Money is honey
A penny saved is a penny earned. Here are seven ways to make your cash go that extra mile
So you've blown all your money buying clothes and gadgets, wining and dining and watching films in the festive season. But you still want to know how to fund those year-end parties that are just round the corner. Don't fret — our campus buddies have come up with some money-saving tips.
Street food is a student's best friend, says Garima Majumdar of Siliguri. The student of the NSHM Knowledge Campus in Calcutta says you should limit your trips to Cafe Coffee Day or KFC to at best once a month to save money. Bringing your own lunch to college may be uncool but it helps you pile up the moolah, Sunayana Roy, who moved from Asansol to Calcutta for higher studies, stresses. Cooking your own food will also save you a bundle. If you have housemates or roommates, share the costs of ingredients and gas or electricity. And always carry your own water — remember, packaged mineral water bottles add up to a neat sum at the end of the month.
The DIY life
Do your own laundry — it saves money, and keeps you in shape. Instead of going out for a meal, have a party at home. If you want to go clubbing, have a bit to eat or drink at home so that you don't overspend on food or drink. When you are planning a party at home, stick to snacks that are low priced. Focus on items such as alu chaat or golgappas bought from your favourite street-side vendor or even from fast-food vegetarian chains.
To cut travel costs, it's best to find accommodation close to your campus, says Kaushik Singha, who studies at the Post Graduate Institute of Hospital Administration in Calcutta. Mamata Banerjee, a student at the Indian School of Business in Mohali, prefers to walk for 2-3km instead of taking an auto or a rickshaw. It burns calories — and saves money, she says. Postgraduate student Prashanta Das from Katwa would rather take a bus than an auto. And if you want to go on a short outstation trip, go in a large group so that you can hire an SUV and share the cost. Travel sleeper class for the hefty discount that is given to students. Use the suburban railway network or the Metro because both are cheaper — by as much as 60 per cent — if you use a monthly pass. You need to submit a letter from your principal for a student discount on your monthly pass for local trains. Buses too have student discounts. But these are only for those from state or central institutions, complains Bardhaman's Satarupa Roy, who studies in a private institute.
If books are expensive, buy second hand books from older students. College Street has been the hub of used books for years. You could think of another old-fashioned method that never fails — the college library. You can also pool in and buy a book jointly with friends, suggests Sonali Patra.
A pre-paid mobile phone connection is best for students because it helps them keep tabs on how much they spend. "Choose your mobile or Internet plan intelligently," says Prashanta. Never go for value-added services such as ringtones or jokes. If you must have marathon chatting sessions with friends, wait until midnight as then the call rates are lower.
The cheapest way to watch a film is by downloading it (however, don't ignore piracy laws). If you want to watch a film on the big screen, tickets at a single-screen hall are cheaper than those in a multiplex. In some cities, weekday rates are cheaper than weekend ones.
If you want to be trendy, hit the pavements. There is a treasure trove waiting at Gariahat in south Calcutta, Esplanade in central Calcutta and Hatibagan in the north. You can pick up anything from costume jewellery to footwear and from bags to clothes and watches at amazing prices. But you have to bargain really hard. If you want to avoid the hassle of travel and haggling, check out the Internet, advises Mamata. For branded goods, visit malls and shops during sales. "You can get some cool stuff at half the price," stresses Rupanwita Saha, who is from Tripura.
And for that much coveted pair of Levi's, surely you'd be ready to walk some miles, cook at home, and wash your own clothes?