Education is an essential aspect of a person’s life. Although it does not indicate how far you can go, it does open up a lot of opportunities for an individual. In most cases, once you hit the age of 18, you are expected to go out and be independent. Now, education does not come cheap, so if you consider the estimated annual cost of living, including things like accommodation, food, bills and clothing, you can already tell that it is not a price that students can always handle on their own. Generally, students have low income, which is why the cost of independence may be too much for them to bear, especially when they are trying to manage a student loan in Australia on top of it all.
Being a student in Australia is already pricey as it is, can you imagine being an international student? Australia is actually known as the most expensive country in the world for overseas students. Regardless of your citizenship, everyone can agree that student loans are quite hard to manage. You cannot do much about your income, but there are other things that you can do to ensure that you manage your finances effectively.
What to Do to Effectively Manage a Student Loan in Australia
Here are the things that you can do to ensure that you do not mess up your financial plans due to your loans:
1. Save money by obtaining your books through budget-friendly methods.
It is no secret that textbooks are expensive, no matter which country you are in. And university textbooks in Australia are notably costly. If you are taking any maths, science or economics subjects, you are looking at spending $300 to $800 for each semester on your textbooks alone.
Your textbook expenses can depend on your course, as well. For example, a nursing student can spend up to $2000 each semester, and law students can spend up to $165 on a single textbook. If you are a student, you can already see how much of a dent your textbooks can be on your finances. So with the extravagant expense of your books, how can you manage your student loans in Australia?
Look for second-hand books.
One of your options is buying second-hand textbooks instead of new ones. However, doing so only works if there is no new edition in existence yet. If you do opt to buy a second-hand book when a new version has already been published, you may face difficulties like finding the right pages or learning outdated information. Make sure you check that detail first. Even when trying to save, you should not sacrifice the quality of the information that you receive or your experience during the class due to an old version of a book.
Shop around for stores that offer cheaper books.
Some shops don’t price their products like other shops. Some bookstores offer books at lower prices. So make sure that you shop around before buying a textbook. Compare prices online or physically check them in their respective stores. Do not depend on your campus bookstore alone.
Rent your textbooks.
Buying is not your only option for obtaining a specific book. You can opt to look for textbook rental services. You can also find services online where you are offered the option to split the cost of textbooks with other students over time. But since you do not own the book, you need to make sure that you keep it in the best possible condition.
2. Save more on your meals.
You should still invest in a full, healthy, well-balanced diet even when you are trying to work on a budget. You do not have to sacrifice your health when saving money for your student loan in Australia. The thing that matters here is your decisions about your diet. Every little saving here and there counts.
Here are some things that you can do to save money without skipping a meal:
Cook your meals at home.
This is probably the best way to go. If you have been eating out ever since you moved out from your parents’ house, then chances are you have been spending too much on your food. Look for recipes for meals that you can cook for a low price. This will help you ensure that you are eating freshly cooked meals while saving money. If you don’t know how to cook, this is the best chance for you to learn. Imagine saving money and learning a life skill at the same time!
Save money on your meals by picking how and where you buy your ingredients.
You can save money when buying your ingredients by simply being aware of what or where you buy. You can save money by signing up for supermarket rewards programs, planning meals around ingredients in season or on sale, making a list of the ingredients you need (and sticking to the list), limiting impulse buys, avoiding recipes with expensive ingredients, looking for shops that sell cheaper produce and meat, etc.
Make a food budget.
Making a budget is always a great way to save money. It also allows you to feel accountable about how much you are spending. You don’t have to get your budget right the first time around, but at least try to stick to the list that you make.
3. Maximise the use of your student discounts.
Did you know that you have perks as a student like student discounts? No? Then it is time to enjoy this perk! However, keep in mind that there are some limitations. For example, students that are studying full-time at universities in another state sometimes have to pay full adult price fares for their public transport. Here are some places where you can get student discounts:
Student discounts for clothes
- The Iconic – They offer great clothes from different brands. Their pricing is already affordable as it is, but they still offer discounts for students.
- ASOS – This shop has a variety of clothes available from different brands (similar to The Iconic).
- Missguided – This shop is specifically for women. They offer up to 50% of student discounts with really affordable shipping and delivery options.
Student discounts for travel
- Student Flights – If you like to travel, Student Flights can help you find affordable travel for students. They are known for being able to find low airfares and booking students on the cheapest and best holiday tours all around the world.
- Expedia, Webjet and Skyscanner – These websites do not really offer student discounts, but they offer cheap flights even on short notice.
- Intrepid and Contiki – This site offers affordably-priced tours. They also provide a lot of sales throughout the year.
Student discounts for technology
- Apple – They do not offer their discounts on their website, but you can find reliable third-party retailers who do.
- Microsoft – They have 10% off deals every once in a while.
- JB Hi-Fi – This shop already has affordable items, but they do have student deals that you can also enjoy.
- Spotify – This can help you get through a night of crash studying.
Looking for student discounts online
Okay, let’s face it, it is hard to organise and access all the student discounts available out there. However, some websites do this for all the students out there.
- Student Edge – This website is great for discounts on products and services like Woolworths, UberEats, Spotify and Fitness First.
- UniDays – This website can help you get discounts for great clothing.
- Groupon – This website may not be specifically targeted at students, but it is a great way to save some money for fun weekend activities. Apart from their travel packages, they also have offers for massages, eating out, entertainment and events, goods like linen and beauty products.
Being a student with a loan in Australia can be overwhelming at first, but all you need to do is make some adjustments in your lifestyle. When people say “saving money”, some people immediately think that they have to make big sacrifices, starve themselves or deprive themselves of any worldly joys. But this does not have to be the case at all.
You will indeed have to cut on some expenses in your life, but not to the point that you will be devoid of happiness. Living on a student budget will be hard, but it does not have to drain you of your health, youth and soul. It will not be necessarily all fun and games, but at least you can still enjoy the things that matter.
The simple act of making informed decisions on how and where you buy things or controlling any impulse purchasing can already make a big difference in your finances! Imagine how much you can save by planning your meals, shopping around for the best deals on technology and getting smarter when it comes to sourcing your textbooks. You can still be financially sound throughout your stay in university without being joyless by planning ahead.