The biggie, of course, is GO HOME. You can eat free there. And Mum will probably do the laundry (if you crawl / look pathetic enough).
It pays money to save up your laundry till the trip is worthwhile – you can even take in laundry from your richer student pals for cash and you mum will do that too, not realising it isn’t your stuff. Plus, you will find that your dad has filled the fridge with beer, expecting you to be away till the holidays. Sucker! The downside, of course, is that they won’t want you smoking around the place, so you will have to hang out the window with a rollie. But when you balance this with the fact that the fogies will act like an unpaid taxi service, and even give you a little ‘pocket money‘ – well, hey, you can’t go wrong now can ya?
Can’t go home? OK. Not a problem. Start by TRACKING YOUR EXPENDITURE. Where’s the cash going? You would be gob-smacked to see how much you spend on crisps and rizlas. If you keep a list of the little things, you can start to weed them out. No one NEEDS a Snickers bar, do they? So why are you buying 15 a week??? I’m not saying you can’t have fun, but you just need to BUDGET for it. If you always go out on a Friday night, make sure you have listed the 12 pints of cooking lager you always quaff down the student bar into your budget list. If you don’t, then come Sunday you don’t have enough for the KFC and Fries. Use the spreadsheets available for free on noDebtEver and you won’t go far wrong.
Budgeting properly is doubly important when you realize that most students run out of cash half way thru the term. If you budget, you will still have some dosh left by the last week, and won’t have to hang around the bins in the car park looking for scraps. And don’t imagine you can use your ‘credit cards’ to pay your way. Despite the name, and what your friends say, they are actually ‘debt cards’, and you actually have to pay back the money you take off them. Really. I know, I was gob-smacked too. But it’s true. If you don’t pay it back, they hassle you, and then your parents, so just stay away from them. Shysters. If you MUST use the plastic (say, to impress the girlies) set a strict limit and DO NOT go over i t. They charge you something called ‘interest’ which actually isn’t very interesting, but does make the final bill bigger, which is really naff – this is explained on nodebtever but you probably won’t understand it cos I didn’t either.
Prepare for the unexpected. Yeah I know, sounds really ‘girl guide’ don’t it/ But every term something bad is likely to happen (a roomie vomits on your iPod, someone throws a fire-extinguisher thru the Principal’s car window while you happen to be passing and you get blamed, the latest squeeze needs some cash for a little ‘op’) and you will need readies to deal with it. It’s at times like these you find out who your REAL friends are, namely NO ONE, so you have to rely on your own resources. This tip also fits in with planning for the holidays – those Christmas presents don’t buy themselves, sucker.
And by the way, don’t give credit to roomies. Those s.o.b/s NEVER pay it back, and next term they will have left college completely, or at least changed their names and courses, so you will not be seeing your hard-earned ever again. That’s about it really. Sorry.