When you look back at your student days, you’ll remember parties, late-night cram sessions, and of course, money being perpetually shy. Having tutorials and lectures on at odd hours make holding down a part-time job difficult, especially when hundreds of other students are in the same boat.
Even so, you can manage your student finances better in 2021 with just a few simple tips.
Set a budget
It seems a bit tedious but setting a budget each week can help minimise stress and help save money when the unexpected strikes. It makes managing your money much easier instead of that dreaded “I hope there’s enough in my account” feeling when you tap and go. We don’t have to spend hours each month drawing up spreadsheets any more – we can use our own bank’s NetBank app, or external apps such as PocketBook, MoneyBrilliant or I Need A Budget. You can even set up regular savings with apps such as WeMoney (which also tracks your credit score) or Raiz (which is a micro investment platform.) It’s not just a valuable skill as a student, but all throughout life.
Buy in bulk
Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t shop when you’re hungry. Together with a few friends you can cut costs by buying items in bulk and splitting them several ways. Splitting a Costco membership and buying everything from toilet paper, coffee, meat, and vegetables in massive quantities also means massive savings. Making meals ahead of time reduce your reliance on spending on meals at the Student Union or expensive shops nearby. It makes it even easier when you’re living in a share house, which of course, is the first way students save money!
Flash that student card – everywhere
Your student card is a pass to discounts from almost everywhere – you’ll never know unless you ask. However, the most common student discounts are available from service-based shops such as movie theatres, hairdressers, and even travel agents. You can make your dollar go further by buying products designed for students. For example, Microsoft offers their 365 suite (formerly Office 365) at a discounted rate for students. The same goes for other types of software, books, and consumables. For even more offers, you may want to hit up UNiDAYS, which gives students coupons and codes to websites and other online retailers.
Invest in a car
We all know that public transport is unreliable and taking Ubers everywhere is expensive. But you can make money with a car now thanks to ride-sharing and delivery apps such as Uber, Didi, Uber Eats, and more. Taking out a personal loan to invest in a car that can also get you to study or work will save you time and give you more employment opportunities. It may sound counter-intuitive when you’re trying to scrimp and save as much as you can, but even a modest personal loan can be a springboard to earning more as a student.
Kill off your subscriptions and flip textbooks
Before you left for uni you may have had subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Stan, EA Play, Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and a whole lot of other subscriptions slowly siphoning money out of your account each month. Now is the time to cut those cords and look for cheaper alternatives. Likewise with your internet and telco plans – student-centric plans are available to help you make the most of your finances. If you’re on campus most of the day, use your campus wi-fi instead of relying on 4G data. This means buying a lower tier data cap and pocketing the difference.
Your expensive gym membership could be supplanted by one at your uni, which is discounted. Also, you should be feeling less attached to your textbooks – selling them at the end of your semester to fund new textbooks should always be a priority.
Managing your finances doesn’t have to be hard – just a few simple tweaks and you’re well on your way to avoiding bill shock and the dreaded “swipe and pray” at the EFTPOS terminal!