How to survive Fresher’s Week on a budget

Free pizza, Tesco lager and Guestlist Guide are all key to surviving the week debt free

Newsflash – money doesn’t buy happiness. Experts have found that your flashy Daniel Wellington watch, your high-falutin Michael Kors clutch, and your next-generation iPhone X will not help long-term with the release of those sweet, sweet endorphins into your brain.

Luckily for you, scientists have been able to artificially synthesise happiness into liquid form, bottle it, and sell it under the pseudonym ‘Tesco Lager’. Money can be used to buy copious amounts of this miracle juice, as well as a thing called a Dicey’s cheaplist. If that’s not a recipe for pure, unbridled joy then I don’t know what is.

Another tokenistic newsflash – money doesn’t grow on trees. Fresher’s Week for some can result in a serious lack of money, and a lack of money will certainly buy no happiness. With events all day and parties every night, Fresher’s Week can be quite an expensive venture.

Reminding ourselves of the aforementioned formula for happiness, it is therefore in our best interests to ration our money as best we can in order to afford more Tesco Lager, and therefore by extension, more happiness. This can, however, be tricky. Lucky for you, we’re here to help. Follow these tips, and maybe you too can one day be happy.

Tip no.1: Self-discipline

Many people tackle Freshers’ Week with a view of spending very little during the day and leaving the big expenditure for the nights out. As nice as this sounds, this can be a tad idealistic. Don’t underestimate the casual impulse purchases that can accumulate.

College is fully of distracting stimuli. New sights, sounds, and smells all designed to separate you from your cash. Maybe it’s this strange new “burrito” concept that has piqued your interest.

Maybe your older hipster friend has been raving about the latest plat du jour known as halloumi that you just *have* to try. Or perhaps it’s the over-eager member of a small, obscure society that you just cannot say no to.

These are all money-hemorrhaging pitfalls, and the first thing to remember is that the small expenditures are adding up. Just be aware of what’s happening the next time you waste €2 on a club/society you’ll never attend just because that cute society hack smiled at you.


Tip no.2: Make the societies earn their cash

Mooching off society freebies can be a great way to crack the Fresher’s Week code. Play your cards right and you won’t need to buy stationary or contraceptives for the rest of the year. Society goodie bags can be a goldmine or a waste of money, so it’s best to have a peek at what others have got before blowing money on useless stuff you’ll never need.

Membership cards are also very important. Discounts to some of your favourite restaurants can pay for the society cover fee 10 times over. There are only so many discounts though, and many societies share the same ones. Look out for the larger societies with the biggest and best discounts.

Food is a no.1 priority, which is why the free meals are a must. Those among you who are skilled in the art of nabbing free stuff may be able to get through Freshers Week without buying a single meal.

Watch out for societies such as The Phil and LawSoc giving away free breakfasts and lunches and you could thrive. Remember that these bigger societies tend to have more cash to splash, and as such can have great benefits to joining them.

Tip no.3: Saving in the city

Outside of Trinity, there are plenty of ways to thrift your way through the week. There are plenty of places to get value for money with regards food. Diceys have a 5 euro lunch that could feed a small family for a week, while the local Spar chicken fillet rolls can be a great feed on a budget.

Also a novel idea for many of you may actually be to cook at home. As painful as it might be and as bad as it may taste, it is the ultimate means of saving money. If under 19, consider getting a child leap card in the college this week, especially for those living in Halls. Those of you made of sterner stuff may even consider walking to college, but let’s face it, it’s a bit of an effort.

Tip no.4: Paying into clubs

Those of you new to Dublin, BEWARE. Nightclubs can bleed you dry if you’re not careful. Full entry into clubs can be up to €15 on the wrong night. Apps like Vipsy and Guestlist can be lifesavers, especially if you haven’t bought the official freshers wristband.

Maybe you’ve seen friends of yours share those cheaplist posts on Facebook and thought, “I’m too good for that”? Think again, sunshine. It doesn’t matter how much Mammy and Daddy loaded onto your debit card, if you’re paying full price into a club, you’re doing it wrong. Alternatively, places like O’Reilly’s have no cover charge and offer cheaper drinks deals than some of their Harcourt counterparts

Tip no.5: Those double-vodka red bulls aren’t worth it

Club drinks. The downfall of even the most diligent of budgeters. Maybe that €4 bottle of Revero has just start to hit you as you enter the club. Suddenly you see a drinks deal sign at the bar, a knight in neon flashing armour. 3 Jagerbombs for a tenner, it says.

An absolute steal, you say. You must resist the temptation at all costs. 3 Jagerbombs turns into 12 and before you know it you’ll be rationing an ALDI sliced pan for the rest of your weeks meals. Abstain, buy a pint that’ll tide you over if you have to, tape a cheeky naggin to your leg before going in. Resist in any way possible.

Tip no.6: Transport home

For those of you who like to get your graft on early though, you could be in luck. Mad props to those that return home on that final Harcourt Street Luas at 12:30 pm. You are the heroes we all strive to be. Some of you may be tempted to walk home from the club to avoid high taxi fares.

While this may make financial sense, it can be a deceptively dangerous journey. Dublin isn’t anything like that happy rural utopia of your childhood, there are dodgy people out there looking out for Freshers with cash in their pockets and debit cards with their monthly budgets.

A group taxi can work out cheap, especially if you agree a fare with the driver beforehand. If you absolutely insist upon walking home, do so in a large group, preferably with street-wise people.

Dublin is a pricey city. In these days of exorbitant rent prices, rising college fees, and the scandalous price hikes in the Buttery, we all have to stick together. We’ll all get through these tough times together, one Tesco Lager can at a time. Cheers.