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10 tips to budget like an adult

Student budgeting tips and hints.

‘I’m a uni student. I can’t afford much!’

Do you find yourself commonly using this line to explain many aspects of your lifestyle? Whether it is why you can’t go somewhere or why you’ve had 2 Minute Noodles for dinner three times in one week, usually it’s a good enough reason.

Our parents warned us all when we were younger to ‘enjoy being a kid’. It never made much sense to me… until I had to adult. They weren’t wrong; adulting is tough. All of a sudden rather than saving up for your favourite dress or pair of shoes, you have to pay for adult stuff. Rent, food, groceries, fuel, clothes, phone, electricity … need I go on?

Although uni life doesn’t have the best relationship with the old bank account, especially once you’ve moved out of home, it doesn’t always have to be full of sacrifices. All you need is a good budgeting plan:

1. Utilise budgeting resources

A good place to start would be taking a look at using this free Student Budget Calculator. Not only does it help you list all the things you need to budget for, it assists you in working out just how much to save in order to afford the things you would like.

2. Keep a list of what you spend your money on

Sometimes it can feel like we never have enough money in our bank account and yet are surprised to still see the bill on the fridge that hasn’t been paid. Then comes the question: ‘Where has all my money gone?’ By keeping track of what you spend your money on, it will be easier to devise a budget to find out what you need to cut back on, or what you could do without, to make paying for the essentials easier.  

3. Rent with friends or live on-college

If you’re someone like me who has had to relocate for uni, try not to do it alone. The cost of living on-college includes food and utilities. Renting with a friend or two also means these costs are divided between a few of you rather than having to foot the entire bill yourself.

4. Weigh up your transport options

Take note of how much money you're spending on fuel, and compare this with what it would cost to use public transport. Even better, if you know of someone heading to uni around the same time as you, see if you can take turns at carpooling.

5. Find a bank with reasonable fees

Different banks have student rates for accounts, charges and transactions. Take a look around to find the best deal for you.

6. Always look out for student discounts

That horrific photo taken of you at Orientation will come in handy when you can present your student ID at shops and receive discounts. Keep an eye out for this offering wherever you go! If you’re a cinemas lover, hit up Cinebuzz for student discounts.

7. Get cash by selling unwanted items

There are usually items around the house you no longer use. Take the plunge and sell the clothes you no longer wear or the textbooks you won’t need anymore to get some extra cash!

8. Visit local op shops

On many occasions, there are items at op shops that are of high quality and at a bargain price!

9. Don’t let the laziness win

Sometimes we get so caught up in uni we become lazy when it becomes to preparing food. Let’s face it: heading somewhere and buying food is way easier, right? Save money by using up the food in your house first before giving in to cravings or impulse food buys.

10. Chat to the Welfare Team

I strongly recommend you approach the Welfare Team if you require support or would like to discuss your financial situation. Not only will they provide advice on your budget, they are also willing to assist with Centrelink concerns, obtaining scholarships, applying for jobs and will even help organise your accommodation according to your $$$.

Happy budgeting all!

Bachelor of Education alumna

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