Being a poor student seems to be the norm these days. We’re not supposed to have any money, and you simply haven’t been an undergrad unless you’ve lived off noodles or frozen pizza – since the little money you had was used on beer. The weekends should be spent at your parents’ place, eating out of their fridge and asking your mom to wash your dirty laundry – isn’t it funny how we’re all supposed to be the same?
While you may encounter days like this during your first year at a university or college, the chances are that you’re in a better state by your second or third year. Even though popular college humor is all about broke, drunk and carefree students with a terrible diet, we know that this time is about so much more – progressing in life, for example.
Get a job, lazy
The beginning of each semester is colored by the same desperate hunt for a decent part-time job. You’ll try a lot of different ones, that’s for sure, and most of the jobs with flexible hours are usually crowded with students already – and employers who know how to take advantage of young people.
A job with sufficiently flexible hours for you to manage your studies doesn’t have to be waitressing or working behind the bar. The most flexible way to bring in money are those you can do from home – and today it’s so much easier than it was just a few years ago. If you have a stable internet connection, know a foreign language, or have any sort of artistic skills, you can get in touch with a few recruitment companies or just start freelancing.
The Internet can help you with solving a lot of problems these days; from making money on doing a vast amount of surveys, to organizing your scholarship options and get you started as a freelancer. Scholly Review is a handy tool which makes college funding a lot easier, while this site can help you to get started as a freelancer. You’re welcome.
You have to be more responsible as a freelancer, though, which is probably a good thing – rather now than in ten years, right? Work out a schedule for when you have time to work, present this to the company you’d like to freelance for or the recruiter you’re communicating with.
Now you can eat a decent dinner for the rest of the week, as well as have money to buy your own laundry detergents.
Eat proper food
Some people seem to be under the impression that, as a student, you cannot cook for the life of you. It would only start a fire, or at least set off the fire alarm – can you even afford to cook? Pick up your reusable grocery net and shut them down for good; cooking at home is easy, fun, and healthy for both your body and mind.
The road to eating proper food starts with a budget. Sure, you can head off without one and learn from your mistake, but it’s smart to start off the right way. Planning an entire month ahead is difficult for some, especially when you don’t have your life quite organized enough to plan this far ahead.
Try to plan a week ahead, for example, and focus on the maximum amount you should spend on food to keep yourself afloat. If you’re into meal planning, keep the menu for each day on the fridge to mix and match the products as you like – and check this article out for simple and inexpensive meals you can whip up in no time. Buy in bulk, as always, and make use of the freezer if you have one. It will save you time from visiting the shop again and again, stuck between the same options of potato types.
Another well-known tip is to buy the supermarket’s own brand to save money on items that are basically the same – if you have a few products that are more expensive but you simply cannot live without, the cheaper products will balance out your budget. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play to live well as a student – but the work certainly pays off.
When you’ve gotten used to this way of living – rather than the much more natural way of consuming mostly takeaway and complaining about money problems, you’ll soon notice that certain products keep returning to your fridge every week. It may be tomatoes, olives, parmesan, aubergine, you name it; accept this and keep them around for the days you’re running low on cash – every food you love makes a mean frittata, which is inexpensive and easy enough for anyone to master.
Eat all of it
The most beautiful thing to anyone trying to manage their bills, balance a budget, or just save a fortune, is the sight of an empty fridge. It’s an achievement, in many ways, and solid proof that you’re able to eat everything you buy as well as not wasting anything.
I know a lot of leftover-snobs; they like the idea of eating the same meal for dinner tomorrow but, when dinner time arrives, the look of yesterday’s food in Tupperware is less than appealing. Into the trash, it goes. Some meals tend to lose their looks after a night in the fridge, but don’t be fooled – pop it in the microwave and it looks deliciously warm after a few minutes, just like it did yesterday.
If you have a busy schedule as students tend to have, it’s a good idea to focus on meals you can turn into lunch the following day. Cooked up a pot of chili the night before? Put it in whole wheat wraps and call it a tortilla. That frittata we talked about earlier is just as tasty when you eat it cold on top of bread, and any veggies can be tossed together with tuna, egg, and vinaigrette for an excellent salad.
Continuously stacking up the fridge is a part of the problem with over-consumption in our society; the less time people spend in the kitchen, the more likely they are to waste money on buying more food and takeaway.