Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Not Be A Broke-Ass Student

It's time for a practical post:

I don't get why students are in like 5000+ dollars of debt (not including OSAP). I don't see why people put themselves in situations that they don't want to be in. I've seen far too many younger people get numerous credit cards instead of just getting another part-time job or just learning to live within their means (or if you don't want to miss out, then increase your means). I don't see why people think that money's free. 

So here are my pro-tips; student edition. I know it seems like common sense to some of the older folks, but you'd be surprised how many students don't give thought to saving money/learning to spend wisely. This is partly why students are broke when they don't need to be: 

- If you're with Rogers, call them and say that you want to cancel your plan. You'll get transferred to retention - these guys will do anything to prevent you from signing over to competition. If you're with Rogers, say you found a better deal at Bell (vice-versa if you're a Bell customer). If you have a Blackberry/iPhone with a decent plan + data, you shouldn't be paying more than 45 dollars a month. If you have a normal phone, you shouldn't be paying more than 30 dollars a month. 

I've gotten friends about 30 bucks off each monthly bill by calling in and pretending to be them - it's a lot easier than it seems.

- For people living on their own: learn to cook. Bringing a lunch saves you about 7 bucks a meal (assuming that a decent meal is $10). 

- Quit smoking. Learn to smoke up occasionally instead of daily & when you do smoke up, don't toke more than you can take in - it's useless. Don't even smoke more than you need to; you're building your tolerance up for no good reason. Learn to pre-drink - especially if you have a high tolerance. 

- Don't get a girlfriend who's a money pit; get yourself someone who's self-sufficient if you're actually trying to have a serious relationship at this age or you can just find a **** buddy (lol).

- If you eat out a lot, let dealradar.com decide where you're going to eat (it puts all the deals from wagjag, groupon, livingsocial, dealfind, etc. all on one page). This site also has a bunch of deals on the most random shit - check it out.

- Learn to network - bartering is still the most effective way to get hooked up. Make yourself marketable by being able to give favours for every favour that you take.

- Buy a damn car that isn't a gas guzzler. You're a student, not a businessman. If you're dumb enough to already have a gas-guzzler, most stations have a schedule for changing their prices - ask the cashier. He doesn't give a **** if you know.

- Every store has a schedule for putting things on sale. If you're into Fashion, you'll know that Toronto has some of the most over-priced stuff - you can still shop at Yorkville and not be broke; you just need to know when stores have sales. Ie: I get all my fall jackets for the next year on boxing day.

- Learn to make use of warranties - break stuff properly before the warranty expires and have a good story for it. Another example is making use of applecare if you have an ipod. You can get a new ipod every couple of years for the price of the applecare plan - it's just the initial purchase that has to be pricey.

- Buy things that you KNOW you're going to buy anyways in bulk or ahead of time somewhere cheaper(gum, soap, condoms etc.). At the very least, avoid convenience stores/places like Shoppers(remember that they need to mark their stuff up to make some decent profit). 

- Do your Laundry during the times when everyone else isn't doing it. Also use cold water - with the right soap/detergent, it'll clean just as well, won't shrink, and dark clothes will hold their colours longer

- ALWAYS over-budget - it makes up for the rainy days. Use the extra to treat yourself to a vacation at least once a year or let it carry over to the next year for some big-ticket item that you're saving for.

- If you're going out with a relatively big group... then "it's someone's birthday" (that's what you tell the restaurant). At buffets where it's like $30 for dinner, doing this saves you all a couple of bucks if you all just split the final bill.

- If you go anywhere downtown regularly (like a girlfriend's place, a friend's place, the gym, etc.)...go after 9pm on weekdays and 6pm on sundays 'cause street parking's free after that. Or if you must go during the day, learn to find the secret spots downtown (almost every section of downtown has at least a couple of places where you can park without paying/getting towed every now and then)

- Get yourself a gym membership. You can get your membership subsidized at YMCA, just ask about it. If your time's valuable...then this is well-worth it. You'll have more energy throughout the day (I think cardio 3 times a week for 30 minutes gets you an extra 23 hours of energy, on average); you'll also be able to focus more easily; the bonus is that you can make yourself generally more attractive. As sad as it sounds, your chances of getting hired for that great student job are a lot higher if you're not a fat-***. Not to mention that everyone at your age is at their prime - you're at a disadvantage if you're going to let yourself go. 

- Don't pay for a parking pass at your university; rent a garage from a nearby house for half the price.

- Find yourself a job that doesn't pay minimum wage. And don't depend on retail for your primary source of income - you'll only make consistent figures during 2 seasons of the year if you work retail.

- Learn to make use of petitions and doctor's notes to get deadlines extended at school. Don't punish yourself by getting a grade that will make you need to re-take the course and spend another 600+ upgrading your mark.

- Almost all big brands have outlets in the gta - make use of them. ie: levi's, armany exchange, guess, holt renfrew, etc.

- Never use UPS, Fedex, or any private shipping company unless you absolutely need to. You'll be surprised by brokerage fees.

- There are cheap fixes to get clearer skin. Sleep on a fresh pillowcase or towel every night. Learn about what ingredients do what and figure out what your skin type is. The "best" exfolianting kits don't have to be $80 - you can use lemons and granulated sugar (I only use organic because your skin absorbs it). Also, dove is one of the few soaps that can double up as a face wash.

- Learn to hustle when you need extra coin. Buy things that other students will buy regardless, and sell it for slightly lower than retail (I do this with American Apparel). Everyone wins (well, except the retailer 
. But fuck them - they're doing alright 'cause they're not broke-ass students).

- All you can eat Korean Grill is 10 bucks after 10pm.

It's not about being cheap...it's about not spending money that you don't need to, so that you can spend it on other things 

I'll update this as I remember things to put.


- LifeWithKnowledge

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