Whether you’re studying full-time, holding a part-time job, or want to start saving for a holiday, here are five quick tips on living cheaply:
Find cheap digs
Student accommodation, share houses, the granny flat at the back of someone’s house; you can deal with the small space and the noise for a while, if it means having more time to study or more $ to put away for that summer break in Eastern Europe. Gumtree, Flatmate Finders, and Flatmates.com.au are all good places to look.
Eggs and cans of tuna are cheap and good for you! Also, protein makes you feel fuller for longer, so technically you may not have to buy as much food. Great cheap food items with which to pair your protein would be fresh or frozen veg (frying everything up in a pan is cheap and easy), cans of beans (also full of protein), and wholegrain bread.
Find cheap or free entertainment
You don’t want to be stuck in your tiny room all the time. Chances are you’ll have a friend with a larger collection of DVDs and games—invite yourself over! There will always be free stuff happening in your neighborhood, too, like talks, bands, and exhibitions. Or local business might offer special discounts on meals or drinks for students. The Stoffers app can help you find these, of course!
Don’t get into debt
OK, it’s kind of inevitable if you’re a Commonwealth-supported student (but you won’t have to pay that off for ages…). I’m talking about credit card debt. Banks still seem to be happy giving out credit cards with limits higher than you can manage. If you spend too much and then fail to pay the minimum once or a few times then you’ll be paying fees and more interest, and debt can absolutely spiral out of your control! It’s stressful, you don’t need it. So stick to a VISA debit card or something similar, and only use the money you have.
Walk, ride or PT
Obviously a car can be a huge expense. Yes, it affords you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want, but think of the thousands you spend on fuel and insurance (not to mention repairs, new tyres etc.). You can buy a really good bike for about $300 to $600, and a second-hand one is even cheaper. If you’re in Melbourne, the city is laid-out well for bikes. In Sydney and Brisbane you’ll have a few more hills to grapple with, but think of how fit you’ll get! Ditto for walking, which obviously costs nothing. Public transport costs, but it’s cheap, especially with student discounts. And if you want to get out of the city and need a car all of a sudden, it’s really not too bad to hire one for a weekend.