Student’s Guide to saving money in Australia

by Dr. Alan October 19, 2020

University is one of the most exhaustive yet exciting phases of a student’s life. It is your first step into adulthood, away from the comforts of your home. And it is all the more chaotic if you plan to go abroad for higher education.

Managing your finances as a college student can be a daunting task. The rent, food bills, tuition fees pile on making things difficult for students. Plus, you also have to balance multiple assignments, projects, and extracurricular activities.

Lucky for you, I have the perfect plan for students. College kids looking for a way to save money in Australia can refer to these tips.

Plan A Budget

The first thing that every student should do is plan their monthly budget. With a limited budget in place, you have a way to monitor your expenses. It also teaches you how to prioritize your expenditures in a way that gives you maximum value.

Begin the budget with a basic outline of all the costs that require your immediate attention. In this section, you can include rent, food costs, college fees and other miscellaneous expenses. Once these basic needs are covered, you can allocate some amount for outings and other fun activities.

The budget must also include the provision for savings and investments. Consult an investment agent to understand more about the best student policies in Australia feasible for you.  

Open A Local Bank Account.

Managing your expenses gets quite tricky when you move to another country. Students always seem to be in short of money. In Australia, students can open a special savings account for quick and easy access to cash.

You can even put your money in small-scale investment schemes, fixed deposits and more. I would recommend students to opt for registered online plans instead of investing money in the share market.

A quick Google search can give you an extensive list of all the investment schemes available for your budget range. Compare the prices, interest rates and other details before investing. There are multiple bank accounts for students like everyday transaction accounts and traditional saving accounts.  

Get Health Insurance

“Health is wealth”- is a common saying that holds true for everyone, especially students. Getting health insurance is, therefore, extremely vital. With health insurance, you get financial help in case you have a medical emergency.

Students can buy group medical insurance that covers their family health expenses as well. And while paying the premium amount every month is an additional burden on your budget, it is mandatory. OHSC Insurance is effective that covers the essential healthcare services for oversea students.

Healthcare is an expensive sector, and I would suggest students check out and invest in insurance policies ASAP. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

Take Up Part-Time Jobs.

One of the easiest ways to get some quick cash in Australia is to take up a part-time job. These job openings require little to no technical skills and take up but a few hours! Most students pick up odd entry-level positions at a café, the library, or small establishments.

I recommend students to create a convincing resume wherein you list all your academic and professional qualifications. Send out a hardcopy of your resume to all potential establishments where they have job openings. 

Having a driving license and your own ride around is also a big advantage. Ensure that you mention your diving skills in the resume to earn some extra brownie points. 

Make printouts of your resume and share them across all establisments in your locality. Being able to drive is aplus and a having a ride of your own is a big one. Do mention this in your resume if it applies to you.

You can also look for online freelancing work. Websites are looking for content writers, editors, developers, designers and more. Part-time jobs give you the freedom and flexibility to manage your university lessons as well.

Check the eligibility criteria of the job before you apply for it. Some companies may expect candidates to get proper certification and training. For instance, you need to complete a course and gain ample experience before applying for security personnel position.  

There are some well paying jobs which require you to get certified first. Like the security personnel jobs require you to get certified first and then you get a steady income through part time engagements. Source: (Need more content here more 5-6 sentences)

Plus, most part-time gigs in Australia pay really well and are a great help for students who struggle to make ends meet.

Find Affordable Accommodation

Moving to a different country is not something you decide overnight. You have to uproot your entire life, get out of your comfort zone, and survive in an alien environment. Therefore, I suggest my students fix their accommodations and lodging needs beforehand.

Talk to the university about lodging options available for foreign students. Most colleges have hostels or apartments for students in Brisbane. You can also opt for homestay accommodations in Melbourne near your university campus.

Here, the students choose to stay with a family as a paying guest for a short while before they move elsewhere. You should also enquire about financial aids and scholarships for meritorious students. You can even check Couchsurfing, a social network that offers global homestay services for students and travellers. 

Couchsurfing is a great way to connect travellers who are looking for affordable accommodation options in your city. Local residents get to share their spaces with visitors for a short time, and travellers get an authentic experience of Australia! 

With couchsurfing you get to meet and live with new people and expand your social circle. Some homestays also take care of your meals, the laundry and other services. Check out the couchsurfing updates, compare the facilities and prices before making a decision. 

Talk about couchsurfing as a free option to stay in Australia for students. ( Need more content here)

All work and no play can make anyone dull and boring.

Use Public Transport

Australia is one of the most student-friendly spaces for young people. The urban states like Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane are well-connected via roadways and railways. And the public transport options are incredibly cheap!

I suggest youngsters opt for public buses, subways, and rails to save money. Don’t depend on the local cab services as they take a big hit on your monthly budget. The public transport in Australia is safe, quick, and pretty convenient.

Using public transport is also a great way to explore the cities. Take a tour, try out the local cuisines, interact with the locals for an authentic experience of the country. Students can get special metro passes for free or subsidised rides across the city. 

You can apply for a metro/subway/bus pass online by submitting your registration number, student ID and other documents as asked. School students can get a PTV pass that costs $9 and is valid across all transport options in the city 

There are four main transport options for people around Australia- train, bus, ferry and light rail. As per the NSW guidelines, students enrolled for full-time courses at NSW certified universities can travel around the city at subsidised rates. 

Look for university discounts for students for public transport passes. (Need mor econtent here about a few pointers or links)

Additional Tips To Save Money

The money-saving tips I discussed above are all conventional options that you can explore. However, if you want some unique ideas to make your stay interesting in Australia, then read on!

These tips are ideal for Australian students who want a comfortable and exciting stay here. Living on a budget is not always dull and full of comprises. You need to learn how to spend and invest your resources wisely.

Learn how to bargain at local stores, take public transport whenever possible and use your student ID to avail discounts. I discuss these tips and more below for foreign students staying in Australia. 

Optimize Your Network

Networking is an integral part of your university experience. Living in dorms and college hostels, you interact with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Also expand your social circle is a great way to learn your way around the city.

With your local friends, you explore the best restaurants, cuisines, and hangout spots of the city. Most Australian spaces are very urban and chic. Pick up a hobby, do volunteer work, participate in local gigs- they give you a great space to socialize.

Join the college social media groups and communities for regular updates around the campus. The wider your social network, the better experience and career prospects you have once you graduate.

Use Your Student IDs.

Your student ID is one of your biggest assets in Australia. You can avail some fabulous discounts just by showing your ID at the establishment. Several theatres, malls and restaurants have special offers for foreign students

You can even explore the University cheap store for some lucrative deals on everyday supplies. The college canteen and eateries are also very affordable and include extensive menu options for students.

Student IDs also give you an easy entry into concerts, shows and pubs around the city. Ensure that you also carry some other valid identification document. Students aged 18 and above must show their IDs at bars to get alcoholic beverages.

Search For Freebies For Your Essential Requirements

Shopping for furniture, technical equipment and other studying materials is a huge expense for students. In Australia, you can check out second-hand stuff on Facebook marketplace or Gumtree for some amazing discounts 

These platforms are credible and include only registered, authentic items. Explore the catalogue, read through the descriptions, have a look at the pictures and compare the prices beforehand. You can also directly DM the seller and bargain for a cheaper deal. 

Search for furniture, computer quipment, used text books etc. On Gumtree and Facebook marketplace. (Need more content here in this line of thought).

Your student ID is one of your biggest assets in Australia.

Change The College To Save On Course Fees

Not everyone can afford the expensive fees structure of Australian universities. Online courses and virtual learning is an easier alternative for students who don’t have the budget for full-time classes. So if you cannot afford your coursework, I suggest you change your institution, 

Also, enquire about the scholarship programs for meritorious students. With these programs, you get financial aid and funding from the university, provided you maintain a specified score. Self-motivated learners can also take up online workshops, classes and free tutorials which cost less but offer the same value.  

Universities do not get you jobs in Australia. So, if you are more of a self-motivated learner then you can afford to pay less for the same degree. (Need more contnet in this line of thought).

Attend Free Gigs

There are numerous cafes and hangout spots around Australia where you can attend and even participate in free gigs. This involves live musical performances, slam poetry nights or even live stand-up comedy.

These gigs give you great exposure to the local entertainment scene around the city. You can catch local artists, poets and comedians live for a night of fun and laughter. Or if you have any inclination to perform, get on stage and show your mettle!

Explore Thrift Sales

The shopping malls and markets of Australia are quite affordable provided you know where to shop from. Accompany your local friends to the thrift sales and second-hand stores. You can also check out the University store where you can get daily supplies are comparatively cheaper rates.

Some supermarkets also have special sales and seasonal offers for students. An added advantage that students have here is- you don’t have to learn a new language. Most locals in Australia speak English.

Stock up on packed items, invest in good furniture, and other household supplies when you can. Get your vegetables and other perishable goods from countryside markets. The collections from local farm markets are healthier, cleaner, and more eco-friendly.

Need For Budgeting

All work and no play can make anyone dull and boring. University life in Australia is not purely academic. There are loads of other things and places you can explore in and out of the campus. These opportunities are affordable, exciting, and profitable for students who want the practical experience of the world out there.

Living on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you live frugally. Yes, saving is essential, but you are allowed to cut some slack and have fun. The trick is to do it responsibly.

The Bottom Line

Staying in a different country is not an easy task. You have to manage and compromise every step of the way. However, things are not as tricky as they seem. You will have the time of your life in Australia.

I have tried to curate a list of all how you can save, earn, and live a reasonably comfortable life in Australia. Ensure that you research the area, the university, and other details beforehand.

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