Uni on a budget: Where you can cut costs

Most stereotypes tend to be just that; stereotypes.

Unfortunately, the stereotype of uni students having to scrimp and save and live off of two minute noodles is somtimes pretty close to reality.

Here are our tips on where to save some money while studying.

Second-hand textbooks

The average textbook can easily set you back $150. If you’re a full-time student, that can mean an awful lot of textbooks. Ain’t nobody got the cash for that.

Do yourself a favour and buy your textbooks secondhand.

There is an entire Facebook page for exchanging textbooks at the University of Newcastle: Textbook Exchange – The University of Newcastle.

If you can’t find the textbook you need there, try StudentVIP Textbooks. This is a nation-wide website dedicated to helping students buy cheap second-hand textbooks.

I was a bit skeptical when I bought my first textbook via StudentVIP. The last thing you want is a book entirely highlighted.

Much to my surprise, the textbook I bought of StudentVIP wasn’t only in excellent condition, but was even laminated. And I saved over $100!

Bring your lunch

Let’s say you buy lunch three times a week while at uni, and each lunch is roughly $10.

Multiple that by the amount of weeks you’re at uni, and suddenly you’ve spent $780.

*Internally screams*

Making your own lunch at home is a great way to cut back on the amount you spend while at uni.

Take advantage of the survival stations which can be found on campus, and are equipped with microwaves and instant boiling/cold water taps.

There really is no better feeling than a hot cup of soup from home on a cold day at uni.

Catch public transport to uni

If I ever happened to stumble upon a magic lamp with a genie inside, I am absolutely positive about what my first wish would be.

An unlimited supply of petrol.

Save yourself the petrol and cost of parking by catching public transport to uni.

Uni Newcastle campuses are very public transport friendly, with Callaghan and Ourimbah both being train-station adjacent, as well as being serviced by a number of bus routes.

Full-time students are entitled to a Concession Opal card, which means you can score heaps of discounts on public transport. Like only having to pay half the price of an Adult Opal fare! #winning

Plus, by catching public transport you won’t have to deal with the stress of trying to find a park. Just cruise on into uni. You could even use the extra time to catch up on some readings.

Better yet, for those of you studying at NUspace, take advantage of the FREE Park and Ride service provided by the University.

Shuttle buses run every 30min between Callaghan and NUspace, removing the inconvenience of finding a park in the CBD.

Find out more about Opal cards.


Try RideShare

Ride sharing is great for a million reasons. It’s good for the environment, can help you make new friends, and removes the stress of having to find a park.

“But I don’t know anyone to carpool with you”, you say.

Don’t fret, the University has a solution.

Liftango is a new ride-sharing app for students and staff which aims to match riders with drivers so commuting to uni is easier.

The app supports you throughout the entire process and allows you to choose your rides on the days and times best suited to you. There are also dedicated parking spots on campus for rideshare users!

You’ll have your own carpool karaoke sessions in no time.

Use on-campus PCs and free WiFi

Data can be expensive.

Leave yourself more data for streaming by using the computers and free WiFi on campus.

Remember to make sure your phone is also hooked up to the uni wifi whenever you’re on campus! It’s little measures like this that stop your phone bill becoming astronomical.

The University has a plenty of PCs and Mac computers ready for you to use.

Check out where you can find a computer lab at your campus.

Discount courses through UNSA

If you were considering getting a first aid certificate, RSA or RSG, the Newcastle University Students’ Association (UNSA) is able to help you out.

Just by being a student, you’re able to access discount courses.

Get your first aid certificate for only $70, and both an RSA and RSG for $140 ($70 separately).

If you’re struggling financially while at university, don’t hesitate to seek help through the Student Loans and Welfare Office. Please visit Financial Assistance for more information.

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