Everyday Living Savings
- If you need to move out of home, consider getting shared accommodation with some friends or other students to share resources and help make rent cheaper. Check notice boards around campus to see what is available, or check the accommodation webpage.
- Talk to your housemates about paying bills before they move in. Everyone will know what is expected of them and it takes out some of the stress when it comes to paying bills when they are due.
- If you are sharing an internet connection, have an agreement that no one downloads an excessive amount of data. If that isn’t possible, consider changing to an unlimited download plan or have that person commit to paying any excess charges.
- If you are living at home, think about staying there. Even if you have to pay board, it’s probably cheaper than leaving home or setting up with housemates who may or may not help with the expenses.
- It might be worth considering living on campus especially if you have to travel a long way from home. You have fixed costs so it’s easier to work out a budget and you can take advantage of the uni facilities nearby.
Living Expenses and Bills
- If you use a mobile phone a lot, consider going on a plan instead of prepaid. Shop around for the best deal to avoid topping up your credit.
- Don’t get a pet on impulse. Pets are nice but they take time and money to look after.
- Ask for a better deal. When connecting services such as phone and internet, ask if it is the best deal they can offer. Many companies will give discounts when asked.
- Saving energy means saving money. Close the doors to unused rooms to reduce the area that you need to heat or cool with an air conditioner. Keeping curtains closed can help save energy too.
- Try natural cleaners like vinegar and bicarbonate soda. They are often as effective as expensive household products.
- Wait until you have a full load of laundry or dishes before using the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Cut down on water usage. Take shorter showers and water your garden with rain or shower water to save money and be environmentally friendly.
- Put money away for bills, such as $20 a week for the telephone. Think of it as already belonging to your telephone provider so you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Food and Recipes
- Learn a few recipes and take turns with your housemates to cook dinner.
- Have a no-cook meal plan for nights that you are busy or tired. Frozen meals, baked beans on toast or a canned soup could save you $20 on takeaway.
- Get a refillable water bottle instead of buying bottles of water. Bring fruit, a water bottle and your own coffee mug to uni to save money.
- Learn to make your favourite takeaway or buy it on a night that they have a discount – you will still be able to enjoy your favourite foods.
- Try to limit how many times you go out for meals. Home cooked meals will cost less and may be more nutritious for you.
- Cook extra and freeze leftovers for an easy meal, or take it for lunch the next day.
- Make a shopping list before you go shopping and don’t shop while you are hungry. Planning will reduce your temptation to buy things you don’t really need.
- Independent supermarkets are often cheaper than large chains. Keep an eye out for catalogue specials for extra discounts.
- Convenience purchases are expensive – don’t buy things at a service station that you can get cheaper at a supermarket. Planning saves you money!
- Grow your own herbs and vegetables. It’s cheap, quite easy to maintain and nothing beats the taste of fresh vegetables.
- Exercise some willpower when out shopping and avoid impulse buying.
- Buy in bulk or find someone who will go halves on bulk deals so that you can both save money.
- Shop at discount and dollar stores for stationery and basic household essentials.
- Lay-buy more expensive items so you can pay them off gradually.
- Look for free things in your local area, at the uni, on the footpaths on council collection days – it’s fun!
- Try op-shops and vintage stores for second-hand crockery, clothes, accessories and furniture. People often donate new and brand name items – take time to look, you may find a bargain!
- Whitegoods like fridges or dryers are available from seconds suppliers at a significant discount. Do an internet search to find a supplier in your area.
- Shop ahead for gifts to find special deals, avoid peak prices just before Christmas and lessen the financial strain of the holiday season.
- Shop for expensive items near the end of the month or the end of the financial year when people are after quick sales and better discounts.
- Shop-a-dockets and other coupons can come in handy when looking for a bargain. Check the back of receipts and websites for coupons.
Entertainment, Recreation and Wellness
- Have an international cooking night at home with friends. Choose a cuisine and ask your friends to bring a dish. It’s healthy, cheap and fun.
- Search the internet for ‘What’s on this weekend’ for events around Sydney that are low cost or free.
- Pubs, clubs and RSLs often do lunch or dinner deals at a reasonable price.
- Regular nights out can be expensive. Cutting down on smoking and drinking will free up money for other things. Your wallet and your heart will thank you.
- A day at the beach can be fun and cheap. Take your lunch and use public transport.
- Let friends know that you are trying to save. They’re probably in the same boat and you can help each other and it takes the social pressure off.
- If you need a baby sitter, ask a friend. You can return the favour later and you both benefit.
- Socialising needn’t be expensive. Call a friend and watch a DVD or make lunch together. Have people over for coffee instead of going out. Go for a run together instead of the gym.
- Check out local scenic walking tracks – Sydney Harbour and the Blue Mountains have plenty of options available. For local options, check out nearby parks and your local council website.
- Go to independent cinemas for cheaper tickets, or know your local discount ticket night.
- Many local parks have skating facilities, BBQ areas and gym circuits. They are a great way to get out without opening your wallet.
- You need to take time out for yourself. Make ‘me’ time to do things you enjoy as well as socialising, studying and working.
- Aim to eat healthy food even when you go out. Find a balance between treats, common sense and being kind to yourself.
Western Sydney U Tips
HOW CAN THE UNIVERSITY SUPPORT YOU?
If you want to talk to someone or get advice about personal issues or your general wellbeing, you can get in touch with the Counselling Service. They can also offer advice about adjusting to uni life and managing exam anxiety, time management and other skills.
The Western Sydney U counselling service is free and confidential. You can get help and advice face to face, online (via eCounselling and Skype) and over the phone.
Mentoring and Transition Equals Success (MATES) is a program that links trained and experienced student mentors with first year students for the first six weeks of session. Come along if you’re feeling alone or want to make new friends.
Personal Wellbeing and Relationships
- You may need to take time off work during exams. Look ahead and budget so you can give yourself the time you need.
- Keep your health in check! Go to the dentist for regular check-ups. Get your eyes tested. Get health insurance that entitles you to rebates on the health services you need most.
- Try not to let life get on top of you. If you need someone to talk to, try the free, confidential counselling service offered by Western Sydney U.
- Adopt a healthy diet, as it will help in all areas of your life, from health to stress management. Find a balance between treats, common sense and being kind to yourself.
- Walking is free and a great way to clear your head and get out of the house.
- Make time for your friends. It’s easy to lose contact if you don’t see each other regularly.
- Find a group of students with similar interests. Find out what student clubs and societies are available to join.