Living Outside the Box - Five Simple Money-Saving Tips
Do you ever feel as if you’re running out of money faster than underwear? I know I have, and I might just have found you some easy solutions. As a full-time student I often don’t have what is known as cashola, so I know what I'm talking about.
Lots of people set themselves the goal of living on a set budget, but somehow it never seems to work. I myself have bought things or spent money that I regret, but I try to look at the experience as just another lesson in life (and budgeting).
This is a guide to help you enjoy life and be entertained on a budget. By providing some simple tricks and tips, and letting you know about offers you might be missing out on, I hope that this can help you live a good life within your means.
Here are five quick suggestions to help you keep that hard-earned cash in your pocket!
1. Find Out About Student Discounts
Many TAFEs and universities offer discounts for students at a variety of businesses in the local area. If you’re a student, or about to become one, check with your University or TAFE - you can usually find this information on your institution's website, or in the student diary that gets provided when you enrol.
For example, most students can get cheap movie tickets, discounts at clothing outlets, bookstores, safety equipment suppliers and sporting outlets, to name just a few.
For more about student discounts, check out Youth Central's Student Concessions page.
2. Get a Healthcare Card
If you’re living away from home, as Youth Central's Students Discounts Page suggests, you can obtain benefits from Centrelink that can help along the way. Most students are eligible for a Centrelink Healthcare Card or Concession Card (these are usually means tested - your eligibility basically depends on how much you earn).
Having a card like this entitles you to cheaper public transport and cheaper bills like power and gas.
You don't have to be receiving payments from Centrelink to have one of these cards, but if you are getting a Centrelink benefit, you should check the Centrelink website (new window) to find out what other benefits and assistance you qualify for.
For more about Healthcare Cards, check out Youth Central's Student Concessions page
3. Keep an Eye on the Sales
When buying clothes, you can often score great bargains from fashion retailers - either low- or high-end stores - in the June-August and Christmas/New Year period. This is because retailers usually clear previous/excess stock at these times.
You often see 50% off sales as well as Buy 2 for $20 sales, and so on. So, if you can hold off until sale time, it's usually a great time to buy.
4. Don't Pay Your Bills All At Once
With utility bills (power and gas), as well as some phone/internet bills, you can save yourself from having to fork out a lot of money all at once if you go every one or two weeks to the Post Office with your bills and pay a small amount onto that bill. Paying a little bit every now and then is sometimes easier to manage than paying the whole lot right on the due date.
For example, every week or fortnight I put $10 on our power, gas and water bills, as well as phone and internet (depending on my finances). Therefore, when it comes time for the bill to arrive, instead of having a $300 electricity bill, it might only be $200 and sometimes we are even in credit. I promise that’s a good feeling!
NOTE: Make sure you check with your electricity/gas/telecommunications providers, because not all companies let you do this.
5. Get Yourself a Loyalty Card
This suggestion might be in the ‘obvious’ category, but do you purchase a daily coffee, or do you have breakfast or lunch at a specific café every day, or even once or twice a week? If you do, it's a good idea to see if they offer any rewards or if they have a loyalty program.
I have a loyalty card from my local cafe that gets me a free coffee after I buy 5 coffees. Even though you might end up spending about $20 to get your free coffee, it does provide you with a feeling of warmth (and for some reason it always tastes better when it's free).
Most coffee shops have loyalty cards where if you purchase 10 or so coffees/hot drinks you are entitled to a free beverage. Many cafes provide simillar loyalty services and programs with their food items as well.
What You Want vs. What You Need
Many people think that saving money means not having a life, but they're wrong. It’s more about saving and spending on things you want after you've paid for what you need, rather than splurging on what you want and not having enough for the things you need.
Hopefully now you have a few ways to help you to avoid the need to go looking for a cardboard box to live in.
Like this article? Want to write one like it? Find out how on our Get Published pages!
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.