Budgeting tips

Knowing where your money is coming from and what it must be spent on, will help you stay on top of your finances while you are studying.

Students celebrate at the Clubs Awards

It might sound boring, but figuring out a budget ahead of your years at Uni, can make a huge difference to your financial security. And there’s no need to panic, sticking to a budget doesn’t mean living a drab life, you can still go out and have fun (we promise)!

Step One: Think about what’s coming in

Income, that wonderful inbound flow of money coming into your bank account. Knowing where your money is coming from and how much you can expect every week, is a great place to start when you’re thinking about your budget.

When you’re a student, there are a variety of possible income streams you will need to consider, like student loans, student allowances, part-time work, parental support and scholarships.

For more info on these things check out:

Step two: Monitor how it goes out

The next step is to be mindful of all the ways the money is going to go out. This could include fees, accommodation expenses, food, transport, and of course your leisure activities.

What you study

Fees are an inevitable part of being a student, and are made up of compulsory student fees and fees by faculty.

See Studylink for information on student loans and allowances.

Where you live

If you are studying away from home, living with family is probably not an option. There are several University accommodation options that might work for you including catered and non-catered residences, and shared-flatting situations.

Check out the Accommodation Fees page

Another option is to find private accommodation, which is likely to be a room in a shared flat.

Have a look at the Living in Auckland Guide to get an idea of what you could expect to pay in some of Auckland’s central suburbs.

Living in Auckland

How you get from A to B

The cost of transport can vary greatly. Full time students can take advantage of discounted fares on buses, trains and ferries.

Find out more about your AT discount

If you have a car, there are several factors to consider. Not only is there the cost of petrol and parking to contend with, but there’s also insurance, registering and warranting your car, and repairs if needed.

How you fill your belly

If you aren’t in catered accommodation, you will need to think about the cost of your meals and drinks and factor this in to your budget. There are many different ways you can make savings when it comes to buying your food provisions for the week.

It’s always a good idea to hit the grocery store on a full stomach, so you’re less inclined to make an impulsive purchase, and working out a meal plan for the week makes it easier to stick to a budget.

Other ideas to try include scoping out your local market for some produce bargains, buying your grocery items in bulk, and signing up for a rewards card (Countdown, Huckleberry and New World all  have them), so you can earn rewards or discounts.

On campus, there are some budget-friendly meal options available including the $6.50 Budgie Meals and the $5 vegan lunch put on by the Sustainability Network.

Budgie Meals

If you're really stuck for ways to get a decent meal, reach out to AUSA. They are able to give out free food parcels to all students.

How you spend your free time

Sticking to a budget doesn’t mean giving up on your social life. There are heaps of fun things to do around Auckland that won’t break the bank, like the museum, the art gallery, or a visit to one of the many parks and beaches that this city is blessed with.

It is often possible to get a discount at cinemas and theatres.

And don't forget, there's often something cheap and cheerful going on right at your doorstep here on campus!

Check out What's On

Additional Resources


Budgeting guides


Cost of living

On-campus help

Financial Wellbeing Advisers

Money Week

Scholarships and awards

All scholarships

Māori and equity scholarships

First in family scholarships

Budget meal ideas

Healthy recipes

Sustainability Network $5 lunch