The Ultimate Guide to Save Money

This article is sponsored by Vasco Pay

Small savings add up quickly, whether you want to stretch your budget further or just want to save money for something special.

It’s called ‘bargain hunting’ for a reason: finding the best deal sometimes takes more time, but with the right knowledge you can become a super savings expert.

SAVE MONEY ON FOOD

If you don’t cook for yourself already, it’s time to learn! It’s much cheaper (and healthier) than eating out or getting takeaway all the time, plus any leftovers can be your lunch the next day. Websites like Student Recipes have over 5000 cheap and easy recipes that have been created for students by students – download some recipes and work out your favourites.

Your local Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food stores have lots of interesting variety and are much cheaper than the major supermarkets. Discount supermarkets like Aldi offer big savings as well.

Markets are a great source of cheap fruit and vegetables, and if you shop at the end of the day you can pick up some incredible bargains.

Top tip: Always take a shopping list while food shopping and never go on an empty stomach – you will buy everything you see.

SAVE MONEY EATING OUT

Explore your campus – your student union will have many free events or student specials.

Most pubs around Australia have bargain meal deals. Specials will be available on different nights, like ‘2 for 1 Pizza Thursday’ or ‘Parma and a Beer Tuesday’. Also, most pubs will have a few hours during the week called ‘Happy Hour’, when they offer discounted drinks. Keep your eye on the specials boards outside your local pubs to see what they offer or check out websites like The Happiest Hour.

Top tip: We don’t recommend buying too many ‘Happy Hour’ drinks just because they are cheap. Binge drinking is not only bad for your health, but it’s also really bad for your wallet. You won’t save money if you decide it’s a great idea to buy drinks for all your new friends at the pub!

Read more: Eating Out In Your City 

SAVE MONEY ON THINGS TO DO

Exploring your new city doesn’t have to cost lots of money. Pack a picnic and laze around with your friends in the many parks nearby. Some parks have barbeque facilities so you can grill up a feast. In the summer, going to the beach is a great day out (just remember to take your sunscreen!).

Lots of museums and galleries have free or discounted entry for students, and can be found by Googling ‘free local attractions’. This is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture and history.

Websites like Lasttix and Smart Tix are great for finding discounted tickets to all the hottest live music shows and theatre events so you never have to pay full price for a big night out.

Most cinemas have a cheaper ticket option for students or a discount day (often a Tuesday), meaning you can go to the movies for as little as $8. That just leaves you to buy popcorn, but if you are on a really tight budget, stop at the supermarket on the way to purchase your own snacks.

SAVE MONEY ON BUYING FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES

Free second-hand furniture can be found on Gumtree Freebies, Ziilch and Facebook groups like Free Stuff Melbourne or Rough Trade Melbourne or Sydney.

Gumtree also sells all kinds of furniture, and it is always worth checking out your local second-hand shops for a pre-loved bargain. Keep in mind you will usually need to arrange your own method of delivery when buying furniture this way.

Many major appliance stores offer discounts if you are paying with cash. Sometimes, bartering skills will also come in handy!

‘Hard rubbish’ days happen in all major urban areas. This is when householders put all their unwanted goods (not rubbish, despite the name) out the front of their house so the local council can pick it up. This usually happens once or twice a year in each area, and it’s a great time to wander the streets picking up all kinds of useful goods for your house. This is a traditional Aussie way to furnish share houses, so don’t worry if you feel weird looking through someone else’s throwaways! You can find out more by Googling ‘hard rubbish’ in your area or by checking out Facebook groups like Hard Rubbish Melbourne.

Top tip: ‘Hard rubbish’ days in wealthier suburbs have the best finds!

SAVE MONEY ON SHOPPING

Find the sales – most retailers run them throughout the year. As a rule, there’s usually a major sale period at the end of every season, as well the big Boxing Day sales which happen the day after Christmas. Closing down sales are the best, as you can try to negotiate an ever lower price than the sale price. You never know your luck!

Your local second-hand shops are always good places to find pre-loved bargains, and the best thing is that you never know what treasure you will find. These stores are generally run by charities and churches, and they sell donated clothing and household goods that people don’t need anymore. Not only do you save money and recycle, but you are also supporting local charities. Win!

Factory outlets for all major brands are everywhere and are full of end-of-season or overstocked goods and clothes at a fraction of their full retail price. These stores tend to be grouped together so you can wander around multiple shops on your bargain hunt. If you are really keen, you can even find professional tours that will take you to all the best outlets across your city.

Read more: Top Tips For Finding Student Discounts

SAVE MONEY WITH ONLINE SHOPPING

Lots of major online retailers offer student discounts, so it is well worth a Google search to see if your favourite store is one of them.

Price comparison sites are the best way to find out if you can get a cheaper price (or free shipping) on that amazing thing that you just have to buy. Always check the competition.

Groupon and Scoopon run deals every day for huge discounts of up to 70% off on all kinds of experiences, meals, beauty treatments, goods and services.

Top tip: You don’t save money by buying something you don’t need, even if it seems like a great bargain!

SAVE MONEY AT HOME

Turn off the lights, heater and air-conditioning when you are not in the room and don’t leave appliances on standby – it’s good for the environment and for your wallet.

Pay your bills on time – most major energy suppliers offer up to 25% discount if you pay by the due date.

Make sure you are getting the best deal on your utilities. The Australian Government website Energy Made Easy has a comparison service to check you are getting the best electricity and gas deals. Check out the great Energy Smart tips as well while you are there.