Round 1 results
Alexander Tan Yong Meng (Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering)
Being Money Sensible
I learnt the importance of money through ‘bankruptcy’. In my first year in Polytechnic, I was privileged enough to have accumulated around $3000 just through study awards. With this surge of mini-wealth ($3000 is a lot for a 17 year old to be having in his piggy bank) and not having a bank account, it was money easily spent in the 6-week semester vacation. The stark reality of how easily money is spent hit me when I had nothing left in my piggy bank at the end of the holidays.
Being a year 3 student now, I manage my finances with slightly more ‘wisdom’ through these techniques:
1. Open a bank account to manage finances.
‘Be a Santa in depositing, a Scrooge in withdrawing.’
Every Monday, I make a trip to the ATM to deposit my allowance into my bank account leaving $20 worth of lunch money in my wallet. This limits daily spending on food to $4 per day (a reasonable amount). Should I overspend on one of my lunches, I will compensate by spending less on the next day. If I really run out of cash, I will opt to borrow from a friend (even though I have cash in the bank). This is a humbling process and makes me feel the humiliation of my over-spending, to remind myself to be conscious of my spending. Only in emergency situations; e.g. needing to top-up my EZ-link card is when I allow funds to be withdrawn. I adopt a mindset of ‘Be a Santa in depositing, a Scrooge in withdrawing.’
2. Manage expenses by documenting them.
‘More spending, more paperwork’
I keep an account book of what I have used my money for, documenting each transaction on one page, reviewing the whole stack of pages used at the end of the month. This allows accountability (and guilt to sink in later) of my expenditure to better manage my spending. If your aim is to accumulate savings and live on a dime like me, you’ll feel really guilty that at the end of the month that you have used up a whole stack of papers in your account book and this is a really an effective way to stamp out over-spending! Below is a copy of one of the pages in my account book:
I have several more tricks up my sleeve but due to the word limit I’ll leave it with the two aforementioned methods to save money.
Tan Jin Ying (Diploma in Computer Engineering)
Living on $10 a day as a student
I have started my financial literacy journey since April 2014. Since then, I have been watching over my own finances very closely. Therefore, I would like to share with you my experience of living on $10 a day as a student.
Every day, I would receive my $10 allowance from my parents. The very first and most important thing I will do is to put 10 percent of it away into my investment account, which will be used for future investing. The money will be saved in this one account; none of the money will be withdrawn till my financial freedom.
The second thing I would do is to put another dollar away in a “rewarding account”. It will usually sum up to $30 dollars at the end of the month. The purpose of this account is for rewarding myself whenever I feel that I have done well in various aspects of life.
For the remaining $8, I will divide it up and be left with $4 for lunch and $4 for dinner. In Singapore it is quite easy to find food that’s around $4, so this isn’t a problem.
Sometimes I will have lunch or dinner at home. This leads to an additional $4. This amount will be split further. I will split half of it to my education account and another half to the rewarding account. The purpose of having an education account is for investment in myself, for example buying of non-fiction books or going for seminars.
All the leftover money will be left for other current expenses.
Dexter Choo Wei Cheong (Diploma in Business Administration)
How to get rich by paying yourself first?
The traditional way of saving money for students is through budgeting. Every month, you list down expenses and make a budget for it. It’s the same as budgeting for a school’s event if you’ve organised one before. This works well for school events. Strangely, it does not work well in our personal lives. Why is this so?
Let’s say you receive a monthly allowance of $500 from your parents. In order to save 10% of the money ($50), you have decide to spend only $450. However, at the end of the month you realised that you have spent $500 instead. This happens all the time and you may have given up on saving. However, don’t give up just yet. There is a solution to this.
The solution – Pay Yourself First
You’ve probably heard the term Pay Yourself First before. However what does this really mean? This means that you should set aside a certain percentage of your monthly allowance as savings. This is akin to lowering your allowance before even spending on daily necessities.
How to pay yourself first without much hassle?
Paying yourself is easy. With the latest technology, we can automate the process easily. For example, we can open another bank account and set an automatic transfer to be deducted at a specific date monthly. With internet banking accounts, we can set it up in just a few minutes. You just have to go to fund transfer and set up standing instructions in order to set up automatic transfers. You can transfer to an account either with the same bank or another account in another bank. This is a proven method which many have been using.
Merit Prize Winners for Round 1
Lim Xiu Ru (LIB)
Muhammad Haris Bin Mazlan (Diploma in Information Technology)
Rowell Quek Hui Qi (Diploma in Business Administration)
Tay Hui Chun (Diploma in Information Technology)
Kuda Vidanage Deepthi S. (User Experience Centre)
Tang Wei Qiang (Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering)