Easy As: 6 Hacks Students Can Use To Save Serious Cash

Are you a student struggling to make ends meet? Maybe you’re doing okay, but hoping to get ahead with your savings and investments. Whatever the case, if you want to know how to save money as a student, you’ve come to the right place. Study costs can add up quickly, especially with the cost of living increasing year by year. With your student debt growing and the pressure to succeed increasing each semester, it’s not always possible to fund your life with a job on top of your studies. Thankfully, there are some strategies you can use to get your finances working for you.

ITP’s tax accountants have done a bit of brainstorming to come up with the six most powerful methods students can use to save money. From government allowances to savings hacks, these tried and tested tips should help you build a strong financial foundation and invest in your future.

Close-up piggy bank
Close-up white piggy bank and US dollars. Isolated on a white background

1. Check if you’re entitled to receive Centrelink

The Australian Government offers a number of allowances to help students. You may be entitled to one or more.

Are you 16 – 21 and studying, training, or looking for work?

You may be eligible for Youth Allowance. To apply, you must be:

  • 18 to 24 and engaged in full-time study
  • 16 to 24 and engaged in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship
  • 16 to 17 and living independently out of necessity or for study
  • 16 to 17 and engaged in full-time study after having completed year 12 or an equivalent qualification

Are you a student or apprentice over 25?

You may be eligible for Austudy. Austudy helps full-time students and apprentices aged 25 or more. You may be able to get Austudy if you are:

  • aged 25+
  • studying full-time in an approved course at an approved educational institution
  • undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship

Are you an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student or apprentice?

You may be eligible for Abstudy. Abstudy can help with education costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who are studying at a secondary school, TAFE, university, or other approved tertiary institution. Abstudy also covers approved apprenticeships.

You’ll need to set up an online account and then go into a Centrelink shopfront to finish your application. Remember to bring with you:

  • Confirmation of your ID – for example, a license, ID card, your birth certificate, or a passport
  • A confirmation letter from your uni, TAFE, or college outlining your acceptance offer and the cost of the course

It can take some time to process your claim, but you can speed things along by having all your paperwork in order. Still, it’s important to know that it could take several weeks before you start to receive your payments.

2. Use your student card for everything!

Your student card gives you fantastic discounts on a wide range of goods and services. You can save a surprising amount of cash on things like:

  • Going to the movies
  • Attending sporting events
  • Attending concerts and other live events
  • Purchasing clothing and other goods
  • Using public transport
  • Essentials like bank fees
  • Tax return preparation

These savings add up, so don’t forget to keep your card with you. Ask about student discounts everywhere you go, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many establishments are happy to help you out.

Pro tax tip: ITP offers a special discount for students and other eligible young people. Not only will you save big on your tax preparation fees, but our skilled accountants will also make sure you’re getting the best tax refund possible. Visit our student tax return portal today to get your tax sorted the easy way.

3. Find a flexible job

It can be tricky to balance study with work, but in the era of remote work and flexible schedules, it can be done! Look for weekend work, online work, or night shifts (if you can handle them).

As a student, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the right pay. You can do this by checking your payslip to make sure it lines up with what you were promised. You can also check your wages against the minimum rates stipulated by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

4. Look for work in the right places

Need help finding a job that will fit around your study requirements? Try the following:

  • Register with local recruitment or employment agencies. They’ll know who’s hiring part-time or casual staff and will help you with your resume.
  • Look for job advertisements on campus noticeboards and in local shops
  • Ask at your university student services or students’ union – you might be able to snag something close to campus or even on campus. Very convenient!
  • Search online job websites like Seek, CareerOne, and Jora.
  • Ask your fellow students. Many of them will know of local jobs, particularly those who have studied in previous years.

5. Save on clothes

Do you really need new clothes? Fashion is always changing, and if you feel pressured to keep up with it, you can end up losing all your spare cash on clothes. Before you get tempted by those sales, check op-shops and local markets for bargains. It’s also worth taking a look at a compound interest calculator so you can see how your money could grow if you invest it rather than wasting it on clothes you’ll soon tire of anyway.

6. Learn to cook!

If you learn to cook just three or four simple, healthy meals, you can save an astonishing amount of cash compared to students who are always getting fast food. If all else fails, try two-minute noodles with added veggies and an egg or two for protein!

The right mindset for saving money as a student

Your mindset is arguably the most important aspect of your money-saving endeavours. See it as a frustrating situation you’re forced to deal with, and you’ll stifle your efforts. See it as a game you’re playing, with the goal being to set your future self up for success, and you’ll be far more likely to achieve your goals and have fun while you’re at it.

When it comes to the tax side of things, ITP’s certified accountants are always on hand to help. We offer free tax advice to our clients all year round, so if you want help with anything from maximising your deductions to perfecting your record-keeping process, feel free to get in touch. You can call us, drop into your nearest branch, or use our online booking system to arrange an appointment.

Sources: www.ato.gov.aumoneysmart.gov.au

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