Part of life for uni students is learning to live on a budget. But given that the costs of textbooks and tuition continue to skyrocket, not to mention the fact that most students won’t be able to work full time, it can often be difficult to save money.
But don’t despair just yet. To help with your budget we have come up with seven practical ways to become a money savvy student by spending less, all without having the fear of missing out.
Generating a budget that sticks is a great way to see how much money you’re spending and what you’re spending it on, and it’s the first place you should start. Mapping out your weekly, monthly or yearly expenses ahead of time can help you avoid accidentally overspending more than you should. Budgeting effectively will also help you down the track, hopefully giving you the ability to put aside an emergency fund which can help you prepare unexpected expenses such as a medical bills and car problems.
Eating out for lunch is a fast way to burn money, and even if it’s cheap it’s also likely to be unhealthy food. While this may be an easy and convenient option, choosing meals to cook that can be easily frozen into multiple servings can be a real cash saver in the long run. For instance, if you buy a salad everyday for lunch, you can save at least $10 a day by purchasing the ingredients in bulk and making it yourself. So while you’re here, check out our five lunch ideas that you can bring into uni to help save you money during 2019.
Many students still need to buy textbooks for their courses, which can end up costing hundreds of dollars for just one semester. If you can’t find an online version of the textbook through your uni library, turn to second hand sources to save your bank balance. By going to sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, StudentVIP and Sell My Text Book you could save up to half price, and they’re barely used. Then you can resell them on the same site for the price you paid!
Make your student card your best friend by saving money through discounts on everything from retail and travel to food and software. If you know where to look, there are discounts on brands such as ASOS and The Iconic, travel rebates on Opal cards and reductions on products like Microsoft Word - a uni necessity. If you’re looking for specifics, start by searching for the product and adding ‘students’ at the end to see if they offer a student discount. It is also worth signing up to student discount sites such as Unidays, which collects student discount offers from a range of websites. After all, if you’re going to splurge on items, you might as well use your student card to your advantage.
By doing regular checks on your current subscriptions, you can work out which ones need to be cut out and if there are any cheaper alternatives. For example, instead of paying for a gym membership that you don’t use, why not join a sports team or do free Youtube workout in the park? The same goes for your mobile plan. If you are on a contract, instead of renewing why not switch to a prepaid option where you pay for the suitable usage amount for you.
If your packed schedule has room for a part time or casual job, take it. Retail and hospitality jobs are usually very lenient towards student schedules - it’s just a matter of working out what you’re good at. There are also many non-traditional ways to earn extra cash if you don’t have time for a part time job, such as tutoring school kids, babysitting and even contract work with a platform like Airtasker which outsources different tasks for money.
Before going straight to retail, why not check out what your local second hand shops have to offer? This can be for anything from clothes and books to furniture. Facebook ‘buy, swap and sell’ sites, as well as Gumtree and garage sales often have great bargains that have room for negotiating on price. This is an environmentally friendly way to maintain your bank account, and you’ll score items with life still left in them!
Is your bank account working for you and your budget? Ideally, you want an account that is free from monthly account keeping and ATM fees, as well as one that earns a good amount of interest. Make sure shop around and compare with Mozo’s bank account comparison tool or look at our list of bank accounts that are tailored towards university students.
With some self restraint and some planning, uni students can learn to keep a budget without skipping on life’s essentials. Check out Mozo’s life & money section for more student articles and budgeting tips.