A budget shows you if you are spending more or less than you can afford. It enables you to direct your money to where it matters most, so you can stay on top of bills and start putting money towards your future.
It is helpful to look at the money going in and out across a whole year. Include regular payments such as your rent, phone and electricity, car or public transport. It is helpful to us an app or a website to work out your budget, we recommend Budget Planner.
To work out your budget you should check your bank statements, bills, credit card statements, receipts and shopping dockets, doing this will help you to work out all your expenses. Use your best guess if there iss anything you cannot find or if bill amounts vary across the year.
TIP: Download your bank’s App so you can check your bank balance at least 3 times a week.
Incude the money that you receive or are paid over the time period. This could include your pay from your full-time or part-time job, any casual work, your pension, government benefits, child support payments and any money form of investment. If your income is variable, make an estimate based on the past year's earnings.
When working out your money priorities, think about which items you need for your basic living expenses and which are extras or things you could maybe do without if you need to save some money.
Once you have a budget in place try and stick to it so that you can track your spending.
We recommend the TrackMySPEND application as it allows you to add your spending on the go.
Major overspending can lead to a debt spiral and severe problems for the future, so keeping track of your spending and sticking to your budget is important.
TIP: Preparing meals at home can save $40-50 per week, reuse dinner leftovers and use the survival stations all over the campuses to reheat your food. Skipping that $4.50 coffee everyday can save you $90 over 4 weeks!
- Write a shopping list
- Plan your meals for the week ahead
- Use a spending tracker
- Don’t shop hungry
- Set a budget and use cash only or track your spending on your credit card and stick to your budget
- Buy in bulk
- Check discounted section/specials
- Buy essentials
- Use comparison websites/Apps to find cheaper deals
- Check expiry dates (pick longer to last)
- NUSA Fruit and vegetable box
- Student cook book
- Pick seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are cheaper
- Cut down on junk food
- Resist impulse buys
If you have having difficulties paying your utilities bills take a look at this useful guide to services available to assist you.
Steps that may assist in paying your utilities are:
- Reduce your usage
- Contact your provider – make sure you are getting the best deal
- Apply for a rebate or voucher
- See a financial counsellor
- Make a complaint
Ask the right questions
- What is your name and what company do you represent?
- Who owns your company?
- what is your address?
If they avoid answering these questions, the deal they are offering you is probably a scam.
Do your own checks
- Always do your own research on a company
- Check the company’s Australian Fincancial Services (AFS) licence
Protect your personal information
- Do not give out any personal, banking or credit card information to anyone
- Check your bank and credit card statements every month
- Destroy all documents with your personal information on them
- Choose passwords that are hard to work out and never share your password with anyone else
- Avoid using the same password
- Be careful what you post online and, if you can, try to limit what you share.
- Make sure your privacy settings are up to date on social media accounts and share personal information with ‘friends only’
Secure your computer and mobile device by using private passwords
- Delete and do not open any unsolicited or suspicious emails you receive, and if you have opened them, do not click on any links in these emails.
- Enable security settings on your computer and mobile devices and install current anti-virus programs.
Reduce telemarketing calls
- You can put your name on the Do Not Call Register to remove your name from telemarketing phone lists.
- Look at CareerHub
- Contact Careers to discuss your options
- Look at online job searches e.g.LinkedIn, Jora
Work for International Students
International students can only work part-time to comply with their student visa conditions.
The Australian Government allows International Students who hold a student visa to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during semester period and unlimited hours during semester breaks and vacation periods.
Be sure to research all the details relating to your permission to work while on a student visa.
Finding part-time work depends on a number of things, including your English language proficiency and your own motivation to actively search work. Remember to bring relevant documents with you to Australia that may assist you to apply for part-time work, such as reference letters from previous employers.
To be eligible to work in Australia you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN).
For more information, please visit Conditions for Working While Studying by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Minimum wages and enterprise agreements
Be aware of minimum wages and conditions.
Tips on resumes and interviews
To receive assistance with your resume and/or interview techniques either have a one or one or attend a workshop. Go to Careers for more details.
Moneycare - Free Financial Counselling on Campus
The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. Loans are between $300 and $1,200 for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines and medical procedures. Repayments are set up at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months. To be eligible for NILS you must have a Health Care Card or earn less than $45,000 a year (after tax). Loans cannot be used for cash, bond, rent arrears, debt consolidation, holidays or bills.
Find a financial counsellors
- No Interest Loan Scheme
- Ask Izzy lists local services
- Samaritans - 32 Brunker Avenue, Broadmeadow, 2292 NSW 02 4922 1509
- Wesley Financial Counselling Services - 15 Denison Street, Newcastle West, 2302, NSW 02 4915 3688
- Contact a Financial Counsellor
- On campus accommodation
- Off campus accommodation
- Private landlords in the Newcastle area: Real Estate or Domain
TIP: Remember before signing any contract know your rights as a tenant in NSW.
Fact: There are many different types of accommodation to choose from while you study here at Newcastle. All of them are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The Act and the regulations set out a standard residential tenancy agreement that gives rights and obligations to landlords and tenants. The Act gives the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) power to hear and settle disputes about residential tenancies, including bond disputes.
Hunter Homeless Connection
Has Local services in Newcastle, supports available for different categories i.e. housing, food, NILS and other helpful resources, just go to: Hunter Homeless Connect Community Directory
Find the help you need, now and nearby by searching Ask Izzy.
Saver Plus supports families and individuals on a tight budget to develop lasting savings habits through a financial education program.
Cost of Living
Cost of Living is provided by the NSW Government to help ease the cost of living with more than 70 rebates and savings.