How to win at Uni (with your money)
We all know how fun and exciting student life can be, but we also know it’s not always easy on the pockets. Here are a few pro tips on making the most of your money while you’re studying hard!
Don’t fly blind.
As a student, your income can sometimes fluctuate when working hours change as your study time increases. Understanding your budget will help make sure the money you earn lasts throughout your semester, and the entire year.
We’ve put together some helpful tips on budgeting to make this easier.
Learn to cook!
It sounds basic, but planning and pre-cooking meals can save you a lot of money. Make a few portions in advance that you can freeze or keep in the fridge during the week – this way, you won’t have to think about what to have and you’ll be less tempted to grab something quickly on the way home. After a long day on the books, it’s great to be able to come home and heat up something warm and nutritious.
It can also be fun to experiment with cooking and show off to your friends or flatmates. By the time you leave uni, you should probably have a secret spag recipe to carry you for the rest of your life…
Remember to save.
It’s never too early to start putting aside money for the future or a ‘rainy day’. If you have a regular income, set up an auto-payment into a savings account as soon as your money comes in, even if it’s just a few dollars each pay day.
You could also use ASB Save the Change to save money as you spend – once you’ve registered, it automatically rounds up your electronic transactions and transfers the difference to your nominated savings account(s).
Look for discounts.
Use student discounts whenever you can! Keep your student ID on you all the time and always make sure to ask – you might be surprised at how many discounts you can get around town. Every dollar counts J
Also don’t forget that it’s not only student discounts that you can find. Save and use those fuel discounts from your grocery bills, go to movies on cheap nights etc.
Having the right bank account also gives you benefits that can save you money, and help you manage it – something that’s helpful when you leave home for the first time.
If you are eligible for the ASB Tertiary package, make sure you’re signed up to receive all the benefits such as no monthly base or transaction fees, and free small fries when you use your ASB Tertiary Visa Debit card at McDonald’s®.
Go vegetarian? (Or a little bit vegetarian)
Vegetables that are in season can be much cheaper than meat, so try switching up a few of your meals each week to veggie options. Even something simple like swapping half of the mince in your cottage pie for lentils can save you cash, and you’ll probably not even notice the difference. Things like curries and stews can be full of vegetables and cost you much less than buying the same quantity of meat. We don’t need to teach you how to use Google, but it’s an easy place to find delicious recipes to try.
It’s probably quite good for you to eat more plants too :)
Don’t go to the supermarket hungry.
While this sounds like something your parents might say, going to the supermarket hungry is bound to end in a trolley full of treats. Try going later at night after dinner, and you might even find that you can get deals on marked down food (as long as you check expiry dates). This also gives you time to make a plan for the week, and not be in a rush when you get there – both things that will help you avoid buying unnecessary items and going over on your food budget.
Another good tip is to shop around at fruit and vegetable shops where you can as they can be much cheaper.
Don’t blow out on your books.
Check which books you actually need for your course, and also check if you can get any second hand. TradeMe is a good place to look, as well as the university bookshop. If there’s a version available online, this could be an option for saving a bit extra.
Using Wi-Fi wherever you can is a no-brainer, but your mobile plan may also allow you to set reminders for when you go over a pre-determined spend so you don’t get a giant bill.
If you use a credit card, set up an auto-payment or a calendar reminder to pay it off on time. The same goes for bills – set reminders to pay these on time and make sure you get the early payment discounts.
Get the flat in good shape over the winter.
Winter can be expensive for bills. There are loads of guides online with energy saving tips for heating, but some simple things such as blocking drafts underneath doors, drawing the curtains when using the heater, and not going crazy with electric blankets all play a part. Make sure you’re in touch with your landlord so you can report any leaks quickly, and make sure your house is in good condition for living – you don’t want to be getting sick either!
Check out more energy saving tips on dropping your power bill here.
Another flat tip - take photos of your flat when you move in. It may help in the future to prove you didn’t make that hole in the wall that’s always been there :)
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This document does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader. As individual circumstances differ, you should seek appropriate professional advice.
For details about ASB’s Tertiary Package see asb.co.nz/tertiary. ASB’s terms, eligibility and lending criteria apply. At end of period of study you will move to a standard account and standard rates and fees will apply. Fees may change. Refer to asb.co.nz for other fees and charges. Small free fries when you use your Tertiary Visa Debit card to buy something at McDonald’s. Limit of one small fries per person per day. Available after 10.30am.