As a university student, managing your finances can be a real challenge. The cost of living in Melbourne can quickly add up, so knowing how to budget for inflation can make it easier to allocate your money efficiently. By following a few practical strategies, you can budget effectively and make the most of your college years without breaking the bank.
1. Use Apps for Budgeting
Using budgeting apps like Mint, PocketGuard, or YNAB (You Need A Budget) to track your expenses and income is common among students to digitally keep track of their expenses. These apps can help you set spending limits and savings goals, providing a helpful reminder of your spending and saving habits.
2. Anticipate High Expenses in the First Part of the Year
One essential rule of budgeting for university life in Melbourne is to be prepared for a large upfront cost at the beginning of the academic year. Expenses such as tuition fees, books, and social outings can be substantial, so plan your budget accordingly. Make sure you have a cushion of funds to cover these initial expenses without straining your monthly budget.
3. Don’t Limit Yourself – Create a Plan
University life isn’t just about studying; it’s also about making lifelong memories. Don’t restrict yourself from social activities because of financial worries. Instead, create a well-thought-out monthly plan that allocates funds for socialising, outings, and entertainment. By budgeting for fun, you can enjoy Melbourne’s vibrant culture without overspending. You can check out our guide to student-friendly activities here for some budget-friendly things to do.
4. Utilise Student Discounts and Cards
Melbourne offers a multitude of discounts for students. Grab a student card and take advantage of discounts on public transport, movie tickets, restaurants, and more. Your student status can be a valuable asset to your budget.
5. Walk or Cycle Everywhere
Melbourne is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets and efficient public transport, which makes it easy to get around without a car. Walking, cycling or using public transport not only saves money but also helps you explore the city and stay active.
6. Second-Hand Options for Textbooks, Clothing and more
Textbooks can be exorbitantly expensive, but there’s a workaround. Look for second-hand textbooks from fellow students or online marketplaces (or if you are here at University College you can borrow your textbooks from the library for the semester at no cost). Additionally, thrift stores and online platforms can provide affordable clothing, furniture, and other necessities. Embrace the art of thrifting to save big on essential items.
7. Seek Part-Time Employment
Finding a part-time job can be a smart move to supplement your income. Many local businesses, cafes, and retail stores hire university students, providing not only financial support but also valuable work experience. Just ensure that your job doesn’t interfere with your studies.
Budgeting for inflation as a university student may seem daunting, but it’s entirely manageable with the right strategies. Using budgeting apps, planning for upfront expenses, and embracing student discounts are all essential steps. Remember to allocate funds for social activities, opt for economical choices, and consider part-time employment to further boost your financial resilience. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your college experience in Melbourne while staying financially responsible.
Written by Martha Conheady, 2nd year Commerce Student, University of Melbourne and resident at University College