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As students, focusing on finances is part of the education package that can sometimes scare us. However it’s good to be prepared and stretch out those funds as much as possible. There’s no wonder students try to find part-time jobs alongside studying, you really do need to help yourself out.

Understandably, you’re at a new chapter in your life, so budgeting can be hard when you want to wear new things and check out all the local coffee shops, but it is worth holding off on extravagant spending. So here are 5 top tips to help you with your finances.

Tip no.1: Make lists – you can’t have enough! First, be sensible and rational, it’s easy to get caught up in the new experience/s, but take a seat and have a grown up moment where you note and add up all your incomes. This basically means anything going into your bank regularly, such as grants/bursaries/sponsorships/scholarships/salary/money from parents or guardians. Also make a list of essentials that will come out such as tuition fees, rent for accommodation, house and phone bills, and food… just to list a few.

Tip no.2: Impulse buys are NOT your friend. You may develop a love/hate relationship with money, but buying on impulse WILL keep you out of pocket with money that could have been better spent elsewhere. Harsh, but true. Sometimes we have to make a few sacrifices for the greater good and all that right? Make the most of special offers and value brands especially when it comes to basics, such as toiletries. Make packed lunches for cheaper meals which are often healthier, rather than spending money on buying food, although you can treat yourself once in a while!

Tip no.3: When it comes to course materials, they can be expensive, but let’s not forget others have been there, done that and got the degrees, so get advice and second-hand books from peers above. Although the usual eBay or amazon can help in finding cheap books, it may be better when book sales are held in your School’s society or the student’s union where you could possibly receive books with notes already in. Plus it could be a chance to network! Furthermore, printing can be costly so try to print double-sided and in black and white as much as possible.

Tip no.4: Taking trips can be fun when you are a student, and there are many student perks in terms of travel cards. Nevertheless, it’s best to make travel plans in advance, rather than getting those last minute tickets which would bump up the prices. It may not seem much, but saving a little can add up to a lot.

Tip no.5: Avoid cash machines that charge you, because why should you spend money, to get your own money out?!

Always be on the lookout to find out what you can get for free, being a student is all about getting them freebies (it’s just knowing where to look and go for discounts through your student ID or NUS card).

Don’t shy away from letting people know that you’re trying to save, there’s no shame in having a quiet night in or a simple meal  – keep doing you, and ‘do not spend wastefully’ (Qur’an 17:26).

Hamida Moulvi

Hamida has a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree, having studied modules concerning Emotions and Mental Health. She is passionate about giving back to the community as it is important to benefit others - every little helps, in inspiring changes and raising awareness, especially within Muslim communities where many cultures can believe mental health isn't a real problem. She has a love for the way Islam guides, inspires and heals (HasbunAllahu w ni'mal wakeel) and is also interested in languages, being multilingual. She believes words have a powerful impact whether that be in written or spoken form, and that we are all here to learn, implement and share so helping write articles would achieve this also.

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