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Managing your money

Learning to manage your money will not only allow you to complete your studies owing the least amount possible, it will also help set you up for the future.

It is a reality for many students that despite the student loan and allowance, there may not be much left – if any – after paying your bills. It is important that you identify your costs up front and make a plan to cover any shortfall. This may be through savings, support from family, or a part-time job.

Set a realistic budget

Budgets that are too tight are difficult to stick to. All it takes is one unexpected cost and your budget is blown. Here are a few tips:

  • Be realistic on variable costs such as power, food, transport and entertainment
  • If your budget is too tight, you are unlikely to be able to stick with it
  • Identify as many of your outgoing expenses as you can 
  • Some one-off costs can be large and it may be better to put away a small amount each week than try to find a large amount at once
  • Take advantage of the discounts offered by companies for paying accounts on time, and make sure your flat accounts don’t fall behind
  • Take out your spending money in cash each week instead of EFTPOS – it’s easier to keep track
  • Check your bank account regularly
  • Create a shopping list before going grocery shopping

The StudyLink website has a Cost of Living calculator to ‘reality check’ your budget.

You can also work through Sussed! StudyLink Reality Check.

The OUSA Student Support Centre can help with budgeting advice, and financial advice and education.

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Making your bank account work for you

Many banks offer special packages for students. See the websites below for details and to compare.

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Getting a part-time job

Once you've settled into your studies and have a handle on the workload you may decide to look for a part-time job.

Getting a part-time job is a great way to help fund your studies. Try sites like:

With the number of students in Dunedin, you may be up against many others for a limited number of jobs. When applying for a position make sure:

  • your CV is up-to-date
  • that the spelling and grammar are correct in both your CV and covering letter – get someone else to check it if you aren’t sure
  • you are presentable and dressed appropriately for the position and company – as a general rule, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed
  • you know beforehand where the location of your interview is
  • arrive a few minutes early for the interview
  • to do some research on the company beforehand
  • you think about what questions they might ask and how you would answer them

It is important to note that there is a limit on how much you can earn before it starts affecting your StudyLink student allowance.

See the StudyLink website for more information.

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Community Services Card (CSC)

Many students will be eligible for the Community Services Card. It can help you with the costs of healthcare, as well as paying less on some health services and prescriptions.

See the Work and Income website for details and how to apply.

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Buying and selling your textbooks

It is often possible to purchase secondhand textbooks and also sell your textbooks at the end of the year.

Helpful links