Most of us who have embarked on that three-year journey from childhood to adulthood known as university (or, south of the border, ‘college’) will know the trials and tribulations of trying to survive on a student budget. Memories of eating cold beans, clipping coupons and burning milk crates to keep warm make my time at the University of Alberta seem like a vagrant’s diary. Although it wasn’t that bad, there were times when even a Coffee Crisp bar seemed out of my price range; however, we still managed to have fun.
Of the three basic human needs, shelter is the one which you’re expected to arrange before you begin lectures. Most students start by living on campus, but by springtime of their first year will be checking out houses in the cheap part of town with people they barely know. Rents continue to go up in Canada and there’s not much you can do about that; however, you can save on other bills. Keep bouncing between energy providers as they will fight tooth and nail to get your custom. If you live close to others, offer presents – stolen from work, of course – or help with housework in exchange for use of their Wi-Fi.
Next up is food, always a slightly more complicated prospect. Chances are, like most students I know, you’ll eat like a king for the first few weeks of the semester before realizing that you’ve spent nearly your entire loan on Thai food and you need to seriously rethink your diet for a few months. Most go straight to pasta but if you forego protein, vitamins and minerals your grades will start to fall. Try getting together with your housemates for a trip to the butcher or fishmonger; your purchasing power is greater than the sum of its parts. Skirt of beef is great in stew and Pollock makes a lovely pie.
The third in the trilogy is clothing, something which is not only essential but a classic student money-trap. Most students shop in thrift stores but their short-sightedness can be their downfall; buy more than you need and sell the extra on eBay when you need cash. If you haven’t got the capital for that, organise a student swap-meet where you can refresh your wardrobe for free. Better yet, as the organiser you’re bound to end up with at least a few freebies!
Surviving as a student can sometimes seem like the hardest thing in the world but remember that you’re surrounded by others in the same position. Team work makes the dream work, people!
Author- Alex contributed this guest post on behalf of Badoo. People can , make online friends and meet at Badoo.