10 tips for living on a student budget

There are enterprising students who manage to juggle a job with academia, while putting aside a buffer of savings. The question is, how?

 2.5 minutes


If you are a student or a recent graduate, who’s lived or living away from the comfort of the family abode, chances are you’ve eaten baked beans on toast or tinned soup for several days straight at some point. Let’s face it, there are only so many hours during which you can work and still maintain good grades. Once you’ve taken out rent, bills, food and put aside a tiny bit for entertainment and clothing, there’s little dough left. That’s the last thing you need to be worrying about when you’re meant to be head down, bum up studying. On the flip side, there are enterprising students who manage to juggle a job with academia, while putting aside a buffer of savings. The question is, how?

10 tips for stretching your hard earned cash

There are some very easy strategies for making your money go further, and that require little effort or thought. Try out some of the following:
 

  • Search for a fee free/high interest bank account. Make sure you read the fine print and watch out for hidden costs, like ATM fees;
  • Don’t forget to use your student/concession card. It doesn’t just make for cheaper public transport. There are discounts for students at most cinemas as well as plenty of bookshops, record stores and other retailers. It never hurts to ask if a student discount is available;
  • Investigate whether you are entitled to government support, such as loans or youth allowance;
  • Most universities will have a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships you can apply for. Google ‘university scholarships Australia’ to get a list;
  • Find out whether you are eligible for a health care card. It has side benefits, like discounts on utility bills;
  • Shop around, particularly for university supplies and text books. eBay and online bookstores are often cheaper than uni book retailers;
  • Resell your text books;
  • Keep unnecessary expenses to a minimum, including coffee, alcohol and snacks;
  • Take your lunch to uni and eat in where possible;
  • Reduce food elated expenses by buying seasonal produce, shopping at fresh food markets (shop close to closing for additional discounts) and buying and cooking in bulk; and
  • Keep track of your expenditure by using a budget calculator. Once you have an accurate picture of your expenses, see if there are any you can trim and then examine how much you can save.

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