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Budgeting and money tips for students

Budgeting and money tips for students

Written by Billie Tipping

It can be really overwhelming as a first-year uni student and managing money, especially if you do not have a job. It can also be overwhelming trying to find a job if you have just moved towns and moved on campus. 

You have to start thinking about living expenses, going grocery shopping, paying uni fees and trying to save all at the same time whilst also trying not to miss out on social events. When it comes to studying and working, it is important to find what works for you and it is also a game of trial and error.

Finding casual work

The beautiful thing about Charles Sturt campuses are that they are in great sized cities and towns that offer fantastic working opportunities for university students and opportunities that can provide the perfect flexibility to cater for students. There are so many positive ways to find suitable casual and part time roles whilst studying, particularly at the moment, whilst there are so many job vacancies on offer. It can be really daunting finding work in a new town and getting familiar with what sort of work you are looking for. When I was ready to find work, these are a few of the things I did:

  • Checked out job search apps such as Seek and Indeed to see what was available
  • Found any available roles at the uni – cafes, call centre, student central and applied
  • Went for daily walks down the street to see what stores and businesses were advertising
  • Checkout out local businesses social media pages
  • Printed out numerous resumes and took them around to businesses and stores
  • Went to lots of interviews to gain confidence and experience

I was lucky enough to secure a retail job locally through the old-fashioned method of taking my resume into the store and speaking with the manager. I ended up staying at that job for 3 years and it was the best experience…. I thoroughly enjoyed that role because it literally fell into my hands. I can also say that the interview experience I gained, confidence building, and being able to do internships through Charles Sturt allowed me to get a full-time position when I finished my bachelor degree in 2020.

Tips and tricks on studying with a job

It is always important to make sure your workplace is accepting of your uni needs and to make sure you have open communication with your manager. Talk about your needs and what sort of shifts suit you so you can ensure you have a good balance between work, uni and social life. It is easy to get into the habit of putting work first when you are earning money and trying to save, however it is important to make sure you have an equal balance and are getting a good amount of study done. If you feel like you are behind with uni, be honest and let your manager know that you maybe can’t work one shift or try to swap a day. Always be accommodating but honest.

There are also so many other ways to make money whilst studying, especially in 2022 and thanks to the rise in social media use. I know when I was living on campus I was finding new ways to make a few extra dollars a day. I was always doing online surveys – for a 30-minute survey you can earn around $6 dollars and can cash this money out. Other things I took advantage of was selling some of my unwanted clothes, constantly doing return and earn for plastic and glass bottles, and utilising social media such as Instagram and Tik Tok. When you are working as well, always make sure you keep your receipts as you never know what you can claim at tax time.

Other things to consider

When working a casual or part time job, it is important to factor in other university expenses such as textbooks each session and the student amenities fees. If you previously had a HECS-HELP loan for your studies and are beginning a post graduate course, it is extremely important to check that you have noted on your enrolment how you would be paying for this course. This was something that tricked me when I started studying my masters in 2021. I did not realise that I had to state that I was continuing on with my HECS-HELP loan and almost had to pay my course fees upfront.

As stigmatised as it is, Centrelink is actually a really good option for many students. These payments were extremely helpful to get me through my first year of university and whilst I was living on campus. I was able to hold off on getting a job until my second year because of these payments which allowed me to get comfortable with uni life and studying. When it comes to Centrelink, it is so important to not just apply for support online but to actually go into the branch and speak to someone and provide as much information as you can. It was not until I actually spoke to a representative, that I was told I would be able to be supported by rental assistance while living on campus. It doesn’t hurt to ask!!

Another great thing to get into the habit of is applying for Charles Sturt scholarships each session. There are so many valuable scholarships on offer by the uni and many of them go unawarded. It doesn’t hurt to apply for these and there are all different categories and value of scholarships available.   

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