Let’s get the obvious out the way: university life is expensive. In fact, it can be very expensive. Between expensive textbooks, grocery shopping, public transport tickets and everything else, it’s no wonder uni students are notorious for being broke. Whilst all of these costs may seem overwhelming, there are always some nifty things you can do to reduce spending.
We’ve put together a list of seven money-saving tips that’ll minimise your spending and generally help you be more wise with your cash flow.
1. Load Up on Freebies
Who doesn’t love a freebie? You may not realise that a lot of things come free with your university fees, including access to student clubs, health and wellness services, libraries and campus entertainment. Whatever it is, make sure you make the most of university freebies – this even includes scoring free sausages at the daily free BBQS on campus.
If you’re after entertainment on the cheap, there are sure to be a few free gigs near you, covering everything from live music to carnivals and festivals. Alternatively, many museums and art galleries across Australia are free to visit, so do your research thoroughly and keep your options open when planning day-off activities.
2. Look for Offers and Coupons
Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on the free stuff; student discounts are everywhere and they come in various forms. Brands and online stores such as Topshop/TopMan, ASOS, Missguided and The Iconic will give you a discount if you present your student ID at checkout or if you have a UNiDAYS account.
You can also get discount tickets at the movies or at the footy, and some coffee places around universities do discounts as well – so remember to always keep an eye out.
3. Take Advantage of Your Birthday
Unfortunately, unless you’re the Queen (who we presume doesn’t have to worry too much about food bills), you only have one birthday – but there’s no reason why you can’t make it a total food-fest, even if it’s just for a day.
If you didn’t know, then consider this tip a prezzie from us – many restaurants offer treats to birthday boys/girls. This can be anything from a drink on the house to a discount on selected dishes. Boost Juice has also been serving up free smoothies and juices to customers on their birthdays since the joint opened.
4. Ditch Driving
With petrol prices rising and set to continue to rise all around the world, running a car has never been more expensive. Not to mention parking tickets, tow charges, and insurance, all of which soon adds up; that’s why you should ditch it to avoid future financial strain.
Melbourne has a well-established public transport system run by Public Transport Victoria. Make use of trams, trains and buses, which all run city-wide, and if you’re staying somewhere central like University Square, you are never more than a short stroll from a public transport stop.
5. Never Pay Full Price for Anything… If You Can Help It
University textbooks are prohibitively pricey, so avoid paying full price at all costs! *Pardon the pun* Lucky for the thrifty student, StudentVIP, eBay and Gumtree are all online marketplaces that are real lifesavers when it comes to finding books for less. These websites will hook you up with second-hand books in great condition which are much less than the retail price.
6. Swap Your Clothes
Because why buy new clothes, when you can beg, borrow, and steal? Maybe not steal but definitely swap.
Here’s how a clothing swap works: everyone puts their items in a pile, and then you rummage through the pile and pick out the items you want to reclaim – it’s a real thing that thrifty people are doing at the moment. You can choose to host one yourself and invite your friends, roommates, and neighbours, or you can go to one in your community and deposit all your unwanted clothes in exchange for pre-loved items. The possibilities are endless.
On top of saving money, you’re also saving the environment by creating less waste – talk about a win-win situation.
7. Budget, Budget, Budget!
This one’s a no-brainer but it’s really easy to get into the habit of overspending in uni. When you consider dinners with friends, textbooks and buying a few too many on the weekend it can all start to add up.
To avoid getting in any financial difficulty, you should keep track of the money you earn and all spendings you make throughout the month. We know this may sound like a daunting task, especially if this is your first time living away from home and managing your own finances – but there are many student budget calculators available on university websites. To make the most of these budgeting tools, all you need to do is key in your incomes, including loan, grants and bursaries, wages from part-time work, savings, and money from your parents, as well as your outgoings such as rent, food, course materials, mobile phone bills, socialising, and other necessary expenses… and voila! It’ll tell you how much you have left for spending this month – now you have no excuse for not budgeting.
We Know It’s Hard
Keeping your uni spendings to a bare minimum might not be easy to begin with, but if you keep at it, we can guarantee that you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.