The benefits of being a broke AF student

March 31, 2017
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These may be the best years of our life, but they are also the brokest. That Rihanna meme got it right when they said our lives are work, work, work and I don’t understand the rest. It seems as soon as we’ve paid for one thing, there’s the next car payment to make or technology device to replace, leaving little money in our pockets to purchase anything actually enjoyable. Don’t let all the broke doom and gloom get you down, though. There’s something to be said for being independent and barely scraping by.

Character building

The good old character building excuse, here to make you feel better about any shitty situation you may find yourself in. It’s a stressful life if you’re living pay check to pay check and a large cost you didn’t plan for, like new car parts, will throw a huge curveball in your barely surviving bank account.

However, when you’ve managed to gain a successful career and are able to afford nice things in the future, you’ll look back on this moment in your life and laugh. Your character strengthens from tough situations.

Practical lesson in budgeting

Want to learn something for free? Of course you do, you’re broke! The good news is that your broke phase is the best possible, hands-on lesson in budgeting you could ask for. You learn what you really need and prioritise that over wants. The art of saving is difficult, but when it’s a roof over your head versus frivolous spending, it makes the choice quite easy.

Will people know I got this top on sale at Kmart so I could afford to buy avocados this week? Let’s hope not. You will use these skills for the rest of your life and, when it comes time for bigger costs like overseas trips or moving out, you’ll be a pro at saving your dosh.

Sympathy Gifts

You know when it’s your parent’s birthdays and you can’t think of a single thing to buy them because they’ve already established their lives and have everything they want? Being a young, poor uni student is the polar opposite and no one will ever face that problem with you because you need, well, pretty much everything.

Your family will give you spontaneous gifts and pay for meals when they visit because they feel sorry for the fact that you can barely afford nice shampoo. Lap it up while you can, invite the rellies down to see your sparsely furnished share house and rely on the generosity of others to fund treats that you can’t justify spending money on yourself.

Decreasing your environmental footprint

When you can’t afford to spend, you simply contribute less to the economy and don’t buy as many material objects. Any new items of clothing are well thought out and you won’t be throwing away that tube of toothpaste until there’s absolutely no more you can possibly squeeze out. You’ll find yourself turning off appliances at the switch to save on electricity or making resolutions to cut down on shower time. You’re not broke, you’re just sustainable.

Accidentally becoming healthier

There are no studies, but real life shows that being poorer than average may just be good for your health. An easy way to save money is to stop paying for buses and taxis and walk places instead, adding cardio to your day. You’ll cut down on alcohol because you can’t afford to go out, and cigarettes at around $30 a packet will see you going cold turkey; your lungs and liver will thank you later. Take away meals are definitely a cost you can cut and, with things like frozen vegetables and cans of beans being such good value, your diet will get healthier too. Really, you’re winning.

Grace Potter

Grace studies Communications & Media at the University of Wollongong and is an avid fan of Harry Potter and coffee.

Image: Broad City

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