. But even being at the place of study usually costs you some money. Owning a car is not only relatively expensive due to the fuel, maintenance costs and high parking fees in the cities. It is also not particularly ecological.
Depending on the route and the accessibility of your destination, you can save money with the following tips:

  • Buy cheaper tickets for public transport at your place of study: This is a standard for most students anyway, but unfortunately only applies to students until the end of their 26th year of life. Those who are older have to look for other ways to save.
  • Use your bike: this is especially appropriate when you are travelling within the city. You can also avoid finding a parking space, waiting for the bus and annoying traffic jams. It is also healthy 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 also be well advised with car sharing services. In larger 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 own four bikes from a larger station, for example for a day trip, you can use the car sharing service of ÖBB Rail&Drive. More car sharing offers for Vienna can be found on the city’s website.
  • Watch out for rides: join forces with others and join people who have a similar path. This gives you the possibility to drive at unbeatable prices. Sometimes you get to know each other in the lecture hall and start driving together. If that has not yet happened to you, you can also look up providers such as Blablacar for a suitable connection and nice ride-sharing.

9. SAVE ON ACCOUNT AND INSURANCE

But where do you go now with all the pile of cash that you have saved so hard and want to put on the side as a student? To open a student account of course! Most banks already offer free solutions for online banking, account management and with atm cards for students. The Raiffeisenbank also includes free accident insurance up to 24 years of age. Other banks, such as the ERSTE, also provide the credit card free of charge until their 27th birthday.  Another hot tip: Many banks give you a recommendation reward when you recommend them to others. So talk to your fellow students when a change is imminent. Maybe even the cash registers will ring for you.

10. RENT TOOLS AND ITEMS INSTEAD OF BUYING NEW ONES

Let’s face it: If you are not a craftsman or hobby screwdriver yourself, you rarely touch the toolbox. But if you want to work on something, you will probably need some tools.
Larger equipment, such as impact drills and co, is very expensive to buy especially if you rarely use it.
The same applies to costumes when a party with disguise is coming up or some electronic devices, such as a high-quality camera for hobby photographers.
Ask your fellow students or neighbors if they lend you theirs. They will certainly be happy to help you if these treasures are dormant in their cellars or storage chambers. If no one can be found, you can rent tools and other things on Shareonimo on a daily basis.

11. DO IT YOURSELF INSTEAD OF BUYING

You can do many things, especially talking about personal care, yourself and at low cost or even replace them with ecological alternatives. And that really saves up some money! 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 our own post. 

In summary: By slightly changing up everyday habits, you can easily save money.
This becomes especially 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 if you can make it work to get some of your groceries on your shopping list at a lower price, or if you saved a few euros on your last visit to the museum, start with these small savings.
The good old piggy bank is certainly happy to be fed by you and you will be amazed how much comes together over a long time. Because: Many pennies make a dollar. From this, you can upgrade your next holiday fund or fulfill a special wish of yours. No matter what you decide, these tips can make saving really fun!

Questions?

We are happy to help