Living on a student budget

Here are some valuable tips that will help you save a few dollars when living on a tight student budget.

How to save money


  • Find a savings account with low fees - Shop around to find the best savings account for you.
  • Get a cheaper credit card - Choose a credit card with a low interest rate.
  • Cut down your ATM charges - Check which ATMs your bank allows you to use for free.
  • Try internet banking - Consider internet banking to pay bills or transfer money if your bank charges less for this compared to other transactions.


  • Set up a direct debit - Set up direct debits for your bills once you know roughly how much is going to be taken out. This is an easier and cheaper way of paying, but make sure you always have enough money in your account before the bill is due. If you don't have enough money in your account, you could be charged overdrawn fees or default on a payment.
  • Smooth your bills - Bill smoothing can help you deal with those big bills over the year.


  • University campus rooms - Staying on campus can be cheaper because utility bills (such as internet, heating, electricity and water) may be included in the costs.
  • Homestay - It might be cheaper to board with a family or couple. A homestay could include meals and services such as phone, internet and utilities.


  • Compare different travel options - When you are budgeting for transport to university, compare the costs of travel by bus, ferry, train, bike or car. Get a student travel card or try car pooling with other students.

Video: Sarah manages on a student budget

Video about living on a student budget

Sarah explains how she pays her student expenses and still affords to treat herself.

Finding a part-time job

Decide how many hours you can realistically work while you are studying. Don't take on more hours of work than you can cope with. Find out how many lectures and hours of study you will have to do each week. Then you can work out how much paid work you will be able to do and when you can do it.

If you're looking for work while studying:

  • Ask at your university student services or students' union.
  • Register with local employment agencies.
  • Look out for advertisements on noticeboards on campus and in local shops.
  • Search online job websites.
  • Ask around as other students may know of local jobs.
  • Be careful about working in your final year, as you will have to study more. Save money to prepare for this.

But be wary of employment scams. For more information see the ACCC's SCAMwatch website.

Find out more about starting a job.

Related links

Last updated: 21 Nov 2018