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Budget and savings tips for international students

The 6 easiest ways to save money as an international student in Australia.

Money can be tight when you're studying abroad. Thankfully, there's plenty of ways to save money as an international student in Australia.

1. Create a budget

Nothing will help you stay on top of your money like an actual budget. It's as simple as working out your total income and expenses and then setting an appropriate spending plan. As an international student, you're likely to have a lot of specific expenses and potentially not much income, which means creating a budget is even more important.

2. Make the most of your discounts

As a student, you can often get discounts on things like transport, gyms, entertainment, food, drinks, museums and many other goods and services.

Your student card or ID should be enough to get you discounts on many of the above, but it's also worth talking directly with your university about any other discounts you might be entitled to.

Make sure you also check out First Table for big discounts (up to 50%) on restaurants and UNiDAYS for student discounts on lots of stores and products.

3. Save on currency conversion

One of the big costs of living abroad is the fees you have to pay to move and convert money. In order to keep your costs to a minimum, you can use Wise, Revolut or another similar service to convert your currency into Australian dollars.

Ideally, you're also with a bank that offers 0% fees on overseas spending, but otherwise it's worth opening an Australian bank account, converting funds to AUD and using that for your day-to-day spending. Westpac and Commonwealth Bank both offer accounts for new residents, which includes international students.

4. Save on groceries

Like the rest of the world, Australia has experienced relatively high inflation over the last few years, and groceries are no exception.

It's certainly a lot more expensive going to the average Aussie supermarket than it used to be, but you can still save money by being smart.

The two major supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, offer weekly half-price discounts on a big range of products. This can be a great time to stock up on staples and essentials.

Supermarkets will also heavily reduce the price of items that are about to expire. This means if you leave your supermarket trips to later in the day, you can often grab fresh meat and produce at much cheaper prices.

5. Buy second-hand

This applies to textbooks, furniture, cars and any other necessities you'll need during your studies. If it's big, expensive or something you're unlikely to take home with you when you finish your studies, it's probably worth buying second hand. Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are the best places to look for second hand deals.

When you do leave, it's also worth trying to sell on your unneeded possessions and recoup some money.

Australia also has a thriving vintage and second-hand clothing scene, which is worth checking out anyway, but can also help you save money on clothing. Australia is a relatively temperate country, which means you can get away with wearing many of the same clothes all year round. There's no need to buy expensive items like big winter coats or other specialised clothing.

6. Get financial support if you need it

Managing your money as an international student can be tough but there are ways to get help. There are services available across Australia that can assist you if you're experiencing financial difficulties or simply struggling to find accomodation or work. Speak to your university to see which services are best positioned to help you out.

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