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March 26, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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On a Budget

Potato Peelers: During a panic-fuelled Warehouse trip at the start of my first year, I bought an automatic potato peeler, like I was some middle-aged rich woman who wanted to learn cooking with minimal effort. Protip: just buy a potato peeler! Works just as well. So do knives. Use a knife if you don’t have a spare $1 for a peeler (it happens, deal with it). Just watch your fingers, or you’ll find yourself walking to the nearest hospital. Did you know that ambulances cost money? What the fuck, right? Just tie a towel around your fingers and walk. If it’s too far, maybe fork out the money for a bus and shove your towel-covered hand in your backpack so they actually let you on.

Ovens: who needs them? Big dumb heat boxes that add to your power bill. No, your new best friend is your microwave. Want some chips? Just microwave those suckers! They’ll come out a little soggy, sure, but it’s a lot cheaper than oven-baking, and it’s all the same to your stomach. Remember that thing your parents said about how microwaving food sucks out its nutrients? No truth in it. Defamatory microwave slander.

Food: Watch out for events that have free meals. There are flyers everywhere around campus. A beach clean-up with a free picnic afterwards? Good for the environment, your wallet, and your stomach all at once! Introductory lunch for the chess club? Pretend to be interested and ignore their follow-up emails! Postgrad brunch? Make up a backstory in case anyone asks and try to look over 23.

Clothes: Do you really need to wear new clothes every day? This is uni, no one’s going to judge you if you show up in the same shirt two (or five) days in a row. We’re all in the same sinking boat. If they do judge you, then they haven’t reached that stage yet, and they’ve got a big storm coming. If you want to save on the water and power bill by cutting back on laundry, start turning your underwear inside out to wear it more than once! Spray your clothes with deodorant to hide the smell! If you’re past the point of caring, you don’t even need to bother with deodorant. Embrace your inner swamp animal. Try broadcasting: “I haven’t slept in two days, I have four assignments due tomorrow and I’ve started on none of them, don’t fuck with me.” We’ve all been there.

Textbooks: Don’t buy them. Seriously. I’m in my 2nd-and-a-half year of majoring in English, which is specifically based around reading books, and I have never brought one single text from the course list. Download illegal PDFs. Go to the library. Beg, borrow, and steal off your friends. If you’re not up for stealing, go into Vic Books and sit in the store and just read them. Sure, it might get you told off by a staff member who asks you what you’re doing and when you mumble “um, reading,” she’ll glare at you in a way that makes you feel like an 8-year-old getting told off by a teacher and tell you this isn’t a library — but it can work as long as no-one notices. My record is 45 minutes, during which I was able to read enough of the book read to pass the exam.

Toilet paper: Okay, let’s get real: it’s easy to use too much. You just grab and wipe. But you don’t need much to do the job. Don’t wad, just take a few squares and be careful of your fingers. The less you use, the longer it lasts.

Speaking of toilet paper: Public bathrooms are plentiful. If you’re running short this week and don’t have the cash to get more, maybe pop in to the toilets in your local McDonalds and shove a roll or two of loo paper in your handbag. It can be worth finding out what public toilets near you have those protectors that you can’t get into without a screwdriver, and which have ones you can just reach in and grab. Happy hunting!

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