Top Tips: Studying on a Budget

Going to university can place a strain on your finances, especially for students on a tight budget. Our financial situations can sometimes define our lifestyle but Western Sydney University has a great range of services and opportunities for the money-savvy student.

Many Western Sydney U students have found smart ways to handle their finances and get the most out of their money. These students have shared some of their Top Tips to help make studying on a budget as easy and enjoyable as it can be.

This guide also offers information about the kinds of costs you might have, how you can save money and how to have a comfortable life on a tight budget.

Finance Tips

Finances and Budgeting

  • Be aware of the differences between needs and wants.
    When you feel tempted to have something, try walking away and see if you stillneed or want it the next day.
  • Don’t get a credit card if you can avoid it.
    The temptation of overspending can get the better of us sometimes and can make it hard to control our finances. A debit card can give you the advantages of a credit card but without the high interest rate traps.
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
    Exercise some discipline when spending. There are many free resources available to guide you, likesmart phone apps and online budget planning tools.
  • Discuss your finances with your parents, partner or friends so they understand your position – this can avoid conflicts over money as they may have had similar experiences themselves.
  • Organise your finances before you start uni.
    Look ahead to plan for when money will be tight. Having no money and a massive credit card debt can cause alot of stress.
  • Pay all your expenses before indulging in a treat.
    Don’t forget you will need textbooks, study materials and money for printing in the library.

Emergency Finance and Assistance

  • Talk to a Student Welfare Officer if you are in a financial emergency. They are really helpful and can offer short-term solutions and work with you to bring your finances under control.
  • Community organisations can be a help to students who are struggling to pay their bills due to various financial difficulties. They can help you with food vouchers, food parcels, cheap clothing, and vouchers for phone, electricity and water bills if you are really in trouble. These organisations include St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Lifeline and Anglicare.
  • Talk to the Counsellors. They are available to listen and help, no matter how difficult your problem is.
  • Get help before a problem becomes too big. Let people know if you are having trouble making payments and seek help to sort it out.

Uni Fees and Deadlines

Census date matters!

If you think you won’t be able to complete a unit, you must drop it before the census date or you will have to pay the unit fees. Be sure to sort out your enrolment before it costs you!

Plan your finances

Knowing how much your course costs can help. You can calculate your fees online.

You're not on your own.

The people at Student Central or the Student Welfare officers are really great and can provide advice. They are there to help you.

Remember this is real money!

Don’t waste it by putting off decisions or forgetting about census date.


Income Sources

Getting a university education is an investment in your future. But while you are studying, it can be a struggle to balance your budget with what can seem like endless expenses.

Find out about scholarships and other ways you can earn some income to help you meet some of those expenses.

  • Don’t wait to ask! Research and apply for scholarships, even if you don’t think you would qualify. Scholarship money can really help to take some of the financial worry out of being at uni.
  • Scholarship money is very useful! Many students use their funds to buy learning materials like textbooks or a laptop.
  • Scholarships are competitive. Give yourself an advantage by finding out the eligibility criteria for the scholarship you want and preparing your application in advance.
  • Applying for scholarships is good practise for writing resumes and thinking about marketing your strengths.
  • Ask a Student Welfare Officer to help you with the application for the scholarship if you are unsure how to do it.
  • Apply for casual work at the uni. There are some great opportunities available including working as an Orientation Assistant, Student Central casual or cataloguing in the Library.
  • Can’t work during session? Try working longer hours during session breaks. Try temp employment agencies for part time or short contracts.
  • Casual or part time work can help a lot financially.
  • Let your boss know you are studying. Many of them will be flexible as they were students once too!
  • Sign up to Career Hub and Jobs on Campus with the Western Careers service to get access to job opportunities for while you’re studying and once you finish your degree.