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How to tackle student life on a budget

Written by Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts student, Maeve Moroney.

Going to university is a significant decision in a person’s life. While there are obvious costs associated with studying, being a student doesn’t have to break the bank. There are so many ways to save and earn money as you study that don’t require you to completely sacrifice your social life or mental health.

Here are five ways you can earn money during your university journey to help you balance some of the bigger costs of student life.

1. Balance casual work with study

Once you begin university, your schedule is likely going to be far more flexible than it was in high school. This will give you more opportunities to fit in casual work around your degree and other commitments.

Since moving to the Gold Coast, I have worked as a learn to swim teacher alongside my studies to earn a part-time income. I have friends who have worked for tutoring companies, in retail, at high schools and even at Bond itself! There are plenty of opportunities for part-time and casual work on the Gold Coast, regardless of your level of experience. Visit job advertisement websites such as Seek and Indeed to explore what opportunities might be available to you in your local area, or even remotely.

2. Develop a side hustle

While working for an employer is a great opportunity for resume building and skill development, it’s always wise to pursue a side hustle too, if this is something that interests you. A side hustle allows you the flexibility to be your own boss and to explore your creative side, and to make additional money to help you throughout your studies.

One common side hustle for Bondies is private tutoring. This is an opportunity to use the skills and knowledge you’ve developed throughout your degree to tutor local school students and help them achieve their academic goals. I find this side hustle super rewarding and a great way to be in control of my own hours and schedule.

If tutoring’s not your thing, there are a whole host of other potential side hustles, such as selling your artwork, babysitting, developing a product or even blogging. Whatever your niche is, make sure it is legally compliant and that you are reporting your income correctly. Oh, and be sure to enjoy it – there’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day of work and/or study and regretting your decision to hustle hard!

3. Keep an eye out for resident fellow positions

At Bond, there are three resident fellows that live in each residential building. Two of these are Bond University students, and one is a staff member at the University. Each person appointed to this position is on duty for a third of the semester to assist students with any issues they may be experiencing on campus. In return, they receive free accommodation, and are only required to pay for their dining card fees each semester. These sought-after positions are a great way to lower your expenses while studying at Bond, and also to give back to new students and the University.

Resident fellow positions in on-campus accommodation are a great way to save money

4. Be savvy with your food

As a student, it’s so easy to default to eating out instead of cooking or having leftovers at home. Don’t get me wrong, though – grabbing takeaway when you’re busy with study is sometimes the only thing that gets me through university! This is okay occasionally, but opting to cook your own meals is a massive money saver.

If you’re wondering where to start, look through some basic recipes online to find ones that are quick, cheap, and easy to freeze so you can cook in bulk. This is a super-easy way to ensure you always have food if life gets a little overwhelming – simply whip one of your premade creations out of the freezer, reheat and relax. If you have housemates, you might like to try cooking for each other a couple of nights a week to decrease expenses overall. However you go about it, remember that making small sacrifices here and there will go a long way on a student budget. Shopping around for your groceries can also help with saving money!

5. Make the most of Bond’s free facilities

Bond students have access to a range of facilities for free once they start university. One way to save money as a student is to make the most of these services! For example, you may want to rethink your local gym or pool membership and use Bond’s instead for free. Likewise, Bond offers free medical and counselling services to all students, as well as incredible academic support through the Academic Skills Centre.

Whatever route you take, there are so many varied ways to save a little cash while you’re studying, and to make it work on a student budget. From taking on additional work to being savvy with your spending, just be sure that you’re not overwhelming or depriving yourself – university is a stressful time, so it’s got to be about balance.

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