Financial Management for Students

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“I’m broke!” How often do we hear ourselves and our peers lamenting the state of our finances? How often have we splurged on impulse, even when we are hardly getting any income as students?

What can you do to control your expenditure and retain your dwindling allowance?

And lastly, why is managing your money effectively so important?

1. Save for a rainy day
Yes, cliché as this may sound, life isn’t always fine and dandy. There may be times when we desperately need that extra bit of income – and that’s where your savings come in!

2. A little extra enrichment
Instead of splurging on that latest Gucci bag, why don’t you invest the money in something more useful, like learning a new skill or language? This season’s handbags will only last for a season; but a skill will stay with you for much longer time.

3. For the sake of a future capital
Planning for the future is always beneficial. If you foresee yourself starting your own business, pursuing further studies or even preparing for your marriage, it’s crucial that you have some capital at hand.

But before you get all stressed out over your depleting finances, SGClub has compiled some tips to help all you impulsive shoppers and spendthrifts out there to control your expenditure and gain a little more income to fund your expenses.

1. Sell your ‘old treasures’ on E-bay.

Do you have anything valuable that you have lost interest in, or things that you deem ‘useless’ now? Before you trash these, why not put it up on E-bay? You may be holding on to some treasure that others are looking for. On one hand, you’re getting rid of something that you don’t want/ need, and on the other, you are earning some extra cash as well!

2. Get an accounts book

Write down all your expenses, allowances, savings, etc in Credit/ Debit format to keep track of your finances. Make sure you save a fixed amount from your allowances/ income every week! Tracking your expenses will make you less likely to spend more when you realize that you have reached your budget limit!

3. Go BUDGET

Spend as little as possible – buy house brands instead of designer brands; cook your own meal/ bring your own lunch instead of eating out; cut down on entertainment expenditures (do you really need to watch a movie a month?) Of course, we are not asking you to become a hermit, but keeping entertainment expenses to a minimal when you are financially strapped does make a huge difference. Purchase second-hand/ used textbooks if you can, or borrow from a senior who does not need it anymore. That way, you can save on your school expenses as well.

4. A little walk goes a long way.

Besides food, transport is often our main outlet of expenditure. If your destination is just a few bus stops away, taking a short walk will save you some transport fares. Not only is this healthy for you physically, but equally beneficial for your wallet too.

5. Apply for your school financial aid, when applicable.

Many students often overlook the importance of financial aid, and miss the important deadlines. Very often, your school or college may provide ample amount of financial aid which may cover your basic tuition fees, and some scholarships may even cover your accommodation, books and transport expenses as well, with some allowances too! Don’t dismiss this as a hassle – it’s worth the money.

6. Use debit instead of credit

Cancel your credit card and start using a debit card instead. Credit cards often come with the illusion of unlimited expenditure, which greatly weakens our self-control. Debit cards enable us to exercise a bit more control, especially when we see our account savings deplete. However, the best policy is still cash payment. An emptying purse does wonders at reducing unnecessary expenditure.

7. Set up an emergency fund

Save a fixed amount weekly and deposit them into an account that you will not touch unless it is an emergency. Emergency funds are extremely useful should you find yourself in financial difficulties.

8. Get a part-time job

If you really must spend quite a substantial amount on shopping and entertainment, another way to ensure that you do not squander all your savings is to get a part-time job with flexible hours or shifts that you can juggle with school. Balancing school and work life is important, and if you may find yourself having to choose between taking part in extra-curricular school activities and taking up a part-time job. At this point, prioritizing what is more important to you will help you make your decision.

9. Debt management

Take charge of your debts – clear them as soon as possible and resist the urge to borrow/ loan from others unless it is a desperate emergency. Request those who owe you money to return the loaned amount to you as soon as possible. This will give you a better idea of your total savings and assets so that you can budget your expenditure accordingly.

Of course, what’s most important is handling your money wisely and keeping to your budget at all times! You don’t need to give up the occasional happy food (like that bar of chocolates once every few weeks, or that bag of gummies). Just ensure that you do not splurge unnecessarily, and very soon, you’ll find yourself mastering the skill of managing your own finances.

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