Studying full time and working part time? The life of a university student quicky conjures up visions of sleep-ins and movie marathons, but the truth is the student life can be hard. When you’re not studying for exams and working on assignments, you’re most likely working one or two part-time jobs in order to keep your car running and pay the rent on your share house. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, here are five tips for living on a student budget.
1 Watch your technology bill
These days, the costs of technology can be a serious monthly commitment for many young university students. Thousands of dollars a year can be easily spent on mobile phones, data plans, laptops and internet. Thankfully, there is also plenty of competition. Negotiate a better rate with your current mobile phone supplier or move to a cheaper one. If you need to upgrade any technology equipment, do your research and see if there’s a cheaper option, or a buy from a reputable second hand dealer.
2 Limit your eating out habits
It’s surprising how quickly your food and drink bill can spin out of control. One minute, you’re doing an economical weekly grocery shop, the next minute you’re paying thirty dollars for avocado on toast and a latte. While it’s good for your work life balance to spend time with friends and family, it will help the hip pocket if you limit your eating out habits where possible. During the week, try eating breakfast at home, making your own lunches and limiting your coffee spend.
3 Consider your transport options
Do you own a car? If so, a considerable amount of your budget will be spent on keeping your car up and running. From petrol to rego, cars are not cheap to run. So the first question is, do you really need a car? If you don’t consider using public transport instead. Even with the occasional Uber, it may be a more affordable option. Otherwise, consider carpooling when you can and get others to help chip in for petrol or parking.
4 Get rid of the credit card
It can be tempting on a student budget to turn to a high interest credit for help, but that’s not going to help in the long run. While it can be handy to make ends meet in between paychecks, it quickly adds up and can end up getting out of hand quite quickly. Instead of turning to your credit card, try setting up a savings account so you have somewhere else to turn when the going gets tough or unexpected expenses pop up.
5 Make the most of being a student
The flip side to being a poor university student is that you are a student – and with that can come big savings. Do your research and find out what retailers offer a student discount, from movie tickets to clothing, shoes and stationary. You’ll also be eligible for discounted public transport and tickets to most events. When you dig around and find out what discounts are available to you – you just might wish you could stay a university student forever!