Living on a student budget in Australia can be tricky. Other than covering your tuition and accommodation costs, you also need to fend for other basic costs such as food, accommodation or even going on a sightseeing trip. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can save money while making the most as a student in the country. If you are looking to study in Australia but worried about how to maintain a healthy bank balance during the stay, here are some tips to budgeting:
Create a realistic budget
It is crucial that you create a budget and identify a savings plan before you even begin your studies. This will ensure that you are well prepared for the full costs of studying in Australia. Start by listing any income, current and future living expenses and any other outstanding financial commitments you may have, such as a personal loan, a student payment plan or servicing a credit card. Listing your income and expenses will give you a clear picture of how much you need to run by each month comfortably.
When creating the budget, make sure to set aside a 5 to 10% contingency of your total savings in a separate account in the preparation of a rainy day or any other unplanned costs that may crop up. It will also help make you more motivated towards sticking to your budget.
Use your Australian student ID
When studying in Australia, make sure to get a valid Australian Student ID is with you at all times. There are many discounts offered specifically to university students, which makes the card quite handy. Start by doing research on what discounts you are entitled to. Also, don't hesitate to inquire whether there are student rates for entertainment, travel, food, accommodation or textbooks.
For instance, most tourist sites and attractions offer reduced student rates, making it easier to sightsee without having to pay an exorbitant fee. Learn how to make the most of these student offers and any other special discounts for both your daily and tertiary expenses.
Take advantage of second-hand options
While living on a student budget, it does not make sense to spend hundreds of dollars each semester on new textbooks. Instead, consider investing in second-hand textbooks. Most Australian universities have student services or student unions that offer second-hand bookshops or even cheaper, book exchange programs. You can also find these books on various online stores or invest in e-textbooks.
You can also save some money from wearing second-hand clothes. There are many thrift stores in Australia where you can buy clothes for a fraction of their original price, allowing you to stretch your student budget even further. Although you may not be able to find the same range of styles you would at a clothing store, you will be amazed at what you will find.
Look for ways to make extra money without interfering with your studies.
Unlike most countries that offer a minimum wage, Australia pays out a living wage, which is quite accommodating for students looking to make a little extra cash to help them during difficult financial periods. If you are studying on a student visa, you are allowed to work fortnightly for up to 40 hours.
You can get a job as a server or a barista to make some extra money. Some universities also hire students for various temporary events where you get paid on an hourly basis, providing you with an easy way to make some extra money.
The tips provided above will help you minimize your expenses so that you are able to live within your income. Even if you are currently living within your means, streamlining your finances will help you save quickly, allowing you to afford those trips you’ve always wanted or even invest some money.
Devising a budgeting strategy is a crucial skill for you to practice when studying in Australia. Knowing how to minimize expenses and how to live on a student budget will also provide you with skills that are also useful later in life. So take your time to budget as it will be well worth it in the long run.