How to have a brilliant summer – on a student budget
In the first part of our summer on a budget series, David Ellis of Student Money Saver shares some tips on how to enjoy the sunny season – even if you’re short of cash…
Summer can be something of a mixed blessing – though there’s plenty of free time and a slight lessening of rain, there’s often also a distinct absence of money. But that’s no reason to write off your summer as a failure. You could:
1. Ditch the pub for a picnic
‘Shall we catch up for a drink?’ is a phrase almost unparalleled in its ability to damage a bank account. The temptation of the night out almost always trumps the worry of losing money and when even a cheap pub is charging £3-4 a drink, having just a couple can add up sharply. So why not socialise with a picnic instead? It’s more fun, it feels like more of an occasion and for the price of a few beers in the pub, you can pick up snacks and a bottle or two of something decent. Ideal.
2. Head to a free summer festival
Glastonbury might be a great British tradition but if you don’t have tickets then any mention of it begins to grate on the ears. It’s not even the music – it’s missing out on that festival feeling which stings. So try getting involved with one of the many free (or nearly free), festivals which spring up every year in the UK. Sure, you might not see the same calibre of act but a festival is about atmosphere and you’ll find that wherever you go…
3. Find a hobby
Waking up on a summer morning goes something like this: ‘Hooray! Free time! I have so much I can achieve today!’ But sadly, far too many days end up indulging a crippling internet addiction and the slow realisation you may be wasting your life. If that sentence sounds uncomfortably familiar, then it’s time to finally make good on that hobby you’ve been thinking off – stop letting YouTube be a distraction and make use of the many (fame hungry) experts posting videos. YouTube is a vast universe (albeit a decidedly weird one) and there are detailed videos on everything from guitar lessons to dressmaking to the principles of surfing. Get inspired.
4. Visit a museum or gallery for free
What more needs to be said? You might learn something useful! Besides, if it gets too hot (not likely, I’ll concede), then consider it to be free air-conditioning. Also, many museums and galleries around the UK are free, especially in London. Again, your favourite search engine will provide directions.
5. Finally…the beach, the beach!
If learning really isn’t your idea of a laugh during the summer, then round up a group and head to the beach – call it a road trip. Split petrol money between a full car and head off to your nearest sandy strip. Buckets & spades remain essential (how else are you going to dig to Australia?) and it’s worth having a spare a couple of quid for fish n’ chips. The entire day needn’t come in at more than a tenner all in. For all day fun, it’s got to be one of the cheapest ways to do it.
David Ellis is the editor of Student Money Saver and writes regularly for the Daily Telegraph and Independent. You can find Student Money Saver on both Facebook and Twitter.
Read David’s 6 smart tips for saving money on textbooks. Or for more tips on enjoying yourself cheaply, read our 10 ways to have fun for free or 6 ways to eat out cheaply on a budget.