InsurancesafeNZ provides three different travel insurance policy categories: Studentsafe, Workersafe and Explorersafe. This means that if you’re travelling to New Zealand, travelling within New Zealand or temporarily leaving New Zealand, we have something to offer you. Use the Policy Finder to narrow your policy search and get a quote. Our website is also packed with great information on how to keep safe, how to make the most of your time abroad and how to understand your travel insurance policy better. If you need further assistance contact one of our friendly staff on our toll-free number 0800 486 004 (within NZ) or +64 9 488 1638 (outside of NZ).
Flatting doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a number of ways you can set up a flat on a budget without losing out on quality and the occasional treat. To make sure that you get the best experience possible no matter what your income may be, we’ve brought together a few of our favourite tips and tricks for flatting on a budget.
1. Make a budget – and stick to it
Assign your money
Make sure you’re not skimping following the first week of your payday. Make your buying decisions based on your budget – not your bank balance.
Picking your platform: YNAB or MINT
In the USA, YNAB is free for college students if you can write in with proof of your enrolment, whereas Mint is free for everyone, though it’s also a bit more basic. You can sync these platforms with your bank account and use them to track your spending.
If you know exactly how much money you have to spend on each aspect of your life and spend according to your budget as opposed to spending according to your bank account, you’re more likely to save money over time. It is recommended that you attempt to save 10% of your pay packet and the best way to do this is to pay it into another account as soon as you have the money.
Economy of scale
If you can join together with other people for accommodation and food, it can generally work out cheaper and means that all parties put the same amount into a shared account. This can allow you to budget better as you know exactly how much money goes towards food and bills each week.
Make sure you have insurance
To make sure you don’t get caught off-guard with unexpected bills, it’s very important to make sure you have insurance. The Studentsafe policies provide cover for your medical and related expenses, repatriation and travel disruption, luggage, personal effects and travel documents, personal liability and more. Read your Policy Wording to learn about what you are covered for. Terms,limits, conditions and exclusions will also apply. Depending on your situation, you might also want to buy additional insurance. For example, you might want to insure the vehicle that you drive. Making regular insurance payments ensures you know exactly how much money is going out of your account at any one time.
You don’t want to stock up on unnecessary things or things that will go off before you can use them – so before you head to the shops it’s worth making a plan. Planning can also be a great way to figure out meals that require similar ingredients to stock up on. If you go to the shops with a shopping list, it can also make the trip faster as you know exactly what you want, missing out the aisles that have all the temptations to make you spend more. There are some excellent apps out there that can help you with food planning – Pepperplate for example brings together your own personal recipe database with meal planner and shopping list functions.
Shopping around at farmers’ markets, local butchers and bakeries can save a lot of money and might also save you from student weight gain that can come from sweet supermarket temptations! By shopping around, you can find out where to get the best prices. Farmers markets are generally the cheapest for fresh fruit and vegetables and can be a great way to socialise with your peers.
Buy a slow cooker
Slow cookers can be purchased from most department stores with a kitchen section. In New Zealand you could try looking in places such as Kmart, Briscoes or The Warehouse. Slow cookers are great for people who lead busy lives as you can make a week’s worth of hot lunches in one go with minimal effort!
If you pick a weekend day when you’ll be studying at home or doing chores you can pop your ingredients in then go about your work and as the day goes by, you’ll have the delicious aroma of home-cooked food to keep you going for the week. You’ll have dinner ready to go and you can divide the leftovers between containers to store in the fridge and reheat when you need them. Slow cookers are also a great way to use up any leftover ingredients you may have and can make some of the cheapest cuts of meat delicious.
Buy in bulk & stock up on containers
Buying in bulk can often work out a lot cheaper than going to the supermarket each week for the same things. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you can actually get through what you buy. Grains and other longer lasting items are a great place to start so that you can avoid unnecessary waste. Having a stock pile of containers for your leftovers can also help these items last longer.
Many universities have clubs that provide cheap lunches on campus. If these aren’t available you could scout out cheap cafes and community centres that provide lunches. Many universities have Hare Krishna organisations that provide wholesome lunches for students on a budget. So if you’re not a great cook or you didn’t have time to organise some lunch before you left the house this can be a great option.
When it comes to an evening meal every now and then you may want to have a treat away from the house. Luckily, there are always delicious options to try that won’t ruin your budget for the month! Many cities have print or online publications that focus on new restaurants and eateries and they will usually provide good indicators of price. Often these publications will create annual lists of top recommendations for diners on a budget – so make sure that you pay attention because you could find something delicious!
3. Furniture – making your accommodation feel like home
Head out on a vintage hunt
Garage sales, op shops and online markets are a great place to start for cheap furniture. If you want something a bit more unique, spend some time hunting down vintage items at markets and on websites such as TradeMe, Gumtree or Craigslist which have sections specifically for those vintage items. You may find some really great finds for next to nothing. It’s also a great way to get quality items without spending too much money!
Look for long lasting pieces
There are a few things to look out for when you’re stocking up on furniture. Firstly, simplicity is best. Items that are plain will generally look better for longer than patterns, which can be fashionable one moment but date quite quickly. Secondly, smaller-scale pieces are easier to reuse down the track as they can be used in all different kinds of rooms. If you’re looking for an item that will stand the test of time, it’s worth investing a little bit more in a piece that is sturdy – try lifting it before you buy. A heavier couch will generally be more robust than a lightweight one. Similarly, couches that are made more structured with tight backs and seats will last longer than those with fluffed up cushions – they may be soft and tempting but they’ll tend to deflate quite quickly.
Find the cheap department stores
It’s worth locating your nearest cheap department store when you move somewhere new. Places such as Kmart, The Warehouse and Briscoes are always worth a look in if you’re setting up in New Zealand. For those travelling overseas, IKEA and Target can be good places to start.
4. Make the most of student deals
Sign up for discounts
Many supermarkets and stores have discount offers if you sign up to their loyalty clubs. While it may mean you end up on their mailing list it can be a great way to save money. It’s also worth looking for the budget brands – most are the exact same product as the branded items, just with a more basic label! Alternatively, look for the items on special.
Make friends with people who own animals and grow vegetables
While this may sound calculating on the surface, people who come from farms or grow their own vegetables can be an asset in a flatting environment as they are likely to be able to supply you with good quality produce for a lot less than what the supermarket or butcher could sell it at. If you have a garden (and permission from your landlord), you may be able to grow your own vegetables. When you go to the garden centre ask for advice as to what you should be planting in the area that you have, keeping in mind whether the space is sunny, windy or damp and what the soil is like. If you don’t have space, there are ways you can grow vegetables on a window sill. For example, the head of an organic carrot set in water will regrow – and similarly, if you look after your fresh herbs and keep them in a pot they will continue to produce leaves for you to use.
Join your student union
Student unions generally provide lots of deals for students. It’s worth signing up and finding out what is going on. You may find there are activities available that you’ll never get the opportunity to try later in life (or that cost a lot more once you’re no longer a student).
All in all, you don’t have to miss out on treating yourself to maintain a budget, you just have to know the best places to go and a few little tricks to make your money go further. Often when you start university, there are a number of other people who are in the same situation so doing some of the things mentioned above can be done as a group, making life on a budget that bit more fun!