Hello friends, here is the blog piece where I tell you all of my woes around budgeting and having money at university.

So the first question, before we look at cutting costs, is the question of where it comes from. So I’m at Auckland on a mixture of the money I saved during high school and the money I raised from scholarships. I worked a lot during summer and saved up a decent bit. Other than that I have two jobs which have a combined hour count of about 9 hours a week. Whilst my scholarship covers anything and everything to do with halls, my working is mostly to save money for flatting next year, and to pay for my lifestyle.

I’d say I spend about $50 per week on random things, ranging from going out to dinner when flame tree doesn’t look particularly appetizing, on hobbies I may have, bills, or alcohol. One thing that is nice about living at the halls of residence is that your food and electricity is all taken care of, which is nice.

I’ve struggled to get below this $50 a week limit, and boy oh boy was this fee bigger before I knew how to save a bit of money in the first semester. At university there are always some kind of unknown expense that you will end up having to pay for. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to plan for. Maybe you lose your calculator the day before your economics exam. Things like that. These sort of random things that come up amount to about $30 per week, and ranges from everything course related that you don’t expect (course related costs help with this), or dinners you want to go to. The other $20 comes from frivolous spending. Perhaps sometimes it’s 3AM and I’m really fiending for a pie from break time. It adds up, but not too much.

The thing about university is that you’re not supposed to starve yourself or anything like that. I mean, at halls you do get your food given straight to you, but that’s beside the point. You shouldn’t try to reduce costs to the point of not having fun. This article may be about trying to cut expenditure or whatever, but you shouldn’t let that box you in to missing out on great opportunities. I think it comes down to knowing when it’s okay to splurge a little and when you need to be prudent.

So I have a job (aside from this one!) which eats out a few hours of my day and helps me afford things like these random costs but I’ll leave you with a warning. Jobs take quite a bit out of your day and they mean you can’t spend as much time studying or out having fun. So I’d advise anyone who is about to enter university to be cautious about how much time to spend on work, since it isn’t the only thing that you will have to worry about. Don’t be afraid to take out a student loan. It’s more worth it than missing out on great experiences you could have at university.

All the best.

  • Chenchen