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Updated: Oct 10, 2018

  1. Live within your means 

Know how much money you are working with and do not compare your spending to other people. If you know you cannot afford to buy something or go on a night out, then be wise and don’t go. Resist the pressure to have the same material things as the people around you and even the people on social media. Don’t try and live a lavish lifestyle with a low budget, be realistic.

2. Distinguish between what you want and what you need 

This is important, sometimes we convince ourselves that our wants are necessities but in reality they aren’t essential. Prioritising is a great tool to direct your spending,we definitely advice prioritising bills as late fees can eat away at your money.

3. Hesitate before you buy things

Sleeping on it or calling that frugal friend for advice before you make a purchase can be enough time for you to realise that maybe now is not the right time to buy the desired items. Writing a list before you set out also makes you slow down enough to review your planned purchases.

4. Avoid Overdraft 

Believing that your overdraft is free money is a naive perspective to have. If you genuinely want to avoid raking up a crazy amount of debt whilst your young, I would suggest you avoid an overdraft and only get it if you really, and I mean really need it. When your young you set the foundations of habits that will last a lifetime so if you end up getting an overdraft to improve your credit, get once you know you have disciplined yourself with your money.

5. Look for deals

Take your time to look for deals and compare prices. As students, you are privileged to get Discounts in several shops with NUS or Uni-days, make use of it.

6. Plan your time to make your own meals

A lot of our money tends to be spent on buying food while we are out and as an African mother would often say, “there’s food at home”. Taking that extra time to plan your meals at the start of the week and prepare them in bulk or the night before can make a lot of difference and save you a lot of money.

7. If you can avoid paying for it then do so

I know this point can easily be misconstrued and I’m not telling you to go and steal or engage in fraudulent activity  but what I am saying is if your parents are willing to help you with particular expenses then accept their support. Asking for financial support for the odd textbook or something you know your parents would be willing to pay for, is perfectly reasonable however if your parents are not in the position to provide financial aid then do not exploit them or place them under additional pressure.

8. Save/ Plan for emergencies 

We recommend that you create a savings account that you only have access to through going to the bank; knowing your money is accessible means you are less likely to view it as your savings and more likely to dabble into it. Another alternative is if you have 2 bank accounts and decide to use one as your savings give your card to a trusted family member, or if you are in university leave it at home, this way you can’t easily access it.  Have a target of how much you intend to save per week or per month, no matter how small, it all adds up at the end of the day. I would recommend that you have a certain amount of money in your account that you do not touch, but only use in the case of real emergencies.

9. Budget

Budgeting ensures that you are spending less than you are bringing in and planning financially for the short and long term. Alongside setting a budget, it is very important that you also track your spending and keep up to date. Life is unpredictable so try to review your budget and your spending and be flexible if there’s a change, or at least every couple of months.

Here’s the link to a great University Budgeting Template:


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