Managing money on a student budget can be challenging but it does not have to be burdensome. With the right financial skills and knowledge, you can learn to manage your money more effectively while saving a few extra dollars.
Here are three considerations for students:
Creating a realistic budget
Between paying for basic living expenses such as accommodation, transport, groceries and bills and purchasing additional (but necessary) items such as textbooks and other learning materials, your costs can easily add up. Having a budget is essential in tracking your spending and creating a savings plan.
Save money by carpooling or using public transport, cancelling credit cards and considering homestay. Seek out your options – students have access to discounted student fees, subscriptions, and memberships for many services. Set aside some money each payday for upcoming bills such as electricity and phone or unexpected expenses, i.e., your car breaking down.
Claiming tax deductions
If your study or training is relevant to your job or you receive a taxable bonded scholarship, you may be able to claim tax deductions for these expenses. The ATO considers self-education expenses as deductible if they meet the following conditions:
– The course has a sufficient connection to your current employment and;
– maintains or improves the specific skills or knowledge required in your current employment,
– or results in, or is likely to result in, an increase in your income from your current employment.
Those who meet the above conditions can claim self-education expenses such as course fees, fares, textbooks, student union fees, stationery and so forth.
Paying off uni debt
As soon as your income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold you will be required to pay back HELP and HECS debt, even if you are still studying. It is your responsibility to inform your employer about this debt so they can deduct it from your pay. If you wish to contribute more than the required amount, you can make a voluntary repayment to the ATO at any time and for any amount. It may be cheaper to make voluntary repayments before 1 June each year (when it is indexed).