Moola. Airgead. Bob. Whatever you call it, money plays a major role in every student’s life. From books and food to partying and travel, there are hundreds of things that force our notoriously broke sector to reach for empty pockets. Before you can even dream of luxuries such as a J1 or buying a car, just an average day can bleed you dry – the second you buy milk for breakfast, catch a bus or go for a drink – not to mention the recent R&G week and Valentine’s Day. With so much vying for our precious change, it may seem impossible to cut back on the cost without scrimping on the craic. How does one even begin to get their hands on some spending money?
Mammy & Daddy
As much as it pains me to acknowledge this, there is a very lucky and rather substantial group who have no need to worry about their income at all. For those of you who can more than happily live off your parents’ allowance, cheers to you – you have no need for these tips. Be a sport and buy your fellow student a pint. For most of us, it is far from easy to stretch their help to cover not only basic rent and fees but all the add-ons. However, you could always offer to do some extra work at home in the hope that one of them might give you a bit extra. Even if they can’t spare the cash they might let you raid the fridge, borrow the DVD player or put you in contact with their friend looking to hire.
The Part-time Job
That brings me to the next avenue – the part-time job. Whether your local shop back home needs someone on tills or you apply to one of the many businesses around Cork, make like thousands before you and get yourself employed. Yes it’s a recession but there is still work to be found if you are willing to go out and hunt it down. Make sure to use any contacts that your family or friends may have. Give yourself a fighting chance by heading down to the lads in the Career Services, who will help make sure your CV is in its best possible shape, and then hand out copies to anyone who so much as looks at you. Sure it’s a pain having to juggle college work and paid work – but it beats missing out on anything that costs more than the 20 cent you found behind the couch.
There may have been numerous cutbacks in the past few years but there is still some relief to be found in the form of grants. It isn’t too much effort to apply and if you are finding meeting costs hard, chances are you are due some form of help. Even if you just get your fees paid, it can be a huge help throughout the year if you can count even that one cost out of the long list of expenses.
Use Your Skills
If you are finding it hard to get a job, or even just want to supplement that income, you can always use your own skills and assets to become self-employed. Brilliant at fixing computers? Drive up and down from home every weekend? An ace at poker? Charge a very small fee or enter prize-giving competitions and you might be in luck. You may not make millions but there are plenty ways to harness your hobbies or talents into churning a small profit.
Be a Test Subject
Now, no one is saying to sell your organs on the black market or sign up for some dodgy new drug, but there is the occasional chance to take part in safe and supervised research trials. There isn’t a whole pile to be made here, and even less of a chance of a constant supply, but since we live near a university the odd chance does pop up. Whether it is trying out the effects of certain toothpastes or partaking in driving simulation, the odd fifty to a hundred euro won’t do your bank balance, or you, any harm.
If none of these work for you there is always or the Lotto or Winning Streak. You don’t need a full bank account to have fun – although it may help – so once you have sorted some small bit of income, make it last by availing of the free food, activities and giveaways constantly available on campus. From tea and biscuits to talks and movies, you need never sit around feeling sorry for your broke self again.