Campus Cost Cutting: 4 Tips to Save BIG in University

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University education in Singapore can be really expensive, not just in terms of tuition and living expenses, but also the cost of school supplies which can add a considerable amount to your already well-stretched budget.

While in Singapore, university tuition fees make up the bulk of expenses, one should not underestimate the smaller costs such as hostel rent, meals, transportation, textbooks and electronics.

Finding creative ways to save can be really helpful for students on budget. Here are 4 awesome tips you can save big money in school!

1) Take A Student Tuition Loan


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Are you surprised by this tip?

As the largest item of expense the tuition fee per semester works out to thousands of dollars. While taking on debt is generally frowned upon, there is a reason why you should always take the student loan option (even if you have enough money for the tuition fees)

Our local student loans are unlike usual bank loans because they are offered at a zero percent interest. Due to the effects of inflation, money today is worth more than the same amount in the future. Hence by using a tuition loan at zero percent interest, you have delayed the same dollar amount of payment to a future date!

In other words, you have actually made a ‘profit’ by taking the loan because it is practically ‘free money’ from the bank (you will have to repay in future and with conditions attached of course).

However, do take note that this tip only works when there is inflation in the economy (which is generally the case) and also if you are able to secure a job to repay the loan after graduation! Student tuition loans usually provide a buffer period after graduation where interest rates on the loan remain at zero for a few months.

2) Buying Used Textbooks


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Textbooks nowadays are insanely expensive. This is because campus bookstores usually have a monopoly over the supply of books on campus. Also, the publishers often come up with new editions to reflect the updated syllabus and educational objectives. (Conspiracy theory: or to ‘encourage’ students to buy new books, who knows right?)Hence, students are usually left with no choice but to buy brand new textbooks

The best way (legally) to save on textbooks is to buy used textbooks from seniors and especially graduating seniors who may offer their books at clearance prices! Look through the school’s message boards or on internet forums and either search for the textbook you are buying or list what you are intending to buy and wait for replies. As a last resort, Amazon, E-bay and Carousell will be your best bets to buy used textbooks.

3) Saving in Hostel


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Always opt to stay with a roommate as the rental rates for double rooms are more likely to be cheaper than single rooms. Another possibility is to rent a room with a friend from nearby HDB flats but some homework has to be done to compare prices.

Also, with a roommate, it would be easier to share the cost of purchasing improvements for the room such as electric fans, mini-refrigerators and maybe even air purifiers (because of the haze). Whenever possible, avoid buying new items and try to use items you already own from home.

While campus food is often cheaper than hawker centres, it might be even cheaper if you cook your own food bought from the supermarket. Throwing a steamboat dinner party with your neighbours are also a cheap and efficient way of having meals on campus!

4) Transport


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Some of the local universities can be rather inaccessible! You will likely know someone in school who tends to take a cab to class frequently because he or she couldn’t wake up on time! When done regularly taking cabs to school burns a deep hole in a student’s pocket!

The solution is to simply wake up early and take public transport. If you have friends who stay nearby… carpooling is another time and cost-effective option. Just remember to split the bill for the fuel costs of the driver!

Of course, these are only a few ways out of many you can save money on campus.

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If you have any creative ideas please let us know in the comments below and share your money-saving tips with everyone!

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Yak Ann

Yak is trying to explore his literary side by writing freelance at in his spare time. He is kind of a jack-of-all-trades and has interests in a variety of topics ranging from finance to fine arts to futuristic sciencey stuff...and most of everything in between! He aims for his articles to be informative and entertaining to readers.

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