So, it began with a few drinks, a bike rack and a metal plate with 8 screws in my ankle.
On top of studying IR during the semester, I work casual retail on the weekends. And look, if I’m completely honest, my weekend shifts were dwindling dangerously close to oblivion before I did a number on my ankle. First thing I did when the docs confirmed my ankle was fractured was message my manager a picture of my swollen ankles (yes plural, I badly sprained the other one) and explained I’d have to give up that sweet, sweet Boxing Day pay which meant roughly $300-$500 to me.
Now, an unfortunate sequence of events also meant my car rego and insurance were due, a library fine, medication costs were coming out of my ears, wheelchair rent to pay, I needed to buy my parking permit for the year (thanks La Trobe) and I wouldn’t be back working retail for nearly 3 months *prayer emoji*. All of these bills to pay and my account was overdrawn by $84, yay!
With 6 weeks no walking up my sleeve, I began the process of simplifying my financial situation and paying my dues:
- Cancelled Apple Music coz frankly, it’s trash = $11 per month?!?
But FIRST I used an amazing app called SongShift to transfer my music from Apple Music to
- Joined my friends’ “Family” Spotify account at $3 per month.
Before getting spotify, I was paying $11 for my own account. The Family account allows you to have 6 users on one account for the price of $17.99 per month, you just need to say you live at the same address. $11 – $3 = $8 per month saving.
- Cancelled my damn gym membership.
I had a membership for almost 1 year to the day and had used it a grand total of twice. There was
also the fact I couldn’t walk so, you know, no brainer. I also told them my sob story and explained my account was overdrawn and they waived the two week cancellation period (thanks Genesis) = $60 per month saving.
- Made the leeches pay up, no more freeloading on my Netflix account!
No siree, I bumped off the guy on my Netflix that I haven’t spoken to in a year by changing my password and asking anyone else who wants to stay on it, to set up an auto transfer every month for $3.60 in exchange for the new password. Then, I put the question out to my wider group of friends to find out who would like Netflix for $3.60pm and got someone on it right away! $17.99 – $3.60 = $14.39 per month saving
- Downloaded and joined “Beem It”.
To summarise, Beem It is a new easy money transferring app that you link to your bank account (it’s backed by Commonwealth and NAB so you know it’s legit). When you sign up, you also verify your identity and then if you have a referral code, you can enter it and you will receive $5 instantly. The person who referred you also receives $5, so no brainer! More fun things about this app are; you can instantly pay anyone with a Beem It account, request payments (so no one can ‘forget’ to pay you) and split bills with friends after dinner (or when buying a group bday present). Oh, and you can also refer up to 10 friends, and earn yourself a hefty $50 for free! Yes, economics students, I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but just let me dream! Gain $50 + always getting what I’m owed from friends quickly and effortlessly!
- Downloaded the Spaceship app (using someone’s referral code I found online.)
Spaceship is an app similar to Raiz (formerly known as Acorns), basically it’s a micro-investing app which you can easily put money into and pull it out off. For example, I transfer $5 per week into it and the app has 100 companies it invests in for me. Two main reasons I prefer Spaceship over Raiz:
- Raiz isn’t free, usually you pay more in fees than you gain in investments. Spaceship is free up to $5000 invested
- Spaceship has a $20 referral bonus, yes you read that right, $ 2 0 . 0 0 ! Now this works the same was as the Beem It referral bonus except better, it’s not capped. You can refer as many friends as you want *MONEY EYES EMOJI*
= +$40 gained (so far)
- Started reading “The Barefoot Investor” and joined the orange card cult a.k.a switched from Commbank to ING.
Lesson numero uno in the Barefoot Investor is that your bank is probably ripping you off and you don’t need to pay fees (on average most people pay like $400 per year). I was outraged and immediately convinced to follow lord barefoots advice and open up an ING account FOR FREE.
- There are no fees
- ATM fees are refunded to you, no matter what kind of ATM you use, as long as you deposit $1000 per month into your account (luckily I just scrape through, I know, yikes)
- Instant transfers to other ING accounts
- Pretty aesthetic orange card
- Easy online banking and smooth, simple app
Now, this is not the only thing that the Barefoot Investor goes through, it also tells you how to best set yourself up so you’ll never be financially reliant on anyone else ever again (except your mortgage). I’m really not kidding, there’s a whole facebook community called “Shared experiences reading The Barefoot Investor book” and it’s packed full of people who have paid off their debts, cut up their credit cards and purchased their forever homes. Not to mention it’s just really wholesome, supportive and pure content. = a lot of $$
- “Read” Audiobooks
When you sign up to audible, you’ll get one free book, use that for The Barefoot Investor or whatever you fancy. Then when you’ve listened to this, go to cancel your subscription and enter that you’re cancelling coz you can’t afford it. They’ll offer you another free book to stay. You’re welcome.
- Sold one month of my parking permit to a friend. (wasn’t using it)
Now don’t judge me but, in a normal week, I’m at uni every, single, day due to volunteering, classes, meetings, clubs, societies and commitments to friends. I also highly value my sleep and am not a morning person, so it goes without saying that I spent the last two years in a love-hate relationship with my White Parking Permit. I had friends who parked in the Red bays, we made jokes about them having “daddy’s money”, “robbing a bank” and asked them how it was to be hanging out with us white permit peasants. However the time had come, I was buying a Red Permit because the trade-off of driving around carpark 1 and 2 for 30mins every morning and an almost guaranteed parking spot no matter what time of the day I deigned to rock up, was easy. = +$50
Other misc advice go save your dollaroos:
- Go on your parents Private Health Insurance (if you can)
- Go on a family data pool plan for your phone with Optus, so you don’t have to pay so much for data.
If you’re with Telstra, I’m not sure why you’re reading this article and your gold plated toilet seat must be digging into your butt by now but a really good, reliable and affordable company to consider is Amaysim. If you don’t use much data and own your phone as they have some good data only plans e.g 10GB with unlimited calls and texts for $30 per month
- DO NOT ADD INSURANCE TO YOUR PHONE PLAN
An absolute waste of money and unless you constantly lose your phone, you will have enough in savings to pay for any cracked phone screen (or just fork out $10 for a tempered glass screen protector on ebay)
- See if you’re eligible for Centrelink, seriously.
If you have any hook ups about receiving “the dole” just remember the likes of Clive Palmer also received taxpayer money and I really can’t justify that. However if you qualify, you should apply. You’ll more than repay your debt to society over your lifetime and with the state of this economy, you should take all the help you can get. = +$300 per fortnight for Youth Allowance
- See if you’re eligible for a Health Care Card:
Upon discharge from hospital I had to pay $70 for all of my medication for the next few weeks, if I weren’t on a health care card I was told by the pharmacist it would have cost $350-$400. 100% worth it.
- Shop at Chemist Warehouse.
Seriously though, most of my prescriptions are cheaper there no matter what and they frequently have sales on everything else they stock. I haven’t set foot in a Priceline for years
- For God’s sake, why are you wasting your money, go to a Bulk Billing doctor.
You should see your GP regularly, for routine check ups, when you get a cold, pull a sickie, have a weird shaped freckle, unexplained pain, immunisations, weight loss, mental health, you name it! Great thing is, the doctors at La Trobe Medical Centre are decent and they Bulk Bill, which means all you need is your beautiful little medicare card. I can also highly recommend the docs down at Bundoora Family Clinic down at the end of the 86 tram line at Uni Hill, they’re fab. So do yourself a favour and save the $70 plus it might cost for a ~private~ doctor.
- Review your car insurance and up the excess payment because once you follow the barefoot investors advice, you can pay $800 excess no problem if it comes to it.
Feel free to use comparison sites like i-select and comparethemarket.com.au but do not buy through them, it’s almost always cheaper to go direct!
Otherwise see if you’re eligible for this insurance company which covers people on low incomes, offering significantly cheaper insurance plans, https://www.essentialsbyaai.com.au/ you only need to fulfil ONE of the following:
- Have a
healthcare card, or
- Receive Centrelink payments, or
- Have an annual household income of approximately $48,000 or less (excluding superannuation)
- Consolidate your super!
You might have 1 super account, you might have 10, if you have multiple, any money in those account will be getting eaten up by sneaky little fees so do this right now. Get on google and go to your MyGov account then:
- log in or create a myGovExternal Link account
- link your myGov account to the ATO
- select ‘super’
- you can then find and choose to transfer your super.
- Maybe you’ve lost some money? Why not check if the gov owes you?
- ConMaree your life and sell anything you don’t need or want on gumtree, meet people at uni during the day (when there’s people around) to give them the items, don’t invite them to your home, please!
- Make use of the services at uni!
Whether it’s FREE financial counselling, legal services or advocacy from the student union or UNLIMITED and FREE counselling for your mental health. Trust me, this will save you from stress cutting bangs, failing subjects and hefty fees seeing professionals outside of uni.
- Apply for financial aide.
This is a once per year emergency sum in cash of up to $200 from the University when you’re in need. You just need to print the form off online and then go see them for a drop-in sesh at Ask La Trobe.
- Put a money jar next to your bed
Don’t spend any coins, just empty them into the jar each day. Last year, I cashed in my jar and had $286 saved up in gold and silver $$$$
- Download the browser plug-in “Honey”
This is a great app for online shopping, it works mostly on US sites but still works on some aussie ones too, and what’s the harm in trying right? Basically it automatically detects whether there are any vouchers or coupons which might apply to your purchase and tests them. Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not.
- Follow some Market Research companies on Facebook and set your “following” settings to “see first”
This way when they post about opportunities, you’ll see it first. E.g “Melbourne CBD, Males 18-25 who play sport. 1 hr face to face interview $80 between 20th and 23rd March. Fill out eligibility survey below”. Again, sometimes you could be selected and get lucky. I wouldn’t mind getting paid anywhere between $50-$200 for an hours work, wouldn’t you?
- Set and reminder in your phone and actually bring your keep cup to uni
You probably own one, maybe even an LTSU one from 2018 like me? Or one of these sick Life Apparel keep-cups which feature First Nations artwork and are Australian made: https://lifeapparel.co/collections/eco-coffee-cups
Most of the cool coffee places at uni now offer discounts if you bring your keep-cup, so take advantage of it
a student, flaunt it
- Treat your student ID card like your phone and take, it, everywhere! Flaunt it, flash it everywhere and ask if you get a student discount, especially on campus if you’re an LTSU member or over at the local Maccas
have TWO guanteed FREE MEALS PER WEEK at uni every week provided by the student
union during semester in the agora so put it in your calendar now.
- Free BBQ Lunch Tuesday 12pm (ish) – chicken halal sausages, beef halal sausages, vegetable patties, vegan patties, bread and onions
- Free Breakfast Wednesday 9am (ish) – toast, cereal, coffee, tea, milk, maybe donuts etc
- Download Groupon
Just even if you browse every now and then, only buy what you need. For example my car is well overdue for a service and there was $29 car services on Groupon for a mechanic in Essendon. I’m willing to make the trip over to that side of town for such a huge saving personally
- Take advantage of your union
No matter where you work, no matter what you do, you should be a part of your union. Apart from the fact union members out-earn non-union members, read more here: https://www.australianunions.org.au/why_join
Most good unions also provide discounts and incentives for their members, for example, I received a discount book in the mail and I immediately flipped through it and marked down all the 2 for the price of 1 deals I was interested in and restaurants I liked that I could get discounts at. Might as well use your perks!
Make sure you’re not being ripped off. Call your union and check your pay and conditions are up to scratch. You might be having trouble saving because you’ve got a dodgy boss who’s underpaying you. This is what your union is for.
And finally, make sure your Medicare details are up to date
There are thousands of dollars currently being held by Medicare due to the amount of people with incorrect bank details on their account. Make sure your details are up to date online, it’ll take you 2mins. The average amount being held per customer is $150.
So, a bike rack was all it took for me to get behind my savings and become a smart saver. Although I wouldn’t recommend breaking your foot to start being good with your money, these are some tips I found helpful in taking the first steps, ha ha, towards financial independence. I hope you enjoyed these money saving tips and tricks, please make sure you write to Rab and let us know yours!