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Sewmay

QUT Student who studies Information Systems in a dark academia setting. Lives on coffee, strawberries and binge-watching anime.

Living on a tight budget as an international student

One downside of being a college student is the constant struggle of being broke. Saving money and budgeting become essential in your life when you live alone as an international student.

By saving, I don’t mean you have to have instant noodles every night and tell yourself bon appetite. A little bit of research can go a long way and to help you out, I have made a note of how you can afford good meals every week under 20 AUD.

Plan ahead

Plan what you are going to buy and eat throughout the week and list everything down. Stick to the plan and you will be good to go.

I usually have my list on my phone and plan the meals daily which saves a lot of time for me. Once you have a meal plan for the whole week you won’t have to idle around the fridge fretting over what to eat.

Also, it’s always nice to make yourself a cup of coffee/tea before you start working which will prevent you from snacking or spending money on unhealthy snacks.

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Setting a budget

When I create a meal plan for the week I write down everything I need to buy. I generally do my weekly shopping on Wednesday mornings. I head to Aldi and buy several core ingredients like eggs, a few packets of chicken noodles, pasta and frozen vegetables which can be used for three weeks at the most.

Afterwards, I shop at Woolies for soft white bread, milk and wraps, among others. All of the items I buy would come under 20 AUD, and some of them last for several weeks. Moreover, you get loyalty cards from all the supermarkets to earn points after each transaction.

Check local supermarkets

Supermarkets like Sam Coco’s which I found while on a stroll in the neighbourhood offers bulk buying, fruits and vegetables in buckets. You would be able to find 1kg worth of sweet potatoes, mangos, banana, potatoes and other kinds of vegetables for under a dollar which is a pretty good deal.

Also, if shop during the evening around 7 p.m. many food items will be reduced for half a price or even less than that. Once I was able to buy a bucket of sweet potato for just 0.27 AUD which I must say is a very good deal.

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Download apps and passes

It’s always ideal to download fast food apps such as Maccas, Hungry Jacks, GYG because you can win free food, discounts and more. If you are a bubble/boba tea addict like me it’s always good to download passes so you can get free items once in a while.

Order take-out once in a while

When you have money saved or if you really don’t feel like cooking at home you can always go grab a pizza from your nearest Dominos just for 5 AUD. You can also order some Korean fried chicken or Mexican food and it will help you feel better knowing that you earned it.

If you are living with housemates, you can look for deals online and pool in the money for the food, while still having money to spare for the rest of the week.

Did you find this article helpful?

You can explore more stories by international students in our blog.

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