Handmade presents and cardboard costumes: I’m the stingiest student at UEA
I mourned the death of Orange Wednesdays like Whitney
I love saving money whatever the cost and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
From happy hour to free half-chicken, it really is true that nothing tastes as good as money off feels.
My stinginess began when I was a child and I didn’t want to spend the money my mum gave me to buy Christmas presents for the family.
One particularly lucrative year, aged eight, I pocketed the money for myself and made all my presents by hand. This would be OK if my creative capabilities didn’t equate to the skills of a seal.
The result was like an explosion in Rymans, including classic presents such as a bowling ball and single skittle for my granddad, made from an empty Coke bottle and a scrunched up bit of paper.
My passion for savings got even worse when I started college and found out my student status equated to discounts in all my favourite shops. After that, every day became Black Friday.
Nowadays, before choosing any restaurant to visit with friends, whether they offer any vouchers is the first thought in my mind. Dessert for £1 with any main? Discount me in.
Perhaps the worst example of my scrimping was when I went to La Tasca for my friend’s birthday. I found out my Tastecard (free with my student account) got me 50 per cent off for 2 people. Instead of sharing it across the party of 15, I got myself a separate bill to the entire group with the person sitting next to me and tucked into my reduced tapas without an ounce of remorse.
On the same night I also sneakily encouraged the group to visit Revs even though I knew it was closing in 10 minutes – just because I knew they did 2-4-1 cocktails.
With two Cranberry Fizzes in hand for £6, it didn’t even matter that they’d turned on all the lights and security were asking us to leave.
My housemates have noticed the impact savings have on my life and can recite my famous phrases:
“How about let’s go to Vodka Revs, I’ve got my card?”
“I wonder if I can use my Tastecard here?”
And of course: “You’ll never guess what I got for 2 pounds”
I haven’t stopped going on about that time in Pizza Hut when they accidentally brought me a large Hawaiian pizza, then charged me for small – AND I got a 20 per cent student discount.
I sometimes feel like Tracy Beaker with the amount I talk about BOGOF. I’ve downloaded the VoucherCloud, VoucherCodes and MoneySupermarket apps to my phone, so I’m never too far away from the next bargain. Candy Crush is so 2014.
The Freshers’ Fair is the highlight of my social calendar and an opportunity to collect as many coupons as possible from local businesses. I plan out before going who I want to speak to and make sure I’m at the front of the queue. Networking with Nandos and chatting with Chiquitos ensures I get the best deals to see me through the semester.
There’s no feeling quite as satisfying as completing your Nando’s chilli wheel after months of trips to the local retail park with the squad.
The true sign of friendship is if someone invites you to share their free whole chicken.
My friends may mock my stingy status, but it’s saved me loads of money since starting uni. All my fancy dress costumes at uni are homemade – this year I didn’t want to spend £30 on a costume, so I went as homemade Eduroam for Halloween.
So sure, I may be the stingiest third year at UEA, but I’ve got a lot of free shit to show for it. I have genuinely contemplated doing a Master’s, just so I can keep my NUS card for a year longer.
For most people, the fear of graduating is finding a job – mine is the prospect of having to pay full price.