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Stretch your student dollars
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3 min. read

Living on a student allowance may not always be easy but it is possible. Find out how to be savvy with money and stretch your allowance.

As a student, you're likely to be receiving an allowance or earning some income of your own. Some days, you may feel like you don't have enough money.

Here are some ways to stretch your dollar!

Separate wants from needs

Be objective and differentiate your needs from your wants.

  • Needs are essentials in life, the things you can’t live without.
  • Wants are the things you desire, or more expensive but non-essential substitutes for your needs.

Here are some examples:

Needs Wants
  • Food and beverage
  • Clothing
  • Public transport
  • Textbooks and stationery
  • School fees
  • Student accommodation
  • Fast food, designer coffee & bubble tea
  • Branded attire and accessories
  • Taxis
  • Watching movies
  • Computer/video games
  • Beauty & grooming treats

Spend smart

With a bit of planning and a lot of discipline, you can save money while spending money. Have a budget, look out for deals, and if the price isn't right, don't wait to walk away. 


Many youths game. Did you know that some of these games contain mystery boxes that promise rare items with increased playtime or in-game purchases? These may seem like small costs but they add up fast, especially if you chase that special item.



Create a budget and stick to it

Setting up a budget can help you control your spending.

Start by listing all the things you need to spend money on and how much each item costs.

You should set aside some money for savings too. You never know when it may come in handy.

With a budget, you're less likely to be cash-strapped when it comes to paying for your needs. If there is any money left, you could spend a little on yourself and save the rest.

Some of you may dabble in investment or take up part-time work. Don’t make gambling one of your expense items.


Use a Budget Calculator to help you get started.

Use your student benefits

You shouldn't be shy when you’re on a budget. Ask about:

  • Student meals when visiting a restaurant. They understand the needs of budget-conscious students. Some may even offer discounts to you during off-peak periods.
  • Student-priced tickets at the cinema. Get even better deals by watching a movie during off-peak timings.
  • Mobile phone plans for students. There are discounted subscription plans for students, which come with freebies on top, such as additional data. Check with your mobile service provider for more details.
  • Student concession passes on public transport. Use the pass issued to you for travelling between home and school, and everywhere else.

Do your homework on study loans and financial aid

University fees can be a financial strain. But there are avenues for help for those who need it.


If you've done well in your studies or co-curricular activities, you may be able to secure a scholarship from either a company or the university. Some scholarships may require you to serve a bond.

Corporate scholarships

Many companies and organisations give scholarships to students who have excelled in their studies or co-curricular activities. Some require you to work for them for a number of years after graduation.

University scholarships

Your university may have a bond-free scholarship to recognise your hard work. Ask them about it.

Study loans

Some banks offer interest-free tuition fee loans during your course of study. Find out more about their repayment schemes.

Your school may also have study loan options, so do enquire about them.

Subsidies and bursaries

If you need further help, ask around about subsidies, financial aid or bursaries. Your university, clan associations and community organisations are some of those who set aside funds to help those who are in need.

Help from community organisations

Financial help is also available from organisations such as:

Check with them to see what support they can offer and if you're eligible.

Last updated on 27 Jul 2021