Money-saving hacks that’ll help you survive sem one

February 20, 2017
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Student life can be one giant awkward situation, so we’ve teamed up with SPRITE to help you stay cool, calm and cut through the heat.


Uni life can be pretty awkward without worrying about the financials. But given that textbooks, rent and food all conspire to drain your balance faster than a week at Splendour, worrying is kind of a necessity.

To help you conquer this financial quagmire, here are five ways you can stop your money leaking away – and maybe even claw a little back.

Know thy weekly specials

There’s nothing more awkward than having your card get declined at the checkout – it happens to us all at some point. But with a little planning, you can pretty much buy all you need on sale, every single week. Whenever you’re at your local store, just ask for a catalogue, then take it home and circle whatever items you’re likely to eat. Voilà, your weekly shop just got cheaper.

Planning your meals around the sales catalogue will not only save you money, it’ll give your meals a bit of variety. Plus, having a grocery list – rather than simply browsing around the supermarket – makes you much less likely to splurge on non-essentials.

Just make sure you don’t fall for the ‘false savings’ trap. Sure, that fancy sirloin steak might be going for sixty per cent off, but if it’s still more expensive than the oyster blade steak, stick with the oyster blade.

Invest in a thermos

A solid leak-proof thermos is one of the best investments you can make in uni life. Even if you’re not a big coffee drinker right now, just wait until it’s week 10 and you’re getting more assessments than hours of sleep. The almighty bean is a fact of student life.

But when you take into account that the average cup of Australian java costs around $3.40 per cup, it’s a fact that can add up fast. On the other hand, making your own coffee at home – be it instant, ground or pod-derived – costs at most 60c per cup. Being able to take your homebrewed coffee to lectures without spilling it all over yourself? Priceless. (Well, not quite – a good thermos costs around $35, but will pay for itself in 12 lattes or less).

Embrace e-commerce

Need extra money for textbooks, gadgets, or a hot Tinder date? If you want to avoid the awkward convo where you tell your date you can’t foot the bill, you might want to consider selling your stuff online.

If you want to trade your stuff for cash, there are plenty of options for getting a fair trade. Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are all teeming with people looking to secure some second-hand goodness. Just take some nice photos of your stuff, write a compelling (but truthful) sales pitch, and watch your junk turn into glorious PayPal dollars.

Pro tip: many toys and video games from the 90s and 00s are now considered old enough to be retro and can fetch good prices online. Sort through your old junk – you might have a small fortune hiding somewhere.

Avoid temptation

Most people’s surplus spending is a matter of pure habit. It’s easy to fork out a few bucks for a latte when the café is on your walk home. Plan your day so you take the least-temping route possible.

If you’re a bookworm, avoid bookstores like the plague. Use your uni’s library instead. If you’re into video games, make EB Games a no-fly zone and change your account’s password to something absurdly long and hard to remember. To all you fashion junkies, same thing goes for eBay.

Getting through sem one is always a struggle. But if you budget well and use these hacks, you can totally rock the povo student lifestyle. Just remember to hide the liquor receipts from your parents; that can lead to some awkward conversations.

Now that you know how to own those awkies money moments, click here to tell us your awkward moment you could win 1 of 10 x $1,000 cash cards.


Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and sometime voice-actor, Joel Svensson pretends to be smart at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Image: Giphy