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How I Organize my Money as an 18 Year Old University Student

Kia Ora Ano,

Today I am doing a breakdown of my income, expenses and how I manage my finances.

A little bit about me:

Age: 18

University: University of Waikato

Study: Law Degree Year 2

So, let's start with income. I have different sources of income but the income that is received in my bank on a weekly basis comes from my part time job as a Law Clerk, and also from Study Link.

My job title is a 'Law Clerk'. I earn $25 per hour. After deductions from 8% Kiwi Saver, Student Loan Contributions, Tax, my take home pay is $180.25. You can earn up to $227.00 per week before your study link income is affected, and so I work exactly 9 hours so that it is not affected.

My second source of income comes from study link. I am expecting my first payment to come through tomorrow as this is the second week of uni for the year. I will be receiving around $280 from a mixture of student allowance and student loan. I will do an updated version of this later on in the year with exactly how much I will be receiving.

So, this brings my total weekly income up to $460.25. This weekly amount over 40 weeks ( not 52 as student allowance does not cover uni holidays) is over $18,000. I am not in any extraordinary circumstances and simply max out my study link entitlements and work as much as I can before it affects my income.

So to break it down:

Income: $460.25


I try to keep my expenses as low as possible. There are a few things that I have done in order to do this. The first one, is by applying for every single scholarship available. Thankfully, I was able to receive Te Ara Whanui valued at $10,000 which pays for my dorm room on campus fully and leaves some spare to pay for course related costs. (My room would normally be $200 per week). Another money saving hack I do is by limiting spending.

The following expenses are averages and change (within reason) each week. But, for the most part I try to keep them down to around about this:

Gas: $40 (This one has definitely gone up recently! But, I try to walk places when a car is not necessary or just catch rides with other people).

Groceries: $75 - I cook all my food and try not to visit takeaways.

Phone Bill: $107 per month - covers unlimited everything and an interest free loan to buy my phone (works out to be around $30/week)

Icloud Storage / Gmail storage: $8/month = $2 week

Life: $50 - I like to keep around $50 a week for things that come up. This is so that if I have a whanau event come up, I can pay for my own kai, or if I have a tangihanga come up - for a koha. I hate the feeling of not being able to at least offer to pay for my own kai or other things when in a social event. So, I personally always like to budget for this.

Total: $197 per week

Remaining: $263.00

With my remaining money I like to invest in sharesies. The reason I do this is because I have my 3 months living costs in savings, an emergency fund in savings, and my kiwi saver is maxed out. So, this money here is used for long term investing for the purpose of buying my first home. Sometimes, shit happens and this 'remaining' number is smaller. But sometimes, things work out better and it stays around the $260 mark.

This is the little run around vehicle I have. 40 litre tank and I picked it up off the side of the road for $1650.

Well, I personally feel as though budgets are very independent. Everyone works out their money differently, they have different expenses/ responsibilities, differing incomes, ect. However, I believe that so long as you are working on your finances, things will get better.

Here are some things you can do to work on your finances, whilst at uni:

  1. Get a part-time job to supplement your income.

  2. Apply for scholarships.

  3. Make sure you have applied for all governmental resources that you can.

  4. Start a side hustle

Comment below and let me know what your income is vs expenses, as well as your age and what you are studying.

See yah!


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