HKYantoYan’s Survival Guide for Hong Kong University Students – Living On a Budget

By on April 25, 2015


“No way, I can’t spend more this month!” is a frequently blurted phrase by most university students. Living on a budget may seem like a trying task, but your options are plentiful. Have a look at some of HKYantoYan’s suggestions below:


Finding food on a budget might seem like a real challenge, but dining options are plentiful. If you’re really looking to save up, try sticking to campus eateries – they are all subsidized (especially Starbucks…any Starbucks off-campus will rip you off). Most communities in Hong Kong have cooked food centres, which are also extremely affordable…and their food is great too.

And if you’re not a health junkie, fast food is always an option. Split a pizza with a friend, go to McDonald’s, or feast on cup noodles.

Or you could simply try your hand at cooking. Buy groceries, and cook lots of meals in bulk, or have a “cooking night” with your friends! Don’t burn down your hall kitchen.


Contrary to popular belief, partying in Hong Kong as a university student can be very economical. Buy your liquor/mixers/Red Bull/Milk Tea etc. from the nearest 7/11 or Circle K, grab a group of friends, and find an empty place to enjoy the drinks. If you’re partying on a budget, avoid clubs with cover charges, and steer clear of the overpriced drinks the club has to offer. Pre-game early in the night, and save your cash. And ladies, don’t forget about “Wan Chai Wednesdays” and Lan Kwai Fong on Thursdays. Many clubs and bars will offer you very subsidized – if not free!! – drinks.

Of course, you don’t need to “go out” for a good night. Stick to someone’s apartment if you’re looking for a more chilled-out night, and keep it small, but personal.

Lastly, don’t forget about transport back to your hall or residence! If you live far away and don’t plan to catch the MTR or a bus back home, go out in a big group and split a cab (or simply wait till 6am!).


Hong Kong is a great base to travel around Asia. Plane tickets are affordable (look for the best deals on Zuji, Expedia and LastMinute), or take a bus and travel around China. Hunt for package deals. During your travels, stick to certified hostels and hotels under 3 stars. Your residence might not be luxurious, but you’ll save lots of cash, and might find some quirky stories to tell. In your cities, try the local transport methods, but put safety first!

University Life

Textbooks and other required texts can end up being extremely costly. And as essentials, most students don’t think twice about buying them. But if you’re really strapped for cash, try finding an e-book for your textbook. If you’re one of those students who can’t read from a screen, have the e-book printed and bound. Alternatively, you can split your books with a study buddy, and take turns photocopy readings or questions from the books.

If you can’t find e-books, talk to your professors: many teachers will be willing to upload copies of your readings online, especially if the book you need is difficult to find. Ask and ye shall receive.

Enjoying Hong Kong

Luckily, Hong Kong is a city where you can have lots of fun without spending money. Stunning views are in abundance, natural beauty is everywhere, and there is no limit to skyscrapers with exciting rooftops. Wake up early on weekends and get active: explore the New Territories, try cliff-diving or camping in Sai Kung, trek up the Peak, Lion’s Rock, or the Dragon Back’s Trail. Go biking in Tai Po, or find buildings with roofs where you can chill out. If you have a love for shopping, hit Mong Kok or Jordon for a day of thrifting – they have incredible deals, and a surprising amount of variety.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more spontaneity, hop onto your nearest MTR, travel for an hour or so, and jump off at a stop you’ve never of. Start exploring.

Did you like the article? Leave a comment below.
Nikita Mathur

Nikita is a 20-year-old aspiring journalist based in Hong Kong and Singapore, with a constant fascination for the world around her, and its many untold stories. In 2013, she began studying Journalism and Global Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Her long-time passion for writing, photography, art, and asking questions is what drives her towards journalism. She loves exploring the world, and discovering new things all the time.


  1. Nikita

    May 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Sara!

    Yes – it’s open 24/7, and is usually the most convenient place around for students. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many post-midnight options for those looking for something filling while pulling all-nighter study sessions 🙁

  2. Sara

    May 5, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Go to McDonald’s really?

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