(may not be actual Robert…)
How do you ration out your money for the
I pay my rent/internet/power first at the start of every week, and I’m left with an okay amount of money for the rest of the week, which has only gotten smaller as winter comes in and we have to start paying more in power. Whatever I have left is all the money I have for food, drinks, activities, etc. so I’m more or less limited to either studying, playing board games, talking to friends around uni (in walking/biking distance) and watching videos/playing games on my computer for any entertainment. However, sometimes if an expected cost happens out of nowhere and I need to pay it, then my grocery budget suffers and I can be left sometimes with peanut butter sandwiches and rice with egg for a week (which has happened multiple times).
Have you ever had assistance from your family?
Unfortunately, I’m cut off from my family and have been since I was 14—when I first came out—so I’ve never been able to get any assistance, whether it’s money or food, from my family. Usually if I’m actually starving and without food, I have to rely on UCSA welfare or friends. UC Free Food Society is a godsend as well.
Do you ever struggle to feed yourself or nbalance your social life due to lack of funds?
I struggle to feed myself a lot. My diet has mainly consisted of rice, peanut butter, bread, eggs, yoghurt, and all bran cereal. Sometimes I splurge and buy things like chicken or spinach or vegetables, but if I do, then it means I can’t do anything at all for the week unless it’s free. In between all of this, I also go to the gym frequently which requires me to eat way more food than I currently am, so I have to start making the rest of my calories up using mass gainers that were donated to me.
Otherwise, I can actually lose a ton of weight—I lost 2kg alone in five days during exams, and I didn’t even go to the gym at all during that time and made sure to eat three good-sized meals a day. Hence why I eat filling things like rice and bread. I like to joke that I’m an involuntary vegetarian simply because I don’t have enough money for meat. I barely go to any
non-free events, but luckily enough my friends enjoy my company, so I don’t need anything like an event or thing to socialize.
Do you have any hacks or tricks that you use to make your money last longer?
I’d say to stop paying for any drinks that isn’t free water—the rest is a massive waste and adds up so quickly. When you consider that a coke is around $3 and you only have $30-70 of your student allowance left after rent and that, that’s about 10-2% of your allowance on one drink that’s not even good for you! I’d also recommend taking up new things that don’t have any cost—my friends and I have started board game nights so that way we have something to do that doesn’t require any money. If you’re the type to have a savings account (which you should), I’d recommend having it in a different bank that can’t be accessed using an EFTPOS card, so that way if you did want to splurge or impulsively buy something, you’d have to wait for a business day for it to transfer to your cheque account. That way you’d be a lot less tempted to make those small purchases that add up.
Ee-Li from Advocacy and Welfare wants to remind you that as a UC student, you can apply for the Hardship Grant, the Mickle Fund loan or the Mickle Fund small loan. There’s also the UCSA Foodbank. Contact her for a confidential chat: firstname.lastname@example.org.