The stereotype of a broke student is a sad reality. We all come from different situations, some of us pay rent while others are rent-free. Many pay tuition out of our own pockets and many work either part time or full time jobs.
In spite of it all, many of us seem to face the same reality of having to choose between eating for the week or buying Beyonce tickets.
It’s surprising that despite our backgrounds, we all seem to be “broke students.” But when you actually think about what many students spend their money on, it becomes very clear that we tend to “buy first and ask questions later.” Most university students don’t know how to properly budget their money, but can you really blame them? That’s a skill more likely to be learned from trial and error rather than CALM 20.
Although many of us still struggle with money management, you tend to get better with age. Here are a few tips for you university newbies so you don’t have to go through the pain of learning what to cut back on first hand.
Control your coffee addiction. Tim Horton’s isn’t bad, but Starbucks is the worst offender here. Some are worse than others, but even if you decide to buy your Venti Caramel Frappuccino only after your awful Psych class on Tuesday and Thursdays, that’s still twice a week. When you add that up, you’re spending close to $50 a month on flossy-ass high calorie coffee.
If you switch to double doubles, you’re effectively cutting those coffee expenses by two thirds. While you sacrifice drink quality, does it really matter that much when you have to study for your three midterms coming up and just need to feel wired?
Did you just spend $60 at the bar to get sort of buzzed for a few hours? That’s a shame. It’s easy to say, “don’t ball out at the bar,” hell, you should probably just stop drinking so much in the first place. But who are we kidding here? We’re in university, Reading Week is just around the corner and we like to get a little rowdy.
Since you need to desperately forget about the eight hours you just spent in front of your laptop writing about Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism, head down to Liquor Depot. You can get a twelve pack of River Valley Red, Gold, or Light for $15. I’d recommend red as there is barely any discernible difference from Rickard’s Red. But, if beer isn’t your thing, opt for boxed wine. Franzia Chillable Red is $35 for five litres of wine. Sure these choices aren’t glamorous, but neither is getting blackout drunk after you just handed in a term paper.
Nothing drains student money more than eating out at restaurants and buying food on campus. If it’s the third time this week you’re having Subway, I’m not sure what hates you more, your intestines or your wallet. You have to digest a twelve-inch loaf of bread that comes from a tube yet again, and you’ve also spent almost $30 this week buying that shit.
It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out how to cook. If you can read the textbook from your Stats class you can read a cookbook. Buying a crockpot will save you tons of money in the long run. Stews and chili require hardly more effort than a cup of ramen. Dump in your meat and veggies and if you’re really strapped for cash, substitute extra beans for the meat.
While none of these tips will completely solve your money problems, they’ll definitely help. It’s almost impossible to get away from the fact that it is a financially painful time in our lives. So let’s get through it together.