Managing your finances

Careful planning is the key

To be free of unnecessary worries about money while in University, careful planning of your finances is important.

Avoid money worries by establishing good budgeting habits now. They will last a lifetime. Here are some advice:

Evaluate your income and expenses

  • Estimate your expenses: Distinguish between fixed expenses (tuition fees, books, food, hall fees and transportation etc) and flexible expenses (travel, recreation, clothes, dining out, services and other personal expenses)
  • Estimate your income and resources: Calculate how much money you are likely to have during the year. Likely sources of income include Government grants and loans, parental support, part-time job income, summer job income and past savings etc.
    • If you are first time applicants for the Government grants and loans scheme and have no idea of the likely level of Government awards, please visit the website of the  the Government Student Finance Office (SFO) for the calculator on estimated entitlements.
    • You should be realistic about your earning ability during term time and summer break taking into consideration your academic commitment and the job market. (Careers, Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) provides information on summer job and summer internship)
  • Balance your budget
    • Be aware of your spending pattern. Flexible expenses are optional. "Trivial" purchases such as snacks, VCD rental, cell phone calls, overdue fines etc, add up much more quickly than you realize.
    • Avoid impulse purchases.
    • Plan for emergencies and unexpected costs. You have to prepare for contingency. Investigate the UFA ( emergency assistance) option if necessary.
    • Look at your budget carefully before finalizing your summer plans. Compare the alternatives (summer job, local and overseas summer programme, extra-curricular activities etc) carefully. You must have a clear idea of the costs and the gains of your choice.
    • Try your best to balance your budget. It would be helpful if you use a budget sheet to list out your income and expenses and monitor your spending. You can seek advice from us in planning a budget.
  • A word about credit cards
    Credit card can be an asset and a liability depending on how you manage your credit card spending and repayment.

    Do not spend more than you can pay back and try to pay your bill in full and on time

    • Be aware of the interest charges on overdue monthly balance.
    • Spend what you can pay back including interest : If you haven't been able to pay off your bill on time in the past, the chance that you will be able to do so for an even larger amount in future is very slim. Be realistic. Moreover, your minimum monthly payment will increase with your outstanding balance.
    • Failure to make payment on time affects your credit rating. A bad credit rating may severely affect your future credit opportunities.


Careful planning (budgeting) is the key
Don't wait! Explore your options and manage your finances wisely. Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) runs an advisory service and workshop for financial management.

(Please note that there are drop in sessions every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 5 pm for student advising officer to meet students without prior appointment on financial matters.)

Come and talk to us

Managing your finances
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