As uni goes back there are a lot of costs that you are expected to cover. Below, we look at some of the things you need to pay for and whether there is any way to cut the costs.
Paying for a yearly car parking sticker means you can park without paying each time or getting a parking fine. I always opted to pay for a sticker, although I understand those who don’t buy a car parking sticker and choose to get to uni by public transport instead. That way you can make better use of the travel time.
There are few ways that you might save money on textbooks.
Buying from The Co-op
Buying uni textbooks from the Co-op is likely to save you money, when compared to a regular bookstore. But it may not save you time, when the line to the Co-op is out the door and around the corner.
Buying 2nd hand textbooks
I bought 2nd hand textbooks one or two semesters. I believe authors who write university textbooks are well aware of students buying 2nd hand textbooks and plan to release a new version of the textbook every few years to earn more from book sales.
When buying 2nd hand textbooks it can be hard to tell if version 5 is exactly the same as version 6 – if it just has a few missing/extra examples, by comparison to being substantially different. You might be able to look at chapter headings or a classmate’s book to compare. Also lecturers might tell you whether you need the newest version or not.
Selling your old textbooks
You might consider listing your old textbooks on a 2nd hand textbook site. I tried this without much success.
New Website – Zookal.com
www.zookal.com allows you to buy textbooks for one semester at half the price, then sell or rent your textbooks back to the website. The website also offers subject notes – so this might be a good way to earn a bit of money to put notes made using a textbook on the website.
Don’t buy the textbook if you don’t need it
As a diligent student who (mostly) did the required homework, I bought textbooks that I never used. It would be useful to ask somebody who has already done the subject whether you actually use the textbooks (I usually didn’t know anyone who had already done the subject). Once or twice I waited two to three weeks to see if the books were really needed. Also, I found tutors were usually more lenient if I hadn’t done my homework in the first few weeks of semester!
Photocopying – using the library or elsewhere
The uni library might be a great place for photocopying, but also there might be cheaper options like Officeworks.
Course Fees – should I pay upfront?
If you have the cash (or your parents do) you might consider paying your course fees upfront to get a 10% discount.
Over the long term, I believe you might be better keeping your money. If you invested it in a term deposit and earned 5% a year on the money, versus a 10% discount and 3% inflation – you would have more in the term deposit after about 12 years. Obviously though this depends on the interest and inflation rates.