4 Money Saving Tips for University Students Starting a New Semester

By Joanne Poh

A new semester has just started, and after an entire month of YOLO you’re now back on campus and faced with a new pile of reading, lab work, projects and essay writing. Yay.

Whether university life to you is a stressful, sleepless 3-5 year slog, or 3-5 years of perpetual drunkenness, unless you’re a trust fund kid, at some point you are going to start wishing you had more money.

Trust us when we say that money is actually harder to earn when you’re an adult and chained to a desk. For now, here are four money-saving tips that can help you make the most of your university life.

Borrow movies and books from your school library

Are you paying for a Netflix subscription? Do you spend your allowance on books at Kinokuniya?

Before you drop any more cash, check if your school library has what you’re looking for first.

At NUS, for instance, the Central Library has a generous collection of novels, popular non-fiction and films.

And of course, you should also check if the National Library Branches carry the books and films you’re looking for before you fork out money for them. You can get them to deliver the goods to the closest NLB branch to your campus so you can conveniently pick them up on your way home from school.

Buy and sell used textbooks

At the start of every semester, you might find your inbox getting spammed by students who previously took the modules you’re currently enrolled in, and are trying to sell their textbooks.

Don’t just delete those emails. Buying used textbooks can save you quite a bit of cash, and the best part is you can always sell the very same books to the next batch of students.

Another, even more cheapskate option is to borrow the textbooks from the school library and then scan them.

Some students even (cough, cough) torrent their textbooks, but of course we would never…

Connect to campus wifi on your smartphone instead of using mobile data

Whether you’re paying your own phone bills or your parents are still footing the bill, you’re probably no stranger to that dreaded message informing you that you’ve busted your data limit for the month.

Connect to campus wifi whenever humanly possible to cut down on the amount of data you use.

For that matter, you should connect to free wifi whenever you can, whether you’re having a marathon study session at Starbucks (where there is free wifi) or shopping at CentrePoint, City Plaza, Suntec City or one of the many other malls with free wifi.

Check if you are eligible for a bursary

You might not exactly be scholar material, but that’s okay, because you might still be eligible for a government bursary scheme.

Singaporean students studying at publicly-funded universities who have a gross monthly household income of $9,000 and below (or gross monthly per capita income of $2,250 and below) are eligible for the MOE Bursary of between $1,350 and $2,700 per year.

If you’re a publicly-funded university student whose gross monthly housing income is $4,000 and below (or your gross monthly per capita income is $1,000 and below), you’re eligible for the CDC/CCC Bursary, which will give you $3,750 to $4,000 a year.

This article was first published over at MoneySmart blog on 3 January 2018. It is reproduced with permission.

About The Author (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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