Financial wellbeing

Money may not be the first topic to come to mind when you are thinking about wellbeing, but it drives your everyday life and motivates the choices you make. Yet it is a topic we all find difficult to talk about openly. Financial wellbeing means being comfortable managing your own money, spending it on what matters to you without it impacting your health or your relationships.

Being financially responsible

A budget is a spending plan based on income and expenses over a set period of time. You need to ensure money coming in is enough to cover your expenses. Your parents or caregivers may still be involved in managing your finances, especially if you live at home. Even if you are not technically financially independent, you must be financially responsible.

Get a clear idea of what your income is. It may include:

  • Scholarship
  • Student loan
  • Family support
  • Part-time or holiday work
  • Savings

Compare that with your essential expenses:

  • Study costs (course fees + course-related costs)
  • Living costs (housing, food, insurance, clothes, medical costs, water, electricity, internet, phone, transport)

What is left is your budget for outings, travel, sport or leisure.

Try Sorted’s budgeting tool

Developing a healthy relationship with money

It is important for you to understand your own relationship with money. It starts very early on with the way money was managed and talked about at home and continues to develop throughout your life.

Your personal experiences and expectations will shape the financial decisions you make. They must make sense to you and reflect your own priorities.

Conversations about money are difficult but they can save a lot of heartache. Talking openly about your financial situation and expectations with your whānau ensures that you can built strong and healthy relationships.

Build confidence in your ability to manage your finances with Bright Side's Personal Financial Relationships programme

Financial assistance

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, get in touch with the Student Hub for assistance. Explore a range of useful resources to help you manage your finances.

Find out more

Managing debt

Borrowing money makes sense for certain things, buying a house or getting a university degree for example, because they are investments in your future. The key is to have a plan to pay off your debt and stick to it. Even if it takes time, you know that you are moving forward.

Be mindful of quick and easy loans with high interest that add up. Credit cards, Buy Now, Pay Later schemes (Afterpay or Laybuy for example) are forms of debt that can seem very attractive but can quickly spiral out of control and end up costing a lot more than you thought.

The more debt you get into, the longer it takes to reach financial freedom. Worries about money severely impact all aspects of your wellbeing. We argue about it, lose sleep, make poor decisions or live in unsafe situations.

It is a good idea to sit down with a third party like a financial mentor or financial adviser to figure out a plan. Always ask about the terms and conditions of a loan and get clarification about things you don’t understand. Your bank or other loan provider has an obligation to properly inform you.


If you are flatting, you need to have a clear agreement with your flatmates about sharing costs, not only for rent but for all extra expenses like bonds, utility bills, repairs, shared goods like cleaning products, appliances or food.

The person(s) whose name(s) is/(are) on the lease or utility account is(are) responsible for the payment, even if a flatmate leaves without paying. Make sure you are fully aware of the risks for yourself or for those who count on you.

Working and studying

Part-time or holiday work is ideal to cover your everyday expenses and minimise your student loan. Think carefully about your workload before you commit to too many hours of work. Remember that your timetable will be different every semester and you may not have the same availabilities all year.

If you start getting an income you need to let StudyLink know as it may affect your payments.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance

Get in touch with the Student Hub for Financial services and support


Tips and online tools funded by the Government to help your budget and plan for the future


To log in choose ‘Current student’ and enter your Student ID number and password

Bright Side
Personal Financial Relationships programme

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Build confidence in your ability to manage your future financial security and gain a deeper understanding of how to clearly communicate your economic needs in important life relationships.

Learn more