Budgeting

5 Money Mistakes Many Local University Students Make

Joanne Poh 0 Comments

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As a tertiary student, the temptation to spend is great—you’re now old enough to enter clubs without a fake ID, but still young enough to not have to worry about home loans and all that fun stuff.

By all means, live life to the fullest (so long as it doesn’t involve $8 coffees), but not without trying to steer clear of these five money mistakes.

 

Spending lots of money on campus

Students have a tendency to think that any time spent on campus is time spent productively. But it should be noted that on most tertiary campuses in Singapore, it’s also easy to end up wasting quite a bit of money.

Even if your campus, like NUS or NTU’s, has low budget canteens, there are usually more expensive dining options at school, too.

What’s more, local universities and polys sometimes organise bazaars and fairs where people sell clothes and accessories, thereby making it possible to unwittingly shop at school.

You also want to avoid being so lousy at waking up on time for class that you always end up rushing to school in an Uber.

 

Trying to emulate your peers on social media

Social media has completely changed the ways student interact with each other.

Popular kids or those with a strong social media presence are more often than not “stalked” by their peers on the various platforms. What’s more, with the rise of “influencers”, more students are looking up to online personalities and, consciously or unconsciously, trying to emulate them.

This can obviously be detrimental to one’s finances. Many students flock to hipster cafes and costly activities like staycations and liquid buffets because they think their peers are doing these things on the daily basis and they don’t want to miss out.

 

Not realising how much you can accomplish with proper time management

Whether your course is so rigorous that all your coursemates seat-warm in the library till midnight every day, or you spend most of your university life binge watching TV series and going for bashes, with proper time management you can almost always fit in time for a part-time job.

Don’t let the chance to earn a bit of money go to waste. Trust me, money is a lot harder and less fun to earn when you’re a working adult.

 

Thinking you need to be broke just because you’re a student

Never resign yourself to being a broke student if you don’t want to be one. The potential to earn money—perhaps even more than many working adults—is high when you’re a student and 99.9% of your energy isn’t being channeled into staying alive at a full-time job.

There are university students who earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month running small businesses, giving tuition, selling insurance or doing part-time gigs like emceeing.

 

Doing nothing just because you can rely on your parents for pocket money

Many tertiary students are lucky to have the financial support of their parents, which effectively frees them from having to do any part-time work to stay afloat. Heck, there are more than a few local university students whose parents buy them their own cars so they can drive to campus.

Now, just because your parents are supporting you during your studies doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your hands dirty and try out various part-time jobs, internships or business activities.

You may not need the money, but you’ll gain some valuable insight into work and life. Plus, some extra savings never hurt anyone.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far during your studies? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

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