Paying for living expenses while you're studying
How to work out what your living expenses will be, and make sure you have enough to pay for them.
What you need to pay for
When you’re studying you’ll need to have enough money to pay for your:
- regular living expenses, eg:
- rent/board (find out the average rent price in your area on the Tenancy Services website)
- internet and phone bills
- occasional bigger expenses, eg:
- study textbooks, equipment, tools
- study devices, like a laptop or tablet
- course fees
- other expenses you may need to pay, eg:
- doctors visits
- dentist visits
- other wellbeing related costs (eg. gym membership).
How to pay for your living expenses
You can find out what you may be able to get using our Eligibility Test:
We have different types of payments to cover different living expenses:
This can help you cover your:
- regular living expenses (eg. rent, food, power, etc.)
- compulsory course fees (the fees charged by your education provider)
- course-related expenses (eg books, stationery, computer items).
A Student Allowance can also help with your living expenses - you'll need to meet extra criteria to get this.
Help with extra costs
We may also be able to help you with expenses for accommodation, childcare, or if you have a health condition or disability. You’ll need to meet extra criteria to get this.
If you’re already getting StudyLink payments
If you’re already getting payments from us, for example a Student Allowance or Student Loan, you can log in to MyStudyLink to find out:
- what payments you’re getting
- how much these are
- how often they’re paid.
You may be getting other income, for example from:
- work or a job
- interest or investments
- money from your family.
You can still earn money while you're studying, but you need to tell us about it so we can pay you the right amount. This is because some StudyLink payments change depending on how much other income you get. This includes any money your partner gets (if you have one).
How to work out your budget
Sorted.org.nz has a great tool that can help you work out your budget, so you know how much all your regular expenses are and how much you have left after these are paid:
Talk to people
You can talk to people if you're having trouble understanding your budget, making ends meet, or if you just want to talk it through with someone.
You can talk to:
Staff at your place of study: Most tertiary education providers have a budgeting or financial service for their students, where they can help you sort out your finances and give you advice about what to do next. Ask a staff member (eg. a tutor, or student services) what's available and how you can get in touch, or check your education provider's website to see what they have available.
Money Talks: A free financial helpline who can help you get advice and support from trained financial mentors. They can also connect you with free and confidential budgeting services near you. They're available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Contact them by: