Fly The Nest

The first 3 months of uni: mo money, mo problems.


Starting uni? Congrats—you’re going to have a blast.

We asked the Financial Support and Advice team at Victoria University for a few handy tips on how to get the money side of things sorted early. If you start managing it well now, it’ll take the stress off down the track.

With all the money that might be coming your way for course-related costs, plus overdrafts and any assistance you might be getting, you could suddenly have more money in your account than you’re used to. While a grand or two can seem like it’ll never run out, you’d be surprised at how quickly you burn through it—especially when you’re in a new town surrounded by new mates.

  • Work it all out first. It can be easy to assume that you’ve got enough cash to cover everything you need. But sitting down and figuring it out will give you a way better feel for what you’re dealing with.
  • Give yourself a break. A sure-fire way to become disillusioned with money is by expecting future-you to be more frugal and self-disciplined than you actually can be. Don’t make a budget that has you sticking to a $5 per day meal budget, or never allows you to go out with your mates. And remember that no matter how well you plan, there’s almost always something unexpected that’ll pop up (especially if you have a car).
  •  Keep an eye on that balance. When you’re buying stuff here and there all day, as well as having rent payments going out, your balance can become quite different from what you think it is. Check it regularly—every day if you can (which is easy now that most banks have smartphone apps). Even better: withdraw cash at the beginning of the week and carry it around with you—that way, you’ll be able to see what you’ve got left.
  • Keep track of that spending. Track what you spend over a month. At the end of that month, gather the data and figure out how to group the different types of spending together—groceries, bills, social and so on. Once you see where your money is going, you’ll get an idea of where you might be overspending, or where you can just save a few bucks.
  • Get a better deal. Cinemas have cheap nights. Supermarkets always have stuff on special. That sushi place down the road is half price after 3pm. Get an idea of how you can save money around town, and talk to other students for their tips and tricks.
  • The first three months are vital. The team at Financial Support and Advice team at Victoria University see that the first three months of a student’s first year are some of the most crucial when it comes to money. A lot of students hit a new town with new freedom and burn through their money quicker than they expected, leaving them in strife before they even hit halfway through their first year. It’s kind of like running a marathon instead of a sprint—take it slow, take it easy, and make sure you’re thinking about what’s ahead.

If you’re in need of individual advice, there are loads of places you can turn. Just like the Financial Support and Advice team at Victoria University, your place of education probably has a department that can give you personalised advice. If you have specific banking questions, you can always call your bank. And, of course, don’t forget your support network of friends and family—you’d be surprised the tips you pick up from asking around.

Please note

 This is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances, please see a financial adviser or make an appointment with a Kiwibank Wealth Adviser.