Money Savings Tips for First Time Uni Students

Being a first-time uni student can be financially challenging; there are a lot of external expenses that you may not have considered on top of everything else.



Being a first-time uni student can be financially challenging; there are a lot of external expenses that you may not have considered on top of everything else. Being savings savvy can help take the pressure off. Take advantage of your new uni status with student discounts or buy second-hand, cook at home and create a budget; there are countless ways to save a little money. Having savings is a great way to be prepared for unexpected costs down the line, having a nest egg for the future or simply treating yourself to something you want.

Below you will find a list of our tried-and-true tips to save money.



Student discount
Being a student has many perks, one of them being student discounts. Signing up for a student card can open countless doors; you will gain access to exclusive promotions, discounts across popular brands, and money off food and entertainment deals. You don’t necessarily need a student card; other student discounts are available. We love nothing more than a cheeky 10% discount when we eat out. Student discounts allow students to enjoy the finer things in life without the financial sting.

Cook at home
We are all familiar with our mother’s favourite line, “there’s food at home.” Unsurprisingly, making food at home is cheaper than getting takeaways and dining out. Start your week with a solid meal plan and stick to it; prep meals for the entire week and limit your groceries to what you need, not what you want. By buying all of your weekly groceries at once, you can plan ways to incorporate the same ingredients throughout your meals; that way, nothing is wasted, and you are making the most of what you bought. You can also price compare to get the best deals.



Create a budget
Once you are aware of how much money you have available each week, you will be able to create a budget to help reduce spending. Make a plan, allocate money for rent and bills, groceries and fuel, and then put money aside for savings. Make room for extra expenses, or work it into your monthly budget; just because you are saving money doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself from time to time. Having a budget will also help you keep track of what you are spending and where you are spending.

Realistic goals
Set yourself financial goals that you can reach. There is nothing more dissuading than failing to meet your expectations. By creating realistic goals, you will be encouraged to keep pushing yourself to achieve higher targets.


Buy second-hand
University can be pricey, a well-known fact, but there are ways to reduce the pinch. While most classes will require you to splash out on books and course-related material, you can get second-hand books or use the library resources. You can also buy second-hand clothes and furniture; visit your local Salvation Army and scope out hidden gems.

Participate in free activities
There are many ways to keep yourself entertained in the city while working with a budget. There is an abundance of free and cheap activities available across NZ that supply endless fun with little to no price tag. Spend your weekends going on hikes, visiting a beach, or visiting the museum.


Get a job
The best way to save money is to make money. Getting a part-time job to fit around your studies is a great way to reduce financial pressure. Having additional money coming in will allow you to relax a little. You will be able to afford necessities, savings and nice activities now and then. You can also increase your hours to boost your saving efforts.

KiwiSaver
Almost everyone in New Zealand has a KiwiSaver account; the work-based savings initiative has helped many Kiwis hit their saving goals. It works by contributing a percentage of your wages into an account. Your employer and the Government also make payments into this account. Your savings can only be accessed when you retire or buy your first home; this is an excellent option for those who struggle with saving money.


Flatting
While the appeal of living solo can be incredibly tempting, flatting is the best way to save pennies. Sharing the cost of rent and bills with flatmates will free up your finances and allow you to put more money into savings each week. You can also join in on flat meals, groceries and household items to lower living costs further. Flatting closer to campus will also cut down costs on transport.


There are many ways to cut costs and save money; finding what works for you is the first step, whether making a plan, creating a budget or watching your savings account grow. Perfecting money-saving skills throughout your study will give you an advantage when you graduate.

-  Shannel Milne, Nxtstep Content Writer

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