Broke? How to rock the Spam-orous lifestyle

Putting the ‘lit’ into ‘frugality’

broke Cambridge Cambridge student living food frugal frugality humour living spamorous

It’s time for an uprising.

Broke students have been oppressed for too long; Sainsbury’s meal-deal shenanigans, the extortionate Union fee, £6 for a Bulmers in the Anchor…no more. No more shall the financially irresponsible weep into their threadbare Primark jackets. No more shall the penniless amongst us be forced to stay in on a Saturday night and rave about their Lidl Cookies ‘n’ Cream Oreo knockoffs that ‘taste just like the real thing!’

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No, they don’t taste like the real thing.  They taste like two layers of sawdust sandwiched with a circle of sugared mattress foam. They taste like your parents just finalised the divorce. They don’t taste good.

Now, some people will tell you to make small, sustainable changes; cook for yourself instead of going to hall, stock up on bulk food, drink less, stop buying tube scarves (no)…but after spending a couple of evenings in the King’s bar, I am convinced we need to go FURTHER. The modern opiate of the masses isn’t religion – it’s Starbucks cake pops. For too long we have paid out of the nose for slightly disappointing coffee shop sandwiches, and it’s time to Take Our Student Loans Back.

Even the squash has to go

Even the squash has to go

The first thing you need to do to no longer be a Mindless Consumer is to find a Corporation-free source of food and drink. (Sure, dead people are admirably frugal, but they also don’t provide any advertising revenue, so I’m forbidden to recommend the lifestyle. Or non-lifestyle, if you will.) Now, some uninformed sources will claim that grass has no nutritional value, but it’s green, and if I’m not mistaken ‘eat your greens’ applies to literally anything green and plantish, so you’re all set. Grass can be found almost anywhere in Cambridge and if you’re worried about the social stigma, use your last bit of money before the lifestyle change to buy a large and realistic cow costume. Best used with a similarly enlightened friend, who can be the back legs.

Since we’re inland, artisan sea salt for seasoning will be hard to come by, so make sure to carefully store your post-essay tears for that quick sodium kick we all know and love. Plus, they’re organic, if you even needed convincing. As for water, drinking fountains are dotted around the city centre; but if one’s too far out of reach, the river will do in a pinch. If you catch E.coli, just tell your friends you’re on a really effective juice cleanse. They’re shills, they’ll believe you.

Arts students: Keep an essay on hand in case you run out. Science students: you have Saturday lectures, you should be crying anyway

Arts students: Keep an old essay on hand while cooking. Science students: you have Saturday lectures, you should be crying anyway

I did promise you’d be ‘rocking’ this lifestyle, which means that even though you’ve presumably thrown out all your cosmetics while screaming passages from Das Kapital into the air vents by now, you still need to look on-trend and cutting-edge and whatever other phrases I can use to avoid saying ‘fleek’.

(Fetch. Groovy. Radical.)

For this you’ll need to work with your cow-costume partner, and sneak into the biology department to find a jellyfish you can murder. Hair gel: done! Grab a vial of blood while you’re in there for blush and lip tint. Did you save the ashes from those books you burned? Good! Your smoky eye has never looked so vibrant. Particularly in contrast with the ashen complexion you’ve gained from that E.coli I previously mentioned. As for soap, shampoo and deodorant, try ‘borrowing’ a vase of flowers from a graveyard and carrying it everywhere. People will think you’re a romantic.

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Fashionable AND free

Social occasions are a little trickier, and you won’t really want to socialise with anyone who says horrible things to you like ‘why do you smell like a maggot convention’ and ‘what do you mean you photosynthesise all your food, people can’t do that’. But if you still wish to pre-drink, try ‘fermenting’ your own alcohol, which I’m reliably informed is done by leaving fruit out on a windowsill for several weeks in direct sunlight. Remember, that blue bit isn’t mould, it’s ingenuity.

Nightclubs are out of the question, but if you stand out the back you can hear snippets of the music as the door opens and closes. Treat it like mad libs: ‘When the bassline ____ you ___ what to __’. ‘Shake it like a ___ ____’. The one with the best answer gets to drink any spilled booze out of the pavement cracks.

No late-night Gardies, either

No late-night Gardies, either

I understand this may be an unsustainable lifestyle, but you must persevere. People will try and coax you out of your smelly, furnitureless den with its growing fruit-fly population, with platitudes such as ‘just go to the big Asda at 6pm when they reduce loads of stuff, please stop eating gravel’ or ‘there’s a massive Salvation Army on Mill Road, please, you’re going to get deaned if you keep wearing a bin to lectures even if it is a political statement’.

Do not listen to them. Do not give up the cause. You must not support any of the evil lizard-people that help facilitate students being, and remaining, broke. You must stop spending money at all. Only then can you become pure; only then can you truly survive in Cambridge without compromising your spirit.

Though, of course, you’ll stop paying tuition, and therefore can move somewhere else that doesn’t charge you a kidney for a fucking macaroon.