How I Kept Up My Lifestyle On A Part-Time Work Income

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University. One of the phases in your life where you can make reckless decisions and blame the outcome on your intoxicated state of mind.

For a second year uni student, I had a pretty extravagant lifestyle and liked to indulge in activities that burnt a golf-sized hole in my pocket. Why bother drinking cheap beer that was clearly 90 per cent water when your taste buds deserved a cosmopolitan?

Since I was not born with a silver spoon I decided the best way to afford my lavish lifestyle was to actually get a part-time job.

To this day, how I managed to secure a part-time job at a prestigious firm as an intern is a mystery. Was it because Fiona (the office receptionist) never came back from maternity leave? Was it because they needed someone to do all the dirty admin work? I’ll never know

However when you work a 9-5 job three days a week you learn how to adult pretty quickly because of the environment you work in. During the two years I spent at the firm while barely meeting the deadlines of tutorials, I picked up a few pointers on how to balance the student lifestyle on part-time budget. 

Go To Cafes That Celebrate Happy Hour

There are multiple cafés around the CBD, Surry Hills and Newtown where a warm cheese and tomato toasty alongside a regular sized coffee is served for around four to five bucks. Instead of picking up that crappy one dollar coffee from the 7/11 you can treat yourself during those peak hour train rides to your 9am lecture. That toasty won’t make those trains any less crowded but it will definitely make it more bearable. 

Go Thrift Shopping

When you enter the corporate world, one of the first things you notice is how well dressed everyone is. I’m not talking scruffy Converses that are clearly reaching the end of their lifespan. I’m talking red bottoms.

Of course, as a student, trying to buy a pair of LVs is the last thing on your mind. You’d rather use that money to watch a play or go on a pub-crawl later that week. In instances like these, the thrift store is where it’s at. I once found a vintage Gucci wallet at a quirky thrift store in Newtown and was complimented on it for days.

When asked where I got it from, I just smiled, tossed my hair over my shoulder and walked away. No one had to know.

Just Because You Decide To Snooze, Doesn’t Mean You’ll Lose

Our generation takes #FOMO way too seriously. We push ourselves to the brinks of exhaustion simply because we don’t want to miss out on a great Instagram pic. When you start juggling work commitments with uni deadlines, your social life will most likely take a hit.

This is where prioritising is key. You need to learn how to say no to the smaller activities so you can conserve your energy for the ones that matter, like Marco Polo on a Sunday morning. That way your ‘gram feed will stay looking fresh and you won’t feel overstretched.

Use Those Work Benefits

In most instances, your organisation will have a wellness scheme in place to help give themselves a more “well-rounded” image. As an intern you may not always get the same perks as a full-time employee but in some cases you might be able to get your Pilates class or gym membership at a discounted rate. So sit down with your laptop and go through the workplace policies to find out what you’re eligible for. This will allow you to put some money aside for that road trip with your mates and help you make your rent on time.

To sum it up, working and studying at the same time is probably the most exhausting and rewarding thing you’ll ever do. Not only do you get to grow as a person outside of those lecture halls but you’ll develop an addiction to intelligence and men in suits.

(Lead image: Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23/ABC)