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Budgeting 101

6 Things That University Students Are Overpaying For

Vulnerable to overspending in school? Here’s why.

Are you an undergraduate who is constantly running out of money before the month ends? If you are, these are some of the things we think you might be overpaying for and some ways in which we think you could potentially reduce your spending.

#1 Expensive Textbooks

Besides your university school fees, the next most expensive thing might be your textbook and here’s why. A textbook in university can cost up to $80 or more. If you have six modules which requires you to purchase textbooks as required readings, that would sum up to a total of $480 a year.

What You Can Do Instead:

We are not saying you shouldn’t buy textbooks. Rather, instead of buying brand new textbooks, ask your seniors if they have used textbooks for sale and buy it from them instead. They will be more than happy to sell to you at a fraction of the original price.

Alternatively, you could always look it up on Carousell and see if there are listings. This way, you’ll get to save up to $100 to $200 per semester just by purchasing second-hand textbooks. Do note that these textbooks should be the right editions that you need.

#2 Premium Coffee

Does a cup of coffee from Coffee Bean or Starbucks help you attain better grades than your regular “kopi”? The answer is probably no. One cup of coffee from these coffee chains could easily set us back by $6 to $7.

What You Can Do Instead:

While we do enjoy coffee from these chains, we would suggest for it to be a treat rather than something you buy daily. Substitute with regular kopi and you’re probably going to save at least $5 each time you drink coffee.

#3 Frozen yoghurt

It does not help that Llao Llao have strategically opened their outlets at NTU’s south spine & NUH also, making it more accessible now than ever to students. For those staying in halls, getting your favourite froyo is now just a short walk away.

At $6.95 for a cup of Sanum, this midday treat may easily double the price we pay for our meals in school.

What You Can Do Instead:

For those who are more health conscious, purchase small tubs of yoghurt from the supermarket. Here’s a tip: place your yoghurt in the freezer for 2 hours before consumption to enjoy an icy texture. You can also top it off with your favourite fruits.

Read also: Complete Financial Security Starter Pack For University Students

#4 Latest Macbook

With the rising price of Macbooks, we start to wonder if the functions really exceed those of other laptop brands, or if we are simply paying more for the brand and the aesthetic.

Most of us don’t fully utilise the functions of a MacBook unless we do heavy video editing and graphic designing. So why do we still continue to pay high prices for the MacBook if the only functions we use is to type down lectures notes and surf the internet?

What You Can Do Instead:

Here are some other alternatives you can consider at a fraction of the price.

#5 Alcohol

Most of us probably don’t remember what we really learn in school, but one thing we remember would be the late nights drinking sessions and the partying. Good memories indeed!

What You Can Do Instead:

Our advice for you to have fun without burning a hole in your wallet is to skip the drinks at the pubs or bars where a drink can easily cost you up to $15. Instead, you could always purchase your alcohol from the DFS or the supermarket. Drink it at home if you are worried of being caught out drinking late.

#6 Go-To Junk Food/Snacks

All that late night studying (read: drinking sessions) must of course be paired with our favourite junk food and snacks. Buying your snacks from the supermarket can easily cost you more than $10 especially if you are hanging out with your friends.

What You Can Do Instead:

Time to start hunting for your favourite snacks at Valu$ instead of the supermarket. The last time we checked, a can of Pringles Tortilla Corn Chips costs only $1 at Valu$ and more than twice the amount at your regular supermarket. This also means that you could potentially reduce your spending on snacks by half!

How Much More Can You Save Each Year?

The next time you pull your wallet out to pay for these items, think twice! You could potentially save up to $2000 per year just by adjusting your lifestyle.

(Disclaimer: The above calculations are based on our assumptions of the spending of an undergraduate. You may be able to save more or less depending on your personal current habits)