But school-leaver beware, even if you’ve been saving up cash as if your life depended on it, the best laid plans of mice and high school graduates often go awry once you actually make it to Schoolies.
The harsh truth is that even if you consider yourself responsible with money, alcohol, groceries, meals, travel, and soon-to-be-discarded Schoolies memorabilia, you have the potential to chew through your funds faster than you can say “cheers”. And going broke halfway through your Schoolies week isn’t a good look, or a fun one for that matter. So we’ve come up with a few pieces of money advice for Schoolies-bound graduates, in the hope that you can stay cashed up and content from Schoolies start to Schoolies end.
Draw up a budget
A budget can be immensely helpful when it comes to things like groceries and alcohol. If you set a strict but reasonable spending limit for each day and actually manage to stick to it, you’ll ensure that you’ve got funds for the entire duration of your stay. Try to take all of your expenses into account when drawing up your budget, even the minor ones, just in case.
- Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- Transport (if travelling elsewhere)
- Food prep (if eating in)
- Spending money
Write a shopping list before you set foot in the supermarket
It’s almost certain that on the first day of Schoolies you’ll walk into the nearest supermarket and, fuelled by a combination of high spirits and liquid spirits, be tempted to buy just about the entire place. If unchecked, you and your mates could very well end up buying several trolleys of junk food, and very little of what you actually need for a day to day Schoolies existence (bread, milk, coffee, 2 minute noodles etc.). So it’s important that once you’re ready to go grocery shopping, sit down with your flatmates and write a shopping list, thinking first and foremost about what you need rather than what you want. Not only will this ensure that you get what you need, but sticking to a shopping list will save you some serious dollars.
Take advantage of freebies
Schoolies is a magical wonderland where free food and transport are provided for you in some form literally every day of the week. Red Frogs (the Schoolies support network) put on massive free sausage sizzles at least once or twice a day, and they’ll even come to wherever you’re staying in the morning and cook you pancakes if you’re feeling a little rough, or just feel like pancakes. On top of this, there’s plenty of free transport provided for the express purpose of getting you where you need to be, safe and sound. So there’s really no excuse for paying for a taxi, or buying all of your meals.
Be reasonable with your alcohol consumption
If you’re intending to drink at schoolies, take it easy. Not only will buying too much alcohol lead to a nasty hangover and potential disaster, but it’ll also seriously damage your finances. It’s a problem similar to the one you encounter when you go to the supermarket on day one; you want everything, and in large quantities. Just don’t.
Don’t buy more than you need to, and don’t be the person who buys some flashy expensive bottle just because you feel like showing off. Hanging on to your money is more important than flexing in front of your friends. Be sensible; if you need to refill that’s absolutely OK.
It’s certainly tempting to go out for every meal; whether it’s a late night kebab or a nice restaurant, you and your mates will go out for a meal at least a few times over the course of your week. But try and cook most of your meals at your accommodation; it’s much cheaper, and might even be a little bit better for you! Having group meals with your friends can save you lots of money you would otherwise be spending on someone else cooking your food.
Holding onto your money at Schoolies is surprisingly easy when it comes down to it, as long as you can stay sensible when it comes to expenditure. You’re there to have a great time, but that doesn’t necessarily require you to blow huge amounts of cash everywhere you go.