Top six money saving tips for students

Small changes to your everyday habits and attitudes can save you money.

Given the amount of time dedicated to unpaid work and the high cost of courses and textbooks, it’s surprising to discover that some clever students graduate with a significant nest egg. You don’t need to be a financial wizard – just follow these six money saving tips and you will be top of the class in terms of savings. 

  1. Set a budget

  2. The first step to saving money is knowing how much you’re earning, how much you’re spending, and where the money is going. This is where a budget comes in. Before the semester starts, take a few hours to understand your financial situation and set a clear, manageable budget. If you want to save money, it’s obvious that your income should be more than your expenditure. RACQ offers a budget planner online for members.  

  3. Have more meals at home

  4. While it’s great fun to eat out with friends, it’s can be an expensive way to spend an evening. With a little practice, you can create the same delicious meals at home – often at a fraction of the price. To save more cash, plan your meals for the week and buy all the ingredients in one shop. Food is much cheaper when bought in bulk. Keep track of your local supermarket’s pricing and try to identify the days and times when expensive items such as meat and diary go on sale (hint: often late Saturday or Sunday afternoon). A home-cooked steak tastes even better if you paid less than half price for it. 

  5. Borrow before you buy

  6. As a student, you’ll quickly learn to dread the beginning of semester when the required reading lists are released. Textbooks are expensive and many subjects require more than one. Before you head straight to the bookshop, show your book list to the friends you’ve made around campus. Someone is likely to have a recent edition gathering dust on their shelf. If you can’t borrow from a friend, try the second-hand bookstore before paying full price elsewhere. 

  7. Ask for the student discount

  8. You probably already enjoy discounted public transport and movie tickets, but plenty of other fantastic money-saving deals are available to students. Whether it’s a two-for-one offer or a percentage off the final bill, these small savings can add up to a tidy sum at the end of semester. Check your student guild’s website as they often compile lists of local businesses that offer great deals to students. 

  9. Find new income streams

  10. It’s easier to save when you have more money coming in. You might not have time between lectures, tutorials, assignments and internships for a traditional job, but there are plenty of new and unusual ways to bring in some extra cash. For example, you could make your sofa available on Airbnb or take a tin of your world-famous brownies to class and sell them to your classmates. Thinking outside the box could go a long way towards filling your piggy bank. 

  11. Cancel your streaming subscriptions

Use the resources available at your University. You can usually find music, television shows and movies available to borrow, either as physical copies or digital downloads. With all these great entertainment options at your fingertips, the funds spent on monthly streaming subscriptions can be diverted to your savings account.

It’s not easy to save when you’re studying, but with a few smart choices and small changes in behaviour, there’s the opportunity to make little savings that will add up over the course of the semester.