How to make the most of mid-year break without going broke

June 22, 2016
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Congratulations! You have have earned your right to six weeks off from stuffy lectures, barking nerd-type tutors and that dreaded thing called homework. Now that’s all over, you probably have your mind on two things – holidays with the bestie and parties! Concerned that both of these things will absolutely break the bank? Here are a few ideas to keep you incredibly busy and in party mode without blowing through all your money.

Rotate house parties between friends

If you have a large group of willing friends (and if you do, I salute you), then rotate between friends who can each take turns to host a party every weekend. This could be a crazy house party or more of an evening of Netflix, pizza and beer. If you split the costs, it will cost you fairly little. It also doesn’t require everyone getting public transport into the city to hang out in bars until 3am, constantly forking out for expensive drinks.

If someone isn’t feeling too well after the night out, at least someone can take them home in the privacy of their car right? Cuts the cost of that expensive taxi ride.

Work more, save more

If you’re working a little more during the mid-year break, set up an interest-earning account with your bank. When you get paid, save a quarter of that sum every week. By the end of the year, you’ll have a small fortune! You probably won’t realise how much it even grows because you'll still be making interest on top of what you put inside – neat, huh?

This is especially good for those who know that they will just spend anything if it appears in the account because it counts as “spendable money”, right? But if you actively make sure you don’t touch that account for as long as possible, you can make a big rewarding purchase at the end. If you can hold it off even more, it can become grassroots money for a car or a house! Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

Volunteer somewhere

WHAT! WORK WITHOUT PAY! WHO DO YOU THINK WE ARE!

OK, I get you. Having said that, doing volunteer work is very rewarding. Volunteer work like serving food with Vinnies or working for the Red Cross as a donation collector can enhance your resume, your personality and opens up the world to you.

Typically when you volunteer, you’ll usually be rewarded with a lunch, which is one less thing you have to buy. The more time you spend volunteering, the less time you’ll have to spend big on other things so bring your friends and make it a fun day of it.

Take up a new hobby

A new hobby doesn't have to be super expensive. It also doesn’t mean pursuing tennis when you know you hate sports. Think about the things you like to do normally in your spare time. If you love snapping photos and can’t live without snapchat, take up photography with a cheap film camera. If you love streaming music, take up a musical instrument – there are relatively cheap guitars available and you can always learn online. And if you love reading, write your own book. You have life experience you can write about, right?

To make the most of your mid-year break, have fun, work a little and drink responsibly. You can still have a bloody good time and still have some cash to spare at the start of the second semester.

You’re welcome.

Hans Lee

Hans Lee is a writer, photographer and self-confessed “rarely seen park-runner”. He is in his first year at Macquarie University and is currently co-writing and shooting a photography and theatre project simultaneously.

Image: Ben Seidelamn, Flickr Creative Commons license

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