Money Management Tips

Money management is important to get the most out of your student life while living within your means.

Below are some tips to get you started on managing your personal finances.

1. Create a monthly budget

Basic rule of thumb: Expenses should not be greater than your Income. If this occurs, you need to either increase your income or cut down on your spending to avoid debt. Check out MSA’s Student Budget Service program for more advice and resources.

Sources of income:

  • Savings
  • Allowances
  • Wages
  • Scholarships

Deduct essential monthly expenses:

  • Tuition fees
  • Phone bill
  • Groceries
  • Household supplies
  • Laundry
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Transportation costs

*Any leftover amount would be what you can save or spend for the month on things you like.

Savings/non-essential expenses:

  • Entertainment
  • Travel
  • Social outings
  • Shopping

2. Set aside emergency funds

Having emergency funds help you cover unexpected expenses (camp costs/medical bills) that crop up. Being prepared also relieves some of the stress and financial burden from the issue.

ASIC recommends saving enough for 3 months of expenses. A simple and popular guideline is the 50/30/20 rule. 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings/debt repayment.

3. Differentiate between needs and wants

“Needs” include essential expenses you need to finance (food/rent/tuition fees). Whatever is left would then be categorised as “wants”. This would include things you can live without for a while (eating out/travel). Ensure your income is able to support your necessities.

4. Set up a checking account and savings account

Banks usually offer free checking and savings accounts for students to avoid withdrawal fees, fund transfer fees and minimum deposit amounts.

  • Checking Account – “spend what you have”: Designed for daily money transactions, comes with a debit card and ATM access.
  • Savings Account – “save excess money”: Not intended for daily use but for storing your savings.

Savings accounts help you grow your savings faster by offering higher interest rates as compared to other transaction accounts.

5. Look out for supermarket specials, MSA discounts & student specials

Planning your grocery shopping and meals around supermarket deals and MSA discounts can save you a substantial amount in the long run.

Supermarket Tips:

  • Coles and Woolworths release weekly catalogues for discounted items every Monday.
  • Sign up for supermarket loyalty programs to collect points and redeem rewards
  • Fruits that are in season are often cheaper or discounted
  • Stock up on non-perishable items and household supplies that are on sale
  • Bring your own reusable bags as disposable plastic bags cost extra

Note: While you save by incorporating supermarket specials into your weekly grocery run, remember to only buy things you need instead of buying in excess and letting food go to waste. 


MSA discounts at food outlets:


  • Artichoke & Whitebait (10% off coffee)
  • Neptune’s Seafood Catch (3% off full menu with minimum spend of $2)
  • Sir John’s (20% off main meals and burgers)
  • Wholefoods (10% off meals)


  • Extended 2 week free trial of Monash Sport
  • McDonald’s (20% off up to $30 at selected locations)
  • $10 tickets at Village Cinemas MCity (Mon - Wed)


To redeem these discounts, you would either have to show your MSA+ sticker in-store or use a discount code. 

Follow these steps to view deals on-campus and around Melbourne:

  1. Click here
  2. Log into your MSA account
  3. Select “Explore”
  4. Select “MSA+ Offers”


Additional tips:

  • Bring your own cup for coffee or tea on campus to get discounts at selected stores
  • Earn some extra money through side hustles to support your lifestyle. Examples include: participating in Monash paid experiments (MonLEE, SONA), tutoring, selling your unwanted items online

7. Consider second-hand options

Textbooks, electronics, cars and furniture can be bought second-hand on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree

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