Basic Training: How to save for university

Becoming a uni student is an expensive affair - and that's before you've even taken into account the many costs outside the classroom.

While it will hurt your hip pocket, the right degree could also set you on the path to your dream job.

Here are a few things to consider:

Living costs

"There's many things you have to pay for on top of the books," says Miles Larbey, from ASIC's MoneySmart program. "Consider all the different elements … rent, mobile phone, utilities, transport, food." He suggests using ASIC's free budget planner.

Cheap digs

"Moving out of home is one of the biggest burdens and for some students it's a necessity," says Gary Newman, founder of If you want to live on campus, some residential colleges offer scholarships. Programs such as Wesley Mission's Homeshare Services advertise free accommodation for students willing to help out an elderly person.

Study supplies

Consider taking the "required" reading list with a grain of salt, and wait until the first class to ask tutors which resources you really need, suggests Newman.

Or check student noticeboards, online forums for used books or study equipment.

Get a job

A part-time job is a winner, but don't overdo it, warns Newman.

"Once you start exceeding around 20 hours a week, research shows marks tend to slide."


Scour tertiary admission centre and university websites, and don't be afraid to phone university scholarship offices, says Newman. "Most people don't apply because they either don't know about them or don't think they're worthy."


Still the cheapest loan you'll get in your life (apart from the Bank of Mum and Dad perhaps), but don't forget you'll have to pay it back.

"It's well established that uni graduates earn more on average than those who never went, but don't be fooled into thinking more study and qualifications automatically means a better wage at the end of it all," says Newman.


This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 September 2015. This article represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.