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Budgeting as a uni student

Budgeting as a uni student


This holiday season, money might be a little tight for uni students. You may be about to experience this for the very first time as you move out of home to start uni. Contributor, Emily Hubbard, shares her top tips on saving, spending and surviving on a uni budget!

Written by Emily Hubbard

As uni students, one thing we are always wondering about is how much money is in our account, and how much we can stand to spend.

Spending money is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you’re anything like me, at some point you’ve passed on doing something fun because you were worried about being able to afford your next bill.

So, here are some of the best tips and tricks I have for budgeting while still enjoying life.

Budgeting money bank

It all adds up

First things first, realise that every little bit of money adds up over time, so saving a little bit in a bunch of different areas is actually very helpful.

Just think, $5 a day means you can get dominoes at the end of the week as a reward for studying.

Choose the right bank account

This might seem simple but make sure you aren’t paying fees on your bank account if you don’t have to, and have an account with a high-interest earning rate.

For you, this could mean changing banks, but trust me those fees you’re paying add up, especially if you’re already low on cash.

Make sure your card account is fee-free.

If you have a savings account, make sure it’s earning as much interest as possible.

My savings account earns a small interest rate every month, but if I grow it (it can be as little as $1) every month, it earns a huge rate on top of the smaller rate, and in my opinion it works better than a term deposit, especially since I can access the money if I need it for any reason.

The bank literally pays me to save money!

I would also highly recommend having a separate account for your expenses. Set up every bill to come out of that account.

You can put all the money you’ll need for the years bills in it at the start and not have to worry about them, or you can take it out of your paycheck and separate it.

This prevents overspending and gives you a quicker way to find out what your spending money for the week is. If you put a little extra in sometimes as well, you’ll have money for irregular bills like the mechanics or the doctors.

Save your money

Save what you can

If you’re earning money (doesn’t matter where from) assess what you need of it and what is excess.

Out of the excess, pick an amount, it can be $5, $50 or a percentage, every time you get that income put that particular amount away into that interest-earning account.

The growth might be slow, but over a couple months it could be the money that helps you pay your car registration or your Christmas money so you can go home for the holidays without hurting your spending and expenses money.

Shop cheaper groceries

Find the cheapest grocery store in your area and do your groceries there. For most people, that’s probably an Aldi store.

Trust me, $70 at Aldi is worth almost $200 at Woolworths or Coles. Get what you can at the cheapest store, then make sure to use any sort of rewards card when you go to the other one.

The build-up might be slow with your rewards, but eventually, the $20 of things you can’t get at Aldi will be paid by your rewards card.

Also, don’t always shop name brands. Sure, some things just shouldn’t be messed with, but for many foods, the copycat brand, which is half the price, tastes just as good if not better.

Eat at home

If you don’t already know how, learn to cook.

Eating out is ridiculously expensive, and you’ll rarely get a well-balanced diet from it, so cook at home as much as you can and meal prep where you can (tends to prevent food wastage which is also money wasted).

I know it can be boring to eat the same thing all the time but making a big batch of something and eating that for dinner for the week is significantly cheaper than eating six or seven different meals.

If you get sick of the same thing, make two and rotate through and what’s left over, freeze for another day when you’re too busy or tired to cook.

Find a food content creator on your app of choice and start saving their meal ideas and recipes so you aren’t eating the same three meals that are all you know how to make.

Return and earn

Yeah, yeah it’s only 10c a bottle, but if you just have a separate bin for bottles and cans and let it build up, eventually you’ll make a little cash.

Have friends or family save their cans for you too if you can. Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone since it’s not nationwide yet but if you can take advantage of the return and earn, do it.

Last year, I had the 7 others I lived with putting their cans in my bin, and would cash it in once a month for anywhere from $20-$100 and it only took 15 minutes to do before I went to the grocery store.

Walk or carpool

For those who own a car, you know that fuel is a big bank buster. You should definitely assess how badly you need to drive to places, and if it might be worth walking.

Walking saves on fuel and means you get to spend more time outside, plus it counts as exercise!

If you’re going somewhere with friends, suggest carpooling. Obviously, you might have to drive sometimes but if you share the driving around, you’ll ultimately save on fuel.

Plus; music up, windows down with your friends? Always a vibe.

Share bills

If you’re paying your own subscriptions, find out what friends are also doing so and suggest sharing.

Split your streaming services up amongst friends, and everyone pays a little bit. $5/month instead of $19.99 is going to be easier on everyone.

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