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Published on June 6th, 2018 | by Jones


How to afford new clothes on a student budget

It’s a tough life being a student, living on campus, eating two-minute noodles for breakfast lunch and dinner and not being able to buy all the clothes you want in life. But don’t lose all sense of hope, there are ways you can afford to buy new clothes, even on your student budget.

It’s important to feel good in the clothes you wear on campus. It’s the boost of confidence you need to make new friends, answer questions in lectures and take charge of the never-ending group projects. Being able to afford new clothes will require some sacrifice and self-control, but it is possible and you’re about to find out how.

Clean out your cupboards

If you’re being totally honest with yourself, there are plenty of clothing items in your cupboard that you haven’t worn in years, if you’ve even worn them at all. This includes your clothes cupboard that you have back home at your parents’ house. What you need to do is clean out your cupboards and prepare all those old “I’ll never wear that again” clothes for a sale. Oh and don’t forget to include your shoes.

There are a variety of ways you can go about selling these clothes. If your campus has some sort of market day, you can appeal to your fellow students. If not, there’s always the online option over classifieds websites or Facebook Marketplace. Sell them at a reasonable price and start collecting cash for your next shopping spree.

Adjust your student budget

You may be receiving a set amount of money per week or per month from your parents in order to survive the student life. You need to take a look at your budget and see how much money you’re spending on extra luxuries. For example, those takeaway coffees you buy every other day after lectures. That’s about R20 a cup which is about R60 a week. Stop that habit for a month and you could save up to R300 to go towards a new jacket. That, and you’ll be saving the planet because takeaway coffee cups are a problem to the environment.

Review your budget and prioritise it in such a way that you manage to cut down on unnecessary expenses and save some money for new clothes.

Make some money on the side

It basically comes down to the fact that you can’t afford to buy new clothes if you don’t have any money. So along with selling old clothes and re-budgeting, you can do your best to find a part-time job and make money on the side.

University can get a little hectic with lectures, assignments, group projects and exams, and you don’t want to be distracted from your studies. Working on the weekends is generally the easiest option and if you can find somewhere that works in shifts, even better.

Waitressing or working at a wine farm are great options because tips are involved which makes it easier to save money up. Other options as a student are tutoring and babysitting or house-sitting. Those won’t provide as regular of an income but they are more flexible, which will make it easy to fit in with your study schedule.

Buy within reason

Now, once you have enough money saved, you can’t just go ahead and buy the first things you see because you’re so excited about the fact that you finally have money to spend on clothes. You need a plan and you need to be smart about it.  

Do your research on fashion shops in South Africa that you want to visit and follow them on social media. Find out when their sales are, how you can earn discounts or sign up for a free rewards programme. Every advantage you can get, you must use. Many stores have sales just before and after payday, so if you can, save your money until then.

And before you even head over to the shops, make a list of clothing items you need first, before you start adding things that you want. You can set these items as goals to motivate you to work hard, save money and not buy that extra cup of coffee. Shopping sprees are all good and well when done within reason.

It would also help to make sure that you have the necessary fashion staples in your student closet to make the most out of the key items you’ve saved up for. Staple clothing items can go a long way if accessorised properly.

The goal here isn’t to be able to buy new clothes all the time. Only when there’s something you really need or have been eyeing for months. And after you have your shopping spree, there will come a time when you need to start the process from the top again (cleaning out your closet).

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