Ways to save money as a student

Student life at uni, TAFE or college can be great. But it doesn’t always come cheaply. Not only do students need some mad skills to balance work, studying, and a social life, but learning to manage the cash is important too. To keep the good times rolling without the coins rolling away, it helps to have some ideas on where to make some day-to-day savings.

Don't buy new textbooks

Spending hundreds of dollars on new books that you'll use for one semester isn't a great idea. With the start of every new subject is a list of a textbooks lecturers often insist you buy. Although your lecturer may say you need a brand new version, it won’t be a disaster if your books are a couple of years old. 

Instead of putting down some serious cash for textbooks, check with student services or the student union to see if they have second-hand shops or exchange programs, and search for online stores as well. Some text books are also available in e-book form, so check that out too.

Take public transport, or cycle to uni if you can

Parking on campus or in the city can be super-expensive, so avoid driving if possible. Taking a bus, train or tram is a triple-win, because you save money on petrol and parking, plus you get an extra few minutes each day to cram for that test you forgot about.

Make the most of student discounts

Your student ID card, as well as joining the student union, can get you many discounts around town and online. Also get to know the student discount days and happy hours at the pubs, cinemas, and other local haunts. 

Fun fact: You can get cheap haircuts from student hairdressers

Take your lunch with you each day

It’s not hard or expensive to whip up a sandwich in the morning, and will save you mega bucks on food. Also make sure you keep nutrition in mind. Try buying nutritious food in bulk, such as beans and rice, then do a weekly fresh food shop to make sure you’ve got all the healthy goodies on hand. Though they might be cheap, 2 minute noodles aren’t going to sustain a hard-working brain.

Stakeout free food on campus

Free things are awesome. Free food is even more awesome. One of the best perks about going to uni, is that student clubs and societies often hold free sausage sizzles. Keep an eye out for posters and announcements about free food stalls. It's a  great way to save money on food, and it's also a good opportunity to get involved in your uni's culture.  

Make the most of university-run health and fitness services

Often universities offer medical, counselling and sometimes even dental services, and tend to bulk-bill or be available to students for free (or at a low cost). Medical and health services often also provide free condoms. 

Check for free classes run by these clinics, such as yoga and meditation. To stay fit - why not join a running or walking club to save on gym fees? Or just sleep those extra few minutes after the late night parties, and run to get the bus instead.

Make your coffee

Student life and coffee addiction often come hand in hand. But instead of shelling out four dollars a day on coffee (which can add up to over a thousand dollars a year), make it at home and bring it with you. 

It might not be premium quality, or made from a trendy cafe in town, but it's worth the effort in the long run. 

Get a piggy bank

Loose change often gets ignored or lost, which is such a shame if you think about it. Little gold and big silver coins can add up quickly and lead to some major savings. Don't ignore your spare change, collect it all and bring it to the bank once you've got enough. 

Last reviewed: 18 June, 2015
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