Malls are known for providing one kind of joy–the joy of shopping. In Wollongong, that mall is Crown Street Mall with Stockland Shellharbour and Westfield Warrawong coming in second or third depending on UOW students’ personal shopping preferences. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed window shopping and actual shopping at the Crown Street Mall.

Due to the limited budget of being a full-time uni student and not being able to work for most of the duration of my studies, I don’t get to shop for luxury very often. However I have also found other joys through malls, window shopping and just walking around the mall is a great way to procrastinate and to try and relax, especially in the company of friends. Sometimes my friends and I would meet up for a coffee or sit and chat, in my first year I remember walking around for a while and a couple of us bought Easter eggs and ate them as we explored the mall.  

In regards to money, it also provides joy for uni students. Usually uni students fall under three categories financially: they work part-time and/or with the support of their parents or Centrelink, they are completely dependent on Centrelink receiving either Youth Allowance or Austudy payments or they are completely dependent on their parents. At some point I have fallen into all of these categories. The best thing to do with your money, no matter where you get it from is to learn how to budget, you don’t necessarily have to write everything you buy down in a journal, most of the time it helps to be aware of what you spend and how much it costs. This is particularly important with groceries, phone credit and luxury items such as takeaway. It has certainly helped me.

Even though your finances might be tight and a budget might be crucial for your survival at uni without stress, don’t forget that everyone needs a break and a little luxury every now and then and that it’s okay to occasionally shop for luxury or buy something special.

So whether you are living on limited funds, whether you find your joys window shopping in malls and as hard as it seems, remember that this won’t last forever and you’ll be making the big bucks one day. 

This column originally appeared on Tertangala and can be found here


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