Living On A Student Budget In Brisbane, Australia (UQ)

The following information was shared duringย โ€œMaking the most of your Stipendโ€ session for The University of Queensland (UQ)’s IAP (Introductory Academic Program)ย at the beginning of Semester 2, 2015.

(Disclaimer – These brands/products/groups are the ones that I have discovered and used throughout my 4 years of university journey as an international student, based on my preferences and knowledge obtained from personal research, as well as the recommendations from my friends and seniors who came before me, and thus I am not affiliated to or sponsored by any of the names I am about to mention. And of course, your preferences will be definitely different from mine, so you can pick and choose the ones that suit you the best! ๐Ÿ™‚ )


  1. Moving In & Setting Up

(Furniture, Household items, Appliancesโ€ฆetc.)

Free, Second-hand, Cheap Stuff –

Brand-new but Affordable Stuff –


2.ย  ย Money-Exchange (Cash) + Internet Banking

Great rates and no commission fees –

For internet banking, remember to deposit your Current Account money into the Savings Account to maximise your interest at the end of each month! (Commonwealth)


3. ย  Laptop (Research, research, research, and you will find the best deal! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Apple also has all-time student discount for MacBooks!

  • Online shops (Sometimes, it’s cheapest to order from official online shops)


4. ย  Phone Plan

Currently I am using –

  • Vodafoneย AUD 10 / month, Pre-paid, Pay-As-You-Go Plan
    (Recommended if you spend a lot of time in uni or doing independent research at home and you have wifi most of the time)


5. ย ย Internet (Home)

Currently with –

  • TPG AUD 60 / month, unlimited data
    (Perfect for sharing with housemates! Superb customer service too. Just make sure you sign up asap if you decide to go with them, since it can take a little while to set up during busy times of the year.)


6. ย  Clothing & Personal Products (Sales!)

  • Kmart, Big W
    (For cheap essentials, e.g. As a tiny person, I buy my winter pyjamas from kids department. Cost less than AUD 5. ๐Ÿ˜› )
  • City + Indooroopilly shops
    (A lot of affordable, student friendly brands such as ValleyGirl, Chic-A-Booti, Supreโ€ฆetc.)
  • Online
    (ASOS has student discount all year round. Again, just be careful as online shopping can be very addictive! Only buy what you really need, not what looks nice. ๐Ÿ™‚ )




7. ย  Textbooks

For brand-new textbooks –

  • QU Books []
    (If you need to buy more than one, sign up for their AUD 5 lifetime membership, you will get further discount on every purchase. And they deliver too!)

If you need a textbook very urgently though, Co-op Bookshop on campus would be where you need to head to!

For secondhand, exchange –

For FREE –

  • UQ Library ๐Ÿ˜‰ My All-Time Favourite! (Just make sure you get in early!)


8. ย  Stationery

On-Campus –

  • UQ Secondhand Textbooks Shop

Off-Campus –

Printing On-Campus –

  • POD Centre (Print-On-Demand Centre inside Co-op Bookshop)


9. ย  Flights (Sales!)

Sign up for e-newsletters from these Australian airlines for their sales

As well as your national carriers/ carriers from your country – e.g. Scoot, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlinesโ€ฆetc.

And check all of the prices of different airlines at Webjet every time you book!




Last but not least, “Save! Save! Save!โ€. Not only that you will never be caught off-guard during emergencies, you will also be able to save up for what matters to you too! Explore what you really want to experience while you are in Australia, and good budgeting will definitely help you achieve it!


With best wishes,

Soe San Htike (PiPi)

UQ SL 2015