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Budget Friendly Ways to Continue Enjoying Life in Second Semester

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

First semester is over, folks. And so is my budget. It happens every year. I overspend in first semester thinking I have lots of money when I should really be sticking to the yearly budget I made in September. With the holidays upon us and having just finished a stressful exam season complete with buying most meals on campus, I don’t have much money left for second semester besides the essentials.

I know the protocol as well as anybody: meal prep, ask for more hours at work, don’t go out as often, and other boring things no one actually wants to be doing.

I decided I wanted to find a way to save money while also having fun and not focusing on my financial situation too much over the next four months. So here are a few budget-friendly ways for you (and me) to stay on track next semester while still finding the time to relax and enjoy ourselves!


1.     Thrift Stores

I love to shop. So much that it’s a problem. But an amazing “alternative” is thrift shopping! It gives you all of the joys of strolling through aisles mesmerized by all of the things that aren’t yours (but they could be!) without making you feel guilty. If you know your prices, it’s easy to find amazing items that are gently used and easy on your bank account. London has an amazing variety of thrift stores that feature general items or have a specific theme. A few places to check out the next time you have an urge to get out and shop are, Talize, City Lights Bookshop or Goodwill Industries—and there’s so many more!

2.     Ice Skating

Every winter, London offers free outdoor skating at Victoria Park! The rink is open from the beginning of December to about the middle of March depending on the weather. Skating is an amazing way to de-stress, hang out with friends and simultaneously get some exercise—and it’s free! If you’re worried about buying skates, make sure to check out those thrift stores—they’ll be sure to help you find a deal!

3.     Western Events

If you’re looking to go see a concert or a show but you’re worried about the cost of tickets, look no further than campus itself! Western often hosts a few musicians over the term, and Theatre Western is usually hosting a fun, theatre-oriented event. The Arts and Humanities Student Council also puts on a few shows over the term such as their production of The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza. These student-focused events are usually cheaper and some even have subsidized tickets, making them more affordable or even free. Make sure to watch the University Student Council’s social media pages to keep up to date on upcoming events!

4.     Movies

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favourite things to do in my free time is watching movies! Whether that means going to a theatre near me or staying home and watching a film on one of the many platforms available, even something as simple as watching a movie can easily become expensive. One of my favourite budget options is Western Film located in the University Community Centre. They offer cheap movies that are screened relatively soon after their initial release, and even have amazing midnight screenings of cult classics such as The Room or V for Vendetta. And, if you head over on Tuesdays, students only pay four dollars a show! But if you feel like staying in and you plan on watching a quite a few movies a month, getting a subscription to Netflix or Crave is definitely worth the low cost of roughly 15 to 20 dollars a month to gain access to hundreds of films and TV shows. Just make sure you get your money’s worth.

5.      Host a Night In

Having a good time does not necessarily mean going out. It can also mean the exact opposite: staying in. Inviting a few friends over to play some board games, chat, watch a movie or whatever it is you would like to do, can prove to be very inexpensive. And if everyone chips in for snacks, you’ll end up spending even less!

Remember, these are only a few ideas! If you make sure to watch for student deals and discount days, you’re sure to be able to stay within budget. Just remember, a tight budget should not restrict you from going out and having fun. Your time at university won’t be worth it if all you did was hustle and cram. Enjoy this time while it lasts!


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Patricia is a fourth-year student at Western University working towards completing her Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature. Her current obsessions include, but are not limited to, mad amounts of chai tea, Game of Thrones, and her all-time favourite—used books.
This is the contributor account for Her Campus Western.