Did you know that the average cost of living for a student – excluding tuition and book costs – is R10 000 per month (according to Stellenbosch University)?

I think it’s safe to say that student life can be extremely costly. It’s at this stage in life where being able to make smart financial decisions takes on a heightened importance. That’s why it’s incredibly important for students to buy smart and shop around for the things that they need at the best price possible.

Here are 9 Must-have items for the budget-savvy student:

1. Laptop backpack

If you’re going to lug a laptop around campus with you, there’s no reason you should do so in a way that damages your spine.
That’s where laptop backpacks come in, offering you superior support, comfort and mobility. It is also incredibly stylish, which can only help your campus cred.

2. External Hard drive

Ask any student who’s lost an important piece of work and they’ll tell you there are few worse feelings in the world. Used properly, an external hard drive means you’ll always have a backup of your work that’s up-to-date. We’ll leave other potential uses for this device to your imagination.

Battery bricks⚡️Finally after years of dying electronics (mainly my phone), I bought a power brick. The one I researched for an embarrassing amount of time and ended up purchasing is the @ravpower 16750mAh with two 5A USB ports. This amount of power supports 5.5 full iPhone charges which is an entire trip worth of “apple juice.”😉 – – Other than the ability to charge my dead devices, this model has a particularly unique feature I didn’t see on many other power bricks. It has a built in flashlight because… why not? After having the brick for less than a week I’ve already used the flashlight to find one of apples well designed “Dongles” at the base of my backpack. Well done @ravpower 👏 – – – Do you use a battery brick? If so which brand?

A post shared by Steve McGarry (@stvmcg) on

3. Portable Phone Charger

Most students are on their phones almost constantly. Whether it’s staying up to date with their friends, consuming media, or playing games between lectures, their phones are their constant companions. Given that, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll run out of battery at some point during the day. That’s where portable phone chargers come in, allowing them to charge their devices on the go.
Knowing that they’re unlikely to wear a watch, keeping their phones on is also important for ensuring they know the time and aren’t late for lectures.

4. Alarm clock

Sure, all phones have their own alarms, but they also run out of battery. This is especially likely to happen if said phone is tossed casually onto the bedside table after a big night…in the library.


When it comes to ensuring you wake up in time to hand in that assignment, nothing beats a good old alarm clock.

5. Shatterproof wine glasses

Let’s not lie to ourselves, having a good time is an important part of the experience for many students. There’s no reason, however, that they can’t have that good time tastefully. These shatterproof wine glasses are a testament to that and are perfect for the concerts, festivals, and other outdoor events typically enjoyed by students. While the initial outlay may be high, not having to replace glasses every few weeks could mean a long-term saving.

6. Mug Warmer

Many students fuel their late-night assignment and studying sessions on caffeine. Thing is, getting too wrapped up in a train of thought can result in sipping on a cold cup of coffee. That’s definitely a situation worth avoiding. Thankfully, this USB powered mug warmer means you never have to worry about that. Just be careful when picking up the mug as you take a sip. Spilling a hot beverage all over your keyboard is much worse than sipping on cold coffee.

7. Clip-on lamp

Space is at a premium in most student rooms. This is especially true for those students living in university residences. While this clip-on-lamp is meant to be used in a reptile vivarium, it could just as easily be clipped on to a desk or the headboard of a res room bed.

8. Lockable dictionary book safe

As much effort as universities put into ensuring that their students are safe, crime remains a reality, as it does across South Africa. This lockable safe is disguised as a dictionary, making an ideal hiding spot for your valuables, especially when you’re out and about.

9. Cordless Kettle

A kettle is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment any student can own. To understand how you have to think beyond its use of providing hot water for tea and coffee. Instant noodles, hot dogs, and oatmeal are just a sample of the foods you can make using only a kettle. This particular one also lights up while boiling, something that’s bound to impress your peers.

[Check out pricecheck.co.za to shop all the above items.]

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