Monday, March 21, 2011

how to be a dignified poor student

I'm not gonna lie, being a student can be totally awesome, but it can also be the shits. And it's usually an unpleasant experience for some because money can be difficult to come by. But fear not! I have been there and survived it, and with my help you will survive it too.

1. Apply for scholarships/grants/anything. I didn't do this when I was in school, but I really wish that I had. They definitely cover most, if not all of the tuition cost so it's less of a stress on your life savings/your parents. Even if you think you don't have a chance at getting one, try for it anyway! You might have a chance!

2. Find a place to live. If you're not living in residence, that is. You're allowed to have standards, but don't aim too high! You'll probably need a room mate or two or three or twelve, but you gotta do whatever it takes to keep the rent paid!

3. Go to Costco with your parents. If you're lucky, you'll have European parents whose only major concern about you is what you'll be eating. I suggest you take a trip to Costco and buy large quantities of your favorite non perishable foods and house supplies. At first you might be like, "there's no way I need 1000 rolls of toilet paper", but you'd be wrong!

4. Accept free things. You should never have to buy things like condoms. Learn which places are having promotions; sometimes McDonald's gives away coffee for free! So if you live near 3 different McDonald's locations, that's 3 free coffees! You know this advice is golden, so take it.

5. Learn to like beer. This doesn't mean you can't splurge on your favorite merlot every now and then, but when you're at the bar with your class mates after (or before) class, save a few bucks and get the beer that's on special. You're not going to drink today? Drink water.

6. Bring your student ID with you everywhere. There are so many places that will give you a discount on stuff if you can prove that you're a student! Including public transportation. Ask everywhere if they offer student discounts. Who cares if it makes you sound cheap? You can also get a SPC (Student Price Card) which entitles you to discounts from many places! BMO sent me one for free last summer and it's good until July!

7. Visit home often. I cannot stress how important this one is! Come home all the time. Like every weekend maybe. And visit your family lots, because if your family is awesome like mine, they'll subtly slip you hundred dollar bills when nobody else is looking! And always be like, "Man, I wish I could afford some new jeans." Because there's a chance that your mom will take you shopping! Don't be afraid to see how much your parents are willing to pay for! You'll pay them back when you're a successful whatever-you're-studying-to-be!

8. Use holidays to your advantage. Take the stress out of shopping for your family and friends and just be upfront about what you want for Christmas/your birthday/Valentine's Day/Easter/whatever holiday. You want money. And only money. If you sense that they're uncomfortable with giving you money, ask for gift cards instead. That's another thing, accept gift cards to everywhere. It's better than spending your own money. Even if you think you'll never in a million years need a gift card to a certain place, hang on it, because it might just save your life.

I hope these tips help you out. Being poor sucks, but like anything, with enough practice you'll learn to be great at it!

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