Where has all the money gone?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am


'Wow, what a cute pendant! I want it for my mobile phone.'

'How about this pleated skirt? It may suit my white coat.'

Lin Bing, a third-year student at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, is hanging out with her friend in a shopping mall. Before going out, she told herself not to buy anything except a pair of shoes she really needs. But with discounts and buy-one-get-one-free deals, Lin has been lured into a spending spree.

Like Lin, many college students in the city have little control over their spending.

'I don't have any concept of managing money,' she says. 'Last year, I emptied my purse to buy my boyfriend a guitar, so I had to rob Peter to pay Paul for the rest of that semester.'

Huang Min, another student at the same university, said she was addicted to shopping.

'I don't really need the stuff that I buy, but the temptation to spend, and spend quickly, gets the better of my willpower,' she says.

Students blame parents and teachers for not giving them enough guidance on managing their money.

'My parents seldom give me advice as to how to manage my money, and neither do my teachers,' says Gao Hai, a second-year student at Sun Yat-sen University. 'Maybe they believe money is the root of all evil and don't want us to talk about it too much.'

But things are different for Zhou Yuli, Gao's classmate, who is taking financial management as an elective course this semester.

'I have gradually got rid of some of my bad financial habits and now know how to earn more interest on the money I already have,' Zhou says.

'I think money management is a necessary life skill, and it is never too soon to learn about it. Small changes in financial habits can produce great results.'