It’s the sinking feeling you get when the check-out chick stares at you as you rifle through your wallet.
It’s the anxiety that builds as you watch the Eftpos machine `processing…’
It’s the panicked hunt for that long-lost dollar coin while the line behind you grows increasingly longer.
It’s all these situations and more that can lead people like us, university students, to avoid leaving the house altogether. Living on a student budget can be tough, and often it’s our social lives that have to suffer the most. However, hope is not lost! Reconnecting with the outside world, your friends and family, doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing you do that month, especially if you’re living in the Springfield area.
The Springfield Markets are on every first weekend of the month. With various delicious food stalls, arts and crafts and local talent, you will truly be able to enjoy this event. With special nights such as Lanterns in the park, or events with guests such as Watoto’s Children’s Choir, there is plenty to see and do. It’s free to enter, but if you do plan on grabbing a bite to eat or buying some goodies then it’s time to bring out your loose change, as most stalls don’t accept card.
As the biggest shopping centre in Springfield, Orion is the perfect place to spend a few hours with family or friends. From food to clothes, it’s the pace to go. Located a hop, skip and a jump away from USQ’s Springfield campus, you can (literally) walk up the path and be in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the shops in 5 minutes. Orion is full of hidden gems for the budget-savvy student, as most shops have a hidden sales rack, and places like Boost have student discounts.
Author’s pick: For all the sweet-toothed people out there, make a date and visit Gelatissimo! The freshly made Gelato is perfect for those hot days or cute romantic dates.
Some of my favourite memories are centred on grabbing fish and chips and sitting down on a grassy area to relax. When the heat of summer hits, take a break from the long hot days and head out at night instead. With almost no one around, you’re free to embrace your inner child and make the most of the parklands, or have a nostalgic climb on the playground. The parklands are a great place for dinner and a chat, chilling, or listening to music with your mates. Alternatively, you could get active and play tennis on the courts, which stay lit until around 10pm.
There are many different activities you can enjoy in the Robelle Parkland area. The Park and Lagoon are also conveniently placed between USQ and Orion. Grab some snags, sauce and a loaf of bread from Orion and consider a cook up on the barbeques, before moving over into the lagoon for a quick dip. Both adult and kid friendly, it is the place to go for a celebration or just general chills.
Plus, if you’re happy to BYO snacks, it can be a completely free outing! (Well, as long as you don’t fall victim to Cold Rock ice-cream.)
Authors pick: Robelle Domain often holds events such as New Year’s Eve and Christmas celebrations, ANZAC ceremonies and movie nights. These can be great to go to with your friends, partner or family for tonnes of free fun.
If you (or your mate) can’t afford the gym, that’s okay! Central Walk near Grande Avenue was created as an outdoor workout spot for locals. With a running track, stairs and workout equipment, you can get your fitness goals in full swing. Whether you enjoy flying solo or dragging your mates along for a group training session, this is a budget-friendly way to get fit.
The Robelle Domain Parklands hold different charity fundraiser events throughout the year, from Relay for Life to The Colour Run and even a triathlon. A great way of attending these events on a shoe-string budget is to volunteer. Most fundraiser events will offer free or heavily discounted registration rates for volunteers who want to participate, making this one of the most fun and cheap ways to support a charity.
The Colour Run event
USQ's Springfield campus holds various events throughout the year. From USQ Student Life Expos to a trip to Movie World, there is always tonnes happening. Most of the events are free, and give you some awesome chances to win prizes and pick up heaps of freebies. You can check out events on the USQ website.
Springfield Central has many locally owned cafes hidden away, so discover secret spots such as Lotus Café, to Dark Horse Café and La Mocha. With the most delicious coffee and foods, you can enjoy a fantastic breakfast or lunch, with the knowledge that you helped support a local business, without breaking the bank.
La Mocha Cafe
Located on campus, Central Tavern is a cheap place to go for a good meal. With a pool table and relaxed atmosphere, it is a nice place to gather and have a good time socialising with your classmates. Each night they have special meal deals, which usually fall within the $10-$15 bracket.
Located on campus The Works Health and Recreation Club can be a great option for those who prefer to get fit in a gym. Being a student, your membership is less than $10 a week, and gives you access to the gym, showers, group classes (including palates, yoga and kick boxing) and two multi-purpose courts. The gym can be a great place to meet other students, or to challenge yourself to achieve those fitness goals.
Living on a student budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. If you’re living in the Springfield area there are heaps of cool things to do that are either free, or super budget-friendly and will help keep your social life healthy. For even more ideas on how to have a good time while keeping your budget under control, check out the Stingy Student’s guide to having frugal fun.