As a student managing your money can be quite a challenge. Juggling the costs of day to day living, with the expenses associated with studying, all while getting by on part time, casual work or student assistance payments can be a challenge. Here’s some tips to help you manage your money better.
Budgeting is essential. When your resources are low, you need to be aware of exactly what is coming in and going out every week. If you rely on multiple sources of income including student assistance payments, paid work and/or allowances from your family, this can be even more of a challenge. Write down all of your incomings and outgoings over each week/ fortnight and month. If you can, try and make sure you make your payments on regular living expenses such as bills, rent, food etc, when you have the most coming in. Try and also budget for the odd treat such as a new item of clothing, a night out with friends so it doesn’t seem like such hard work. There are plenty of apps around that can help make budgeting easy or talk to a financial counsellor.
Reduce your phone bills
If you’re studying away from home, the cost of ensuring you keep up with families and friends plus mobile data downloads can really add up. Make sure you take advantage of CDU’s free wifi on campus as much as possible, and ensure you have the best possible deal on your phone plan. If you’re not sure, shop around and ring your phone company. Phone providers are highly competitive so are always open to providing you with the best possible deal.
Spread out big purchases
If you have to make large purchases particularly at the beginning of the semester, such as textbooks, try and spread out the cost so you don’t buy them all at once. CDU’s bookshop list is on line now and available until semester 2 commences so there is plenty of time to stagger your purchases so you are ready for the start of semester. Don’t leave it too late though – you don’t want to miss valuable learning time.
Avoid the credit card trap
It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of using your credit card, and “ paying later” particularly at times when you have a large number of outgoings such as the beginning of semester. But costs plus interest can compound the costs of the items you purchase and it can by all too easy to just pay off the minimum amount a bit at a time. If you have to use credit cards, make sure you pay off all of it off each month. Alternatively, use a debit card which has the benefit of credit cards but without allowing you to spend beyond your means.
Save where you can
Actively look for ways you can save money . This sounds obvious but could be as simple as taking a packed lunch to classes, shopping at local markets rather than the supermarket or buying necessities in bulk when on sale, rather than buying for convenience. You can also do things to minimise bills, such as research how you can reduce utilities, phone and other outgoings simply by changing some daily habits.
Find part time work
If after saving all you can and budgeting carefully, you still find yourself struggling to make ends meet, see if you can find some casual or part time work. Darwin, especially in the Dry season often has plenty of jobs available for events, hospitality, and retail areas usually offering flexible hours to fit around your study. Don’t overdo it though – remember you still need to fit life, family and study commitments around it.