How to win at uni (with your money)

02 August 2019 / Published in Your Money

We all know how fun and exciting student life can be. But all that fun and excitement isn’t always easy on the pockets. Here are a few pro tips on making the most of your money while you’re studying hard!

Student I.D. perks.

Use student discounts whenever you can! Keep your student ID on you and always ask – you might be surprised at how many discounts you can get around town. Every dollar counts.

Having the right bank account also gives you benefits that can save you money, and help you manage it. If you’ve got an ASB Tertiary account, you can access ASB Extras on the Niesh app – a whole range of premium, ASB-customer-only student deals. It’s a great way to stock up on discounts, alongside all the ASB Tertiary student package benefits – like no monthly base or transaction fees, and free small fries* when you use your ASB Tertiary Visa Debit card at McDonald’s®.

Stock up on loose change.

It’s never too early to start putting aside money for the future or a ‘rainy day’. If you have a regular income, set up an automatic payment into a savings account as soon as your money comes in, even if it’s just a few dollars each pay day. It might not seem like much, but it adds up over time.

You could also use ASB Save the Change to save money as you spend – once you’ve registered, it automatically rounds up your electronic transactions and transfers the difference to your chosen savings account.

Cook up a storm.

There’s a reason everyone has been on a meal prep kick the last few years – planning and cooking meals can save you money. Make a few portions in advance that you can freeze or keep in the fridge during the week. This way you won’t have to think about what to have and you’ll be less tempted to grab something (likely expensive and unhealthy) on the way home.

It can also be fun to experiment with cooking and show off to your friends or flatmates!

Invest in veggies.

Vegetables that are in season can be much cheaper than meat, so you could try switching up a few of your meals each week to veggie options. Even something simple like swapping half of the mince in your cottage pie for lentils can save you cash. Things like curries and stews can be full of vegetables and cost you much less than buying the same quantity of meat.

Google a few delicious recipes to try. And let’s be honest, you should probably be eating more veggies anyway.

Don't go to the supermarket hungry.

While this sounds like something your parents might say, going to the supermarket hungry is bound to end in a trolley full of treats. Try going later at night after dinner, and you might even find that you can get deals on marked down food (just remember to check expiry dates). This also gives you time to make a plan for the week and not be in a rush when you get there. This will help you avoid buying unnecessary items and going over on your food budget.

Another good tip is to shop at fruit and vegetable shops, as they can be cheaper.

Pre-loved course resources.

Check which books you really need for your course and see if you can get any second hand. Or go halfsies with a friend! TradeMe is a good place to look, as well as the university bookshop. If there’s a version available online, this could be an option for saving a bit extra.

Plan the payments.

Using Wi-Fi wherever you can is a no-brainer (just make sure you’re staying cyber safe on unsecured networks), but your mobile plan may also allow you to set reminders for when you go over a pre-determined spend so you don’t get a giant bill.

If you use a credit card, set up an automatic payment or a calendar reminder to pay it off on time (so you don’t get stung with interest). The same goes for bills – set reminders to pay these on time and make sure you get the early payment discounts.

Stay warm in the winter.

Winter can be expensive for bills. There are loads of guides online with energy saving tips for heating, but some simple things such as blocking drafts underneath doors, drawing the curtains when using the heater, and not going crazy with electric blankets all play a part. Make sure you’re in touch with your landlord so you can report any leaks quickly, and make sure your house is in good condition for living – you don’t want to be getting sick either!

Another flat tip – take photos of your flat when you move in. It may help to prove you didn’t make that hole in the wall that’s always been there, when you move out.


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.  

ASB's terms, eligibility and lending criteria apply. At the expiry of your Tertiary account, you will be transferred to either a Graduate account or Job starter's account depending on your circumstances. *One free fries daily with a purchase made at McDonald's® with an eligible ASB Visa Debit card. Excludes McDelivery®. Available after 10:30am.

This article was originally posted on 19 July 2017, and has since been updated.


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