Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Definition of poor

We haven't posted in a while, but I thought this might cheer anyone who's still around up. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Because we aren't always photogenic

Taking passport pictures. What a daunting task.

It's daunting not because it's hard to do- all you do is go to a passport picture taking place, sit there and look awkwardly at the camera and a few minutes later you have your two passport pictures.  It's daunting not because it's hard to find a place to do this- you can get it done at the drugstore, at a Kinko's, or at any other office center type establishment. 

It's daunting because of the PRICE! You may end up paying $10 or more just for those two pictures. We don't all have $10 to spend on two pictures of us that don't even make us look that glamorous.  Of course, our reason for spending this money is usually because the picture needs to adhere to certain rules about proportions and things like that.

But we can do so much better by spending less money and having more control over the picture we print out simply by utilizing the right resources.

Here's what you can do. 

1. Take a picture of yourself. (Make sure you've got the right plain background and that you aren't wearing sunglasses, hat, etc)
2. Download picture to computer. (I used Photobooth, so I got to skip this step!)
3. Go online and find a website that will adjust your photo to the correct passport picture proportions.
4. Download this picture.
5. Open a word document and insert this picture. Then copy and paste it as many times as you can until the page fills up with this picture of your face. (For an American passport picture size, you should be able to fit about sixteen or a letter size paper)
6. Take this document via email or flash drive to a place that prints stuff on nice photo-ish paper. (If your own printer does this, you can skip this step!)
7. Print your document!

If you take this to a place to print, like a Kinko's, it shouldn't cost more than $5. And you get eight times as many pictures as you could with your $10.  AND you can re-take your photo as many times as you like.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Return of Maoz

We're back on campus! This means we're back to our good old supermarket that feeds us, to our familiar Chipotle where we can get wonderful deals, to the sprawling subway system if we ever have the money to leave campus, and of course... to Maoz!

As you may have read earlier, Maoz offers great deals with their sandwiches.  But there's another way you can win at Maoz.  This is what you do...

1. Go to Maoz at an obscure time on an obscure day. (How about 3:30 pm on a cloudy Friday?) Bring a friend who will order in at Maoz.  You can order in too, but you don't have to if this plan works out.
2. Sit inside.
3. Look out the window for any Maoz employees standing outside giving away free samples of falafel.
4. If there is, go outside and take a sample.  It's a full falafel ball- not a small bite like most stores usually give away for free!

This free sample has a 70 cent value, because you can order five falafels for $3.50. (At our store, at least.)
That's the cost of upgrading a Junior Maoz sandwich (half sandwich) to a regular Maoz sandwich (the full circle).  So if you're feeling disgruntled about getting a regular Maoz vs. a junior Maoz because of the extra 70 cents, you can eat away the free samples and feel better about yourself.
Take that!

Yes, you're welcome.

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee that you will find free samples outside Maoz at 3:30 pm every Friday. It just happened today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A PCS Summer?

Summer is winding down, now that move-in is only a few days away. The wonderful thing about summer is that you have time for a summer job, or internship...or even a summer adventure.

When you have your summer job or internship, you initially think of saving that money for the coming school year. The savings would definitely make college easier. But does summer savings really happen? Seeing your bank account fill up with money once a week, or every other week is a glorious thing that makes most people spend recklessly. Mike and I went to nice meals, and shopped a lot, since we had paid internships this summer. And now, just as school is starting up...we are poor college students again.

Bruce lived thriftily while having an internship in China, which is something we all should aspire towards. Having savings for those sticky times during the semester is a great thing!

Claire, on the other hand, spent her summer travelling, and minimized her costs by couch surfing, and depending on the kindness of others.

Who do you think had a PCS summer? Who is better off financially come this semester?!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When a PCS Needs to Drive

Do yourselves a favor, and have a friend teach you how to learn the bulk of your driving. It took me three road tests, and 17 lessons to finally pass, and get my license. But it also cost >$1000 this summer. Learning to drive can be rough on the wallet, so don't use a driving school for more than the 5 hour course/certificate! You'll gradually end up with less money in your bank account if you are as shitty a driver as I am! Don't be an even poorer college student!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blame Canada

Doing laundry in the dorms is suuuuch a pain.  Or for that matter, any place where you have to insert a bunch of quarters before the laundry machine will operate.

Mika and I were doing laundry the night before we left for our backpacking trip.  We put in the coins into the dryer only to find that it wouldn't accept the last quarter, and neither would it return the 4 quarters that it already ate. 

Confused, we abandoned this machine and tried again with the machine above it, but the same thing happened.

This was not just making us frustrated, but it was also making us progressively poorer and poorer. We had already lost two dollars.  We needed some quarters... so we scoured the laundry room.

We found two in another dryer!!!

We tried putting one of those in one of the machines we'd tried before and the machine finally agreed to start.

Then, we realized why the machines kept stopping at the last 25 cents.

It was a Canadian 25 cents.

Poor college student blames Canada for confusing us and helping laundry machines eat our money. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Living in New York City, you grow accustomed to paying ridiculous prices for everything from haircuts to suspiciously vague school fees (student life fee). The upside is that in the majority of places you go outside of the U.S., cost of living is half as much and in most cases much less.

In China, any poor college student can live as well as your average New York City investment banker. I present to you the $0.88 haircut, with complimentary before-and-after shampoo.

I feel pretty and spoiled.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Unexpected Cash on Hand

Accompanying my excitement as I waited to start my internship in Shanghai was my resignation to the fact that I am not getting paid. Sure, they’re reimbursing the plane ticket (quite expensive), and providing housing (ridiculously expensive) but I could still use some cash on hand! As happy as I am to be money neutral for the summer, I decided to let my old vice, Poker, back in my life.

With $55 in my account the night before the flight, I did not meet the minimum requirement of $100 to withdraw cash from my account. Rather than slowly build back up to a playable bankroll, I decided to just shove it all in. Half an hour and one super-turbo tournament later, I was $172 richer!

Divide that by .5 hours and my hourly rate is:


If only cash always came so easily.

Poor College Student Summer Housing Fail

Poor college student wanted to save money this summer by subletting an apartment near campus. Campus gates are on 116th and Broadway. Campus housing is about $3100 from May 23-Aug 15, and on 114th or 115th and Broadway. My sublet is $4900 (including $1200 deposit) from June 1-Aug 31, on 123rd and Amsterdam, while the last 15 days of August will be wasted due to travel, and free housing for people doing orientation.

Worst poor college student fail in the history of poor college student fails.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poor Hungry Engineers

There are a lot of things we poor college students will do when hungry - eat cheap ramen, eat bagels, eat anything that is less than $1.00, bum off friends, find free food events on campus, eat samples. Doing these things are common place, and not taboo. One of the greatest feelings as a college student is the feeling of eating free food. YUM! Free Chinese food? Yes, please!

Have you ever eaten a random person's box of leftover Chinese food without asking them? Now, "random person" is a little loaded - this person was not random, but we also did not ask for permission to eat his Chinese food when he left for the night. We took his leave as his way of saying he abandoned his food. This all happened at one of the Engineering building's computer labs recently, and suffice it to say...we probably would do it again.