How to save money as a uni student

Glass jars filled with coins

Being a uni student doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your social life and hello to instant noodle dinners for the rest of your life.

When it comes down to it, the way you spend your money is just as important as how much you have. And while it’s very tempting to blow your last pay check on tickets to Splendour is that really going to make your bank account feel good?

While most students work while they study, if you are an international student, it is super important to keep your visa requirements in mind, fortunately your student visa includes Permission to Work (it most likely does – but still check just in case).

With a few savvy saving tips and tricks, you can make the most of what you’ve got and live large on a small budget. Here’s how:

1. Shop smart

You’d be amazed at all the student discounts available if you just did a little digging. Look online and save coin on everything from food, entertainment, clothing, laptops and mobiles with Student EdgeUni DaysMicrosoft, and Apple.

Grab a copy of your local supermarket specials and suss out what’s discounted for the week. Most supermarkets will discount fresh food in the early evening before they expire, so this would be an ideal time to do your weekly food shop.

Setting a budget can also help minimise unnecessary spending. Start by working out how much money you have coming in, versus how much money you need to spend. If maths and numbers aren’t your forte, there are plenty of budget templates available for you to input all your spendings and earnings and sort it all out for you. You can also compare bank accounts available specifically for students and get saving.

2. Compare prices 

For bargains IRL, check out what’s available on campus.

There’s The Zone Fitness Centre which you can explore on campus or online for a student-rate gym membership, and just by joining the Murdoch Guild, you are also eligible for a range of student discounts.

If you live close by to campus, why not try walking, running, or riding your way to uni? If that’s not an option, take advantage of public transport. As a uni student, you may be eligible for the Tertiary SmartRider offered by Transperth. 

3. Preparation is key

Don’t pay for what you don’t need. This can be avoided by not going food shopping on an empty stomach (red snakes and a Twirl are not viable dinner options) and making a list of what you need before you head out.

Keeping on top of your bills will also help to ease the pressure of managing your finances. If you can, set up automatic transfers for regular bills so you don’t have to remember to pay them individually each time they’re due.

And not enough can be said for meal prepping. Pick one day a week to dedicate time to cook up a storm and prepare most of your week’s meals. Store them in the freezer and take them out only when you need (and save the rest for later!).

4. Second-hand doesn’t mean second best 

Pick up textbooks and other uni materials at the Murdoch Bookshop or borrow them from the library. The Murdoch Guild also offers a book subsidy scheme for eligible students, as well as a second-hand bookshop. Besides what’s available on campus, there are myriad of second-hand bookstores online or around town for all your uni resource needs.

Speaking of second-hand, why not channel your inner Marie Kondo and rid yourself of things you don’t want/need anymore? By the same token, make the most of what you’ve got and put your talents to work. You could earn money tutoring students, teaching someone how to play a musical instrument, or doing someone’s taxes.

No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways you can save money without breaking the bank.

Now you’ve got your finances now sorted, you can spend more time focusing on your studies. Read 5 top tips for getting back into the swing of study.  
Learn more about working in Perth as an international student.

Posted on:

2 Aug 2021

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