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Mehek Chowdhury

Originally from Bangladesh, Mehek is studying a Master's of Teaching at Monash, Melbourne.

Budget tips for the financially savvy student

Here are five budgeting tips to reduce that anxiety and save some bucks.

It does not take long for an international student to realise how expensive it is to live in Australia. In fact, almost 50% of international students in Australia report ongoing anxiety because of their finances.

Make a budget

Keep a track on your spending. Make a list of necessities (rent, bills, transport, food, course supplies) and non-necessities (almost EVERYTHING ELSE). Remember: a Netflix subscription is not a necessity.

Make a budget for each category and match it against your spending records to check whether you’re on track (thankfully, most baking apps record your spending).

Save money on food

Eating out

I love my kebabs but I also know one kebab is equal to three home-cooked meals. So if you are on a budget, limit eating out.

For those who are new at cooking, check out these links to help you get started:

Buy discounted grocery items

Keep an eye out for discounts as you are wandering between aisles at a supermarket. Products with the supermarket chain’s logo (such as at Woolworths or Coles) are called homebrand products and are manufactured or retailed by the supermarket chain. They are usually cheaper than other brands.

UberEats

It would eat away at your conscience. So uninstall food-delivery apps to save yourself from overspending on food.

Cheap activities

Stay indoors

Invite your friends over. Challenge them to watch the newest horror flick that gave your sister nightmares or play a round of your favourite board game.

Outdoors

If you love going out, don’t lose hope! It is likely that your city offers many cheap or free activities around the city (Check out this list to get started). Your university can also have events with free registration. If everything else fails, going for a stroll while rocking out to your favourite music is not as sad as it sounds.

Cheap shopping

Second-hand

Someone’s junk can be your gold. For books, check out StudentVIP. For clothes and accessories, check out second-hand thrift stores. For almost everything from furniture to foot scrubs, look it up on Gumtree and eBay.

Buying cheap

Visit factory outlets like DFO to get great deals on brands. Join UNiDAYS to get  discounts from multiple major retailers. You can also frequent Kmart, Big W and Target for budget shopping options.

Save money at uni

You can simply borrow books from your library instead of buying one. Many books are available in e-book format now, which usually costs less than a hardcopy.

Also, most courses will hurl a tsunami of journals and readings at you as part of your study. Save heaps of money simply by not printing journals. Switch to digital reading via laptop or tablet. I saved almost AU$150 last semester on print money alone.

Living is Australia can result in empty-nest syndrome for our parents and empty-wallet syndrome for us. While there is no way of escaping paying for essentials, it's never too soon to start planning the changes you can make to adjust your spending.

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