Russell Ward Finance Writer
If you’re a student studying at an Australian university, you’ll have limited income and probably quite a few expenses combined with important outgoings, such as rent, groceries, books, uni social life and transport. There is no doubt, managing your finances can be a challenging task that can leave you counting the pennies. Here’s few tips on how to be a uni student and save at the same time.
1. Budgeting and banking
Setting a budget early on is key to keeping track of your spending week by week, month by month. By making a list of your expenses versus income and savings, you can ensure that your bills are paid and you’ll have picture of what’s left to spend and/or save. This might help you cut back on spending to allow a little more room for savings so that come time for your next European or South American adventure, you won’t be starting from scratch.
When it comes to student banking, shop around for low fee or fee free transaction accounts and the high interest savings accounts, and try to use ATMs that your bank won’t charge you fees to use.
2. Cutting your mobile phone costs
Yes, you need a mobile phone but you don’t need to pay an exorbitant bill every month. Take a look at your phone plan, consider your call requirements and the amount of data you will use each month. Be realistic, ask yourself what you absolutely need as part of your plan and what’s just nice to have. Look at options like getting a BYO phone plan where you aren’t paying for a new phone, or cheaper ways to reach family and friends – like using skype or WhatsApp over Wi-Fi.
When it comes to paying your bill, set up direct debits to pay your monthly bill so you don’t miss a payment and find yourself facing additional fees.
3. Eat at home more often
The fastest way to save on your food bill is to stay at home! Take time to plan your meals, do a weekly shop, have a big cook-up for the week ahead, freeze some of the food, and off you go. The added benefit of eating at home is that often you end up with leftovers that you can take to university the next day so you don’t need to spend money on lunch. While a small cost, money you spend on coffee can really add up. Consider making your coffee or tea at home and bringing it in with you in a travel cup.
4. Shop smart
A rookie mistake is getting your groceries when you’re hungry (or hungover!)– you’ll always end up buying more than you need. Instead, plan your shopping trip based on the latest advertised sales and look for extra savings when there. This kind of ‘smarter shopping’ pays off over time, as it means you can often buy in bulk and save up the food for later. Another ‘pro’ shopping trick is to think about where you shop – some supermarkets and chemists are cheaper than others, such as Aldi and Chemist Warehouse.
5. When socialising, think quality not quantity
When you go out, focus on the events that matter, rather than going out more often for the sake of it. Look for weekly specials and consider heading to restaurants and bars when they have specials on, rather than at weekends. If you find your cash disappearing fast try inviting people over to your place to cook together or look into free things to do, such as outdoor activities or festivals.
About the author
Russell Ward is a professional business writer who has been published in The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, CEO Magazine, Global Living, Mamamia and Thought Catalog.
Please note that this article is not financial product advice and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.