The dog ate my bills – how to get by when you’re studying
The unofficial motto of students everywhere might be ‘never do today what you can put off until tomorrow’. If an assignment isn’t due right now, it gets tossed on a desk and forgotten. It’s a policy that’s been the cause of many a caffeine-fuelled all-nighter (and the occasional canine-related tall story!), and probably isn’t the wisest way to handle homework – but learning this is part of the fun of being a student! Fortunately, thanks to Commonwealth supported university places most of us can safely discard our student financial statements (usually on top of our unfinished homework) confident that we won’t have to pay anything back until we’re in a position to afford it. But that doesn’t mean that your education is free. Your HECS-HELP loan won’t cover many of the other costs associated with going to uni – textbooks, union fees, equipment costs, the mountain of photocopying you’ll do – and you’ll still have to pay your living and travel expenses. The amount you’ll have to pay will depend on where and what you study, but it’ll rarely be cheap. Putting off your homework might earn you an academic penalty, but if you can’t make ends meet in the long term you might end up with a dunce’s cap instead of a degree.
If you’re not sure how you’re going to pay for anything, you’ll need to look into increasing your income. Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payments – you will have to meet certain criteria, so check out the Centrelink site to see if you qualify. A lot of universities also provide assistance to help students find part-time work, and employment sites like SEEK are always worth a look. Remember not to take on too much work though – you’ll need time to get to that homework eventually!
If you’re already at uni and find you’re in serious financial strife, see if your university offers emergency loans. There are limits on how much you can borrow, but the loan will usually be interest-free for a specified term, so it can be a better option than taking on debt from a financial institution.
Choosing the right living arrangements can also make a big difference to your expenses, but it can be difficult to estimate your day-to-day costs in advance, particularly if you’re attending a university far from home. The cost of living can vary a lot from place to place, but many universities offer information on their websites that will assist you in working out whether your budget can cover living on or near campus, or whether you should live somewhere with cheaper rent and commute.
Getting an education can be an expensive business – after all, you’ll be putting in a lot of hours for no pay! But if you keep an eye on your expenses and access all the options available to increase your income, your time at uni can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You’ll be able to make new friends, go to lots of parties and find out exactly how much you can do in one night when your major assignment’s due tomorrow!
If you liked this article you might also be interested in these other articles about money management:
Share your thoughts,
ideas and tips with the rest of the YFYM
community ... visit our live forum
to have your say! Make sure you get the latest money management advice - bookmark YFYM today!
Share your thoughts, ideas and tips with the rest of the YFYM community ... visit our live forum to have your say!
Make sure you get the latest money management advice - bookmark YFYM today!
Analaura Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.
|Go back to the list|