Adulting: Rising Costs and Ways to Counter Inflation as a Student
This article was contributed by Credit Bureau Singapore and edited by The Blue and Gold.
As we all know, the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented with effect from 1 January 2023 – from 7% to 8%, and subsequently to 9% in the following year. As we gear up for the nearing tax hike, here are some ways to manage the effects of inflation through practicing prudency and maximizing our cash flow. Beyond switching brands and cutting down on daily expenses, use these cost-saving tips to tide you through the storm as a student.
First and foremost, assess your spending patterns! The simplest way of doing this would be to sort all your expenses into two categories – essential and non-essential expenses. As their names suggest, essential expenses refer to needs, or expenses necessary in your day-to-day life, whereas non-essential expenses refer to wants, or expenses on things that you can either substitute or choose to live without.
With that, here are some tips specific to the most common expenses of these two categories.
Are you guilty of ordering your favourite bubble tea via delivery even when the nearest outlet is within walking distance? Some people might not be aware of this, but food items are often sold at a mark-up when ordered through food delivery services, as compared to when bought from the food places directly. Save on those price hikes and delivery fees and walk off those calories while savouring your favourite bubble tea! While you're at it, make full use of your student card privileges through exclusive student meal promotions!
Alternatively, try preparing your own meals as that would not only help you save money, but also reduce your carbon footprint through cutting down on delivery services.
Do you see your Grab driver more than you see your lecturer? With the increase in fuel prices, the prices for private hires have been skyrocketing. A convenient way of getting around Singapore or to school would be to use public transport instead – just make sure to leave home slightly earlier to cater for the extra travelling time. Don’t be late for lessons!
3. Healthcare and insurance
Insurance plans are safety nets which may help you pay for medical emergencies, hospitalisation or medical care in the future. Sit down with your parents and do a review of all your current insurance policies to make sure that you and your family are not under or over-insured. Reviewing your insurance policies every now and then helps reduce the chances of you falling victim to mis-selling and overpaying for the same coverage.
4. Savings and debts
Do your due diligence and ensure that you pay all your student bills on time so they do not accumulate into bad debt. Additionally, aside from settling your debts and bills, it’s always good to consider taking up temporary or part-time jobs during your school holiday breaks. Not only would you earn extra income, it might also add more colour and work experience to your resume.
Chasing the newest fashion trends often comes with a hefty price tag that burns a hole in your wallet, unless you are financially comfortable enough to afford such a lavish lifestyle. In any event, it is always wise to make sure your spending habits are financially sustainable. One way of cutting down on your expenditure without cutting shopping out altogether would be to consider brands with lower price ranges. Another idea to consider would be to make full use of your wardrobe – star in your very own ‘wear-all-your-clothes’ fashion show or earn some petty cash by selling rather than throwing out clothes you no longer wear.
2. Entertainment and recreation
Café-hopping and crazy nights of drinking aren’t the only ways of having fun. Outdoor hikes, barbeques and picnics, museum days… with a little creativity, you’ll realize that there’s no need to compromise on fun even while prioritizing not blowing your budget.
3. Travelling plans
Perhaps there’s no point mentioning this when it’s already second nature for most Singaporeans but – always look out for travel deals or promotions to make every penny count! If possible, avoid travelling during peak seasons and consider locations beyond the usual popular tourist destinations too, as the price of such airplane tickets tend to surge during these periods and for such locations. Additionally, make sure to book your tickets in advance and buy the appropriate travel insurance in case your trip gets cancelled.
The suggestions above are just some of the many simple and easy ways to lessen the impact of inflations through managing our own financial outputs. Overall, though, it is important to cultivate the good habit of financial accountability and prudency – this helps to fundamentally prevent overspending and damages to your credit reputation.
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