A guide on when to stinge and when to splurge

March 21, 2017
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Not only is Centrelink a continuous, and frankly, harmful joke, now we’ve had our Sunday penalty rates cut. That’s cool, no worries. We don’t need food or a place to live, whatever. Money is now a more precious commodity than ever for young people. With that and our lack of “real world experience” (because begging in the streets isn’t “real” enough) it can be hard to figure out where to spend your precious coins.

Splurge: Mattress

We all know what it’s like to suffer through a few sleepless nights. It’s survivable, but really not good. We literally (no, not just for emphasis) need sleep to live and a good mattress will save money by preventing physio bills down the track. It pretty much pays for itself.

Stinge: Furniture

Really, there a tonne of ways to save on furniture. Heaps of discount furniture stores, Gumtree, family, friends, verge collections, garage sales, bricks and planks of wood for bookshelves, milk crates to sit on, jars as glassware (don’t judge me). When you start earning #adult money, then you can invest in some decent furniture. Until then, go for that eclectic, squatters’, hobo-chic vibe.

Splurge: Jeans and shoes

Jeans and shoes – the stuff most of us live in pretty much every single day. While it’s tempting to buy cheap and #trending fashion (which we will get to in a sec) a good pair of jeans is the basis for basically any outfit – work, uni, social life. I know I’m going to sound like a parent but, a good pair of shoes (like Docs) will postpone visits to the physio or podiatrist for many years to come.

Stinge: Clothing trends

Everyday shoes and jeans are going to get the most wear and tear and their least likely to be affected by styles and trends. We’ve all bought things that cost way too much and we wore about three times because it went out of style in a week. Don’t do that. If you’re going to buy a “fad” item, get the el cheapo version.

Semi-splurge: Sunscreen

Wrinkles. Skin cancer. ‘Nuff said.

Semi-save: Makeup/toiletries/smell-pretty-stuff

I’m not even going to touch makeup, mainly because I have a serious problem, but also because it’s such a personal choice. Beyond basic hygiene stuff, being young and gorgeous (now is probably the best you’re ever going to look) you really don’t need much to look your best.

Splurge: Huuuurrrsss

Well-groomed hair instantly makes you look not so shit, even if you’re suffering with a cheap outfit, less than air-brushed skin, and Trainspotting-style under eye bags. The nicest outfit, amazing skin and under eye bags that look like they’ve been drenched in La Mer since birth doesn’t disguise shit hair. Nice hair is cheaper.

Save: Health care

Most unis have a doctor on campus and if not, there will be some sort of service that will direct you to bulk-billing doctors, dentists and optometrists in your area. While it is important to take care of your health while your young (and basically, all the time) you probably won’t need anything more extensive than a regular tooth cleaning, mole patrol and basic sexual health stuff.

Splurge: Bulk foods

Bulk buy, bulk prep, bulk freeze, bulk savings.

Save: Takeaway

Coffee: patron saint of tired students. Invest in a thermos (which is about one week’s worth coffee) and BYO. No chance of burnt beans. Remember how you’re going to bulk buy food because of my amazing advice? BYO lunches and snacks. BYOing, while slightly inconvenient sometimes, is kinder to your health, your wallet and the environment.

Ultimately: Sales and Discounts

Places like UNiDAYS, Student Edge and Uni Student Discounts can help with all of the above. And that’s just the beginning. Every time you buy something, be that person that asks for a student discount. Make a list of the things you need and wait for a sale. Also, sometimes buying online comes with more perks or discounts than buying in person.

Annabel Sweetnam-Groom

Annabel is a Journalism graduate who is completing her Law and Criminology degrees and a Modern History minor at Murdoch. She enjoys whisky, pizza, and sleeping.

Image: Giphy