On being broke

Maybe it’s because people take fewer classes and therefore have less financial assistance, maybe it’s because people spend more money on vacations and music festivals, or maybe it’s because people waste more time drinking beer on patios—I don’t know what it is about summer, but it seems like everyone’s always broke. When you consider that we’re all students already and are thus, by definition, already pretty broke (“starving student” is a stereotype that seems woefully true these days), this summer insolvency seems like an extra-maddening bummer.

What to do? Well, unless you’re willing to do the obvious (work more, spend less), here are some admittedly untested tips to get students through to the fall without being sent to the poorhouse:

  • Go on an “end of the world” diet: Sure, it might be fun to eat out at restaurants, but chances are that you’ve accumulated plenty of nutritious foodstuffs around your pantry that are totally suitable for consumption. Instead of buying groceries or going out for lunch, force yourself to only eat things that are already in your home. This will likely mean eating a lot of the food that you don’t really like and have been avoiding for months or years (I personally have a collection of 14 cans of multiple varieties of vegetable soup), but you will definitely cut back on grocery costs. Use your savings to spring for admission to one of this summer’s similarly titled end of the world blockbusters like This is the End (out June 12) or The World’s End (set for release August 23).
  • Sell all your excess stuff: Nothing says summer like easy-breezy-beautiful minimalism. Sell all your stuff on Craigslist for a quick liquidation of funds. One caveat: try not to sell anything that you really need and will just re-buy at full cost in a few months. I’ve gone through so many kitchen tables in this manner that I probably could have sprung for a non-IKEA one years ago and been better off.
  • Get a summer job: I understand that working can be a major downer when the sun’s shining and the beach is calling; but that doesn’t mean you can’t make bank. Look for fun work that lets you be in your ideal summer element. Driving ice cream trucks, lifeguarding pools, and planting trees are all sunny seasonal opportunities to accumulate wealth while getting a tan and getting dates.

Good luck on getting that green, folks.