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 is time to learn! Download some recipes and work out your favourites. Any leftovers can be your lunch the next day. Much cheaper (and healthier) than eating out or takeaway all the time. Websites like Student Recipes have over 5000 cheap and easy recipes – created for students by students.
Your local Asian, Mediterranean, 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 the ‘Happy Hour’ when they offer discounted drinks. Keep your eye out for 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, 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 BBQ facilities so you can grill up a feast. In the Summer, going to the beach is a great day out but remember to take your sunscreen.
Lots of museums and galleries are free or offer student discounts and can be found by Googling ‘Free Local Attractions’. This is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture and history.
Most cinemas have a cheaper ticket option for a student discount 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 buy your own snacks. If you do bring your own, you probably want to pop them in a backpack so that you don’t look too cheap.
SAVE MONEY ON BUYING FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES
Gumtree also sells all kinds of furniture and it is always worth checking out your local opportunity 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 will offer significant discounts if you are paying with cash. Bartering skills will sometimes 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 city council can pick it up. This happens usually once or twice a year in each area and is 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 University share houses so don’t worry if you feel weird looking through someone else’s throw aways. You can find out more by Googling ‘hard rubbish’ in your locality or check out Facebook groups like Hard Rubbish Melbourne.
Top Tip: ‘Hard rubbish’ days in the wealthier suburbs have the best finds!
SAVE MONEY ON SHOPPING
Find the sales. Most retailers run them throughout the year. As a rule, there tends to be 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 – try to negotiate an ever lower price than the sale price. You never know your luck.
Your local Opportunity Shops are always a good place to find pre-loved bargains and the best thing is that you never know what treasure you will find. These stores are run 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 outlet stores for all major brands are everywhere and are full of end of the 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 stores on your bargain hunt. If you are really keen you can even find professional tours that will take you out 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 if 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.
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.
Looking for more ways to save? Vasco Pay is the choice prepaid card for international students, offering you a smarter way to pay and save. Unlock deals across +100 retailers, including fashion, travel and entertainment. Whether you’re on your way or already in Australia, we have you covered.