Let’s face it – life is expensive. And to make things worse, the cost of living and prices everywhere have gone up. Being a uni student doesn’t make things any easier, either – so here’s what a day in the life of me, a second year science student, looks like while trying to navigate the uni life, while trying to keep money in mind (and more of it in my pocket!)
7am: rise and shine ☀️
7-8:45: get ready for uni (yes, it does take me that long, and it’s only on a good day I’m not rushing out the door to get the bus!)
Money hack: I highly recommend signing up to UNIDAYS: it’s a free student discount platform with tons and tons of brands! I use their discounts regularly, particularly for clothes and cosmetics.
8:45-10: commuting 🚌
Money hack: my commute is a little long so my choice of entertainment is music. So many subscription services have student discounts, including music streaming like Apple Music and Spotify!
10am: psychology lecture 🧠
Money hack: save money on buying water from uni and bring a reusable bottle – seems like an obvious hack, but bottled water is costly! You can also refill reusable bottles with taps around campus.
11am: Lunch 🍎
There’s plenty of options on campus for food from cafes to grabbing proper meals. But this can be costly!
However, since it’s super convenient to grab something on the go (recall how long it took me to get ready…), there are cheaper options on campus for food. Many retailers offer budgie meals, which are cheaper meals to save money but still help you get a good meal in. If you do like to pack lunches though, there are microwaves on campus!
It’s also useful to sign up for rewards. While this isn’t student specific, using rewards and stamp cards (think Hollywood Bakery stamp cards, Subway’s Subcard, or Starbucks Rewards) often lead to discounts and free food after a certain amount of visits – and who doesn’t want that!
One of my hacks is a keep cup – I often bring a keep cup of coffee to uni. It saves about $6-8 on a large coffee.
12pm: population health lecture 🏥
1pm: population health tutorial 📖
2pm: commuting back home 🚌
The 60% discount on public transport has saved me a ton of money on HOP top ups! The discount is set to last until January – and is on top of the regular tertiary discount! It is such a lifesaver for saving money, especially since petrol isn’t cheap at the moment and neither is parking. Here’s how to get the tertiary concession:
3:30pm: getting on the study grind 📚
I usually like to get things like assignments and quizzes out of the way so I can relax for the rest of the day. If I have any tests coming up I’ll also study for them too.
Most uni resources are online – Canvas, digital articles and readings, and the like. Tech is obviously a big cost starting out in order to study – but there are still discounts to be had!
StudentCard discount cards are available to purchase – I paid $20 for 2 years of access to discounts. While it is a paid discount platform, there are many good deals on there. If you’re not sure, you can see the list of discounts offered here before purchasing, to see if they’re things you’ll really use:
On the point of tech for studying, Noel Leeming has student discounts through StudentCard. The PB Tech store in Kate Edgar provides student discounts. Apple also offers education pricing.
While tech is expensive, the university can help. There are computers to use around campus, and if you need a laptop to use on a loan basis for lectures and home study, the university offers loans:
6pm(ish): Studylink comes through 💰
What is the student experience without Studylink?! Studylink provides a few services, including student loans and NZQA scholarship payments (if you sat and won scholarship exams in high school).
In terms of student loans, Studylink offers 3 types of assistance: course related costs ($1000 to help with buying a laptop, textbooks, equipment etc), living costs (weekly payments of an amount of your choice up to $281.96 – but if you get student allowance, your living costs weekly payment limit will be lower), and compulsory course fees (university administration, and course/tuition fees). All of the above must be paid back – but only when you earn above a certain amount.
You may also be eligible for student allowance which you don’t have to pay back. This is the calculator to check if you can get it:
Huge tip: make sure you get in early for applying for Studylink – it takes a while to process applications when everyone is starting uni! You also need to reapply every year.
Note: I usually also have labs throughout the week too as a science student!
So these are some of the ways I like to try and navigate the financial scene while being a student – hope they help!