I never knew I was poor before going to Uni. Everything was so cheap, so easy in high school. $4 would get me a delicious, wholesome lunch from the tuck shop (ravioli/carbonara/spag bol all made by the vat, jack potatoes, fried rice, curries, homemade pies and sausage rolls, fresh sandwiches, pumpkin soup and crusty rolls). For $4, I was spoiled for choice. Though my school uniform was as daggy as crocs and socks, everyone had to wear it, makeup wasn’t allowed, and I got away with wearing the same pair of leather shoes for the entire 5 years. The amount of money I now spend on food and clothes/makeup is horrific and quite franky shameful. Do I blame my terrible self-discipline and need to fill the empty hole inside me with caffeine and things?
I blame the system! The system is against me! I am a poor innocent wren caught in the trap of uni culture! *Laura rolls in the giant pile of unnecessary clothing, lolly wrappers and empty coffee cups she has accumulated over the last few years. Laura is wildly laughing and sobbing simultaneously*
However after some deep self reflection and critical analysis of my problem, I have considered a few helpful hints to survive the expenses of uni without breaking the bank. Impressionable youths, lend me your ears! I bring to you my top four tips for an affordable uni experience.
- Thinking about studying at QUT’s city campus? Try to avoid the temptation of city shopping. I usually catch public transport into the city and walk to Gardens Point campus for my classes. It’s a great way to boost my fitbit steps, but if you’re like me and literally can’t walk past a shop without buying something, you will need to get creative with your route to class, for example taking the city shuttle bus, or finding a walking route that avoids the shops completely.
- Find student-friendly deals. As someone with a sweet tooth, the QUT lolly shop’s happy hour changed my life. At Gardens Point there’s 20% off all bulk lollies from 2-3 PM and discounts during exam periods. The cost of good health might seem a bit expensive on a student budget, but QUT’s Medical Center provides a number of health services including GP appointments, counselling and physiotherapy for a significantly discounted price or for free (if bulk billed or if the service is provided by a supervised health student).
- Bring food from home. It used to be my excuse that unless I was to survive on soggy Vegemite sandwiches, I HAD to buy lunch at uni. There is no such place to prepare a salad, no microwave to reheat leftovers, no hot water to make the important student staple Mi Goreng! Except there is… There are plenty of facilities on campus providing microwaves, boiling water and sinks to wash up soy sauce stained takeaway containers. Saving $10 a day on lunch really does add up.
- Public transport is friendly for the environment and your wallet. It’s no secret that finding a car park at uni is a bit like finding a reasonably priced, but still edible avocado – it is frankly impossible. However,TransLink offers a 50% discount on public transport services for tertiary students. Though it may take a little bit longer to get to/from uni on the train, this time can always be an opportunity catch up on some study.
To all school students, I have one final message, one final plea… ENJOY YOUR BELOVED TUCK SHOP WHILST YOU HAVE THE CHANCE ! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD LIFE CAN BE WITHOUT $4 CARBONARA!