Speak to me of broke-ass students
September 11, 2009 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Are you a broke-ass student? Were you a broke-ass student? Please give me your best tips and slightly insane ideas for surviving as an impoverished scholar.

I'm trying to come up with a list of topics I can distribute to a team of bloggers writing for broke-ass students.

We have a very wide remit on this blog, from food to fashion to travel to entertainment to dating, so there is a lot of scope for all kinds of topics as long as it's relevant to students. So far I've got the basics like couch surfing and freecycle and stuff like how to jazz up Pot Noodles but I'm sort of stuck and I'm sure there are entire areas of student living I've forgotten about.

I really want to avoid boring generic advice like "turn off the lights!" and "save wear on your shoes by taking care of them!" I want the stuff your mom won't tell you.

Possibly relevant to potential suggestions: I am in Ireland. There are no dining halls here; everyone is self-feeding, so food is always an issue. The drinking age is 18, so that's not an issue. There is no Greek system.
posted by DarlingBri to Work & Money (41 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Even as a gainfully employed 31 year old, I am finding that furnishing/decorating my apartment cheaply is going to be a challenge - partly because of price, and partly because of transporting large/unwieldy items without a car.
posted by baxter_ilion at 1:16 PM on September 11, 2009

At least in the US, free wine/beer at contemporary art gallery openings.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:19 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pot Noodles are for suckers. Beans and rice is where it's at, big ol' 5 lb. bags.
Seriously, beans and rice are awesome, cheap, and endlessly extensible and variable. As the basis for dirt-cheap student living they are without peer. A though experiment for you: in the space of a minute, how many foods can you think of from world cuisine, that basically boils down to "rice and beans?"
posted by lekvar at 1:21 PM on September 11, 2009 [10 favorites]

I'm sure it's specific to each school, but at my college, the dryers were bigger than the washers. You could wash 2 loads at the same time, and then throw both into the same dryer. That 75 cents could then buy a pack of Mallo Cups or whatever.

If it snows enough, garbage bags make decent sleds, and Dollar-Store Nerf guns will keep college kids amused for months.

PopTarts (and other toastables) can be toasted on an iron that's placed hot-side-up in a slightly-open drawer.

In buying alcohol, we've found that rum is the most delicious for the money. Even the bottom-shelf flavored stuff is good.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:21 PM on September 11, 2009

Get a part time job at a restaurant. One or two meals, and if you can wait tables, cash in your pocket at the end of every shift.
posted by notyou at 1:25 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

I was definitely a broke-ass college student. My car wasn't kept clean because I cared - it was because I'd have my face shoved under the seats twice a day looking for change.

Food had to be the biggest variable expense that I had control over. Eventually I learned to save money by making large casserole-type dishes and eating portions throughout the weak. Buying and cooking in bulk does indeed work. A pound of cooked hamburger, some pasta, the cheapest canned tomato sauce, shredded cheese, some herbs - this makes a 13x9x2" dish that you can eat all week which costs about $5-7. I recommend buying the hamburger in 5+lb packages to save on cost - separate and freeze 1lb portions for later use.

Other cheap staples were the regulars - ramen noodles, potatoes, rice, macaroni and cheese. It was nice to have a properly cooked meal, though, thus the casseroles.
posted by empyrean at 1:27 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you can manage to stop smoking, drinking, and taking recreational drugs you'll be amazed at how much extra money you seem to have around.
posted by ecurtz at 1:29 PM on September 11, 2009 [4 favorites]

I was a broke-ass student, once. Here were some of my issues:

* Balancing the sleep/study/socialize equation plus holding down a job or two: meant I did a lot of studying during work and not a lot of sleep.
* Dealing with jealousy issues with roommates that don't have to work so many jobs
* Finding on-campus sources of free food and free coffee
* Cheap foods to nutritionally balance Ramen/Pot Noodles or boxed macaroni and cheese - not just make them taste better, but actually prevent you from getting scurvy :)
* Dating a guy that had a lot more disposable income than I did - IE cheap date ideas or dealing with the guilt of having him/her pay all the time
* Free/cheap health resources, and some guidelines on when a broke student should pay up to see a doctor (well... this might not be a problem in Ireland like it is in the US)
posted by muddgirl at 1:32 PM on September 11, 2009

Free food at Happy Hour.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:38 PM on September 11, 2009

Response by poster: These are great, thank you. Please keep them coming.

Sorry, it's been so long since I've been a student I forgot to add: Everyone will have access to a kitchen. Tragically, we lack both snow and Dollar Stores. On the plus side, we all have healthcare!
posted by DarlingBri at 1:45 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Laundry mats are a huge waste of money. But since having your own isn't always an option, it's a really good place to study. The best days to do laundry are Tuesday-Wednesday. Use bookstores to study or read books without needing to pay for them. Bring a thermos everywhere - it's a warmer, meal, coffee holder (you'll often find an office or bank with free coffee - use it!), etc. Costco memberships were never really worth it to me, but if a friend happens to have one, stock up on essentials only, like milk, toilet paper, and bread. Bread can be frozen or refrigerated to make it last longer, as long as you don't mind it being a little stale. Your student health center is a good source of free condoms, cough drops, and even checkups or therapy. Get a bunch of friends together for Chinese food, since the price to fill everyone will be very cheap (with shared dishes) and you can take home what's left.
posted by veritas at 1:45 PM on September 11, 2009

I was a broke ass student, and later lived the life of a broke ass grad student (I wasn't actually broke then, just contributing a lot to my IRA with the savings.)

The obvious stuff: Rent a house, get roommates. Live near campus and walk or bike, instead of driving. Leave your bank card at home when you hit the bars.

The less obvious stuff:

Craigslist and networking. At the end of every spring semester comes a flood of couches for sale, or even trashed. Our old furnishings were like that; I picked up a very nice couch for free from a friend who left his job at the University to work at a different university lab. Much of this stuff ends up at a local auction house most students don't know about.

Discount food. Depending on the college, there may be food made by students for sale at bargain rates. Bakeries and ice cream, etc. Supermarkets in the US will discount bakery items that are getting old. Figure out when they process that and stop by then. Same goes for meat. And of course, buying in bulk helps. Tupperware up leftovers for quick meals that are competitive with Ramen.

Most importantly, budgeting. Go over your bank statement when it comes in the mail and put it into a program like Quicken or GNUcash. Figure out how much you're expenses are a month, and where the unexpected costs are going. Most likely culprit: overdraft fees. There's a reason banks are bankrolling new student IDs at colleges; they double as a bank card for an account with crappy terms.
posted by pwnguin at 1:48 PM on September 11, 2009

There was an entertaining non fiction book called The Broke Diaries about a college student having to live on literally pennies a day. Probably tons of stories in there that would help you.
posted by HeyAllie at 1:48 PM on September 11, 2009

* Do not buy the book before class starts. It may not be needed. There may not be any used copies available, but if you wait for the drops to sell theirs, you can pick one up at a discount. In the meantime, make a buddy in the class and share.
* When you decide to buy the book, get the ISBN and order it online. If the bookstore makes it difficult to get the ISBN (e.g., it is not on their website), go to the bookstore and copy it down. Always get the correct ISBN, because if you order by title, there's a good chance of getting the wrong edition.
* Conversely, do not sell your books back to the college bookstore. You'll get more money elsewhere, such as Amazon.
posted by yath at 1:54 PM on September 11, 2009

This is another obvious one, but never eat out. Never buy coffee or a candy bar from a vending machine or order pizza. Also, bring as many damp clothes home from the laundromat as you can, and hang them to dry, even if you have to string a line across your bedroom.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2009

I was a broke student, now I'm a broke uhh adult

-Rice, 20lb bag, lasted me 6 months.
-Cans of soup (my favorite was Dinty Moore or Hartford House) mixed in with 2 cups of rice was a filling meal.
-Pancakes were pretty cheap too, buy the 'just add water' mix
-Find a 24 hour grocery store, go at about 1 AM-2 AM that's when the put all the fresh vegetables out so you get first pick
-That's another thing, don't skimp on vegetables, you need them
-Walk places, look up the streets on Google maps and walk the routes, I used to pay ~$15 for cab or train/bus and realized I could walk the same length with probably 10 mins extra time (I'm a little crazy though, I used to walk from Allston to North Station in Boston to save money)
-coupons, cut them out and use them or look online for local grocery stores
posted by lilkeith07 at 2:01 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Between not really knowing the difference between being a student in Ireland and being one in the U.S., and having last been a broke-ass full-time student twenty-three years ago, I'm not sure how relevant this advice will be, but regardless:

- Nthing the food advice above; make sure that you get some cheap protein in there with your carbs and take a multivitamin every day to cover the gaps in your nutrition.

- Also, if you get a restaurant job with left-overs privileges, either change jobs regularly (future employers won't care unless you switch employers every week or something crazy like that) or work out a leftovers exchange program with other food-service-employed friends so that you're not eating the same thing for four years.

- Wear all dark clothing, even underwear and socks. You'll have only one load of laundry to do, it hides stains better, looks sharper.

- There is a reason why most colleges and college towns have free/cheap things to do. The most fun that I had in college was two years in a Russian folk orchestra; free lessons on the balalaika, costume included (all I had to provide was black pants and shoes--see above), many road trips and meals provided for most of those.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:01 PM on September 11, 2009

What pwnguin said; keep track of your money. When I was a poor student, I used a free copy of MS-Money that my bank gave me to track every dollar I spent and carefully scheduled my bill payments. I don't know about Ireland but in the US, overdraft fees and bounced check fees can kill you. Make a budget and stick to it. Don't use your credit card unless you really need to.

Full disclosure, now that I'm not a poor student, I don't do any of that. I have no idea where my money goes.
posted by octothorpe at 2:04 PM on September 11, 2009

I really want to avoid boring generic advice like "turn off the lights!" and "save wear on your shoes by taking care of them!" I want the stuff your mom won't tell you.

This might be too boring/generic, and I don't know if there's an equivalent in Ireland, but the best financial advice I ever got as a starving grad student was to apply for food stamps. It was like, fifty free dollars a month!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:06 PM on September 11, 2009

I went to college in NYC, so YMMV obvs. But here are some of the things I did:

- Shaved my head so I wouldn't have to buy shampoo or pay for haircuts
- Nthing beans and rice. Make giant pots of it.
- Never paid for condoms. They're free at the student health center.
- Went to every club meeting I could throughout the day for free food. This only gets weird when people start to see you at, say, both the campus dems and campus GOP meetings.
- It isn't legal, but I usually got my toilet paper from Starbucks. At the time I considered it a Robin Hood move.
- Don't buy coffee - make your own.
- Don't buy books at the book store - use half.com or, better yet, a book exchange if your city has one. If you're not going to be using the book regularly for a class, don't buy - just read it in the library.
- You don't need lots of shit in college. Target will try to convince you otherwise, but you don't. Don't spend a bunch of money tricking out your dorm room. You won't even be in there that much. You don't need that $10 Pink Floyd poster. Make your own art and put it on the wall.
- Don't roll joints. It is an inefficient use of marijuana.
- I wrote musicals in college, for which I got funding from the school. I could use this money for food during rehearsals, which was awesome.
- Study a lot. Not only will this behoove you in general, but it keeps you from going out and spending money at a bar or wherever. There isn't much to purchase in the library. And hey, we used to have a great time studying in the library on Saturday nights with an incognito bottle of wine.
- Drink cheap booze. Really. You have your whole life to work towards that Johnny Walker Blue.
- Don't own or wear lots of clothes. Laundry was the bane of my college existence. I solved this by owning very few pieces of clothing which needed little regular washing.
- Have a friend with a party house, but don't make your house the party house. It will inevitably end up costing you money - for cups, for cleaning supplies, etc...
- And seconding what ecurtz said - i know it's college and all, but if you quit smoking, drinking and taking recreational drugs, you'll save a grip of money (of course, this is true after college as well...).

I was the poor kid at the school full of rich kids. Which kind of sucks. I had to learn to say no the hard way. I couldn't go out nearly as much, I couldn't go eat at any variety of fancy pants place, I couldn't go to shows or anyplace with a cover, etc. In the end, I'm grateful this was my situation. It meant I read more, took more classes, and hung out in an awesome library all the time - and that's what you're really paying for in college. You don't have to spend $40k a year to spend another $5k on cheap liquor and bad weed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:11 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

We estimated that my old roommate spent about $25-30 a week buying coffee at the student centre. If you need coffee or tea to survive, bring it from home.

We once had a lazy unemployed friend-of-a-friend couch crasher that stayed for a couple of months and even brought a friend to move in. Don't be afraid to tell somebody to get the fuck out if they're not contributing.

Keep track of the bills in a notebook. If you have bills in your name, look out for roommates that disappear, "forget," or claim to have already paid you for that bill. Write that shit down or you will get burned.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:17 PM on September 11, 2009

It's been mentioned a few times upthread, but bulk recipes and freezers are great resources. A lot of recipes, especially soups, freeze well. The starving student in question can boil up a big pot of soup, allow it to cool, and freeze it in single-serving portions for later reheating.

Over the past couple of months I've been experimenting with freezer burritos to great success. I tend to get fancier ingredients, but I find that $5 usd gets me ten or more meals with minimal prep time.
posted by lekvar at 2:19 PM on September 11, 2009

Sorry, I'm in the US so a lot of name-specific things might only apply to the US. Hopefully there are equivalents on the other side of the sea? (PS: Jealous about the health care :-P)

- Really limiting eating & drinking out. A lot of college students have ill-stocked pantries & fridges and therefore angrily proclaim that cooking is not cheaper than eating out. That's true for some garbage like the dollar menu at McDonalds (or whatever the equivalent is in Ireland), but you really shouldn't be subsisting on that anyway!

- Rice, pasta, and those flash frozen hamburger patties can be acquired for cheap/on sale. Buy frozen veggies (to maximize nutrition) or google methods on how to properly freeze your own veggies (you might lose out a bit on the nutritional value).

- Most food can be frozen! This applies to both prepared food and raw food. Even basic marinara sauce can be frozen for future use (I used cheap ziploc bags, but a small plastic box can be reused over and over if you're penny pinching). A side benefit is the convenience factor.

- Pack your own snacks to limit the on campus scrounging of food. Buy your snacks in bulk, and package them into smaller servings yourself.

- College students never have to buy their own pens or post-its. That's what the on campus events are for. (On a similar note, I have friends who crashed freshmen activities all four years simply for the sake of free food).

- We scrapped cable TV altogether and opted for things like Hulu & Netflix to help us get by. We managed. Even now, I don't really miss cable TV that much.

- Painter's (blue) masking tape is your best friend for all things room decor related.

- Hang out in other public places for free AC/heating.
posted by mittenedsex at 2:24 PM on September 11, 2009

Dumpster Dive. It's not as bad as you think and every once in a while you will find booze!!
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2009

Ah, forgot the textbook stuff. The others hit it with things like half.com, but my university also put book on reserve at the library. (You can take them out for about 3 hours at a time; overnight if you grab it within the last few hours). A lot of professors have multiple copies of the text. This is definitely a YMMV thing, but some professors are willing to lend them out if you're chummy enough with them.
posted by mittenedsex at 2:31 PM on September 11, 2009

Oh yeah, I stopped buying pens and paper and staples and such pretty early on - I either brought stuff from my parents house that they *ahem* appropriated from work or I made friends with my major department secretary and raided the supply closet there.

If I had to buy them myself, instead of using binders and loose leaf paper or spiral bound notebooks (expensive) I'd use those yellow legal pads for both notes and assignments. Incredibly good deal (like, $5 for a 20-pack).

Do they have student/campus bookstores at universities in Ireland? Never ever buy anything from a campus bookstore.
posted by muddgirl at 3:15 PM on September 11, 2009

previously on AskMe: ramen recipes
posted by K.P. at 3:51 PM on September 11, 2009

We had a friend who worked at the, let's say Pizza Hut. We would call in take out orders at 11:30, a half an hour before closing time. Then we would not show up. At 12:15 the manager would tell him to just take the unclaimed pizza home. Not only did we get free Pizza, but we got exactly what we ordered too!!. Also, after football games, american football alas, we would offer to clean in exchange for leftover food in the concession stands. I ate way too many hot dogs and pretzels those weeks. We also had accidentally befriended a few athletes on scholarship. They get a lot of free food and what not. Have them bring jackets with big pockets. Beer too was had at a discount. For that you need a cooperating bartender. But they cooperate. I would tip big but less than the cost of a pitcher and he would "buy back" a lot of pitchers. SOme of my ROTC friends would get us MREs. You need a lot of tobasco sauce to eat those. I don't recall ever buying the class books, but then again I had a 2.4 gpa out of 4 so that may not have been such a successful ploy. Wear clothing in layers. Can wear the same stuff year round if you layer the thin stuff. You may look like a hobo, but it virtually took the expense out of the equation. I do not recall ever turning down a chance to meet a friends parents as it always involved either a home made meal or a restaurant meal purchased on my behalf. You need to be a suck up to parents so that your friends know you are the safe guy to bring to meet the parents. If you have not met a boy of girl friend yet, try to meet a local. You can often get to do laundry at their house, get a meal or watch tv. My local gal also knew all the local events such as the soccer team fundraiser where they sold all you can eat meal tickets to some pancake fundraiser. All you can eat should be your favorite phrase. The key was to take advantage of others in small ways that they either did not care or would accept so that in the aggregate, there was a big return. It is like picking up nickels in front of a speeding train. Big rewards in the small stuff, but a lot of risk of failure.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:10 PM on September 11, 2009

I was recently a somewhat broke-ass student in England (and now a more broke-ass student, but in Canada)

• Find some clubs or teams that will feed you regularly. I rowed (occasional free meals, more often free drinks), sang in a choir that fed me once a week + drinks, joined a society that had at least one free club night, drinks night, etc a week (£20 membership for 3 years of drinks, dancing, and meals), wrote protest letters for the Amnesty International club every week in exchange for a free lunch

• Figure out which libraries have the cheapest (or free!) photocopying or printing

• Walk everywhere, or buy a cheap used bicycle, and save on bus and cab fares

• Don't bother with a TV license, if you need TV, go into college or use the internet

• Anytime you eat in college, grab a few extra apples or sandwiches or whatever for the next day (this only works if you pay by the meal, not the number of items you eat at each meal)

• Become a lightweight drinker

• Get some clothespins, string some rope across your room, and air dry your clothes rather than paying for the dryer

• Learn how to do stuff yourself: cook all or most of your food, mend your own clothes, fix your own bike, etc. I had a roommate who brewed his own beer too.

• Stick to beans for protein, and drop meat partly or completely

• At least at the beginning, track your spending very carefully so you can identify problem areas

• Get your DVDs and the books you read for pleasure from the library, instead of buying them
posted by iona at 4:30 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I lived in tent just off campus. One of the more amusing anecdotes was walking into a deer walking through the woods after dark. You have a gym to shower, you're in the library all the time anyway (this was law school), why have an actual apartment?

Also, as been discussed upthread, teachers are negotiable to students having the wrong edition. A $100 book may be $12 if it is 5 years old. What changes are the problems, but some teachers understand, and don't care. In fact, my favorite teacher put the book on hold at the library so I wouldn't have to buy it.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2009

I'm Australian, but you never know

In addition to clubs, attend the career days/events of every faculty. There is usually at least a free barbeque. Engineering firms tend to give out the best freebies, in my experience. It is extremely unlikely that they will ask you to prove you actually are a Law/Engineering/Accounting/Nursing etc student.
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2009

Thrift stores are a great source for clothes, of course, but many places also sell housewares, furniture, bedding, linens, and just about everything else required for student digs.
posted by Quietgal at 5:29 PM on September 11, 2009

I was once a broke-ass student in the UK. As others have mentioned, the biggest expense is food. It's really boring to keep repeating it, but the best thing is to have a budget and stick to it. You have to be organized and pro-active. You can't get lazy and decide to eat out or order pizza at the last minute. Eating at home is always cheaper than eating out. I knew I had to get a week's worth of meals out of a certain sum, and I carefully planned out my meals (vegetarian, lots of rice and beans) and bought in bulk as much as possible. Ethnic groceries are often good for cheap rice, beans and canned and dried veggies. Shop weekly instead of daily (less temptation, more discipline required). Buy reduced or day-old produce and bread. Sharing cooking and food with friends can work, and helps provide some variety, but can easily drive up the cost. I never went hungry, but I remember rationing out tea biscuits to myself to make sure the packet lasted all week.

The biggest money problem many of my friends had was blowing their entire stipend on beer. Again, this is where the rationing/discipline comes in. Figure out how many beers you can budget, and work out how to spread that out: eg, one pint, 4 nights a week or two pints 2 nights of the week. Only take with you the cash to pay for the allotted beers. No one has impulse-control after a couple of pints. Don't buy rounds for friends who 'forget' to reciprocate. And give up cigarettes.

I think I ended up budgeting for 1 decent restaurant meal per semester. You do need to have a treat once in a while. But make sure it's just a treat. And keep away from temptation by finding study locations and recreation that doesn't have you walking past the chip shop every night right around tea time. Get a thermos for coffee and tea and make yours at home. All of this is about creating your own set of expectations for how you're going to live, and not being pressured to go by others' expectations.

Lastly, as others above have mentioned, your friends have a lot to do with staying on budget. Find other people who are as financially restricted as you are. Wealthier friends never understand, and will always lure you into spending money you hadn't planned to. I had a group of cheap-ass friends with one trust fund baby in the mix. She threw the rest of us a party once a month and picked up the tab. She was awesome.
posted by amusebuche at 6:08 PM on September 11, 2009

if you're tired of all that ramen, even with nifty recipes, i've found through personal exp that lean cuisines and similar "diet frozen meals" are really great. they're cheap, way less than you'd be spending on a meal, often taste great, and i know the actual lean cuisine brand has some sort of appetite inhibitor in them so you actually won't be hungry even though you've eaten what seems like a small portion. and i know my local grocery store has sales on the various brands all the time!
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 6:15 PM on September 11, 2009

This question brings me back to my very broke grad student days...

As mentioned upthread, food is a really big expense and there's a lot of cutting down you can do in that arena. I had lots of creative ways to make meals: Hot dogs or sausage cut up into canned cheese soup. Quiche and stirfry both use very little meat. A handful of rice cooked in stewed tomatoes with a little cheese on top. Accepting the excess from neighbors' gardens (an unfortunate side effect of that, however, is that eating zucchini brings back bad memories of being really poor). Baked potatoes with leftovers on top.

If you invest in some basic spices and condiments, they pay for themselves many times over by combining with cheap ingredients and some imagination to make a reasonably decent meal.

Having a popcorn popper and a bit of oil along with some (very cheap) bagged popping corn meant that I always had an inexpensive snack to bring to parties. (Doritos and the like are really costly!)
posted by DrGail at 6:34 PM on September 11, 2009

Due to an inexplicably odd coincidence, I did my master's degree at the same institution as one of my 75 first cousins (at the same time but different programs). We worked at the same place. He decided that to save money he would live out of a tent outside of town by the river on state-owned land. And he did for 5 months. He showered at the clinic at 6:30 a.m. every morning before anyone got there. He ate out of a backpacking stove. He read science fiction. He was generally miserable, but he proved his point that someone could live cheaply while in college.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:40 PM on September 11, 2009

Cheap Wine (less than 6 bucks a gallon):
2 cans frozen grape juice concentrate
1 packet yeast
2 1/2 Cups of sugar

Gallon Jug

Dissolve the sugar in the gallon jug with some hot tapwater. Add the juice concentrate. fill the rest of the jug (leaving about 4 inches from the top) with hot tapwater. Add the yeast. Put the lid on the jug and shake it up. Take the lid off the jug. Poke a few of holes in the balloon. Fit the balloon over the jug opening. This will let the CO2 out without letting air in. Wait about 3 weeks. Siphon the wine into another jug or something, and maybe run it through a coffee filter.

If you keep a couple of jugs in rotation you will always have booze.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you ever eat at places that have packets of condiments, just ask for more and pocket them.

Day old bread is usually half price.

If you're going for cheap food, watch the sodium levels (I'm looking at you, ramen) you can use half the flavor packet in ramen.

Know when it pays to buy bulk. For example, my local health food store has bulk herbs which cost 1/4 as much as the supermarket and are fresher.

Although not entirely honorable, if you're going to a party with a cover, bring an assortment of markers (red, green, blue, black) and an assortment of friends. Split the cover. Friend going in, gets hand stamped and comes back. Roughly copy the stamp with matching ink, wait a few seconds, lightly lick and gently smear. You're in.
posted by plinth at 7:46 PM on September 11, 2009

A team of bloggers? You're going to monetize the results of this question?
posted by the Real Dan at 9:26 PM on September 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

A team of bloggers? You're going to monetize the results of this question?

Which, by the way, isn't cool.
posted by GPF at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2009 [8 favorites]

Find out what day is trash day and drive around on that day regularly. You can find all sorts of usable furniture this way.

Do not order out pizza, etc. If you're organized, you can make pizza for about $2.50 a pie. If you're not, keep frozen pizza, burritos, and all this stuff around so you don't get tempted.

Write down your expenses. The tracking will help you save more than anything.
posted by xammerboy at 10:06 PM on September 12, 2009

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