8 ways to beat the cost of living as a student

Nathan Little
Manager, Communications & Programs
May 15, 2023

As a university student, managing your finances efficiently is crucial to ensure a smooth journey through your academic years. Balancing the cost of tuition, textbooks, accommodation, and other expenses can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it's possible to save money and reduce financial stress. In this article, we will explore some practical tips and tricks to help university students save money on their cost of living.

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1. Create a budget

First and foremost, it's essential to create a budget. Developing a budget is the foundation for successful financial management. Start by listing all your income sources, including scholarships, part-time jobs, or financial support from your family. Then, identify your monthly expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. By tracking your income and expenses, you gain a clear understanding of where your money goes and can identify areas where you can cut back or save.

2. Seek affordable accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, consider seeking affordable options. Housing often comprises a significant portion of a student's expenses. Think about alternative accommodation options like sharing a rented apartment or finding a roommate. Splitting rent and utilities can substantially reduce your monthly expenses. Additionally, explore off-campus housing options, as they are usually cheaper than on-campus accommodations.

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3. Minimise transport costs

Minimizing transportation costs is another effective way to save money. Instead of maintaining a personal vehicle, consider opting for public transportation. Many universities offer discounted or free transit passes for students. If you live close to campus, cycling or walking can be an eco-friendly and cost-effective option. Carpooling with classmates who live nearby is another great way to cut transportation costs while enjoying some company during your commute.

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4. Save on textbooks

Textbooks can be a major expense for students, but there are ways to save on them. Instead of buying brand new textbooks, consider alternatives like renting textbooks from the university library or online platforms. You can also purchase used textbooks from previous students or online marketplaces. Exploring digital options, such as e-books or online resources, can also be cost-effective. Forming study groups and sharing textbooks with classmates can help lighten the financial load. Check out the free book exchange at Barossa Regional University Campus for more options.

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5. Cook meals and pack lunches

When it comes to meals, cooking at home and packing lunches can save you a significant amount of money. Eating out regularly can put a strain on your finances, so plan your weekly meals, make a shopping list, and purchase groceries in bulk or on sale. Cooking with friends or roommates not only helps you save money but also creates a fun and social experience.

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6. Take advantage of student discounts

Never underestimate the power of student discounts! Many businesses offer student discounts on a wide range of products and services. Always carry your student ID and inquire about available discounts before making a purchase. Websites and mobile apps like UNiDAYS and Student Beans are excellent resources for discovering exclusive student deals that can help you stretch your budget further.

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7. Limit education expenses

While it's important to have some leisure activities, be mindful of your entertainment expenses. Overspending on entertainment can quickly drain your funds. Look for free or low-cost activities on campus. Instead of spending on expensive streaming services or online subscriptions, take advantage of free streaming alternatives like ABC iView or YouTube. You can also find student rates at local theaters, cinemas and museums.

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8. Use student services

Lastly, don't forget to make the most of the services and resources provided by your university. Take advantage of the fitness center, health clinic, counselling services, and career development resources that may be available. These services are often available to students at little or no cost. If you're studying away from university, take advantage of all the free facilities at Barossa Regional University Campus like free Wi-Fi, computers, printers and high speed internet.


Being mindful of your expenses and adopting smart saving strategies can significantly reduce the financial burden of studying life. By creating a budget, exploring affordable accommodation options, cutting transportation costs, minimizing textbook expenses, cooking meals at home, utilising student discounts, limiting entertainment expenses, and utilizing student services, you can pave the way for a more financially comfortable experience.

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