In the is article, I hope to suggest some ways to help you avoid further debt while actually studying and attending University.
Ways to make money
Make sure you always have a summer job lined up well before you come home at the end of the year. This is so important, becuase you actually have a few months of the year where you can solely focus on making money, and not having to worry about your University work. Places like the warehouse and supermarkets, and other retailers are willing to take on university students to cope with the Christmas rushes.
2. Look for small commitment money earning opportunities throughout the academic year. There are many jobs of the nature around campus, and many “one off jobs ” if you know where to find them, such as student associations, and the student job search website. I was able to be hired as a note taker for disabled students in my class. All I had to do was turn up to every class, take good notes, and photocopy them. Good money for something I was doing anyway. Often people in your university town will ask for a group of students to come mow their lawns, or stack wood, or something else of that nature. There are plenty of opportunities, you just need to keep an eye out.
Consider getting a job at some form of restaurant or fast food place. Not only will you get wages, quite often they will supply you a meal, or give you left over food. I know fast food is not the healthiest option, but this is an article on saving money, so free food is free food.
Start a small business. Now if you have a car, you could offer to help move students stuff when they move flats, or take rubbish to the tip for a small fee.In the age of facebook, it is easy to advertise for free such services to most of the student population. You could offer to drive people to the supermarket, or give rides to town. If you don’t have a car, you could offer cleaning services, or sewing repairs. Any skill you might have that you are able to offer to other students, at a cheaper fare, could make you money. Perhaps you could upscale and get the whole flat involved. Just make sure you keep your self safe.You have the right to deny someone a service if you feel unsafe in their home or letting them into your car. Take someone with you.
5. Make sure you pass over half of what you are studying. Government funds are conditional, and if you start failing for no good reason (e.g sickness, death of a loved one) then you will loose your funds, especially your “free money‘ student allowance. In some ways you have to work for that money too, so keep studying hard.
Ways to save money
1. University these days seems to be as much about socializing as it is studying. However socializing can be rather expensive. Instead of eating out, perhaps have a pot luck dinner. Have a movie night, and cuddle up with blankets on the couch. During my time at university, my friends and I would get together and have a cake night, where we would buy a couple of boxes of cake mix, and get together at someones flat and bake them. We had a lot of fun like this, only for a few dollars, plus maybe some extra money for wine.
You can make night clubbing cheaper in a number of ways if you cant go without it. Have one person remain sober, and have you drive to and from the club, saving you money on cabs. This also means you can leave your eftpos card at home, because you cant use the excuse you need it for a cab. Just make sure you rotate round who has to remain sober. Make sure you eat before you go out. I don't want to endorse pre drinking, becuase people usually binge drink for this reason but it is really cheaper than buying at a club.
3. Do not use your dryer in your flat. They really ramp up the power bill. I know so many people who used their dryer, but refused to use their heat pump in their student flat. The heat pump will cost less than the dryer to run, and it will dry your washing, as well keep the flat warm. On the topic of power, make sure you shop around for a good deal. Talk to your parents, they may have some useful insights for you.
Be careful about how you spend money on food. Takeaways are easy, but they are not cheap or healthy. When you live in a hall, try to eat the food they provide for you. In a flat, cook as a flat. The more people you cook for, the cheaper it will be. Try to buy the cheapest brand of a food item. Make food that can easily be used as left overs. Consider, if your flat does not already have one, buying a chest freezer. You can save a lot of time and money by mass cooking food and freezing it. Things like soups, curries and stir fries, pizzas, lasagnas, etc. It also gives you the option to buy up large on items like bread, milk, family packs of meat, etc, if the are on a decent special.
Make some good investments in things like thermal clothing, and warm bedding. As an ex- Otago student, I know how cold student flats can get. Having good bedding and clothing will serve you well in a few ways. You can go a little longer without turning on the heating, or have it on a lower setting. Plus having a warmer layer closer to your skin, you can stay warm outside of the flat, and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Don’t buy coffee on campus! Invest in a decent travel mug, and bring a cup with you to University if you have to. Same applies to water bottles, and food. University have plenty of coffee, Drinks and food on site, but for a price for the convince. You will save yourself a heap of money if you can bring your own lunch, snacks, drinks, and coffees.
Cut down on expensive luxuries. Do you really need sky in your flat? Most students these days opt for high speed, unlimited internet. Consider whether you would be able to access the things you want to watch on sky online. Saving you heaps on the expensive monthly subscription fee. TV is also a huge power consumer, so take away the temptation to sit in front of it all day.
And that concludes the series of articles about student finances! I hope this has given everybody who has read this someone insight to students financial situations, and some heads ups, and pointers to helping those avoid as much debt as possible during their time at University.
Remember its very easy to get into debt, and very difficult to get out.