‘I’m a uni student. I can’t afford much!’Our parents warned us all when we were younger to ‘enjoy being a kid’. It never made much sense to me… until I had to adult. They weren’t wrong! As a high-school student, your savings likely went towards paying for a favourite dress or pair of shoes. Now you need to pay for adult stuff. Rent, food, groceries, fuel, clothes, phone, electricity … need I go on? That’s why it’s important to start thinking about how to budget as a uni student and learn how to keep an eye on your finances.
Keep track of your spendingSometimes it can feel like we never have enough money in our bank account and yet are surprised to still see the bill on the fridge that hasn’t been paid. Then comes the question: ‘Where has all my money gone?’ By keeping track of what you spend your money on, it will be easier to devise a budget to find out what you need to cut back on, or what you could do without, to make paying for the essentials easier.
Although uni life doesn’t have the best relationship with the old bank account, especially once you’ve moved out of home, it doesn’t always have to be full of sacrifices. All you need is a good budgeting plan.
A good place to start would be using this free budget planner. Not only does it help you list all the things you need to budget for, it also assists you in working out just how much to save to afford the things you would like. Start forming good habits now!
Rent with friends or live on-collegeIf you’re someone who must relocate for uni, try not to do it alone. The cost of living on-college includes food and utilities. Renting with a friend or two also means these costs are divided between a few of you rather than having to foot the entire bill yourself. Be sure to also check out UniSQ’s share accommodation options.
Weigh up your transport optionsTake note of how much money you're spending on fuel and compare this with what it would cost to use public transport. If you know of someone heading to uni around the same time as you, see if you can take turns at carpooling. Even better, if you choose to live on UniSQ Residential Colleges, uni is only a few steps away!
Find a bank with reasonable feesDifferent banks have student rates for accounts, charges and transactions. Take some time to look around to find the best deal for you.
Always look out for student discounts
Did someone say student discounts? That great photo taken of you at Orientation will come in handy when you can present your student ID at shops and receive discounts. Keep an eye out for this offering wherever you go!
Visit local op shopsWhy pay full price? On many occasions, there are items at op shops that are of high quality and at a bargain price. Thrift, swap and scavenge to your heart’s content all at a budget-friendly cost.
Don’t let the laziness winSometimes we get so caught up in uni we become lazy when it becomes to preparing food. Let’s face it: heading somewhere and buying food is way easier, right? Save money by using up the food in your house first before giving in to cravings or impulse food buys. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll save by making small changes in a few non-essential areas such as entertainment, food and takeaway, and those daily purchased coffees.
Jobs for uni studentsDid you know that UniSQ has an online employment service, providing students with 24-hour access to job opportunities? We also offer a variety of useful resources to help you get your desired job. Your next job opportunity awaits with our Career development services.
Explore financial support and scholarshipsTalk to someone if you need help with how to save money in university and make every dollar count! Book in to speak to a Student Wellness Advisor if you require financial support or would like to discuss your financial situation. Not only will they provide budget advice, but they can also assist with Centrelink concerns, study assistance, obtaining scholarships, student loans, applying for good jobs for uni students and advice on accommodation options.
Getting back on track
Did you have one of those weeks where you’ve blown your budget? It happens to the best of us. Take some time to scrutinise the reasons for overspending. An important part to budgeting is to review your spending and revise to shift with your lifestyle and personal goals. Pinpointing the problem will help form a better plan going forward and result in creating the right budget just for you!
Happy budgeting all!