Monday, June 29, 2009

The Poor College Student Diet

I woke up this morning looking forward to a typical breakfast but was disappointed to find egg cartons empty and the rest of the fridge barren. This realization became all the more sad when I considered that my first pay check arrives tomorrow and I had $7 in my wallet. I knew getting through the day would take some poor college student ingenuity.

Breakfast: You are sure to lose weight on the fruit for breakfast diet. I was hungry again by the time I arrived to work. Free

Lunch: Junk food at 7-eleven seemed like my quickest and cheapest option but I discovered anywhere they hold large meetings at the office, there will be free food. Free

Snack: High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are the new coolest thing. Protein repairs body cells, provides a source of energy, and controls many of the important processes in the body related to metabolism. $1

Dinner: When I pulled up to the pick-up window at Wendy's for dinner, I gave a two-for-one coupon for the burgers but neglected to notice the coupon also included a free frosty. 3 items for $1.09!

Final cost: $2.09

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Poor College Student doesn't have enough quarters

How to pay for laundry when you have enough money to do laundry in dimes and nickels but not in quarters:

1. Grab handful of dimes/nickels.
2. Go to a vending machine.
3. Put in two dimes and one nickel, or five nickels, or three nickels and one dime, or whatever combination of dimes and nickels that make 25 cents, in the coin slot.
4. Press return.
5. Obtain quarter.
6. If the return button is pressed and nickels and dimes return, move on to the next available vending machine and repeat steps 3-5.

Note: Pennies do not work; collect them in bunches of 25 and take them to the bank to exchange.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Visit Family in Reno or Costa Rica?

I have a couple of options for where I should spend my winter break. The frigid cold or the tropics. Where would you rather go?

Poor College Student saves by going to the beach.

Four apples, two oranges, one orange juice, and a ham sandwich for the price of a ham sandwich

Just now I went to Uris Business School Deli to buy lunch with my complementary Dining Dollars. They don't have much there, but there's only that and the cafe at Butler Library open over the summer so I really had no choice.

So I got there and went to the deli counter and ordered a ham, lettuce and swiss cheese on a baguette. A sandwich costs $7.50 there. Yeah. $7.50 for a pathetic ham sandwich? But then I thought, whatever, I'm getting this for free.

And today's Friday, the last day of the week that on-campus food places are open. My Dining Dollars don't roll over from week to week, so it's always best to get as much free food as I can at the end of the week. So I went to the fridge section and grabbed two apples and a cup of grapes. The last cup of grapes! There were plenty of cups of grapes with cheese but that's EW- I only want grapes. No cheese with grapes, just grapes. So I got the last cup that had just grapes. (You're like, why can't you just go back for dinner instead of going on fruit shopping spree? It's because the stupid deli closes at 3 pm.)

I went to the cash register to check out. I handed the lady my ID. She swiped, and the machine went beepbeepbeep and the screen flashed "TRANSACTION INVALID Insufficient Funds". I'm like Oh, they're Dining Dollars. The lady swiped again and the same thing happened. She said "You have 42 cents and nothing on flex." I was like no, that's wrong. I have Dining Dollars. I have weekly Dining Dollars. I know that I have 42 cents from my regular Dining Dollars account, but I also have free money, goddammit!!! (last sentence omitted from being verbalized)

I tried explaining to her that I DO have money on my card, but she proceeded to stare at me blankly. I wanted to be like, Look. I came here a few days ago. I had $25 that time and I only spent about $10, so I have money on my card. I remember your face, you swiped my card!!

I thought for a few seconds and decided from the blank stare on her face that this wasn't going to get anywhere so I said, fine. I'll pay in cash. (bitch.)

Fruit from on-campus food establishments are too expensive, so I said I'd have to put them away. She said fine. I paid $7.50 out of my wallet for the stupid sandwich. I put the fruit back in the fridge section. I walked to work, confused at what just happened and ready to rant to my co-complementary-Dining Dollar-users about this Insufficient Funds crisis.

But unable to accept the fact that there was supposedly no money in my Dining Dollars account, as soon as I got to work, I sat down at my desk and opened up the Cardholder Transactions page on SSOL.

Flex: 0.00
Dining Dollars: 0.42
Dining Dollars-(the other one): $11.53 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I grabbed my wallet, power walked back to Uris and went to the cash register. The lady who I just bought my lunch from was busy so I went to the next lady. I asked her to swipe my card to see if I had any Dining Dollars. She swiped. $11.53!!

She was very kind and understanding as I explained to her what just happened, and could I get a refund? :)
She asked the lady next to her, who was like No, it was a cash transaction, we can't do anything. (but more bitchily)
I was like that's okay, I'm going to go buy some stuff now anyway.

I got a plastic bag, stuffed in two red apples and two green apples. Sadly, somebody else had taken the last cup of grapes in the ten minutes I was away, so I got two oranges and a bottle of orange juice instead.

I still have about $3 left, but I'm pretty content with all this fruit for now.

Poor college student goes grocery shopping at on-campus food establishments for free in retaliation of incorrect cash transaction.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Poor College Student Literally Couldn't Afford Chipotle

Chipotle, 9:30 PM.

Epsita: I want to get the bean and cheese burrito, but I'm scared.
Mike: I'll get it. I have $1.61 left on this gift card, does anyone have 39 cents?
Claire: I didn't bring any money with me.
Epsita: I have a quarter.
Mike: We still need 14 cents. Let's look on the ground for coins.

We didn't find any coins :(

Free Drinks for Me...and You!

Poor college student loves drinking. A bit too much. A lot, actually. Poor college student also loves going out. A bit too much. A lot, actually. But how can poor college student go out so often?

To go out as often as I do, you must control the bar scene. I'd like to believe I've mastered the "get that dude over there to buy me a drink" skill. I mostly have, I haven't paid for a drink when I've gone out in a few months, unless with friends.

The rules to getting a (read: many) free drink:
- Look hot, look hot, LOOK HOT
- Or alternatively, look cute
- In any case, you have to dress well and look GOOD
- Don't act stupid, engage someone in conversation "HAHA YEAH! I love that too! Blah Blah Blah more talking"
- Ask for a drink very nicely and chill-ly "Hey, are you getting more drinks? Can I get one too?"
- Take out an already drunk friend, and have him/her buy you drinks
- Know your bartender v. well "Hey ___, gimme something on the house please!"
- Flash an adorable, cute smile
- Look pet-able and short

These rules work amazingly for me, so maybe they will for you too! Poor college student loves free drinks!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poor College Student Can No Longer Afford Chipotle

When I was in high school, the park district in my hometown decided to team up with Chipotle and have a "Great Burrito Hunt". The concept was that they would hide 30 giant styrofoam burritos in the parks in order to encourage kids to get out of the house and into the parks.

How does a giant styrofoam burrito encourage a kid to go to the park you might ask? Well, if you can redeem said giant styrofoam burrito for a deck of 56 Chipotle playing cards, each worth one free burrito (with guacamole!), I count 30*56 = 1680 reasons to go looking for one of these monster burritos.
Fox News even wrote about it
My brother and I woke up early the first morning, and within two hours, had found TWO giant styrofoam burritos (112 free burritos!). We decided to be nice and stop searching for the rest so that other people might have the chance to find one as well.

My favorite moment was when after we found the second burrito and were driving out of the park, we saw another group of people drive into the parking lot, park, run out of their cars and into the woods to search for the burrito we had just found. Suckers!

I enjoyed my free burritos while they lasted. My high school self would usually get a burrito with rice, black beans, carnitas/barbacoa, all four salsas, guacamole, lettuce and cheese (for free!).

Then I found this: the Chipotle Nutrition Facts Calculator.

This was before that one law was instated in which all fast food places have to list the caloric content of their foods and people across the country happily ate their food in peace, without thinking about how many calories they were consuming. Unable to afford to eat all those calories, I switched to burrito bowls, cut out the cheese, green and red tomatillo salsas, saving an estimated 485 calories.

After running out of / gifting away the rest of the free burrito cards and moving to New York, I was frustrated to see that New York prices were much more than Illinois prices. Who pays $2.25 for a scoop of guacamole? Not poor college students.

Still, a burrito bowl with rice, black beans, carnitas/barbacoa, tomatoes, hot salsa and lettuce cost $8.00. That's a lot of money!

Then, I discovered that when ordering tacos, you don't necessarily have to order all three soft tacos or all four crispy tacos; you can order however many you like.

Two soft tacos with rice, black beans, one with carnitas, one with barbacoa, tomatoes, hot salsa and lettuce came to $6.00. Not bad.

I stuck with that order for a long time, and whenever any of my friends protested that Chipotle was too expensive, I responded with "Get two tacos! They only cost six dollars!"

One fateful day, a friend informed me of her order at chipotle: a pinto bean and cheese burrito. 500 calories. Three ingredients. Two dollars.

The conversation between her and the workers at Chipotle went a little something like this:

One bean and cheese burrito please.
Would you like rice in that?
No, beans and cheese only.
Black beans or pinto beans?
Would you like any meat?
Nope, that's it. Beans and cheese.
Would you like any salsa on that?
No thank you. Beans and cheese only.
Guacamole, sour cream or lettuce?
All I want is beans and cheese please.

Of course, there would be the occasional mishap when the cashier tried to ring it up as a vegetarian burrito and charge her $5.25, but after explaining yet again that there were literally only beans and cheese in her burrito and nothing else, she would be allowed to pay the $2.00 and go.

This week, I decided I couldn't pay $6.00 for two tacos anymore. I went into the local Chipotle and ordered a $2.00 pinto bean and cheese burrito. No questions asked - my friend had trained the staff well.

From free burritos with guacamole in high school to two dollar bean and cheese burritos in college. Oh, the life of a Poor College Student...

Poor College Student Hasn't Bought A Pen In Years / Goes Trick or Treating at Conventions

When your family runs a business, sometimes you are expected to go to trade shows, expos and/or conventions with them. While regular college students may protest having to tag along with the family to random places like Anaheim or Brooklyn, Poor College Students relish the opportunity because they know that there will be plenty of free giveaways from all the booths and exhibitors.

This is a sampling of some of the things I've picked up in the past two months:

A Time Inc branded alarm clock

From left to right, AT&T branded: lip balm, hand sanitizer, two regular pens, one broken light up pen and one functioning light up pen

Three non AT&T branded lip balms

A whole bunch of pens from random companies

My personal favorite being the United Dairymen of Arizona one

A UPS branded "Pinky tree". A mini plant in a plastic container that you can wear, water or plant

So I chose to wear it on my phone

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Run-on Sentence

Poor College Student is poorer because he had to take a taxi to work today
because he was running late today
because he tried to put up a Poor College Student Blog post today
that took longer than expected today
so not only is the post not up today
he is down $14.10 today.

I'll post the real post later today.

Today. Isn't that a funny word?

Mugged and...Poor

Mostly empty wallet - I got $2 from Claire for chocochips.

Poor college student sometimes does have some money. But never for long.

Today, I wanted to check out when the new Whole Foods on 96th and Columbus would open, so I got off the bus. Texting and milling around a residential block, I got held at stick point. Before giving the perp my wallet, I took out my cards and important info. I didn't remove any cash. The guy took the cash out, dropped my wallet, and dropped his stick before running away.

He took $80.

And, I haven't gotten any checks in three weeks, due to payroll problems.

Poor college student just wanted to splurge some rare money at the prepared foods section at Whole Foods, and is now out of money for the rest of the week entirely.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to clean your carpet economically

I'm not one for much cleaning, but when strands of hair and balls of dust stick to the soles of my feet with every step I take, I know it's time to tidy up. It's deceiving with a carpeted floor though- with a hardwood or solid type of flooring, crumbs and hair and all sorts of crap just hang out on the floor and it's outright gross. But with carpet, all the crap sinks in, and with a dark blue carpet that comes with little orange specks you'd never know how gross it really was just by looking.

Last fall I didn't clean the floor all semester, what with the dorm vacuum cleaner only making enough noise to wake up the whole building and just pushing crap further into the carpet by running over it and all. I wasn't about to go buy my own vacuum cleaner, or some sort of cleaning supply just to clean a silly dorm room.

So a dirty carpet and a substantial roll of masking tape make...

an economical way to clean! All you have to do is roll it around your hands and feet sticky side out

and then crawl and walk around the room. Be sure to get all the corners.

Poor college student uses masking tape as a cleaning supply.
I warn you, a semester's worth of dirty carpet will use up a good amount of masking tape.

I have a little duster-sweeper-broom thing with a little dustpan now. It works just as well as masking tape, if not better. It was a good purchase. I can't afford a vacuum cleaner.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beach Body

The cost of health is skyrocketing. Long gone are the days that a poor college student can afford a gym membership.

St. Mary's Fitness Center: $50/month
Double-Diamond Fitness: $50/month
24-hour fitness: $40 initiation & $30/month

Stay Ball by Gold's Gym: $19 (one-time fee)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Source of Income for the Summer

Poor college student did two behavior studies today and earned $17 but still isn't able to find a summer internship!


P.S. Click the title for the link to the website where you can sign up for behavior studies too

P.P.S. The second study I did today involved pretending to be a hiring manager and quickly reading through about 40 fake resumes in 10 minutes and then selecting 5 fake candidates to fill 5 fake positions and it just made me even sadder because all these not-real people were getting jobs and I wasn't.

Mike: "I clicked on the ad, does that mean we make some money?"

While resubmitting an application for Adsense after being rejected a day after the ads came up, I see a checkbox and the following sentence:

"I agree that I will not click on the Google ads I'm serving through AdSense"


Poor college student wants money so bad he clicks on his own ad to earn money, only to have his plan backfire completely.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Halloween for Cheap

Poor college student saves money on shirts

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do you have a club card?

Poor college student actually uses Duane Reade club card to save $5.00

Poor College Student and Subway Fares

I can never decide if I like paying one price to get anywhere on the New York subway or paying based on distance traveled like in Tokyo. Paying $2 to get as far as JFK is pretty nice in comparison to the ¥1300 ($13.40) it costs to ride for two hours from the Tokyo airport to the city center. On the other hand, paying the price of what could be a full hot dog dinner from gray's papaya is frustrating. This is why Poor College Student must squeeze two people through one subway turnstile to save metrocard swipes.

It's an absolutely gratifying way to travel, paying half price.

One day last year, my friend Ching from Penn is visiting and we're taking the subway downtown. As I walk down the stairs from the street, I spot a few cops hanging out down by the further turnstiles, but think nothing of it. Ching can't find her metrocard so I'm like, don't worry about it, I'll swipe you in. So we squeeze into one turnstile and I swipe my card we go through and Ching's like, what just happened? I'm like don't worry about it.
We walk toward the stairs to the platform and a cop goes "Young lady. Young lady?"

Ever wished you could glance sideways without anyone knowing that you're looking at them? Well, you can't have everything.

So I do the stupid sideways glance that isn't very discreet and sure enough the stupid cop is telling stupid me to come back out of the stupid turnstile. I act as calm and collectedly pissed as I can while inside I'm really like fuckfuckFUCKCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They go through the spiel where they make you feel like real dumbass by asking if we realized what we just did was ridiculously retarded or not, in cop language. Then they took down our info. And then they fined us $60. Each.

Poor College Student becomes poorer after paying $60 fine for trying to save a dollar on metrocard swipes.

That's the day I learned that you should really look before you do something that could potentially be really pathetic.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vietnamese Bookstore

I was in a window shopping mood.

*Store owner hovers over me menacingly as I pick a book off of the shelf*
Store owner: You want that book?
me: eh probably not, how much is it?
Store owner: 6 dollar
me: mm no thank you
Store owner: How much you pay?
me: maybe 4 dollars?
Store owner: 5 dollar then

As I step to the sidwalk with my purchase in hand, I realize I already own Memoirs of a Geisha.

Poor college student never refuses an opportunity to haggle.

Love to haggle, or hate it? Either way you'll have no more worries, after checking out a cash advance online. As college students, we know money isn't easy to come by, but it is if it's care-free!

Wear sunscreen

I clicked on the ad, does that mean we make some money?

In other news, poor college student uses lint roller to remove peeling skin on back due to sunburn.

Also, I thought I'd add an image to add some excitement to the blog, not that peeling skin is terribly exciting.


Poor college student must use simplest layout on blog.