Here are 8 money tips to help make life as a university student both more affordable and enjoyable:
1. Apply for a HELP loan The Federal Government offers a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) to help students with the cost of university fees. Whether you get a HELP loan depends on your circumstances and where you want to study.
Tip: Discover if you’re eligible for a HELP loan.
2. Manage your cash, day-to-day Set yourself a budget. A big part of your uni experience might be the social side, but it will eat into your savings. Some careful planning can help you make your money go further.
Tip: Try our budget planner to find out how much money you’ll need.
3. Remember why you’re there Constantly skipping classes can come at a cost. Many unis make you retake an entire subject if you don’t turn up for an exam, if your attendance is consistently low, or if you fail the subject altogether. And that means paying to study the same subject again.
Tip: Remember why you’re there – read the course outline so you know what’s required of you.
4. Jobs and internships Getting a job can be the cash lifeline you need throughout the year, as well as being a great way to meet new people. If you’re lucky enough to secure an internship during the break too, you could find yourself better-placed to join that company on a graduate training program once you’ve graduated.
5. Adulting - rent, bills and credit card payments It’s probably the first time you’ve had to manage basic living ‘stuff’ like paying rent and bills. Getting stung by late payment fees or facing the threat of eviction because you’ve forgotten to pay your rent (again) can all be avoided.
6. Student discounts As a full-time student, you may be eligible for student travel concessions. Sometimes you can simply use your student ID to travel, other times you may need to show your student transport concession card. Keep an eye out for other discounts and student deals on things like cinema tickets, too.
Tip: Each State or Territory has its own conditions, so it’s best to check whether you need to apply for a student transport concession card or if you can simply use your student ID card.
7. Know what’s coming up Most unis have an online portal where you manage your personal details. Check your fees and cut-off times in the online portal to make sure you’re across all of your expenses and can budget for things that are coming up.
Tip: Consider adding your bank account info into your secure online portal as a time-saving way to pay fees.
8. Second-hand bargains Buying brand new textbooks can be expensive. Why not try the e-book versions? If you prefer the old-school way, keep an eye out on second-hand textbook websites or your uni bookstore and grab a bargain.
Tip: Wait to buy textbooks – you can often pick up a deal on second-hand books.