Student life

Top 15 Money-Saving Hacks - Student Tips for Saving Money in Sydney

by Vince Sunday December 1st 2019

Top 15 Money-Saving Hacks - Student Tips for Saving Money in Sydney-student-money-saving-tips

How to save money as a student in Sydney

SYDNEY. One of Australia's largest cities, with a population of almost 5 million residents, a glittering harbour, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Dozens of beautiful beaches dotting her shores. Superb coastline. Friendly natives. Delicious food. There is all this and more to look forward to as an International Student in Sydney.

But if you are new to the city and are depending on limited resources to make it as a student in Sydney, easy access to cash will help.

That means, the more you can save on essentials, the more you can enjoy your time in this fascinating city.

For International Students, tuition fees and accommodation are the highest spends in Sydney.

Luckily, there are several ways you can save money. We have listed 15 Student Tips On Saving Money for you to help you make the best of your student days here.

Get the most out of that your student budget, with our Student Money Saving Tips.

#1 Student Budgeting Tips - Plan your budget

One of the most crucial money-saving tips you can get while studying in Sydney or anywhere in Australia is to plan your budget based on your income and your expenses.

It's easy to overspend and easy to get into money problems if you don't have a long-term view of your budget.

Keeping track of your finances will give you a clear idea of how much money you can afford to spend after accommodation and uni fees.

Not only will this help you work out how much money you need to earn or save, but it will also ensure you are not stranded during an emergency.

A budget tool like MoneySmart can help you. MoneySmart is a tool to help Australians take control of their money.

So, our first tip for you is to plan your budget and plan it wisely.

#2 Get Cheap Student Accommodation with all-inclusive rents

You can end up wasting a lot of money on rent, and cheap options are still available near Sydney University and UTS campus.

One of the best Student Housing Tips to save money is to look for Student Accommodation in Sydney, which offers all-inclusive fees are an excellent way to know your weekly budget and make savings on student accommodation. You can to stay near campus, save on transport, and pay less for an apartment that is not too big.

All-inclusive fees are a substantial monetary benefit and cover the rent, internet, electricity, water, gas, etc.

The best student accommodation with all-inclusive fees are also fully furnished and provide cooking facilities, fridge, TVs and the opportunity to live in a building with other students making a great social life.

Our favourite student accommodation tip is the option of living a little further out from uni in nearby suburbs of Marrickville or Petersham. Both these inner Sydney city suburbs have excellent transport to Sydney Uni and UTS.

Transport is discounted for students, so it's a good alternative. There are fully furnished students accommodation options here too.

Another Student Money Tip is houseshare, where you can live with fellow students in an apartment or house and share the bills. Marrickville Townhouses is a student house share option that also offers all-inclusive fees as well.

#3 Shop smart for food

Food is one of the most significant expenses when studying in Sydney after accommodation. You can reduce your shopping bills by shopping at value stores like Aldi and IGA. If you shop at Woolworths, check out their specials and signup for a rewards card so you can earn points and receive cash off your items.

Find coupons on Groupon and Student Edge. Paddy’s Market stocks fresh food that is cheap like fruit, vegetables and seafood.

Buy large quantities at discounted prices – often food is cheaper in larger quantities so share with friends or cook and freeze.

Too busy to look up recipes that will freeze well?

See student cooking tips at Quick And Tasty Student Recipes Tick All The Boxes

Visit Sydney's fish markets, and here you will get better-priced seafood then supermarkets and fish shops. Plus its fresher and a lovely day outing. There are many favourites for Asian students, including sashimi-grade fish, seaweed salads and frozen seafood. Condiments are cheaper in your local supermarkets, though.

Supermarkets are often cheaper in a place like Marrickville, and you will find local greengrocery stores in Illarawarra road or Greek deli in the main street that will save you money too.

Keeping an eye on your food expenditure can help you save a lot of money.

Another big tip – never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!

#4 Choose a cheaper data plan for your phone / use free internet & Wi-Fi

As a student, you will need to do a lot of research. Instead of buying an expensive 40Gb plan, shop for a cheap mobile plan that will give you even 3Gb of data per day.

Use Wi-Fi when inside the university for free. There are many shopping centres and cafes that offer free Wi-Fi, and Telstra offers its customers free Wi-Fi in many public places include outdoor areas with its 'hotspots'.

Vodafone, Telstra and Optus offer great student discounts on mobile and data plans.

Choose accommodation that includes Free High-Speed Optic Fiber wired internet.

Rosedale student apartments & Rooftop Lodge have installed the latest fibre-optic broadband into their buildings so all students can have fast, reliable access to the internet especial pertinent with uploading essays and other student work. They offer this for Free, as part of their all-inclusive rent.

#5 Student Money Tips – Don't Eat Out

Carry your lunch to university rather than eating out. If you buy your groceries and vegetables smartly, you can make up a sandwich or healthy salad in no time.

Saving money on eating out is one of the biggest savings in Sydney because food is expensive. Some quick-to-prepare (but outrageously delicious) meals are pasta and DIY frozen burritos.

Cooking yourself will also be healthy and hopefully not as fattening! Eating better might also save you buying a gym membership!

Veg and meat are cheaper and healthy than supermarket pre-made meals so get cooking!

Take turns with your flatmates in cooking or cook together; it will not only save time but also give you more exciting meal alternatives.

#6 Take advantage of student discounts

As a student, you have the opportunity for many student discounts. A variety of student discounts are available on your University student ID card.

From discounted transportation – buses, rail and light rail to discounted haircuts and hairdressers appointments, there are all kinds of discounts students in Sydney can receive with their student ID card. Places like Broadway, Newtown and Glebe have student discounts at cafes, movies and more.

You can also look forward to discounts on movies, sports games, events, and rock concerts.

An ISIC card costs around $30 and gives you access to over 42,000 deals in Australia on movie tickets, groceries, iTunes, gift cards, restaurants and cafes, takeaways, and more.

While these discounts might not seem like much, remember that every drop of water makes a mighty ocean. It's the same with savings.

Every little amount saved contributes to a much more significant saving.

#7 Get a part-time job

Australia pays a living wage which is part of its minimum wage structure, so if you want to seek out casual or part-time work, you can. International students have the opportunity of working casual or part-time while studying. As an international student, you can work up to 40 hours a fortnight. Your university's resident director can advise you on the types of jobs available in Sydney.

You can find on-campus jobs and even look for jobs on Australian job search websites SUCH AS as Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne and ApplyDirect.

To get a part-time job in Sydney, you will require a resume that has all the details of your educational qualifications and course loading.

Find out more about working as an international student.

#8 Be creative with your entertainment options

Another high cost for students is your social life. There is a lot you can do in Sydney – but all this costs money, but there are cheaper ways to have fun.

Rather than going to the movies with friends, why not binge-watch your favourite TV shows or catch-up on the latest movies on Google Play or Netflix at your place? BYO popcorn!

Host potluck dinners on weekends when the city is more costly – that way you get to enjoy great food and good company as well.

There is a lot you can do in Sydney on a student budget.

Plan your day with destinations. Group destinations that are close to each other or walking distance from each other to save on travel expenses.

  • You can enjoy a free picnic in one of the several parks in Glebe near the harbour
  • Do the Bondi to Coogee Beach coastal walk
  • Visit Wendy’s Secret Garden (Milsons Point)
  • Check out the City of Forking Paths (The Rocks)
  • Visit Hibernian House (Surry Hills)

Do Tacos on Tuesdays at Controbando (CBD), Havanna Beach (Manly) The Norfolk (Surry Hills), and Barrio Cellar (CBD)

Tuesdays and Thursdays are great days for movie nights, and you can access a variety of discounts. Dendy Cinemas offers movie tickets at $8 on every Wednesday.

Check out this blog on the best student nights in Sydney. Side Bar is one of Sydney’s busiest student and backpacker’s bar. Check out some of Sydney’s best student bars here

A number of bars have Happy hours at Lil Darlin (Surry Hills), Jacksons on George (CBD) Monday to Thursday, and Cyron Bar and Grill (Monday to Friday).

#9 Get a piggy bank – yes, really?

Sounds silly and childish? You will be surprised at how much you can save with a piggy bank if you drop in all that loose change. Decide beforehand how you are going to spend that money. With a goal in mind, you will not be as tempted to simply break into your piggy bank before the time is up.

Collect loose change for a set period – like three to six months.

You can pick up a piggy bank on eBay. Check out cute ceramic piggy banks on Etsy.

#10 Figure out what is important to you - Distinguish Needs From Wants

Figure out what you really enjoy, and then factor that into your budget.

What is important – a coffee every morning from the Barista down the road or a pizza at the weekend? Work out what will bring you joy in the long term to help you make smart choices. If you are usually broke by the weekend and can't afford a pizza, then maybe you can give up that coffee - do you need a coffee every morning? Perhaps you would like to go out for a movie once a week, and that is more important to you than eating out every day. Then, you can probably cut back on eating out and save for a movie every weekend. Be realistic and ready to make sacrifices.

#11 Use university-run facilities

Most universities offer different facilities to their students. From libraries to medical facilities and counselling facilities to health spas and pools – these facilities are free or may be available at a nominal fee. Some universities even provide free condoms!

Some facilities offered by universities include:

  • Peer support and tutoring programs
  • Facilities for disabled students
  • Counselling
  • Careers service
  • Financial assistance
  • Accommodation services
  • Clubs and societies
  • Child care
  • Health clinic
  • Recreation and activities facilities
  • Libraries and computer labs
  • Prayer rooms
  • Sporting facilities
  • Coffee shops/beauty salons/travel agents/newsagents/pharmacy/post office/banks/supermarkets

Other facilities that might be available on your campus include meditation and yoga clinics.

#12 Don't buy new textbooks

Instead of buying your textbooks new, get second-hand (used) textbooks. Textbooks can cost several hundreds of dollars. But once you finish a semester, you don't need them anymore. You can easily save from 50% up to 80% on second-hand textbooks, often they have been hardly used.

Buy, Swap & Sell

Some student unions have second-hand book shops where you can buy or exchange textbooks. Another option is to invest in e-textbooks that are available at a much lower price.

Or buy from online services such as StudentVIP, Sell My Text Book or eBay.

After you're finished with them, you can them sell them onto someone else.

#13 Get Active – PTO it – Don't buy a car

You don't really need a car if you are living in Sydney's inner-city suburbs as Public Transport Options are excellent and as we mentioned before all offer student discounts using the popular Opal card system.

Opal for tertiary students. The Concession Opal card is available to eligible tertiary students, with fares at half the price of the Adult Opal card. On Sundays, transportation is capped at $2.60 no matter the distance you travel – by train, bus, ferry, or light rail.

But you find yourself spending way too much money on transport get a cheaper and healthier alternative. Invest in a second-hand pushing cycle or bicycle or leave home early so you can walk to campus. Both these solutions are great ways to save money and also to get fit while you save money. As Glebe is an easy walk to UTS and Sydney Uni, it is an ideal location to live close to uni.

If on occasion you need a car, signup for GOGET.com.au a car-sharing service. Fees are charged by the hour or day, are very reasonable and include fuel. If you are a full-time student, you get a discount too.

#14 sign up to UNiDAYS.

It's also worth signing up to a site like UniDAYS which offer discounts from a broad range of business and make them easier to find.

Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, Food, Health & Fitness, Technology and limited-time specials are all on offer with varying discounts.

Its a great resource and will save you time tracking down specials.

#15 Apply for a scholarship

Probably the most obvious way to study cheaply overseas! Getting a scholarship will help you financially big time. Image saving on school fees!

A scholarship is often seen as something that only a particular "type" of person would be willing to apply for, but in Australia, there is no stigma attached to scholarships and a sign of a hard-working student that deserves an education.

There are a wide variety of scholarships that you can apply for, part scholarship of full scholarship or even a bursary where a student qualifies for things like living expense to be covered by the award.


If you want to maintain a particular lifestyle, be willing to make little adjustments like these, and you can ensure you save money where you can.

Sydney can be an expensive city to live in, but You should still have fun, after all, isn't that part of university life!

Vince Perri

Vince is a Sydney Resident, working with an International Student and Traveller organisation and loves travel, art, good things that make life better! Follow @Vince_T_Perri