Here are some money tips to help make your first year at uni more affordable.
1. Afford to go. And to stay.
The Federal Government offers a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) with five separate schemes. Each scheme is designed to assist students with the cost of fees. Whether you get HELP depends on your circumstances and where you want to study.
Tip: Discover if you’re eligible for HELP with paying fees.
2. Manage cash, day-to-day
Set yourself an O-week budget as well as a monthly one. A big part of your uni experience might be the social side, but it will eat into your savings. Some careful planning can help you make your money go further.
Tip: Try our student budget calculator to find out how much money you’ll need.
3. Remember why you’re there
Constantly skipping classes can come at a cost. Many unis make you retake an entire subject if you don’t turn up for an exam, if your attendance is consistently low or if you fail the subject altogether. And that means paying to study the same subject again.
Tip: Remember why you’re there – read the course outline so you know what’s required of you.
4. Jobs and internships
Getting a job can be the cash lifeline you need throughout the year, as well as being a great way to meet new people. If you’re lucky enough to secure an internship during the break too, you could find yourself better placed to join that company on a graduate training program once you’ve graduated.
Tip: Check out our $0 monthly fee Everyday Account on student options1. Remember to give your employer your account details so you can get paid straight into your account.
5. Adulting - rent, bills and credit card payments
It’s probably the first time you’ve had to manage basic living ‘stuff’ like paying rent and bills. Getting stung by late payment fees or facing the threat of eviction because you’ve forgotten to pay your rent (again) can all be avoided.
6. Travel discounts
As a full-time student you may be eligible for student travel concessions – as much as 50% off the published fare. Sometimes you can simply use your Student ID to travel, other times or places may ask you to show your student transport concession card. Keep an eye out for other discounts and student deals on things like cinema tickets too.
Tip: Each State or Territory has its own set of criteria so it’s best to check whether you need to apply for a Student transport Concession Card or can simply use your Student ID card.
7. Know what’s coming up
Most unis have an online portal where you manage your personal details. Check your fees and cut-off times in the online portal to make sure you’re across all of your expenses and can budget for things that are coming up.
Tip: Consider adding your bank account info into your secure online portal as a time-saving way to pay fees.
8. Second-hand bargains
Buying brand new textbooks can be expensive. Why not try the e-book versions? If you prefer the old-school way, keep an eye out on second hand textbook websites or your uni bookstore and grab a bargain.
Tip: Wait to buy textbooks, you can often pick up a deal on second hand books.
Things you should know
1 Student Options discounts apply if you are a student at a tertiary institution in Australia or are undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship. You must present your valid student identification in branch to be eligible for Student Options discounts, available for up to 5 years at a time. If your studies exceed 5 years, you must present your student identification in branch again after 5 years.