starving-student

These Tips Were Designed For A Household Budget But I Hope They Will Help Broke College Students :)

Everyone can use a little help sticking to their budget. It seems like one say you are sailing along just fine and then the next you hit a snag and you feel like the entire system is coming crashing down. Little House Living have put together this great list of our top household budgeting tips to try and help keep you on track.

  1. Set priorities & Stick to them. If those financial obligations are not met, don’t spend $$ on clothes, crafts, fun foods, date nights, or road trips.
  2.  Limit trips to the grocery store to avoid buying unnecessary items. 
  3. Pay more than the minimum due. More money on important payments will get them paid off quickly. 
  4. Buy used and/or DIY. Why spend more money when you don’t have to?
  5. Don’t get too stressed. If you are centering your life around money it is not healthy. Find a balance between being wise with your finances and being flexible where you can.

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  1. Never pay full price. If you can’t find it on sale, wait until you have a coupon or there’s a sale. This can take a lot of willpower, especially those of us that are used to instant gratification, but the savings will add up quickly!
  2. Sleep on it. Impulse buys are almost always a bad idea. When shopping online, bookmark the item or add it to your cart, but hold off at least one day to complete the sale. Waiting will allow you to consider all your options and decide if you truly need the item.
  3.  Research, research, research! Chances are, it’s cheaper someplace else. When comparing food prices, use the price per pound, ounce, etc. This makes it easier to compare different sizes and brands.
  4.  Get creative. Before buying something, consult your imagination and consider making it or making do instead. Old yogurt containers, jam jars, etc. are great for storage of leftovers and bulk food items, even nails or leftover paint (properly labeled, of course).
  5.  Save Whenever Possible. Don’t automatically spend extra money that comes into the household. Immediately tuck bonuses or tax refunds into a savings account. Using it up on a new television or vacation might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll be missing that money when the car breaks down a few months later.

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  1. Keep it simple. Do you really need to add whatever it is to your house? Will it cause clutter? Do you have a place to put it?
  2. Ask  yourself, “does it make your house beautiful or is it necessary to live?” If neither…why are you buying it?
  3. Does it save you time, or somehow free up time to do something else that is more productive?
  4. Do you need a new version, when an older or used version would work?
  5. Can you really not meet your goal? Or is something holding you back? Could you push yourself to meet that goal even though things might be uncomfortable in the short term, you know it will benefit you in the big picture.

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  1. Use cash. Give yourself a weekly “allowance” in cash, and that is what you should use if you want a Starbucks or other little indulgence. That way you don’t have to feel guilty about it, but once the money is gone, it’s gone.
  2.  Watch electricity usage. Unplug small appliances after use. Your mother was right - turn off the lights when you leave the room!
  3.  There are so many options for watching our favorite shows, it’s easier than ever to get by without cable. With Roku, Appletv, or another streaming player, you can get Netflix or Hulu on your tv for less than $10/month. 
  4.  Don’t buy new
  5.  Meal plan for every single meal. Base it around proteins you have and what’s in the pantry. This strategy saves you trips to the store. If you can meal plan in 2 or 4 week cycles, even better!

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  1. Don’t be afraid to call for better price especially on interest rates, cable, internet, etc.
  2.  Stock up on items when they go on sale. Pretty much every item a store hits it’s rock bottom price every 8-12 weeks. Stock up on what your family will use within that time so that you’ll never have to pay full price.
  3.  A twenty ounce bottle filled with water (or even a brick!) in your toilet’s tank will reduce water usage. Every bit counts!
  4.  Barter with people you know for services. Babysitting for a haircut, mowing lawns in exchange for an oil change, etc.

I cut this down a lot and took out some anecdotes for the full version go here: http://www.littlehouseliving.com/household-budgeting-tips.html#_a5y_p=1225312

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Creepypasta #545: Testing In Progress

In 1999 I was a starving university student. Well, not really starving, but when I had more than one dead president in my wallet at a time I considered it a good day…regardless of which former head of state was on the paper. At the time I was taking pre-med courses, but I really didn’t have a solid direction. Money, of course, was very tight, and I frequently found myself taking notes for other students were too lazy, prideful, smart, hung over, or stupid to go to class.

This eventually ended with one of them using my notes, verbatim, on an exam and landing us both in solid trouble. Thankfully, this was one of the stupid students, who’d been caught cheating before. As it was merely my notes, and not my actual exam I was allowed to slide with a warning and academic probation. It also helped that I had a perfect record and a near perfect GPA to that point. Paying for notes, however, was now out of the question as the university changed its policy that already frowned upon such an act to completely forbid the practice. While I did work part time at a hardware store, I relied on my note-taking business to help ensure that I would be able to afford the hamburger to go with my helper.

I saw an advertisement on the wall of my anatomy class that was claiming to offer paid benefits for medical test subjects. Dubiously, I inquired via phone as to what kind of “testing” they’d be performing, and what sort of “benefits” the subjects would be rewarded with upon completion of the test. I was informed that they’d be testing such items as acne medicine, allergy shots, foot cream, and products of a fairly benign nature. I would be paid two hundred dollars for participating in a two week study that required a total of eight hours of my time. I nearly leapt through the phone to sign up.

My first test was a hair product that was designed to treat lice. This, unfortunately, required that I get lice. Not a particularly fun weekend. The treatment, however, was quite effective and had the lice gone within a day. My hair did turn an odd shade of puke-green for a few weeks, but it grew out. Once I returned for a follow-up and was declared clean I was awarded my two hundred dollars and informed that another trial would begin the following week for a different product and that, as a returning subject, I would be granted entry before those that hadn’t participated before. The pay and trial period was the same, so I eagerly jotted my name down and left. The money might not seem like much now, but coupled with my part-time work at the hardware store I’d now be able to afford such things as rent and gas to go along with my textbooks and tuition.

I signed up pretty much every two weeks for a few months straight, testing such products as hair remover, over the counter painkillers, reading glasses, hairspray, wart remover, and diet pills. Each time I was paid for my work in cash and asked to sign up for the following test. I only missed one two week period as I was horribly sick from an unrelated illness; the stomach flu had been running rampant through the university and I had managed to find it.

The following weekend I was feeling better and ready to sign up for more as I was a little strapped for cash due to the “lost wages.” This time, however, when I arrived at the facility to sign up the usual attendant who would sign us in was not there. Instead a tall woman with jet black hair stood behind the counter and handed me a form that made me somewhat uncomfortable. It was a fairly all-encompassing waiver that basically said that the company would not be liable for any sort of injury or illness sustained for the duration of this test. Don’t get me wrong; I had to sign a waiver to start the testing in the first place…but this one seemed much more serious. Things like depression, mental illness, hallucinations, and self-inflicted bodily harm tend to worry me.

I almost didn’t sign it. Much like the time when I almost didn’t participate due to the fact that I knew the “diet pills” were basically code for “laxative that makes you crap everything out before your body absorbs the calories from food,” I nearly backed out. The dark haired lady finally slid a pay slip towards me showing the pay rate. I initially didn’t give it a second thought until I realized that an additional zero had been added. Two THOUSAND dollars was at stake for this test. In addition it would only be a one day test, although it would require twelve full hours. The product was a very powerful anti-depressant. Just take one pill, stay and be observed for the day, watch a few movies, and eat the free food provided. I could handle that.

I signed my name and as soon as my pen left the paper another unfamiliar face opened the door to take me back. I followed and entered the usual room where I was normally informed of the exact nature of the testing. This time I was met by a doctor who looked to be in his late 50’s with a pair of glasses that were so thick they looked comical. He was incredibly nice; he explained to me the exact nature and goal of the drug I’d be testing, broke down each of the ingredients and chemicals and described what they would (or should) do to me. He also went on to offer me one last chance to back out of the experiment as he knew there would likely be some serious hallucinations; the drug was still very experimental, but held enough potential that the FDA was willing to allow testing in a controlled environment.

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Quick Fix Tomato Soup

      I decided to enjoy my night off with some homemade soup. Really simple homemade soup. I pulled out my Starving students cookbook that Chloe bought for me two xmases ago [thanks, babe] and found this fool proof recipe. Most of the ingredients were already in my pantry, only had to buy some tomato juice ($2.00); totally worth it. Try out the recipe, I’ve taken a picture of everything that you need. Enjoy :)