7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students

Want to do something fun yet inexpensive with your buddies? Here are some ideas on fun activities, which won’t make you broke.

Updated 16 Dec 2019

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students - Feature-Image

College life isn’t just about studying — you should have a good balance between absorbing knowledge and enjoying life. In fact, your college days are the best time for you to have fun and make memories with your friends. At this point in your life, you may even notice that you now have more freedom plus a little more allowance.

So how should you spend your time and money?

Don’t be bored at home or splurge all your cash on expensive activities, try out these affordable ideas instead.

#1. Set up movie nights

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-1 Set up movie nights

Cinemas are fun but they can eat away at your allowance if you’re a movie buff who goes to the theatre often.

To avoid this, why not create your own mini theatre at home for you and your friends? Thanks to the extensive number of movie streaming sites online, it’s easy to find platforms to watch free movies. This way, you can have a movie marathon and watch as many movies as you’d like.


Make your own creative snack by flavouring store-bought popcorn kernels with anything your heart desires (e.g butter with salt and vinegar or corn syrup and cocoa powder).

#2. Go on mini road trips

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-2 Go on mini road trip

Roads trips are essential for creating fond memories, which would be remembered for years to come. So gather a group of your closest friends and get ready for an adventure!

Do some research and list down several interesting places you can go by car — the options are plenty! Stop by Sekinchan for breathtaking shots of bright green paddy fields before heading to Kuala Selangor to catch some fireflies and nosh on affordable seafood. If you’re a foodie, the Kampar-Ipoh-Taiping trail is certain to satisfy your taste buds with cheap eats scattered all over town.

Try to plan the agenda ahead of time so that you don’t waste time thinking of where to visit on the day itself.


: Store an emergency contact number in your phone in case your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.

#3. Check out local events or bazaars

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-Check out local events or bazaars

Mark your calendars as Malaysia hosts an array of annual festivals including the George Town Festival, Rainforest World Music Festival and Japanese Bon Odori Festival. Let’s also not forget our many religious celebrations such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Thaipusam and Christmas, which bring upon lavish displays of fireworks, food bazaars and processions.

There are also plenty of local markets, bazaars and events to keep your weekends occupied, whether it’s browsing stalls for pre-loved goods and handmade items or catching a comedy show. You don’t always have to spend money — just checking out the happenings in your town is worth the experience!

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#4. Look out for places with free admission

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-4 Look out for places with free admission

Don’t want to spend a single sen? There are plenty of recreational places that you can discover with your friends — for free!

Visit the Perdana Botanical Garden (formerly known as Lake Gardens) for fresh air and pleasing views or simply set out to the nearest beach for a picnic. Take a moment to appreciate the diversity of the country’s religions by visiting the humbling Masjid Negara (there are specific visiting hours for non-Muslims), climbing the 272 concrete steps of Batu Caves or checking out the stunning 6-tiered Thean Hou Temple.

To boot, we also have an assortment of free museums such as the Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, National Art Gallery, Royal Malaysian Police Museum and National Textiles Museum.

#5. Play tourist in your own city

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-5 Play tourist in your own city

Remember that class tour you attended when you were in primary school? You might not recall, but now you have a reason to experience it again!

Play tourist for a day with your friends by visiting famous and historic landmarks (think Dataran Merdeka, Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and Tugu Negara if you’re in Kuala Lumpur), hunting down cheap local eats (Petaling Street, anyone?) and travelling on foot instead of zipping around in a car. If you’re game, you could also take it to the next level by navigating using a map instead of your trusty smartphone!


Remember to bring your student pass wherever you go. You’ll never know when it’ll come in handy for that extra student discount.

#6. Learn to make local arts and craft

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-6 Learn to make the local arts and crafts

Embrace the Malaysian in you by learning traditional dances or making traditional arts and craft such as batik paintings or kites. Find hidden gems near your place such as the Craft Cultural Complex in Kuala Lumpur or even the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching. Check out their schedules for interesting art and craft sessions — the sessions are usually free or with minimum charges.

You never know — you could end up with a new skill that you’re good at!

#7. Play board games

7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun as Broke College Students-7 Have board game sessions

Playing your favourite board games is a great way to bond with friends, especially if the weather outside is bad.

Invest in the more affordable Malaysian versions such as The Lepak Game (Cards Against Humanity with a Malaysian twist), Kleptopoly (a 1MDB-inspired board game with a Monopoly game flow) or POLITIKO (Monopoly Deal with Malaysian politics).

Don’t want to spend money on board games? Don’t worry, you can still enjoy them while you eat by visiting board game cafes, such as Meeples and Boardgame Depot.

There you have it — 7 inexpensive activities which won’t break your bank! We hope these ideas will inspire you to save while relaxing a little before you have to study for your next exam.

Want to learn more about how to travel on a student budget? Discover great tips here.

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    Josephine Serena

    Josephine Serena

    Media studies and journalism graduate. Buy me coffee and I'll spill the beans. Also really tall.