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Australia: Essentials - Must read

Essentials: Saving money in Australia

Learn how to save money as an international student in Australia including your banking options, what you’re entitled to as an international student and more...


There's so much to do in Australia that you won't want to be struggling to get by while studying in the country. You'll want to do as much as possible which may require paying for transport etc. So what can you do day-to-day to ensure you make the correct financial decisions?

Read our guide to saving money while studying in Australia...


Your bank

There are a few different banking options for international students in Australia. While some might prefer to stick with their home bank (and simply let them know that they will be studying overseas), it is usually considerably simpler to open an account once you arrive in Australia – just make sure you have access to enough money in the short-term before you can get to a bank (we recommend travelling with about AUS$700 on you, though this amount might depend on your circumstances).

NAB give you the opportunity to open an account before you leave home so everything is ready once you arrive in Australia. Meanwhile under the Global Alliance arrangement, Westpac have partner banks around the world with which they have a working relationship to make it easier for their customers to manage their finances, no matter what country they’re in. You can also try ANZ or Citibank, the latter of which have branches overseas too. In addition to the major four banks in Australia, there are a number of smaller banks throughout the country too.

When selecting and applying for an account, you should always read the fine terms of the account and try not to be too distracted by the added incentives like discounts on entertainment. Also you should know that withdrawing cash from an AMT machine which does not belong to your bank will incur a small charge on top of whatever cash you withdraw.

Read why you should open a bank account before you leave home.


Keeping in touch

When you’re studying away from home, it is important to keep in touch with family and friends. While it is always advantageous to have a mobile phone, there are many other ways to keep in touch that don’t involve spending a lot of money on phone bills.

Skype is the most popular way to talk to friends and family via audio or video call. It’s free to install though you may have to pay for credit to call different countries. It’s simple to use too! We don’t know how international students survived before Skype!

Thanks to the advancement of smartphones, tablets and apps, staying in touch with loved ones at home has never been easier. As well as Skyping from a mobile device, you can also use apps like Whatsapp, Facetime as well as Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts to continue long messages.

If you’re going to purchase a mobile phone, it is advisable that you do so in Australia once you arrive, as charges from foreign networks will be considerably higher if purchased in your own country. Similarly, if you’re living in private residential accommodation with other people, then you may be able to get a broadband deal that includes landline rental (though most students find it easier to just have their mobile phone).

Read our guide to staying in touch with loved ones at home


What are you entitled to?

International students are allowed to work while studying in Australia though there are strict terms and conditions under which they work. In short international students can work for 40 hours per fortnight during the academic term. The minimum working wage in Australia is AUS$640.90 a week or $16.87 an hour.

Make sure you have read the terms of your student visa before commencing any paid employment; if you break the rules of your visa, you can jeopardise your status to remain in the country as a student (and you may be deported).

Read our full guides to visa conditions for working while studying in Australia and working as a student in Australia.


Everyday savings

When doing your weekly grocery shop, try Aldi and Coles instead of Woolworths and Safeway. Find meat wholesalers instead of buying meat from a supermarket – they’re closer than you think! You should also try smaller markets and stores which are a bit more “off the grid”. If you can try to befriend those who own and work at smaller stores; they might be able to offer you discounts if you become a regular customer!

Read our guide to living costs in Australia



Now that you know more about precautions you can take when studying in the country, begin your journey to studying in Australia.


Read more:

'The Australian higher education system....simplified'

'Tuition fees in Australia'

'Applying to study in Australia'

'Applying for a student visa in Australia'

'Student accommodation in Australia'


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About Author

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.


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