Money Tips: Handling the cost of uni the right way

16 February 2024 / Published in Your Money

Whether you’re still working out what to study or sorting those New Year’s plans, now’s a great time to start preparing for the costs of Uni. There are heaps of things you can do now to make things easier next year. 

As you leave school and think about the next steps, it’s also a time to start thinking about your independence.  You’ll have a lot more financial responsibility and it’s good to get on the front foot early. Course fees, course-related costs, rent/board, food, transport, cell phone, entertainment, clothes and more – they all add up!

Here’s a helpful guide to work out some of the costs you might have next year. Also make sure to check your university website as they often have calculators and guides to help you understand the cost of study.

Work / Study Balance

Working while you study can be a great option. As a student, your working hours sometimes fluctuate as your study time increases. Understanding your budget will help make your money last through the semester, and maybe even the year. We’ve put together some helpful tips on budgeting to make this easier.

Starting university is also a great time to think about your work options, and apply for something that could also give you experience in the area you are studying. You might be able to earn more money to cover costs, and the experience can be a great investment towards your future career when you graduate. Look around early to give you a head start on next year.  There are plenty of great resources available online to help you prepare for interviews for the best chance of being the winning candidate! You could speak with your university or school about programmes or resources they may have to help.

Looking after yourself

Being a student usually means making a little go a long way. It’s important to get into good money habits, learn to budget and start to save - especially if you’re going to be working over the summer.

You can use Spend Tracker in the ASB Mobile Banking app to see trends with your money in and out each month. It automatically categorises your spending for you too.

Setting up an automatic payment into a savings account is a good habit and means that you are regularly growing your savings. Setting up ASB Save the Change will also help you to save money as you spend – once you’ve registered, it automatically rounds up your electronic transactions* and transfers the difference to your nominated savings account(s).


There are a large number of scholarships available for students at all levels of study – and it’s a great idea to investigate if there’s anything you can apply for to help pay for your study. You could check with your school careers advisor to find out more, or get in touch with your education provider.

Student loans

You can apply for a student loan to cover your course fees, course-related costs as well as some living costs – it’s up to you how much you borrow to cover these things, and it’s important to understand your responsibilities. It all has to be paid back once you start working, so try to borrow only what you need.

Once you start work and are earning over $367 before tax per week, you’ll be paying this back. If you leave to go overseas, you’ll also have to continue to make payments.

You can find out if you qualify for a student loan through Studylink.

Student allowance

You might qualify for a student allowance for living expenses which doesn’t need to be repaid. This is based on your age, residency, income, parents’ income and course type. You can find out more about Student Loans, Student Allowances and other help on the Studylink website.

NOTE: Applications close for student loans and allowances on December 16th so it’s a good time to look into this now.

*Save the Change is not available with credit card, payWave or online transactions.

This document does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader. As individual circumstances differ, you should seek appropriate professional advice.


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