You’re all excited about what’s probably going to be the most exciting portion of your university education – exchange! But if you’re heading towards the land Down Under for your student exchange, it is highly likely that the experience will be the most costly one of your student life as well. Instead of compromising on the quality of life by scrimping on your living expenses, here are 7 ways to make a bang for your buck while on exchange in awesome Australia!
1. Wednesdays are the best days to check out products you’ve been eyeing at the supermarket
Whichever Australian university you find yourself in, there’s bound to be at least one of the supermarket chain giants, Coles or Woolworths, near you. Coles and Woolies (as Aussies affectionately call the latter) refresh their weekly sales catalogues every Wednesday – so what you get on a Tuesday might just go at half the price on Wednesday! That’s the best time to go crazy and stock up on your favourite items – like ice cream, because really, who doesn’t love ice cream? Also, if an item is on sale at Coles in a given week, it tends to be on sale at Woolies the following week (and vice versa) if it wasn’t already the case the previous week. Now this is an oligopoly in action.
2. 4 is the magic number
Fresh produce that can’t be kept for long, such as poultry, pastry and milk, generally have their prices reduced at supermarkets after 4pm if they’re about to expire in a day or two. This shouldn’t be much of an issue if most of your grocery shopping is done after you end your lessons for the day any way. You can also look at this site if you need to find the best supermarket nearby.
3. House brands are basically the same thing at half the price
Forget what you think you know about the quality of supermarkets’ house brand products. In Australia, quality is everything. That means that save for the pretty packaging, house brand products are just as good as those of international brands. Milk, for instance, is produced in Australia any way so freshness is guaranteed! A 1L carton of milk by Coles or Woolies will cost you a mere AUD 2, whereas other brands of milk are sold at about AUD 3.80 a carton. If talking about bread and butter issues gives you a clearer picture, a loaf of white bread by Coles or Woolies cost slightly less than AUD 1, while a ‘branded’ loaf of bread costs approximately AUD 2.50.
4. Veggies at the market, meat at the supermarket
Vegetables are significantly cheaper at local markets than at the supermarket. A zucchini, for instance, can cost a mere AUD 0.5 at a local market, but four times as much at the supermarket! Not much surprise there since a supermarket is air-conditioned, considerably cleaner and require way more manpower just to bring you that zucchini. Yet, for some obscure reason, meat seems to cost more at local markets than at the supermarket.
5. Know when the local market closes
Australians are known for their well-balanced lifestyle, so markets are generally closed for one to two days a week to afford sellers some rest during the week. Because markets sell fresh produce that cannot be kept for long, prices are generally slashed in the few hours prior to its closing for the week. You’ll be amazed at how many bags full of groceries you can get for just AUD 10 when you get them at the right time!
6. Milk your status as a student for what it’s worth
As a student studying abroad, chances are you’re on a tight budget compared to what would be the case back home. Student concessions exist for the simple reason that students don’t get much income – if they do at all – so don’t be afraid to ask if student discounts/deals apply for any food, leisure activity and even cookie delivery that you’re paying for! All you have to do is simply flash your Australian partner university’s student ID and let the savings roll in.
7. Convenience store coffees will be your best friend during Finals
Australia has undoubtedly some of the best coffee in the world, partly because of the high-quality locally produced milk used, but also because Australians just get coffee. Yes, you should definitely indulge in a good cuppa from a local café a few times a week because you’ll miss it so much once your exchange is over. But if you’re a coffee junkie who thrives on and absolutely requires more than one cup a day – especially during Finals – your coffee-drinking habits can cost you a significant amount. Convenience stores like Coles Express (at Shell petrol kiosks) and 7-11 sell more-than-decent lattes for under AUD 2, so if you really must have two or more cuppas a day, these convenience stores provide cheap (and of course, convenient 24/7) alternatives to keep you going. Another tip is to check out scrap metal for cash and find out scrap copper wire price per kg today.