How to Play the Student Budget Blues

The Diary of a Freshman Chapter 4.

It’s no secret that student life is expensive, and even though the gov. provides StudyLink money every week (a saviour, I tell you), this does not stretch very far at all. In fact, it doesn’t even cover half of my rent, not to mention all the other things that need paying for.

My first bit of advice on the matter is get a job, ASAP.  The more time you spend saving the less you’ll stress. I worked two jobs over the summer with only four days off in December, and sometimes worked one shift after another making 12-13 hour days a very normal thing. Sure, I never saw the sun, but after coming here I do not regret it one bit, as a little bit of extra money at the end of the week goes a long way.

Secondly, apply for every scholarship you can because a bit of paper work now can be extremely helpful during your studies. I know it may seem tedious and not worth it, but trust me, it absolutely is! Here are some other ways I have discovered that will save your pennies whilst living in Te Ohanga village and make it easier to adapt to the budget student life.


If you move to Te Ohanga, Pak’nSave is going to become your new best mate.  I chose to only receive the dinner option as a part of my meal plan at Te Ohanga (side note: you can also choose this with breakfast and/or lunch) so I was expecting receipts with ridiculously big numbers on them every time I went shopping. Luckily though, the Stick-Man definitely was not kidding when he said “lowest prices guaranteed” (as promotional as that sounds). I’m talking about 95c loaves of bread that can easily last a week and $5.70 wine that is amazing for the wallet and quite bearable for the taste buds. Pak‘nSave does not make you compromise late night trips to the pick ‘n mix and is a great way to ease the pain of being a penniless student.

Get a clothes horse

Not only do most of us need to adapt to doing our own washing, we have to accept it costs $6 to wash and dry a load. But please dry your tears, because even though getting a clothes horse to dry your clothes is more effort, you will easily make back the money and time you spend on it. The $3 you will save every week can go towards McDonald’s Loose Change Range, so it’s totally worth it.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

The more things you reuse, the less you have to spend.  All my folders, ring binders and most other stationery are saved from my years at school, my room is partly decorated with old perfume and glass coke bottles and my door is kept open with a belt we made for a Toga Party out of an old curtain.  This along with a bit of classic Kiwi ingenuity is a great way to keep your card away and preserve the planet.

Embrace the free stuff

Finally, there is no shame in taking advantage of all the free stuff that the University gives out, which occurs mostly during O week.  From movies tickets to a free copy of Office 365… Don’t be too polite to make the most of it. Also, many places do special discounts for students, so it pays to keep your Student ID card with you.

Those are just a few of the ways to be a successful stingy student, something that is just a part of the fun.  You will never take sales and K-Mart for granted again!

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About Mackenzie

Hello! My name is MacKenzie and I’m a concert loving, travel craving lass who is kicking it in Kiwi-land with exceptional music, friends and family. Appreciator of everything from nicely cooked toast to finding two bucks on the ground. Currently adapting to big city life after coming from Matamata, a land where there are no traffic lights and the shops are actually closed on Sunday. I believe in fairness for everyone which is why I chose to study Communications, so my voice is heard and I can fight for the underdog. People and pet lover, sister, daughter, car singer. Oh, and most importantly, a first year Massey student. Welcome to the diary of a freshman.

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