Being a student means you have to be very careful with your money. I thought I would share my top 11 budgeting tips with you.
- Take full advantage of social events on campus and in the community.
Many have free food! Also, enquire about student discounts on everything from cinema to bus tickets. Retailers are often sympathetic, if you explain ‘I am on a uni student budget’.
- Plan well ahead for good internet deals on plane tickets
Also try carry-on luggage, and odd hours to fly out. Check connecting bus timetables, use the sky train or ask a kind friend – offering them petrol money – to pick you up and minimise the taxi cost conundrum!
- Invest in a good pair of jeans, and some quality boots (with waterproofing)
Good quality items will last for years, and provide a classy outfit foundation. Also keep an eye out for thermals and puffy jackets at travel and camping shops’ end-of-season sales.
- Try your luck with Op Shops
Toowoomba has a wealth of riches and Op Shops. Thoughtful browsing will soon have you up to speed with the feel and genre of each cluster of pre-loved goodies. You are also helping to fund charity! Double win! Monitor for new arrivals and experiment with forays into new and promising personal styles.
- You can still accessorise!
Near-new bags, funky jewelry, and even amazing shoes may be on offer for the lucky bargain hunter at a local Op Shop. A pair of faux pearl earrings from a budget jewellery shop will add lustre to any outfit…and really, no one will know but you!
- You can still feed your book/ reading obsession
Love to read? The university library has newspapers and periodicals! Join local libraries for more books, glossy magazines, and DVDs. Op Shops have entire shelves devoted to pre-loved best sellers, so stay alert as volumes by your favourite authors cycle through. Also consider buying cheaper e-book versions, and scout Project Gutenberg for thousands of free online classics!
- Stay healthy
Procrastinate no more! Use that gym membership! Staying healthy is ultimately going to save you money. Clean your teeth and save for your annual check-up, a $150 filling this year could be a $1000 nightmare by the end of your degree!
- Pack snacks and a water bottle wherever you go
Stash a reserve muesli bar in your backpack and carry your own water bottle which you can fill with the free filtered water on campus. Don’t forget your USQ multi-use mug, the Hub kitchenette has a hot water jug and microwave!
- Watch TV in the Common Room
Watch TV in the common room instead of buying a TV of your own, you may also discover that you share a favourite TV show or movie with another resident in your block.
- Revive second-hand furniture and decorate your space
Add a spray of Glen20, a colourful swatch of fabric and some paint in your favourite colour scheme to refresh second hand furniture. Hit Bargain and Op Shops for glass vases, river stones, decorative candles and tasteful art pieces. Cut pretty borders from leftover wrapping paper to outline your photos and add style. Indoor plants also look amazing, try selecting something sturdy yet root-bound from the discount tray, soak overnight in half a bucket of water, and check it the next day. If it doesn’t make it, try again with a new one! (And the same goes for your budget!)
- Make the most of free calendars
Don’t forget free calendars, especially your USQ wall calendar. Calendars are a great way to plan your study, work and social commitments. Free calendars can also have really cool pictures which you can cut out and use to decorate your room.
Finding what works for your budget might involve some trial and error but you will work it out eventually. If you have any other budgeting tips, let me know in the comments box below, I’d love to hear them.