Five genius ways to save big without sacrificing your uni lifestyle

September 06, 2016
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Want to get a grip on your finances? Thought so. Country Education Foundation and Hijacked have teamed up to bring you tips and tricks on how to save your hard-earned cash while still enjoying a baller #unilyf.

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Want to maintain your whirlwind uni lifestyle and save money at the same time? Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to replace your meals with dried leaves and corn husks to do so.

Follow these five tips and your wallet will be purring like Donald Trump’s hairpiece in no time.

Revise your subscriptions

Phone, internet, Netflix, your Inspirations mag subscription – all these essential services add up fast. While your Inspirations subscription is obviously non-negotiable, others can be swapped for cheaper options, or even cut altogether.

I know these are probably the last words you want to hear, but it might be a good idea to call your telco. Once you’re off hold (happy New Year, by the way), ask the operator if they can whittle down your plan a little. You might be paying for data you don’t use (yeah right), or more likely, for calls you never make.

If you’re contemplating starting a new phone contract, here’s a pro-tip: every phone released since 2014 is basically the same slab of touchscreen repackaged as The Next Big Thing.

Getting last year’s model instead of Sexiest Android Ever #273 can save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the contract – and all it’ll cost you is a little prestige in the pocket-candy department.

Get your tech second-hand

I know that dude at JB Hi-Fi might seem like your average well-adjusted nerd who just has your best interests at heart, but that’s because he’s really a stone-cold sales shark who grew a beard and a sense of humour for the sole purpose of parting you from your hard-earned cash.

If you’re in the market for a laptop, go to your local second-hand tech retailer and look at some ex-corporate business machines. They might not be as slim and sexy as those fine young things at JB, but in terms of sheer byte for buck, they can’t be beat.

Make your meals in batches

How many times have you got to the end of study session, felt your stomach growling like the three-headed dog from Harry Potter, and realised you had nothing in the fridge? How many times has this resulted in a run to Macca’s or Subway? Your empty fridge and giant mutt of a stomach are costing you money.

Next time you decide to spurn the proud academic tradition of not cooking and actually put pan to stovetop, throw in triple the usual amount of ingredients. Once your meal is cooked, put two thirds of it into an old takeaway box and slap it in the freezer. Consume the other third like the crazed animal society has made you.

Doing this two or three times a week (or alternatively, quad- or quintupling the ingredients) will provide you with a magical freezer that never runs out of frozen meals. This should kick your junk-food habit right in the junk, saving you money, time and self-respect.

Limit the lattés

Coffee might not seem like much of a wallet buster. But when you take into account that the average Australian adult drinks nine cups of coffee a week – at an average price of $3.25 per cup – that’s over $100 per month spent on finely crafted bean-water. More than enough to buy a basic coffee machine, or even an hour’s parking in Melbourne.

There are several strategies for cutting back here. You can try bringing a thermos, but in my experience, a thermos that won’t leak in your bag and then explode all over you in front of a bunch of pretty third-years will cost around $30. A small price to pay for dignity, perhaps, but if you don’t want to lay out that kind of cash, an even cheaper option is to just bring some instant lattés to uni and pay 20c for a cup of hot water at the café.

You might look povo to the max, sure – but you’ll be laughing all the way to the online banking system come the end of semester, while those milk-stashed goons at the coffee shop will be lamenting overdraft fees and weeping softly into their milk frothers.

Relax!

The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to blow your paycheck on coping purchases like food, alcohol, or yet more copies of Inspiration mag.

Eight hours’ sleep, regular exercise and healthy eating aren’t just random things your mum says are good. They’re proven stress-relievers that can help you save cash. Make these things the Holy Trinity of your daily routine.

And chill out once in a while. You’re freaking us out.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Image: Giphy

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Ready to take the next step in your education but wondering how you’ll afford to pay for your degree? CEF’s Scholarship Guide has all the tips you need to apply for financial assistance to help you get on your way. Click here to learn more and apply for scholarships.

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