As amazing and surreal the whole College experience can be at times, there is always one constant, and that’s a student’s lack of funds. It doesn’t matter whether the funds are coming from Mummy or Daddy, or from that horrible menial job you work during the weekends, waiting for the cash to come in is the longest wait ever. So what do you do, when you find you have spent all your money, and the next bout of cash isn’t coming in for a few weeks? Well, having personally survived the last six weeks on little or no cash, I managed to pick up a few handy little tricks on pinching those pennies.
The first thing I discovered is that you don’t actually have to eat in college. Sure, sitting over lunch chatting to friends about the ridiculous antics that happened during the weekend is great, but unless you’re rich and can afford to lunch at Lemon everyday, the only place to get cheap grub is the Buttery or Ham café. You only need to eat their cold lasagne once to know that it was probably not the best choice you’ve ever made. I learned is to eat breakfast at home, and then drink those free energy drinks handed out by the lovely SU people during the day. Not only will that amount of caffeine and taurine stave off hunger for the next six hours, it will fill you with energy bounded with hyperness.
Another handy thing I discovered is that there’s no need to stay at home like a complete loser just because you don’t have the cash to pay for a night out. Instead, simply befriend the influential people in College to get yourself on guest lists for nights out. Even better than influential friends are friends who live on campus. These should be utilised to the max, for not only does it save you a taxi fare home, you also have a comfy bed or sofa to crash on in town. So what if you happen to look like a homeless bum always crashing on other people’s couches, at least you won’t have to walk far as you stagger into your 9:00am lecture. And hey, as a student, this is probably the only time in your life you can manage to get away with the Walk of Shame.
Then there’s the Nitelink, or “Fightlink” as it’s more aptly named. As opposed to taking a very comfy taxi ride home where the taxi driver brings you right to your doorstep, on the Nitelink you sit on a bus with about fifty other drunk people, half of which are either throwing up or signing “Fields of Athenry”. And that’s all for only five quid. So what if you manage to lose your food, your digestive contents and dignity, you managed to save a tenner.
Despite all its flaws, there’s a certain type of sleazy charm about riding the Dublin Bus home at four in the morning after a night out, the alcohol still buzzing through your blood.
Another plus is that at four in the morning, nobody looks down on you for eating your four-in-one on the bus.
Well, at this point I was finally paid my monthly wages and I suddenly found myself with cash to burn again. Maybe living off twenty quid for a week teaches you how important it is to save and be frugal with your finances, but after three years in College, I fear the lesson still hasn’t sunk in with me. Come two weeks down the line I’m going to be in the exact same situation, but screw it, I managed to survive three years living like this, and I sure as hell can survive another few weeks until I get paid again. Long live being a broke Trinity student!