How to Save Money on a Student Visa in Australia

Saving money seems to be a hot topic these days. I'm not sure if its because we are constantly surrounded by adverts pushing "Buy! Buy! Buy! We have the NEWEST, most amazing product ever!"? Or is it's because schools will teach you calculus, reciting the US presidents in reverse alphabetical order, or finding out how to kill a mockingbird but does not teach its students how to file taxes, make investments, or (god forbid) set a budget? 



Studying in a foreign country can be overwhelming, exciting, and expensive. Financial assistance is rarely granted to international students. In Australia, international students are limited to 40 hours of work per fortnight during the school term. This can often be challenging to save money. But it is not impossible! Australia offers relatively decent wages to workers, but there are a few things you can do to help save money and not live paycheck to paycheck. 


1. Sharehouses
Living by yourself can be incredibly expensive in Australia. In Melbourne, a standard 1-bedroom unit can run upwards of $300+/week. That's a crap ton of money every month. With school fees, limited work hours, rent, and bills, you'll be lucky to save any money. However, if you don't mind sharing a house with some other people, this is a fantastic way to save money. Plus it is a great way to make friends with the locals. 


2. Apply for Scholarships
This may seem like an obvious one, but so many people avoid applying. From talking to some friends, many said they didn't apply because they did not think they would be awarded any scholarships. Other's felt that it wouldn't make a difference. Any bit of money saved is a good thing! Even if its a $500 scholarship, that's still $500 saved. Don't neglect the smaller scholarships, the amounts start to add up. 

3. Side Hustles
The Internet has helped make a good side hustle super easy. If MLM's are your cup of tea, give them a go. Personally, it's not my jam, so I use a couple of apps that help me earn a little extra money. Airtasker and Field Agent are some of my favourites. It's a great way to make some extra cash each month. 

Related post: Apps That Help You Earn A Little Extra Money!

4. Meal Prep
In a city like Melbourne, it is so hard not to constantly eat out. There is phenomenal food everywhere! But its bloody expensive. Even eating at Macca's will put you out $15. Eat out once a day all week, that adds up fast. 

Australia doesn't just have great restaurants, it also has incredible markets. Planning your meals ahead of time and shopping at the markets will save you heaps of money each week. Bonus tip. If you like shopping at Coles or Woolies, go 30 minutes before the shops close. Most perishable items will be significantly marked down. MORE SAVINGS!!!

5. Utilise Coupons and Free Services
Coupons and free services are the most magnificent things on the planet! Seriously! Facebook has some incredible groups that allow you to get free beauty treatments, household goods, etc. for FREE, full stop. 

Those gas discounts you get at the shops, use them. It may not seem like significant savings, but every little bit adds up. Groupons (yes it's still a thing) is another excellent site to get discounts on exercise classes, car services, weekend getaways, or other adventures. Utilise your student card to get discounts at museums, transport, sporting events, and other activities. There is no reason why you should be paying full price. Save your money honey!  

Related post: How I Afford to Travel

Bonus Tip: Budget Tracker Apps
There are so many incredible apps that you can download on both the Apple and Android market that will help you stay on budget. Many will link to your bank account which enables you to identify if you've spent too much money or budgeted incorrectly. If you're not a fan of writing things down the old fashion way, apps are the way to go!




And until next time...
Stay curious!

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29 comments

  1. I’ve tried couponing, I need to continue to learn more about it!
    -Allie

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    1. I struggled with couponing in the States but know a bunch of people who are super good at it. It's not a really big thing here but Groupon is a good go to for discounted items.

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    1. Some are good general savings tips too :)

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  3. I agree about how money saving is a problem for almost everybody nowadays, and your mild critics about how education not teaching us how to do our tax is so on point, thanks for that! :D

    Anyway, I don't exactly live in Australia, let alone as a student, but I think your tips are useful for people like me. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I definitely think the tips could be applied in a number of situations. Even if you're a new grad and wanting to save a bit of money.

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  4. Awesome post! I'm sure living in Australia is ridiculously expensive for anyone, but especially students! Such a great post for any students in Australia!

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    1. It can be quite challenging as a student. They recently changed visa laws so that graduate students are now restricted to 20hrs/week of work. There are some aspects of Aussie life that are super expensive but I've found most essential items are comparable to the US.

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  5. Great tips. I have never heard of airtasker and field agent. I am gonna try it.

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    1. I think these two apps are exclusive to Australia but there are definitely some good apps that help you earn money. In this post, I linked a previous article I wrote highlighting my favourites. You should give it a read :)

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  6. My student days are passed me now... unless I finally ever decided to take the plunge and go for a Master's Degree... ( I should really). Your article has some very nice tips.

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    1. Some are good tips for general savings as well! If you are wanting to go back and get a Master's you definitely should!

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  7. Great tips, great expectations! Hope everyone could save up money and take some time for traveling. It's an amazing shift for a human's life.

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    1. Yes getting the opportunity to travel and study in a foreign country has been an eye opening experience. It's helped me grow so much.

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  8. I second your tips and suggestions in this post, living on a student visa has many limitations and saving every penny helps!

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    1. Exactly! But it's totally worth all the restrictions

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  9. I'll be looking into those apps you mentioned! Can always use a little extra money

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    1. There definitely are some good ones. I have another posted, linked in this one, that lists other apps I love that help you make money.

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  10. I wish to go back to student days and these tips will be at the back of my mind to ensure I am saving enough to travel more. I like the idea of Budget Tracker App! Something new to explore. Thanks.

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  11. I definitely need this tips! I'm thinking about moving to Melbourne for a job in January, post-college, so I really have to start considering these college-saving tips!

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    1. How exciting! I may be a bit biased (as I live in Melbourne) but Melbourne is pretty dang awesome! Best of luck with your move.

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  12. These are amazing tips, and they can be applied all over the world! Thanks so much for sharing. I really try to meal prep but sometimes I can get quite lazy :P

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  13. oh well, I'm afraid my time for applying for a student visa has passed. But good tips, followed those when was studying in Finland.

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  14. Great tips, even for people that aren't students! Budgeting and taxes are definitely something that should be taught in schools.

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  15. You've presented some useful tips. I know a few friends there, will forward it to them :)

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  16. Great post, I think it will help a lot of people. I'm not a student any more myself but when we were in Australia recently we met a lot of students who had struggled with this.

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  17. scholarships are the greatest deal breaker of studying abroad. your tips will surely help those exchange students out there

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  18. I have been to Australia and understand how expensice it is there. This is a very resourceful article for proper budgeting for students there!

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