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How to study on a budget

Knowledge is priceless, but getting it can come with a huge cost. Don't know where to start? Here are five easy hacks...
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Beyond the tuition fees, there’s all the gear you need, like laptops, accommodation, internet access, and travel; not to mention trying to squirrel a few dollars away for entertainment each week. Budgeting might be boring, but since managing your expenses can mean the difference between living like a prince, princess or pauper, it’s worth getting on top of it nice and early.

Work out your income

If you’re lucky, Mum or Dad is footing the bill for your studies. For everyone else, the first step to managing your money is working out where it’s coming in from. Got savings you can use? Sweet. Planning on getting a part-time job? Best to figure out how many hours you can realistically work first. There’s nothing worse than starting somewhere and discovering you can’t cope with the workload after a few weeks.

Get a budgeting app

Downloading a budget app makes budgeting simple. There are many great ones nowadays like Pocketbook, which are free, and because they’re on your phone you’ve always got it handy. When you’re working out your expenses, take the time to think about every little cost, right down to things like stationary. And once the technology is doing the work: stick to it.

Prioritise your needs

At around $4 a pop, kicking a daily caffeine habit is the easiest way to save some money. The potential savings on two flat whites per day equals $2,920 a year! Get brewing at home and maybe treat yourself to a few cappuccinos a week.

Share the load

With rents on the rise, where you choose to live while studying can make a big impact on your budget. Take time to research the different areas near campus, as the difference in prices between adjoining suburbs can be huge. Keep in mind, location also plays into transport needs, so while a room nearby might cost more, you’d be able to ride a bike and save that way. Typically, sharing a place is the easiest way to lower the cost and you can usually find options by chatting to your mates.

Get advice

Just in case no one in the family’s an accountant, SAE offers guidance and support on general finance, fees, and payments, so you can get the help and advice you need. It’s all confidential, so reach out to us before things get too tough to manage. Find and make an appointment to chat with an SAE Student Service Advisor.

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