A student’s budget is notoriously tight. The costs of studying combined with a limited or casual income mean every cent counts. Whether you are trying to stretch your dollar further, needing to balance the books, or hoping to set some cash aside, these seven tips can help you save money while studying.
1. Write It Down
To gain a clear idea of how much money you have and where it goes each week, keep track of your expenditure. This isn’t a profit and loss statement akin to an annual shareholder’s report here, just a thorough note of where your money goes, including all spending – yes, even impulse purchases.
There are apps available to help with this task, but a simple notebook will do the trick as well. This way, you get a real idea of what your essential weekly spending is and any money that can be saved.
Accommodation and utilities are the greatest financial outlay for any student, so they should be investigated and factored in at the outset.
There are some great affordable options when it comes to where you choose to live. For example, if you’re looking for student accommodation in Sydney, there are organisations such as Iglu that include rent, utilities and internet in one weekly package at purpose-built student apartment buildings.
A solid place to cut costs is your grocery bill. Seasonal produce, bulk buying and purchasing items when they are on special can save huge amounts each year. Whether you find a good local grocer or shop at the chain stores, seasonal fruit and veg are cheaper than packaged foods, so eat well and enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet.
It’s a myth that students need to live on two-minute noodles and takeaway. In fact, it’s more affordable to take that fresh fruit and veg and cook it up yourself.
Learn to whip up a few great meals like stir fry or pasta, then cook in bulk and freeze items for convenience. Buying bulk meats also cuts the cost, so buy up, cook up and enjoy later.
5. Pay Upfront
It’s easy to incur extra costs such as credit card fees and late payment charges, but this is an unnecessary hit to the budget. Try not to use a credit card and, if you do, ensure the debt is paid off monthly to avoid interest charges. Also make sure you anticipate your utilities bills and pay them on time.
From used text books to opp-shopping, there are some real savings to be made by buying pre-loved items. Those savings can extend to second-hand furniture and even the car you drive. Just ensure the car is mechanically sound so there are no nasty mechanical expenses down the track.
7. Student Deals
Transport providers, museums and even some restaurants and shops offer student rates so take advantage of them. Your student ID can save you huge amounts each year.
Studying may mean the budget is tight. But with a little tracking, planning and cleverness, you can still enjoy the lifestyle without breaking the bank.