As a broke uni student, you’re already used to thinking of instant noodles as a major food group, and a lavish meal consists of upsizing your meal at McDonald’s. You envision life after uni as a desperate scramble to repay your tuition fee loans while struggling to adapt to the 9 to 6 grind.
If the mere thought of having to top up your EzLink card at the end of the month makes you break out into a cold sweat, you might be surprised to hear that many Singaporean uni students not only manage to earn a bit of spare cash but also give their savings a significant boost. Here are three tricks that can defray the cost of being a poor student.
Sell your old textbooks
Depending on your course, you could be spending anything from $100 to over $1,000 on books and reading material each semester. A single textbook can easily cost over $50 to $150, and let’s face it, no matter how much you think those old books are going to come in handy, they’re probably never going to see the light of day once your exams are over.
Selling your old textbooks is one of the easiest ways to make a few hundred bucks each semester. The most efficient way to do so is to get hold of the mailing list address for all of your modules, and then email the next semester’s students asking if they’d like to buy your textbooks.
This is far and away the easiest method and you should be rid of your books in a matter of days (sometimes hours) so long as the syllabus hasn’t changed. Alternatively, you can try selling your books on websites like Textbook Market, Book In Book Out and Book Fishing.
Get a few tuition students
Forget about working at a cafe for $6 an hour. If you’re interested in making some quick cash in the fastest way possible, getting a few tuition students is the answer, which explains why private tutoring is probably Singapore uni students’ most popular part-time job. As an undergrad, you can command rates of $20 to $40 an hour, more than 3-6 times what you’d earn as a waiter.
Sure, you can go ahead with that internship or part-time job just for the experience. But still, we recommend keeping at least one or two tuition students on hand. Even when you’ve got exams to sit and term papers to write, teaching for 1.5 to 2 hours a week is a relatively low time commitment and can earn you at least $120 to $200 a month.
Start a small business
University is the best time to start a small business. No matter how little free time you think you have now, you definitely have more than you will when you start working full-time. You don’t need tons of (or even any) money to start a microbusiness. A friend of mine spent almost nothing when he started a successful business with four employees matching student web developers with businesses in need of web solutions.
Whether you’re baking cupcakes and selling them online, setting up a web design business or organising parties for your fellow uni students, take advantage of your university years to learn how to generate your own income. The skill might end up being more useful than you think.
Plenty of successful businesses started out as side projects, and especially if you are studying business, this is a great way to put your learnings into practical use (and make some money on the side as well). Who knows where it will take you?
As a uni students, how do you earn a bit of cash? Tell us in the comments!