A Student’s Guide to Saving: 5 Effective Ways to Save Money While Studying
Being a student is a pretty full-on gig. Lectures, tutorials, assignments and not to mention those dreaded group-projects.
On top of the academics, you’re encouraged to be socially involved and join clubs and go to numerous events, all the while maintaining a balanced and healthy personal and family life.
Life can get pretty hectic as a student and what’s more is that a massive percentage of students also work while studying!
Most students need to work to support their hobbies and fund the fun, social aspects of their lives (which is so important! They keep us sane). But there’s a re-occurring, common challenge here:
How do we save?
Having some savings for those rainy days or that big trip you’d like to take at the end of the year or a new car is important. But how can you as a student who already has limited time to work and earn money, save effectively?
Below are 5, easy to follow hacks and tips that every student can implement in their daily lives to maximize their savings while still enjoying the benefits of their student years!
1. Crunch Those Numbers: Budgeting
Budgeting can be a daunting process for many people, but it doesn’t have to be! Making a financial plan that you can realistically stick to is key here. Follow the steps below to get started!
How would you like to plan your finances? On a day-to-day, weekly or monthly basis? (Tip: It’s easier to link up your budget plan with how often you’re paid).
Decide on the amount you would like to put away per unit of time/pay check, e.g. 50%. (If working a casual shift job, try and pre-calculate how much you will make per pay-cycle).
Now you know the amount of money you have to play with until the next pay day! This amount can now be broken down into smaller goals if needed. You can set yourself a monthly, weekly or daily budget.
Allow some flexibility with your budget plan. Some days you will spend more than others! Try and cut back unnecessary spending where you can! For example, if you know there’s an event you’d like to go to in the future, be a little more frugal during the days leading up to the event.
If you need some extra help with your number crunching expedition, visit the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) website. They have a great user friendly app ‘TrackMySpend,’ that helps you keep track of your spending habits, as well as a pre-designed budget planner!
2. The Student Savings Account
Having a bank account specifically dedicated to your savings is a great idea! It allows you to move the money you save into a space where you can actively track it.
Seeing the numbers grow will give you an even greater incentive not to touch it! Most banks offer some form of student or youth savings account options. Things to consider when choosing a Savings Account include:
Some Savings Accounts hold or ‘lock’ your money for a period of time after you deposit the desired amount, while others have no restrictions on transferring between bank accounts or withdrawing your money.
Speak to your bank about your options and what type of Savings Account best suits your needs and spending habits.
3. The Illusive Student Discount
Who doesn’t like a bargain!? Well, being a student actually gets you some amazing discounts and deals across all areas of life and most of the time you just need to pick yourself up a student concession card.
Here are some discount opportunities for the struggling student:
Public Transport Concession Cards- 50% OFF
Taking public transport is an awesome way to save money- no need to pay for petrol or parking! Furthermore, with a concession card you can receive up to 50% off on your trips. You can apply for a Concession Card via your state’s public transport web page.
Lets face it, we all love our music, TV shows and movies, and we love to have them on the go. Well with major streaming providers such as Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes all providing student discounts, we can enjoy those simple pleasures in life for a little less. Check out their websites and follow their easy steps for an approved student account!
UNiDAYS for days
If you haven’t heard of UNiDAYS then let me introduce you to one of the best things to ever happen to ‘the Student.’ UNiDAYS is a service that you can sign up to for free that offers a massive range of student discounts from some great brands. Everything from fashion brands to technology services, this site will help you save on necessities (and guilty pleasures) that you can’t avoid.
4. Meal Prep is your Friend
Alright ladies and gents, it’s time to debunk the common opinion that meal prepping is only for the gym-junkies and health freaks of the world.
Meal prep is actually a super cost effective and easy way to feed yourself whether it be at work, university or a study day at the library.
Buying whole, bulk ingredients from your local supermarket or grocers will not only feed you for multiple days but for a lot cheaper as well!
Instead of eating out and spending that $25 on smashed avocado and a latte, you could put that money towards a whole week’s worth of lunches!
Dedicate an afternoon or evening during the week to cook up some of your favourite foods and portion it out into containers that can easily be stored in your fridge or freezer to be quickly grabbed later in the week.
Limit those moments of eating out for special occasions or plans with friends!
5. Sacrificing VS. Prioritising
Unfortunately, while saving there’s no way around the sad truth that you’re going to have to say no sometimes. Maybe it’s saying no to plans with friends or that third coffee for the day or those pair of shoes you saw in the window.
At first, saying no to these things will seem like a massive sacrifice (especially if you’re not used to it!), and sometimes you’ll crack and say yes when you know it will ruin your budget for the week or day.
This tip centers around your mindset and how you think about your spending habits. Instead of framing those moments when you have to say no as ‘sacrifices,’ think of them as you effectively prioritising.
You’re prioritising those long term goals! That holiday you’ve been dreaming about or moving out of home. Achieving those long term goals will be wildly more satisfying than saying yes to those short term pleasures- of this I can assure you. So no longer are you sacrificing, rather prioritising.
Saving while studying can be a challenge but by following these tips and hacks you may find it a little easier to reach your financial goals.