Whether you’re new to to Australia or have just moved interstate to live independently for the first time, settling into the swing of this big city may seem like a whirlwind to some. Amongst other necessities like having to make a bunch of new friends and figuring out the best way to get around, many students often struggle with budgeting.

We all know that as a student, making your cash last till your next pay check or allowance can be especially difficult; so we’ve pieced together some useful life hacks that every University student should know, to ensure that you don’t end up with the shorter end of the stick.

1. Make the most of the $2.60 unlimited transport

Can’t wait to check out Blue Mountains or explore Cockatoo Island? Well, our advise would be to hold off till Sunday to go about exploring. This is because while transport in Sydney can sometimes be painfully expensive, your travel fee would be capped at a cool $2.60 every Sunday, no matter the distance! This means that you can travel to the ends of Sydney and not have to worry about racking up a hefty fee on your Opal.
The travel cap includes all fares for trains, buses, ferries and light rails.

2. Save that beer money and buy your groceries at Paddy’s Market

Located less than five minutes away from Central Station, Paddy’s Market promises fresh produce at a bang for your buck. Open from 10am to 6pm from Wednesday to Sunday, our advice would be to head down about 30 minutes before closing. This is the perfect time to catch vendors looking to offload their stock by selling off their produce at an even greater discount.

3. Get cultured at the Art Gallery of NSW every Wednesday night

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on the finer things in life. The Art Gallery of NSW makes art accessible to everyone by hosting Art After Hours every Wednesday. What does this encompass you ask? Well, this means that until 10pm, you are welcomed to attend a number of free exhibition talks, performances and film screenings, completely free of charge!

With the program changing on a weekly basis, be sure to check out the Art Gallery’s website beforehand to see if anything in particular catches your eye that week.

4. Get on those student discount prices

For UTS and Usyd students, your breaks between tutorials will never be dull. A quick bus ride from your university will bring you to Newtown— a suburb filled with businesses that cater to Newtown’s large student population. Usually manifested in the form of student discounts, you’ll be able to grab $8 movie tickets from Dendy Cinemas every Wednesday, and take advantage of the student lunch deals from the various restaurants scattered around the suburb.

If you’re a UNSW student, don’t fret. Head down to Anzac Parade and stuff yourself silly with every asian cuisine that you can imagine— all without paying an arm and a leg! Our favourites go-tos for tasty, reasonably priced food in the area are Ayam Goreng 99 and Noodle Inn.

5. Living a little further from your University can make a world of a difference in rent

Living a stone’s throw from your University may seem ideal, but many don’t realise that living a mere 10 minutes further away would allow you to rent at a much more attractive price.

Using Liveable to churn out an example— the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in Camperdown, a suburb located 9 minutes from the University of Sydney, is $550. However, if you’re willing to wake up 10 minutes earlier for lectures, you’ll be able to nab a one bedroom apartment in Ultimo for $380/ week!


Also published on Medium.