Managing your money
Making your spending money last
The most important thing you need to know to be able to manage your money effectively is to know exactly how much money you have to spend during your schoolies holiday. When you know this amount, divide it by the number of days you'll be on holidays and then you'll know how much money you have to spend each day.
If you overspend on any given day, don't panic - just adjust your figures. Divide the amount of money you have by the remaining days. It may mean that you have less to spend some days, but it's amazing how far a loaf of bread and a jar of Vegemite can stretch!
Don't spend too much
Buy groceries in advance
Supermarkets, convenience stores and bottle shops in schoolies areas are likely to have considerably higher prices than in the city, so if possible stock up on things like groceries before you head off.
For those of you used to the convenience of 24-hour shopping, remember that most shops will probably close around 5pm and for the convenience of a 3am snack-fest, you could be paying double the price if there's even a convenience store around.
So get organised and get your food sorted early.
Prepare your own food
If you have kitchen facilities in your accommodation, use them. You can save yourself about $30-$70 in a single week just by making your breakfast at home. BBQs, salads, stir-fries, pasta dishes and sandwiches are all easy, convenient and relatively inexpensive meals to prepare and cook.
No doubt you'll want to get out of the house for a few meals. Just know how much money you have to spend before you decide where to eat. If you're on a limited budget, eat a snack before going to a restaurant or café. Opt for smaller entrée meals or portions. Drink water and skip dessert as these things can really add up and double your bill.
Don't feel that you have to split the bill with friends if they're ordering up big and you're trying to stick to your budget. Just pay for what you've ordered and eaten. They might tease you about being tight with your cash, but at least you'll maintain control over your budget and not be paying for a bottle of wine you didn't even taste.
You may be tempted to buy stuff during schoolies - anything from souvenirs to t-shirts to CDs. Decide if it's something you really need or if it's just something that's nice to have. Work out if the purchase will fit within your daily budget or what impact it will have on your overall spending money. If you really want to buy something, wait a few hours or even a few days before slapping down your cash - that way you'll be sure that you really REALLY want it. If someone's pressuring you to buy then and there, keep in mind that it could be a scam.
For entertainment, take advantage of free or low-cost activities and events in your schoolies area.
If you're worried that you'll be tempted to spend more than you can afford when you go out, whether it's on drinks, food or souvenirs, leave your credit cards, bankcards and extra cash at home.
Keep your money safe
Try to avoid having your entire schoolies budget on you in cash at any one time. Keep it in the bank and use an ATM card to take out a smaller, manageable amount.
If your schoolies budget is $50 per day for spending after household expenses, you might choose to take this amount out of the ATM each day. You might end up paying some extra bank fees, but it will help you to avoid overspending or losing all your money at once.
Many accommodation venues provide a safety deposit box for free. If you have one, use it and keep all of your valuables, including cash, in the safe. Just don't forget your code or it may cost you to get management's help to get the thing open again!
If you don't have a safe, find somewhere safe in the house to store it - but not the fridge or freezer as that's the first place many thieves look!
When you go out, keep some emergency cash in a pocket, shoe or sock, somewhere away from your wallet, just in case you lose it or it's stolen.
Managing the household 'kitty'
Depending on the personalities of your housemates, a household 'kitty' is a great way to share the expense of food and other household items like toilet paper. This means everyone puts in an agreed and fair amount to share costs. Keep some extra money in the kitty for replenishing daily items like milk and bread.
If you do have a kitty it's really important to set the rules and to keep it secure. You don't want a kitty that pays for your friends' dinner at the pub!
It's also important that nobody takes advantage of the kitty, which can lead to friends feeling resentful about those who use more than their fair share of the food. If this does happen, and you feel strongly about it, talk calmly to the person and explain the issue in a rational way. A fair compromise might be to have that person put more money in the kitty or shout you all pizza one night!
youthcentral - Saving & Spending
Information and tips about saving and spending money. Includes information about buying stuff - scams to watch out for, how to get a good deal - budgeting, credit cards, loans and managing your debt.