min read
· Posted on
February 21, 2024

Making the most of a student budget

It's hard but yes it's possible to survive on more than just cold pizza and ramen on a student budget.

What's the key learning?

  • It all starts with budgeting and automating
  • Don't forget about student discounts
  • Second hand school shopping goes a long way
  • Credit cards and BNPL's aren't all they're made out to be
  • Be sure to suss out financial assistance programs.

Let’s be real here: trying to balance study with adulting is freaking hard. All of a sudden, we are expected to earn money, earn a degree and build a new set of friends?!

This isn’t what you thought you signed up for when you started Uni. :/ 

So let’s make one of the things in your life a little easier; your money sitch. 

  • Budget & Automate

Budgets don’t seem super sexy from first impression but once you get to know their personality, their sexiness is unmatched. 

Make a budget by listing your monthly income and expenses to get an idea of how much you’re spending and saving.

If you’re a casual worker with irregular income, make your budget with a guesstimate of how much you’re likely to earn in a month.

If you haven’t already, check out the Flux Academy course on budgeting.

And if you have recurring bills, eg. your public transport card, set up automatic payments to make sure you won’t forget to pay it.

  • Student discounts

Hands down one of the best perks of being a student. 

Get yourself onto UniDays and Student Edge to make the most of student discounts when you shop and eat. 

Also, if you’re buying movie tix, concert tix etc. remember to use the concession ticket option. 

  • Second hand school tings

Textbooks, calculators, lab coats, school supplies basically - they’re exxy. 

Unis, TAFEs and other education institutions usually have a second hand store either online or on campus.

Make the most of getting school supplies second hand - especially if they’re things you won’t use after a semester or year.

  • Be careful with BNPLs and credit cards

Okay peeps, gotta be real with you for a minute. BNPL and credit cards - hella tempting!

And they can be  useful IF you have a recurring income and can consistently stay on top of your repayments.

But more often than not, the costs outweigh the benefits. Those fortnightly payments start stackin’ up fast!

Monash Uni’s 2022 survey data suggests that financial stress is correlated with BNPL use - 30% of those very often in financial difficulties use BNPL services compared to just 8% of those who have never experienced financial difficulty.

If you are going to use those services, be really careful about making sure your payments are timely and you’re not racking up fees.

  • Suss out financial assistance programs

And lastly, as a student, there are resources out there to help you out. 

Unis, Tafes etc. often have financial assistance programs for students that might have a bit going on.

Chat to your Uni’s student help center or suss what’s available at your institution and if you might be able to benefit from it. 

Financial assistance resources to check out:

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