Life

How to save money as a uni student

This is a sponsored post for Campus Book Rentals

It’s been 5 years and 3 months since I finished university. And about 2 years since I have been contemplating going back for further studies. Unfortunately, going back to study for yet another Masters/Doctorate has been put on the backburner thanks to a mortgage on my head. Having said that, my uni days in Australia still remain as fresh as ever in my mind.

My life as a full-time uni student in Australia involved juggling studying, placements, assignments and working all while living away from home. However, given that I was an international student, it meant I could only work 20 hours a week. And while I was fortunate to have a convenient job at the uni library that paid reasonably well, it still meant I had to watch my money like a hawk. Plus I wasn’t one to want to depend on my parents for my living expenses after the initial few months.

Image Source; Here

Image Source; Here

 

 

Through those 3 years of uni, I learnt some valuable lessons in saving money:

Food from a can is actually quite good: Yep, baked beans on toast, canned tuna {especially when on special for a dollar}, soup…they are convenient, quick and cheap. Plus if you try and buy them when they are on special or in bulk, well, the more you save. And of course, if you aren’t too fussed about the brand, all the better!

Unbranded: As a poor student in Australia, I learnt the benefit of buying the store’s home brands. For my non-Australian readers, our major supermarkets here have their own ‘brands’ which basically comes in crap packaging but doesn’t taste too different from branded stuff. I learnt that I could buy bread and milk for almost half the price if I went this route instead of the branded route.

Once-a-year haricuts: I used to have short hair when I first arrived in Australia. I was used to it and would cut my hair every few months. However, after learning that the cheapest haircut was $18, I decided to just grow out my hair. Resulting in what I referred to as a once-a -year hair cut. Usually around the time of my birthday! The bonus is that I now love my long hair! 🙂

Walk, walk and more walks: As a student, I didn’t have a car. {Or a license for that matter!} But I did manage to save a whole heap on car-maintenance and petrol. Something I wish I could have now except that it would mean up to 2 hours each way for work.

Second-hand is your saviour: I thrived on second-hand material through uni thanks to some students who were rich enough {read: have their parents pay while they didn’t have to work} to get rid of things they didn’t want. I actually got a printer, several kitchen utensils, condiments, notepads and stationary for free. You may call me a miser but these things were going in the bin anyway. I just made good use of them! Especially that printer!

Instant coffee: Yeah I know. Not the best. But definitely a money-saver. Especially if like me, you need to have 5 cups a day to get through uni. A skim cappuccino would be my treat on a weekend!

Op-shops and sales: A uni student’s best friend when it comes to buying clothes — op-shops and sales. Almost all my clothes were bought during sales {a trend I try to continue way past my student days!} or second-hand. What’s not to love? Why buy something for full-price when if you can wait long enough, you can get it for a lot less? I still remember buying my very first dress for $10. Down from $80. And it was a sexy little number too! 🙂

Cask wine: OK…so this is something I learnt from  my a flatmate back in my uni days. He would get cask wine for $4 which had about 4 litres of atrocious wine as compared to spending $10 on a decent bottle of Merlot. I guess though, when you are a poor uni student and need want alcohol, you can’t really be picky about whether it’s a Chardonnay or a Merlot or a Sauvignon Blanc!

Photocopy: Once again, a tip from my flatmate. He was doing a course where he figured he didn’t need all the text books for future use. So why bother spending hundreds of dollars buying them? Instead, he would photocopy the important chapters from mates. Unfortunately for me, being a psych student, it wasn’t an option. {Although I would gladly have photocopied sections of my neuropsychology text!!}. It would have been great if we had had options to rent books or even make money by renting out our books later! Let’s face it, text books are probably one of the most expensive things we spend money on as a student not needing to buy them all the time would save heaps of money!

Rent-assistance: Australia is great in that it offers students youth allowance to cover some of their living expenses. Not the case if you are an international student. However, in my case, one way I saved money for a year living on campus was by successfully applying to become a Resident Assistant. The perk for being an RA and having to organise a few social events, be available to let people into their rooms if they were locked out and well, just be there for the residents was that I didn’t have to pay rent for the year of my stint! Big bonus! I saved heaps of money through that as I was also working at the library and the RA position didn’t count as a job as you didn’t get paid!

So there you go. Just some of my tips to save money as a uni student. I was pretty damn good at saving money and managing to have a bit of a life while still being a miser. I think I’ve forgotten that in the past few months and need to re-visit my roots!

Have you got any tips on saving money as a uni/college student?

Do share! 

***Do check out Campus Book Rentals if you are a uni student looking to save money on books. They have also partnered with Operation Smile (an organisation that provides cleft lip surgeries for children in need) and are donating over 1000 cleft lip surgeries. Also, because it’s a Tuesday, I’m linking up with Jess and other bloggers over at Essentially Jess for IBOT!***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • Reply
    Robomum
    April 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

    All great tips. I always say that I’d give anything for my full time uni days, once again.
    Maybe this time around you can get a cheap version of the Nespresso machine and at least have decent coffee.
    Robomum recently posted…Why would you change your religion?My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Welcome here Robomum! I’m so with you in that I’d love to go back to studying…except not being poor. Oh and no way could I go back to instant coffee…while I don’t have a Nespresso machine, I still have decent enough plunger/filer coffee…

  • Reply
    Robomum
    April 23, 2013 at 8:38 am

    All great tips. I always say that I’d give anything for my full time uni days, once again.
    Maybe this time around you can get a cheap version of the Nespresso machine and at least have decent coffee.
    Robomum recently posted…Why would you change your religion?My Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Welcome here Robomum! I’m so with you in that I’d love to go back to studying…except not being poor. Oh and no way could I go back to instant coffee…while I don’t have a Nespresso machine, I still have decent enough plunger/filer coffee…

  • Reply
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset
    April 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    those are great tips. man, i do not miss being a poor uni student! or even just a uni student, period. but we all go through it and live and learn, it’s all part of the experience, right? -aroha (#teamIBOT)
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset recently posted…Call To Arms : Teaching SportsmanshipMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      I do miss being a uni student some days Aroha…but definitely not a poor one! 😛 It’s a fun experience though and as you said, you do live and learn. I grew a lot during those years!

  • Reply
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset
    April 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    those are great tips. man, i do not miss being a poor uni student! or even just a uni student, period. but we all go through it and live and learn, it’s all part of the experience, right? -aroha (#teamIBOT)
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset recently posted…Call To Arms : Teaching SportsmanshipMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      I do miss being a uni student some days Aroha…but definitely not a poor one! 😛 It’s a fun experience though and as you said, you do live and learn. I grew a lot during those years!

  • Reply
    Fiona
    April 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I still sweaar by the 6 monthly haircut
    Fiona recently posted…My Dark PlaceMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Oh yeah…me too!! Once in January around my birthday and once in July! 😛

  • Reply
    Fiona
    April 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I still sweaar by the 6 monthly haircut
    Fiona recently posted…My Dark PlaceMy Profile

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      April 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Oh yeah…me too!! Once in January around my birthday and once in July! 😛

  • Reply
    EssentiallyJess
    April 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Awesome tips there.
    A friend of my mums told her years ago, that she never bought anything for full price, and I have adopted that thought myself. I am not the biggest bargain hunter ever 🙂
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…With Great Wisdom Comes Great RandomnousMy Profile

  • Reply
    EssentiallyJess
    April 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Awesome tips there.
    A friend of my mums told her years ago, that she never bought anything for full price, and I have adopted that thought myself. I am not the biggest bargain hunter ever 🙂
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…With Great Wisdom Comes Great RandomnousMy Profile

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

    What fabulous tips – can I pay you to teach them to my son? He’s proven to be a slow learner – lol!
    Christina recently posted…Gorilla Swing Sets – When You Know It’s Gotta Be Tough!My Profile

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

    What fabulous tips – can I pay you to teach them to my son? He’s proven to be a slow learner – lol!
    Christina recently posted…Gorilla Swing Sets – When You Know It’s Gotta Be Tough!My Profile

  • Reply
    Naomi
    May 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Great tips! I think these could all help me out a lot in terms of money but I don’t know how I’d go about changing my lifestyle that much – a haircut only once a year and my hair would be a mess! Love your blog though, the drop down menu’s have made it easy to navigate and I love how I can follow you on different forms of social media. I like the statistics down the bottom, very interesting to see how many people are also online as well as where they are from. I love the instagram photos of your cat – what a cutie :~) Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Naomi
    May 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Great tips! I think these could all help me out a lot in terms of money but I don’t know how I’d go about changing my lifestyle that much – a haircut only once a year and my hair would be a mess! Love your blog though, the drop down menu’s have made it easy to navigate and I love how I can follow you on different forms of social media. I like the statistics down the bottom, very interesting to see how many people are also online as well as where they are from. I love the instagram photos of your cat – what a cutie :~) Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Sammy
    July 8, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Solid tips! once a student, always a student (What is 5 years anyway?) We’ve put together a little blog post of 10 basic tips, and was wondering if we could share it here? It’s totally relevant, we swear :Phttp://studentfever.com/10-money-saving-tips-for-students/ Keep up the blogging, Sammy

  • Reply
    Sammy
    July 8, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Solid tips! once a student, always a student (What is 5 years anyway?) We’ve put together a little blog post of 10 basic tips, and was wondering if we could share it here? It’s totally relevant, we swear :Phttp://studentfever.com/10-money-saving-tips-for-students/ Keep up the blogging, Sammy

  • Reply
    K
    September 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I will study in australia next year..how much do think i need every month?For all expenses including accomodation..

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      September 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Hi K…it would depend on a number of factors including where in Australia and what type of accommodation you are looking for. Rents in Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities are obviously higher than regional areas. In Sydney the average rent for a 2 bedroom unit is anywhere between 300-400 a week. If you share though, you will cut costs. When I came back in 2005, it was estimated to be about $1000 a month for living expenses but I’d say now you could easily estimate it to be $2000 a month. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    K
    September 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I will study in australia next year..how much do think i need every month?For all expenses including accomodation..

    • Reply
      Psych Babbler
      September 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Hi K…it would depend on a number of factors including where in Australia and what type of accommodation you are looking for. Rents in Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities are obviously higher than regional areas. In Sydney the average rent for a 2 bedroom unit is anywhere between 300-400 a week. If you share though, you will cut costs. When I came back in 2005, it was estimated to be about $1000 a month for living expenses but I’d say now you could easily estimate it to be $2000 a month. Hope that helps!

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