Monday, July 5, 2010

10 Super Saver Tips for a Financially Stress-Free Campus Life

10 Super Saver Tips for a Financially Stress-Free Campus Life

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not cheap to be a student nowadays. Other than studying and completing assignments, good students also need to be able to manage their money smartly. Failure to practise good money management in campus may even disrupt your studies.

Fortunately, good money management for campus students can be easily kick-started by practising simple money-saving techniques. Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC), the training and development arm of Securities Commission Malaysia, would like to share with you 10 basic “Super Saver” tips that will help you achieve a pleasant and financially stress-free campus life! Upon reading this article, you should be able to apply these handy tips and change your own financial habits on campus.

Super Saver 1: Practise the 10% Rule. The 10% Rule essentially means saving 10% of whatever money you have every month. So, every time you receive your PTPTN loan, MARA loan, scholarship or even allowance from your parents, make sure that you save at least 10% of it. This practice will also help you to be financially consistent and disciplined in future.

Super Saver 2: Establish an Emergency Fund. Sometimes, emergencies in the form of unexpected incidents MAY require you to spend significant amounts of money. For example, your vehicle could break down, you may get sick and need to be hospitalised, your PC or laptop could malfunction and require expensive repairs, or you could encounter other money-related issues. That’s why it’s good to establish an emergency fund. This way, if you ever need to spend money suddenly or on short notice, you would not have to worry about where to get the money from. However, always remember: An emergency fund should be used for EMERGENCIES ONLY!

Super Saver 3: Cultivate a habit of investing. You should start as soon as you can in order to obtain more returns from investments. Take advantage of compounding interest by saving your money in suitable investment products. Do your homework first by reading prospectuses, financial and annual reports, business magazines and more. By establishing some familiarity with the concept of investing, you can then pick and invest in the product that best suits your risk appetite, financial goals and budget.

Super Saver 4: Price-check when you shop. By comparing prices and searching for bargains, you’ll be able to save money whenever you go shopping. Price-checking also teaches you to adopt a more careful and patient approach when shopping. The best part about being a patient and careful shopper is that you will not succumb to impulse purchases and you will always strive to obtain the best value for your hard-earned money!

Super Saver 5: Cut up the credit card. A study conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia regarding bankruptcy caused by credit card debt among Malaysians showed that 50% of them are under the age of 30 years old. In other words, college students and young working adults make up 50% of Malaysians who are declared bankrupt. Whether you own a credit card or your parents “gifted” a supplementary one to you, always ask yourself: “Is having a credit card really necessary?” Remember, be responsible when using a credit card, either as a primary or supplementary holder because somebody (either you or your parents) will have to pay the bill!

Super Saver 6: Reduce your bills. Keeping the fan in your apartment or hostel to a medium speed, switching to fluorescent, energy-saving light bulbs, unplugging electrical appliances that are not frequently used, and reducing the screen brightness level on your computer can help you save money on your electricity bills.

Super Saver 7: Be a smart student. Print your work on both sides of the paper, buy refills for your printer cartridge instead of buying new cartridges, borrow reference books from your seniors/friends/the library, stay with housemate(s) instead of staying alone, and eat on campus more. Generally, the services and facilities provided to you on campus such as food, accommodation, photocopying services, etc tend to be cheaper than elsewhere, so take full advantage of them! Better yet, get your campus mates together and look out for opportunities for group discounts on campus such as buying reference books or stationeries in bulk.

Super Saver 8: Take advantage of student privileges. A student card is one of the most powerful tools you can use to save money. Use it to get discounts at the cinema, bookstores, when taking the LRT, signing up for internet access, holidays, eating out, sports, entertainment and more.

Super Saver 9: Use public transport. By taking public transportation instead of driving, you will spend less money on petrol. Not a fan of public transport? Get your friends together and carpool! You might also want to consider getting a motorcycle or bicycle to save on petrol money. Always plan your journey, and remember to travel only when necessary. For example, if the place you’re going to is very near and the weather is good, why don’t you take a walk to your destination instead of driving?

Super Saver 10: Use the Internet to make calls. Instead of spending so much money on prepaid calls and top-up cards, how about making your calls on the Internet instead? Not only can you chat for hours, it also doesn’t cost you a cent (assuming you go to free wi-fi hotspots). If you absolutely must use that handphone, remember that it’s cheaper to SMS instead of call.

In conclusion, college or university is supposed to be about more than just studying. You should also be using your time in campus to discover new opportunities, experience new things and meet new friends. With so many responsibilities to handle, the last thing you want is to suffer financial difficulties because you didn’t manage your money properly and sensibly. By practising the ‘10 Super Saver Tips’ we have shared above, you should be able to enjoy a financially stress-free, fun and exciting campus life!

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