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how to be a super broke university student and survive

Image via Wiki Commons

Image via Wiki Commons

For some unknown reason, baby boomers love joking that university students must live off 2 Minute Noodles and potatoes alone. We do a lot of the time, but I still don’t get why that’s classified as a joke. I don’t think living off noodles and potatoes is a great as it sounds ­– it probably leads to scurvy* eventually. Anyway, here are my top five tips on how to be a super broke student and survive.

1. Fruit, veggies and carbs. Everything else is a luxury

To avoid getting scurvy*, buy fruit. Actually, just buy the slightly bruised second grade fruit that is half the price. You will find yourself worried whether there is a worm in the apple but don’t worry. Buy yourself a massive bag of frozen vegetables. Then get some rice (it is cheaper than 2 Minute Noodles). Invest in some soy sauce. Eat the Homebrand oats for breakfast each morning. Drink lots of tea. People will ask what your bikini body diet is and you will just be able to laugh. The ‘Uni Student’ will be the go- to diet of any runway model soon enough.

2. There will be free food on campus

Trust me, there will be free food on campus. There has not been a day in my university career so far where I haven’t been able to locate some form of free food. Whether it’s a barbecue for a club, a Christian group’s social night, free burgers for Mental Health Day or even going to the emergency kitchen, there will be food on campus. It may not be delicious but there will be food. In the words of Weird Al: ‘Eat it!’

(There will always be free condoms as well).

3. There may be free food but there isn’t free rent money

In my university career, I have managed to score a lot of free food but besides selling a kidney, I really haven’t come up with anyway to make rent money other than working on my budgeting skills. Put rent money first in your budget. You may be able to get away with a few days without going grocery shopping but you won’t be able to go a few days without paying rent. Your landlord will be less forgiving then your refrigerator.

4. Go to the library.

Whether it’s your university library or your town library, go there. If you can scrimp and not pay for an internet connection for your apartment/townhouse/shoe box, you will probably save $80. Plus, what is not to like about the library? Free books. Free magazines. Just remember to return them.

5. Buy your clothes when they are going out of season.

I know, it is getting into winter and you really want to buy that yellow jacket – but don’t. Wait. Wait until it is the end of the season and get it at half the price. There are many cheap ways to get clothes. Scour the throw out pile (bonus points if you are an uncommon size). Go to a DFO. Op shopping makes a fun afternoon treat.

At the end of the day…

You probably won’t be swimming in cash for a while just yet. The birthday wish lists you send to your parents will consist of better quality hair products, mascara and an order for this week’s groceries. You will have a life crisis because you can’t afford a hair dresser to cut your spilt ends so you will consider risking doing it yourself. Face it, you will bottom out your bank account, but you will gain mad budgeting skills and a whole lot of “life experience”.

Rhianne Conway is an aspiring lawyer and an aspiring freelance writer. Personality wise she’s 1/2 Phoebe Buffay and 1/2 Rory Gilmore. Her twitter is @rhianneconway

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