How To Make Sure You Have Enough Money As A Student
It’s no secret that when it comes to student life, the struggle is all too real. Attending lectures at 8am is nobody’s idea of fun to begin with, but then chuck in the fact you’re living off canned tuna, two-minute noodles and instant coffee and you’ve got yourself a rough time.
Being broke and being a student seem to go hand-in-hand, but we reckon they don’t have to. There are some totally reasonable changes you can make to set yourself up for a financially secure semester, like these ways to make sure you have enough money as a student.
#1 Find yourself a steady income
Where does money come from? Having a job! The number one tip in setting yourself up for a financially stress-free year at uni is to find yourself some steady form of income. Look. Job hunting can be hard, disheartening and frustrating, we get it.
However, persistence is key. Send emails, kick it old school and hand out hard-copy resumes, frequent the university message boards or ask around your friend group to see if they know of anything going.
Or you could always create your own job. Utilise your knowledge and become a private tutor, walk dogs, mow lawns, whatever you reckon could make you a buck.
#2 Set yourself a solid budget
Budgeting is a skill that will not only serve you well while you’re at uni, but throughout life as well. Put simply, a budget is a truthful list of the cost of all the things you need that you pay for to keep yourself alive and happy.
Determining this list might mean venturing back through your transaction history or bank statements to see where all your cash goes (kill me now, right?).
But once you’ve got this list of all the stuff you actually need, you can start making changes to your spending habits and cut completely or at least minimise the amount you spend on stuff that’s not really important.
A hot budgeting tip is to split your income into different accounts: living expenses (for rent, food, bills etc.), play money (for beers, eating out, movies etc.), and savings. Sounds tedious, but it’ll make it so much easier to keep track of your spending.
You’ll more than likely have to open a new account, but if you choose to do so with a Westpac Choice account, they’ll sling you $50 for your troubles (read below for details). And let’s be real, you probably need that $50.
#3 Plan for routine expenses
If you’re a first year you mightn’t know this, but just because you chuck your uni fees on HECS doesn’t mean you won’t be hit with some upfront costs.
Whether you’re living on campus or in a share house, you’ll likely have to pay a bond, a few weeks’ rent in advance and whatever it costs to move your stuff to your new digs.
Student amenities fees, textbooks and course-specific equipment all add up, and can cost literally hundreds of dollars. It’s worth sussing out your university’s website to see the kind of stuff you’re required to obtain, and how much it’ll be to get an idea of what to plan for.
Basic living expenses exist too, and some require up-front payments. Whether you’re living on campus or in a share house, you’ll likely have to pay a bond, a few weeks’ rent in advance and whatever it costs to move your stuff to your new digs.
By planning these expenses in advance, you shouldn’t be left short.
#4 Make the most of student discounts
So you’re probably not making heaps of money, but one way to counteract this is to take advantage of as many student discounts as possible. Free services like the PokitPal app and UNiDAYS allow you to explore discounts from everything to beers and burgers to clothes and subscription services.
You can also apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) for free for the first year (saving you $30) through the Westpac Choice Account, which gives you many, many discounts around the world.
#5 Cut costs wherever possible
Living the student life can sometimes feel like a fight for survival. And if you’re going to survive, you’ve got to learn to be frugal and cut costs wherever possible.
One big cost that’s easy to cut down on is food. As tempting (and easy) as it is to buy your lunch at uni, it’s hell expensive.
Learning to meal prep is one of those skills that will stick with you and continue to save you money throughout life. If you need some help or inspiration, check out our helpful tips on meal prep.
Find out more about putting money away – and $50 free cash for students – with a Westpac Choice account. To be eligible for the $50, open an account before 29 March and deposit $250 into it within 45 days It can help you get through your student days without being constantly broke.