Monday, May 9, 2011
One reason I worked full-time before going to college was to earn enough money to pay for my education in case I didn’t get student loans. Well, that pretty much ensured I wouldn’t get much help, since I had just enough savings to scrape by.
Now there’s less than a year remaining for my education, and at least tuition for summer semester is paid up (the final semester still circles hungrily like a shark). But there are all the other expenses – rent, phone, transportation and food – and I have to handle those until I graduate and can apply for a full-time job again.
A couple of years ago I spotted a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette in a library sale and grabbed it for a dollar. I was very pleased with my find, but it soon became clear that the compendium, while stuffed with tips, wasn’t the best book I could have read on this topic.
1. A great deal of its advice relates to kids – cloth diapers, toys, etc. My life plan has three Cs (citizenship, certification and condo), none of which stand for “children”.
2. I don’t have a garden to grow my own vegetables, or even a sunny place for a pot of basil. I live in a basement apartment, which I like very much apart for the fact that there’s no natural light at all. It’s like being a hobbit.
3. The book was released thirteen years ago, and it shows. There’s an article which mentions tuna fish costing fifty cents a can. Recently tuna fish went on sale at Zellers, for a dollar.
There’s plenty of good advice in the book about thrift stores, garage sales and so on, but I feel as though I knew most of that already. I used to work in a thrift store in Dubai, and I still enjoy going to yard sales or thrift stores here. So it’s time to start looking for a more up-to-date book on the topic.
As well as ways to save money, there’s also the possibility of making more. About a month ago I got a Saturday job in a psychic centre/used-bookstore. The owner is a psychic and wanted someone to keep the place tidy, shelve the books and look after the customers while she did readings. I get an employee discount on the books too, and the job pays half my rent each month, which is good.
Though after I’ve quit I may write a tell-all article about the experience.
As for the other half of the rent, I’m going to try to do more editing this summer. I edit papers for college students – spelling, grammar, punctuation and so on – but the work has become sporadic now that two of my customers have graduated. Lucky ducks. I’m going to try putting up flyers on campuses and see if that gets results.
I also joined Swagbucks after seeing it promoted on this personal finance blog, though I’m not sure if it’ll be any help. It’s taken me two weeks to get to 100 points, for instance, and the minimum for a $5 gift card from Amazon is 450 points. Speaking of which, I’m also an Amazon Associate, though it does take a while to collect enough for a gift card. Still, every little bit helps, though there are a few lines I don’t want to cross – like having Google ads on my blog.
What strategies can you suggest for me to save or make money?
Image from : http://www.jupiterimages.com/Image/royaltyFree/86542554