How to survive first year: Budgeting 101

March 7, 2018


As the exciting first flush of independence begins to wane a new sense of responsibility starts to settle in. First year uni has its fair share of challenges for those living away from home.

Freedom to do, go and eat what and when you want comes with the complicated responsibility of keeping to a realistic budget.

Everyone has a budget – whether you are rich or poor, decisions need to be made before you spend your weekly, fortnightly or monthly income. When you spend it and how much you save will allow you the freedom to be comfortable in the future.

Accommodation, amenities and food will be your most important expenses. Will you put aside $20 a week for electricity? Will you pay the rent before going out for the weekend for a well earnt break? Whether you think first or not, your actions will reflect the financial decisions you are ultimately making.

Beware of sharks!!! Every beach has them and every bar. The kind of friends that ask you to buy them drinks all night are not worth having as friends. People that complement you may be taking advantage of you. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Staying at home is always cheaper and cooking for yourself can be fun. There are plenty of cooking shows that can inspire you. Basic cooking for everyday meals is both quick and affordable. Breakfast can consist of cereal and milk. Lunch a few sandwiches. Dinner should contain three vegetables and some protein.

Eating out is a quick, easy option and some restaurants are very affordable. But are they a healthy option? Consider the nutritional value of any fast food you buy.

Having a few items in your cupboard with a long shelf life can help to ensure you won’t starve. Soups, tuna and baked beans may not be your first choice for a meal but as your money runs out they could be very useful and fill you up.

If you want to save for a big treat then a few budget meals may help you reach that goal sooner. If you are saving for that plane ticket or big night out, then it may just be worth choosing the cheaper shampoo or the no-name joggers. Or try getting things second-hand before buying new. Charities like St Vincent de Paul Society, the Salvation Army and the Smith Family all have second-hand stores across Western Sydney. Simply visit their websites to find out the location of their stores.

So good luck with your budget and enjoy your first year of freedom.

Author: Abigail Nash


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