Keep it cheap: Alternative tips on student budgeting

By in Opinions

Being broke doesn’t mean you have to stop living, it just means you need to get smart. Memorize these cheapskate tips and never feel the pain of being penniless again.

So, you’re broke. Don’t cry, we’ve all been there — you haven’t truly been a student until you’ve had only $0.78 in your chequing account. What’s the number one thing we all need, but hate buying? You guessed it — toilet paper.

Money Lifehacks - Jeremy BritzNext time you notice your supply dwindling, bring a large backpack to campus and stock up on the nearest bathroom’s offerings. Often, the University of Saskatchewan toilet paper dispensers come with locks, but don’t despair. Bring a cardboard tube from the centre of one of your used up rolls at home, and wrap as much t.p. as you want around it.

For a special treat, visit your nearest Original Joe’s or Boston Pizza and stock up on the higher-end stuff — impress your guests with that classy ply-count.

Spring is here, and while many people are busy celebrating, you’re probably thinking “Ugh, now I need new clothes again.” Does the weather think our money grows on trees or something? Rude.

Luckily, you can life-hack spring by visiting the nearest Lost and Found on campus. Simply mention a generic item of clothing — “I lost a dark coloured t-shirt somewhere in this two-mile radius” — and then enthusiastically claim any item that fits its billing. Voila, free clothes!

Spring also means finals season is approaching, and many classes have specific requests for items you’ll need to bring with you — pencils or pens, erasers, calculators, rulers, etc. Skip the Staples bill by casually borrowing items from classmates over the next few weeks, and “forgetting” to return them.

The key is to space out the requests, so be sure to make a list of what you need and plan ahead. By the time finals arrive, you’ll be all set. Bonus: your classmates might do worse than expected because they don’t have their materials — the lower the class average, the better for you!

I know I’m not alone in feeling like dying every time my fridge is empty. If grocery bills are burning holes in your pockets and you are searching under the pillows of your couch for spare change for beer on the weekend, consider consolidating your troubles. Grapes are food, right? Buy a bulk box of discount bagged wine on payday, and never separate your food and liquor bills again!

Light bulbs these days just aren’t what they used to be. It seems like every other week, I’m replacing a bulb just to keep my apartment semi-lit. Practice checking the fixtures in every public bathroom you enter for compatible bulbs — mostly they’re those long, useless fluorescents, but every now and then you’ll strike gold. Yet another reason to always carry around a big backpack.

Is it just me, or is washing dishes the worst? Never wash a dish again by existing solely on disposable paper plates and utensils — who needs the environment, anyway? Attend every free student group meeting event you can, and snag the stash of dining materials when no one’s looking. If someone sees you, just look confident and keep walking.

We’ve all been in a situation where a cute guy or girl sits down next to us in class, and suddenly the sweat starts pouring and your breath goes stale. Stay cool and confident with a piece of gum!

Obviously you can’t afford to buy some — what are we, kings? — but a fun tip is that underneath almost every desk is a wad of gum that’s totally free. Scientists have shown that only 75 per cent of the flavour is used up during the initial chew phase. Just casually feel around until you find one, and keep it in your palm until you’re ready to pop it in.

Finally, if the Saskatchewan weather is making your apartment into an icebox but you can’t afford to crank the heat, start a small fire on the floor of your kitchen — perfect because there’s no flammable carpet — and sit near it. You’ve already got the kindling here in your hands, because this is the best article in this rag and now you’ve finished it.

Image: Jeremy Britz / Graphics Editor