How Much Should a University Student Have Saved by The Time They Graduate?

Wondering how much did you have saved up by the time you graduated from university? Assuming you were around 22-24 years old by the time you graduated.

Or how much you believe a university student should have ideally saved by the time they graduate?

Poll Options

  • 294
    $2000 - $4,999
  • 26
    $5,000 - $9,999
  • 25
    $10,000 - $14,999
  • 8
    $15,000 - $19,999
  • 30
    $20,000 - $24,999
  • 16
    $25,000 - $29,999
  • 5
    $30,000 - $39,999
  • 7
    $40,000 - $49,999
  • 8
    $50,000 - $69,999
  • 12
    $70,000 - $99,999
  • 184
    $100,000 +


  • How long is a piece of string?

  • $0.05.

  • +59 votes

    I picked the lowest category. Not sure how a student could live, let alone save.

    • I forgot to add. The student lives with their parents so not renting an apartment or paying off a mortgage.

    • By having a part time job? This used to be a thing rather than just being lazy. Looks a lot better on a resume as well.

      • Connections looks much more efficient

        • Of my graduating class in uni (which was quite small so I could get a good overall gauge) the well paying jobs and attractive went mostly to those that filled diversity quotas (even some with P grades and no experience), followed by a few of the very smart/experienced ones, followed by those moving away from cities. Only one person used connections to land a gig and that was because their family owned some nandos. But I'm not sure a fast food, non-manger role really counts although they did get sweet pay.

          Might be difference elsewhere but that's how it was for us.

      • Generally you'd scale your hours to your costs so you can focus on studying.

      • Part time job, rent, four subjects, extracurriculars, social life. Running outta room in the day mate.

        I had a part time job through my undergrad working about 20-30hrs a week, just about covered my expenses and could just about manage the rest of my life. Definitely wasn't able to save very much though.

        Working and studying didn't "used to be a thing" people do it all the time still.

  • I think it depends on if they were living at home vs paying for rent etc. But assuming they lived at home and worked throughout uni I think it's reasonable to have saved up. I had about 60K saved up over 4 years. But if you needed to pay for rent then that is almost impossible I reckon.

  • Savings are relative. If you're not working and you have parents that pay your expenses, but have $5000 in savings, that sounds pretty good. Considering how brutal the job market is currently after covid wiped out small businesses and made lots of people redundant.

    Assuming that one does not work until they reach age 19 (your first year in Uni), you have around 3-4 years of casual work while studying full time to make ends meet. After you subtract the costs of paying rent, food, textbooks, travel expenses, phone bills, insurance you really wouldn't have accumulated enough in that short span of time to even consider buying a car afterwards.

  • You should have saved a useful skill that is in demand, which other people would pay you for.

  • I had $40k over four years. This was very limited social events, not eating out, an old car and paying a little bit to parents for living there (a lot of my spend went to gaming and other hobby related things…). Just don't spend above your means and you should be fine. And of course if you have a big savings target for something, then be prepared for the necessary sacrifices to achieve it. Although considering the current climate, not sure how easy it is to get casual jobs anymore.

    • I had about 30k after 4 years. Same deal, worked the high paying weekend shifts and a couple of weeknights.

      Looking back it was a complete waste of my life for such a measly amount of money, I would have been far better off living in a share house, getting centrelink study allowance, and focusing on student clubs and a social life.

      Not only would I have made more friends and had more experiences, I would have participated in more student events which could help my career

      • That is a really practical way of looking at it as well. I think the main thing is everything in balance.

    • Not a bad effort, I was always amazed that all of my school friends were broke as students, but most of them were lazy and didn't work at all. I studied in the UK, and had about 30k GBP in savings at the end of 5 years.

      I stayed with parents but paid 260 per month which was more than most of my friend's rent (no other bills though). I worked part time (24-32hrs per week) through my last year of high school and all 5 years of uni. Minimum wage cafe work, and did more hours during university breaks.

      I didn't limit social events, ate out when I felt like it (not that often in reality), and went on international holidays (far more affordable than travel withing/or from Oz). I guess I'm just good at saving!

      • So you were paying ~$60 per week and that was more than most of your friend's rent?

        Where were they staying, a crack den? I assume you're comparing this to their weekly rent?

        • GBP not dollars between 2001-2006. For a room where I lived in the UK, that would get you a very nice place (crack den in London probably).

  • Wheres the minus values :p. As someone who lived alone in another state at uni, renting, I was largely just over $0.

  • I finished uni at 21, graduated the year after. had a scholarship from uni so that really helped, it covered uni fees and extra money. In addition I also got a job at my old high school doing some techie work when I didn’t have to go to uni, I had work placement so didn’t work for 2 six month periods during uni. I also got a a great job out of uni and got a bonus within 2 months of starting.

    All in all was pretty lucky. My parents didn’t have the money to fund me going to uni, so it pretty much decided my fate when I got the scholarship offer.

  • I can't remember the amount, but it would have been in the five figures range.

    I think it's incumbent on kids to start earning as soon as possible through casual jobs and saving whatever they can. I started delivering papers when I was 10 (kept that up until about 18), but also worked in retail/hospo from 15 to 21 when I graduated university.

  • I came out with whatever was in my wallet.

    It depends on what you are studying.

  • I blew it all on women, booze and drugs. The rest I wasted.

  • Who cares man……I graduated with like 16k

  • During my undergraduate degree, I never had more than $5000 in my account despite working a fair amount and living at home, as I took a holiday every year and still spent money going out and buying nice things. I'd probably be a lot better off if I invested every dollar I made, but I don't regret it.

  • +59 votes

    $0.00. You go to university to obtain new skills, mature, grow up, travel and do things you won't have the chance to do later in life when you have a job and family and other responsibilities. You'll save more in your first year of working than you will in uni. Don't throw away your life.

  • +10 votes

    Save up for the pub and parties while at Uni.

    So after 4 year's I owed money to the government due to HECS and had a bank balance of a few hundred dollars as the last 6 months I was working on my thesis and did not have time to party as much.

  • I finished my degree by doing a study tour overseas + travel which took up a lot of my savings. I think it's completely normal for any uni student to not have a lot in savings. If you haven't found a job by the time you finish then you would eat up whatever you have until you do find a job.

  • +24 votes

    I know this is a bargain, money saving website but come on guys there's more to life than just saving as much money as possible.

    Students should definitely have some savings especially at time of graduating (I picked lowest range. I had around 3k) but seriously, there's so much you can do and experience at that age, especially if you are still staying with your parents.

    Go travel, eat some nice food, buy some nice clothes, use money to exercise or build or do whatever hobbies you're interested in.

    I have friends who all they did was study and work. Obviously they saved up heaps of money (one of them paid off their student loans and saved up close to 30k by the time they graduated) but they're never going to get back that time of youth.

    Balance out work, time, money, study, and life guys. You have the rest of your life to work and save money for a house, it's not a race.

    • I agree with this 100%
      No idea what the purpose of this question is.
      Everybody's circumstances and drivers are different

      • purpose was to see how much richer everyone at uni is compared to me. As I am in the lowest category, it feels normal now.

        • Don't feel bad. It is completely normal. Remember the stereotype about being a uni student is that they are poor and live on maggi noodles. That's not far from the truth for some people who are not privileged enough to be able to live at home etc.

  • To be honest, I'd focus more on your work experience for your post-university career as opposed to the amount of money you can just save during your degree.

  • International student ftw! My visa didn't have work rights. Well technically i think it allowed for little bit given that it was during the holidays, but since I didn't really look into it too much, I am not sure how much the visa actually allows.

    Do I regret it? Eh. My time in university was not fun, with me trying to get back into uni while unbeknownst to me, fighting really bad depression. It would've been nice if I had bit of money saved up, but eh, I regret the fact that I couldn't get work experiences dturing my school years far more.

    Right now, I have full work rights and doing post grad stuff, but because of the career path I want to go down, I am currently volunteering. I could probably work in a cafe for bit of cash but doing something that relates to my field I feel like is more important.

    • It's very hard to enforce work limit. It's why every Indian guy delivering UberEats or manning the graveyard shift at 7 Eleven is on a student visa.

      • Probably. Eh, the kind of jobs that I would have benefited from would have been stricter because it is with vulnerable people.

        Well I genuinely hope at least.

  • It’s irrelevant really, you are about to work f/t for 40 years on a good salary (I assume)

    Why be hard on yourself at 25 or less how much you have saved,

    • you are about to work f/t for 40 years on a good salary (I assume)

      Not if you do an arts degree! lol.
      But then again, they may never have to pay back their HECS! what a bargain! :p

      • that doesn't make sense at all.

        are you <30?

        • that doesn't make sense at all.

          Which part doesn't make sense?

          An Arts degree often gets ranked as one of the most useless degrees at university, along with others such as Social Sciences in terms of getting a job.

          And no, I'm not under 30. I left uni one semester in realising that the degree I was in was unlikely to help me very much later on. I used the three years I would've spent at uni to get a head start and it's done me quite well so far.

          • @bobbified: Why would having a degree put them in any worse of a position than you're in?

            • @shtgnjns:

              Why would having a degree put them in any worse of a position than you're in?

              Because it's like a double whammy - instead of earning money during that time, their degree has cost them tens of thousands of dollars in fees and they've had to give years of time and effort to complete. That time could've been spent gaining actual work experience in the industry.

              If the investment of that much money, time and effort in a degree doesn't help them do any better than someone who doesn't hold a degree, then what's the point?

              • @bobbified: I don't believe you're qualified to debate on that investment when your own experience is either anecdotal or taken at face value from a media-related item. It's not a fair position for this community to have to convince you as to why an education yields both short-term and long-term benefits.

          • @bobbified: A link from sunrise that discredits the value of qualifications from the arts faculty is not credible. I'm not going to argue on its value - but what your advising is simply not true.

            And you're personal anecdote concerning your own success doesn't lend relevance to the subject. The personal success you have experienced is yours, and yours alone. It's not to be used as evidence to claim tertiary education wouldn't support you in your future endeavours.

            • @w37hsyea:

              A link from sunrise that discredits the value of qualifications from the arts faculty is not credible. I'm not going to argue on its value - but what your advising is simply not true.

              I'm pretty sure we've had discussions here about the topic of useless degrees. You can deny it as much as you want, but there are quite a lot of useless degrees out there. Here's a couple of people willing to admit it!

              have to convince you as to why an education yields both short-term and long-term benefits.

              I'm not saying that ALL education is useless. You just have to pick and choose the right courses. Just studying for the sake of studying isn't necessarily going to help you. I said that I quit my course early because I recognised this. Had I been in a course that I thought would've helped me more, I would've stayed on and finished it off.

              The personal success you have experienced is yours, and yours alone. It's not to be used as evidence to claim tertiary education wouldn't support you in your future endeavours.

              Well, when half the people in the company I'm at doesn't hold degrees and the other half does, you've got to wonder whether the degrees have really benefitted the holders or not. And the distribution isn't that the degree holders are up top and the non-degree holders down bottom. It seems to be a pretty even distribution.

              Unless it's a law firm or hospital or something where the profession actually requires a specific qualification, you'll probably find that it's similar with other companies.

  • Nothing beyond immediate living costs unless they need to pay for graduate school too or plan to move to a new city where they know no one after they graduate.

  • There’s a lot of international visitors on this website so the numbers would definitely be skewed.

  • +9 votes

    Should have negative in the poll, for those on HECS, you are actually in debt when you graduated.

    Let’s not count full fee paying students, not OzSliverSpoon. 🥺

  • $0.00

  • The minimum, which would be about 2 grand. Just enough to cover an emergency or small opportunity

  • What do you mean save? Uni is expensive, probly $50k in debt

  • University is for study and making the most of your youth, i had friends who worked full time while at uni and they were stressed out of their minds and missed out on multiple experiences because they couldn't get leave.

    I believe focus on saving once you get your first grad job, while at uni use funds made at your job to go on holidays/make the most of your uni life. I left uni with ~$15k in the bank and i'd say that was a good grounding.

    It's a much better use of your time when working at the higher rate of grad wages rather than casual rates at the local supermarket imho.

  • $0. Go live your life.

  • Where's the $1,000,000+ option? I think all university students should aspire to this standard.

  • Appreciate all the responses. Looking at the poll, not sure how serious it is haha.

  • I'm surprised you started off at $2000 - $4,999, then included an excessive amount of useless options after that

    Most people graduate with $-20k to $-50k

    • yeah I don't really have any sort of idea how much people would save at uni. I had always had the impression that everyone was loaded or from rich families and doing a lot better than I am. And I excluded the HECS debt - its only really paid of incrementally when and if you actually get a job post uni.

      • Honestly, I think that's part of the problem with HECS. Everyone treats it like free money when it's not.

        I mean, what are you saving money up for? A brand new shiny car? A loan to buy a house? A loan to start up your own business? Your ability to get loans and save money will most certainly will be impacted by your HECS debt, and the longer you put it off the bigger it will be.

        • I'm actually not saving for anything specifically. Only a few grand which I've got on the side after expenses i.e. the lowest category. The question and poll was mainly due to curiosity as I was under the assumption that others had a lot.

          • @mz3bk: My point is that people don't save money just to watch it sit in a bank.

            The question and poll was mainly due to curiosity as I was under the assumption that others had a lot.

            Why do you assume people have a lot of money while studying full time? Because most student I know, are on benefits or working part time hardly earning above the benefit rates. Maybe you should be asking those people that gave you that impression, to see what they're doing

            • @Butt Scratcher: the people at uni look rich, that's probably because of my poor circumstances and poorer upbringing, but still. From the clothes, shoes, to the phones and laptops people at uni have. And also the cars a lot of people drive. You're right in that I know people that get benefits but I also know a lot that work a lot, and most live at home, hence my initial presumption. Ultimately I am the first from my family to go to uni which is probably why I felt that most people were on a different class, so its nice to hear some people on this forum have similar situation to me.