I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar, that’s what I need

Hello. I’m a perpetually broke second year.  You may be equally broke as you read this, having just maxed out your savings on a last minute “I totally deserve this” […]

Hello. I’m a perpetually broke second year.  You may be equally broke as you read this, having just maxed out your savings on a last minute “I totally deserve this” Paris weekend away for our last ever Autumn reading week (I know. I’m crying too).

Here are some quite frankly genius ways of keeping a healthier bank balance. There are about 6 or 7, depending on how broke you really are…

1. Never, ever, take your debit card on nights out – take cash. Those casual ‘shots on me!’ £15 rounds are perfectly avoidable. Don’t think this makes you ungenerous. Your friends probably aren’t thinking “Golly, what a nice gesture”; they’re probably thinking “AWESOME. Free shots”.

2. Have homemade coffee instead. Whether you spend most of your student loan in coffee houses or just have the occasional takeaway – scrap the paper cups and invest in two things: a nice cafetiere and one of those portable save-the-planet mugs.  Add the knowledge of how to make excellent coffee, and instantly you have the same zingy deliciousness without the £2-a go-price tag. Plunging that cafetiere will be more satisfying than getting a 16 on an essay you rushed the night before – I promise.

3. Get a 16-25 young person’s Railcard. It gives you 1/3 off all train fares, which will work out cheaper, most of the time, than flying to most places in the UK (considering the cost of getting to Edinburgh airport and the faff it entails). The train to London will set you back about £100, depending on when you book, and takes roughly the same time door to door. The train is truly amazing. It lets you watch the beautiful British countryside roll on by as you sit with your laptop, catch up on emails and do that reading you skipped in Week 3. Use it for two or three long journeys and it’ll pay for itself.  Oh, and you’re also saving the planet.

4. Buy reduced ‘for quick sale’, freezable food.  I got 3 rumps of organic, sexy lamb for 80p each at Tesco.  Eighty pence! (I bet you said it in your head with more reverence that time) They are happily sitting in my freezer waiting to be enjoyed.  Even if the best before date for the product is that day, if you stick it in the freezer most things will last for up to a month.

5. Do free stuff. Live music at Aikman’s almost every night, live jazz at the Byre every Thursday,  the public debate every week, evening walks down Lade Braes, free film showings with societies, the list is infinite. I don’t think people take advantage of these enough. Take a minute to check those noticeboards in the library that you barely glance at most days.

6. Go shopping in charity shops. Speaking of which, has anyone seen that bad-ass red cowboy jacket in the window of Cancer Research on South Street? It has a spectacular fringe. I wish I had the balls to wear stuff like that.

And if you’re really scraping the barrel…

7. Get a job. I wouldn’t invest too much hope in distributing your CV to every business in town and expecting much response.  Make sure your CV is one page of practical, condensed skills. Pub managers do not care if you play hockey at the weekends and really like daffodils.  Keep it to bullet points and emphasise your reliability. More importantly, I would get in touch with people you know who have jobs and get in that way. It has worked for the majority of my friends who got interviews at restaurants simply because their friends worked there.  It’s hard to get a job in St Andrews, but not as impossible as the myth goes.

Using all these tips should give you enough spare change to buy me a pint in gratitude.  I’ll probably be in the Central.