Budgeting is probably one of the least exciting words out there for many people.
But when you don’t earn a full-time income, it’s something you need to think about.
Here are a few money saving hacks you can use to save at uni without giving up your daily coffee.
Government support eligibility
As a student, you may be eligible to receive certain Government Benefits or Payments that can help cover some of your expenses while you focus full time on your studies.
Jobseeker, Newstart, Youth Allowance and Ausstudy are some of the payment options offered. Service Australia has some useful information which can help you find out what payments you may be eligible for and assist you with establishing a weekly budget.
Steer clear of unaffordable loans and purchases
Financing purchases using debt (credit cards, overdrafts, loans etc.) can be challenging and expensive to repay when you have limited funds. No matter which one you choose to commit to, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the repayment terms and schedule before you commit.
Typically credit cards can come with an interest rate as high as 20% which means if you don’t repay the purchase on time, you could pay up to 1.2 times the purchase price. Similarly, personal loans and overdrafts often have an interest rate of about 10%. This can mean you are not only paying more for your purchase, but leave yourself open to the trap of constantly using your money to repay debt which, in some instances, can be a hard cycle to break.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options are becoming increasingly popular with students and can be a handy way of purchasing within your budget by spreading out your payments. However, it’s also extremely important to ensure you are able to meet the repayment terms. Missed payments could result in additional costs such as service and late payment fees.
Find other entertainment options
Instead of going out for dinner to catch up with friends, why not host a potluck dinner at home where everyone brings a dish. Perhaps suggest to your friends that you each take a turn hosting one. Having a movie or games night is another option.
During the day, take a picnic lunch and go hiking in the bush or, if that sounds like too much work, find a nice park or garden to eat your lunch in nature.
Also, check out what’s going on at your campus as there’s often free or cheap events and activities for students which can be a great way to expand your network.
Whenever you go out for coffee, take a reusable cup, as a lot of cafes in metro areas will give you up to 50 cents off as a reward for being environmentally friendly.
Walk or ride
Save money on petrol, parking and public transport and walk or ride a bike to close destinations.
It’s also a good way to sneak some exercise in.
Bring your own drink
Whether it’s coffee, tea, soft drink or water, bringing your drink in a bottle or flask will save you money for sure.
Of course, the same goes for bringing your lunch and snacks from home.
Another bonus is that this means that you don’t have to worry about lining up for ages in the cafeteria.
Sell your unwanted items
Why not buy (or sell) second hand uni books? There are numerous sites out there where you can search for that book you need at a discounted price!
How about the clothes in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in years? Or old mobile phones and computers that you don’t use anymore?
It’s time to Marie Kondo your stuff – if it doesn’t “spark joy” it’s gotta go!
Whether you live at home with your parents or you’re renting, decluttering can be a really freeing experience and can help you feel more organised and in control.
Plus you can sell what you no longer want through local buy-swap-sell groups such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay or local markets to earn some extra cash.
As they say, one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.
It’s probably not a good idea to shop when you’re hungry.
If you do, you’ll likely come home with way more than you intended to buy.
Also, try getting your fruit from a market or fruit shop, as this is usually cheaper than the supermarket and often a lot fresher.
Start a side hustle
Are you good at writing? Try sending your articles or stories to online magazines or blogs that pay for submissions. There are also writing competitions with cash prizes.
Maybe you’re the creative, crafty type? You could look into starting a craft business online or through websites such as Etsy.
Do you love dogs? You could consider a dog walking or sitting.
Farmhand over holiday periods? There are currently shortages in farm jobs all across Victoria, could this be something you look into?
The possibilities are endless.
Worrying about your finances can be stressful and time consuming when you’re trying to focus on studying hard and getting through medical school. To assist with identifying your surplus and putting away savings moving forward you can use this monthly cash flow and budget worksheet.
There are many ways to save while still having a life and it’s important to remind yourself that the little sacrifices you make now will be worth it in the long run.
You may also find this article useful – 8 tips to help you smash University
* Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice as your personal circumstances have not been considered. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain personal advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.