Beginners Guide To University From A Final Year Student: Finances Ed.
First week of uni! Congratulations! You are now the littlest fish in the big pond. This can be a scary and exciting time for you. You don’t know know anyone, where anything is, what Facebook pages to join, what societies to join, and how to receive all the wonders that come with the student discounts. I mean for god’s sake most of you don’t know even know what career path you want to take! This is where I am here to help. Welcome to a beginner’s guide to Australian universities from a final year student: finances edition
“Help Me I Am Poor”
Being a student, every dollar counts towards your alcohol budget — I mean rent. I was outraged when I found out in my THIRD YEAR that my university provided a bulk billed medical centre for all student. It turns out that most Aussie uni’s do, so definitely look that up. Bulk billing is a Medicare scheme that is run by the Australian Government. According to the Aus Gov website, bulk billing is when your medical professional accepts your Medicare benefits as a full payment for their services. In other words, it’s free!
In addition to this free service, most universities will have free buses that goes from one campus to the next, with the ease of your student card. If you know that you will be campus hopping on the regular, then make sure you have memorized your university’s schedule to a T.
If you are struggling with finances, Australian universities are fully equip to help you. Most providing free meals for students through Food Banks, Interest Free Loans, Disability Support and Australian Government’s support: Youth Allowance and AusStudy, for all that qualify. According to Universities Australia, 45.7% full time Australian students use Financial Government assistance.
Essays, projects, presentation and exams will take up the majority of your next 3 plus years at uni. However, Thanks to the legends at Microsoft, Australian students wont have to pay for access to Word, PowerPoint and Excel (oh and the other applications that no one uses) anymore, we have access to Office 365 for free. So make sure you google this to find out how to get it from your university. Google has taken this one step further and had Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. The equivalent of Word, Excel and Powerpoint, but operated solely from the cloud. This tools comes in extra hand for group assignments, as it allows you read back through previous history: who has written or deleted what and also lets you jump back to or copy and paste from a previous version. It will be your final and to be honest most, valuable team member.
By no means should you buy a brand new textbook! The last year’s edition is perfectly fine, chances are you will read max. 3 chapters during those first 3 weeks you are motivated. After that, it will sit on the corner of your desk collecting desk, probably under a pile of clothes, and you will keep telling yourself that you will get around to reading all the chapters you missed, next week.
However, it is still a good idea to buy the textbook. It will become your blankie around exams — by that I mean, you know you don’t need it but it comforts you. There are Facebook pages like Textbook Exchange and apps like Student VIP and Gumtree, where students are selling their old textbooks quite affordably.
If you are reading this than chances are you are a beautiful butterfly that has just escaped from the cocoon that was high school, gaining the much needed freedom that you always wanted. What usually goes hand and hand with these wings is the passion to travel. If you like most university students have a passion to see the world, then you’re looking to book through, STA Travel and Student Flights. Both companies will find the best deal for students and most of the time will try to beat each others’ prices.
If you’re still worried about the affordability, then going on a Student Exchange Program is the way to go. Australian universities have huge exchange programs: with 22% of tertiary students in Australia being international. But what comes in must go out. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, international students make substantial contributions to a country’s society and economy, by diversifying, enriching communities, and strengthening global networks. The Australian government understands this and has taken the financial stress that weights over our heads, by offering us up to $6500 in an OS-Help loan.
The important things
Faculty cards — “Gotta collect ’em all’
For the price of $10 — $20, these beautiful loyalty cards give us students the ability to save money on a night out, and put it to better use. Usually allowing free cover charges or discounted drinks at popular pubs, bars, and restaurants around your university. Don’t worry, you’ll probably making this money back after the first or second use.
UniDays is a discount app that provides discounts from 10% to 20% in almost any university type store you can think off. Big companies like Telstra, Optus and Apple all welcome 10% off for students.
After shedding or burning every uniform you had to wear for the last 12 years, your wardrobe is probably looking a little empty right now, am I right? Rebuilding this wardrobe may seem daunting at first and very expensive, but that is where the joy of online shopping comes in handy. Most clothing store apps for the 17–26 age target market provides discounts to students. ASOS is a clothing brand that allows 10% off everything for every student. It also offers unlimited free shipping for the small fee of $40 a year.
Now, with all of this extra cash in your pocket, you can put it into starting up a superannuation fund, never to see until you are 65…Or you can have a grand old time and create lasting memories in your 20’s! I’m not your mum, the choice is yours.
Originally published at The Isthmus.