from Splendid Fred’s cheif financial correspondent, Luke Irwin

When I first met my new neighbour, he told me one of the most depressing stories I’ve heard in my life.  The power in his building had been cut off the previous year, and rather stew in his own filth like most normal people, he decided, “I need someone with a shower.”  Only, he didn’t know anybody who’d let him march into their house and use their shower.

Not yet, at least.

And so, he put on the closest things to resemble ‘clean’ clothes and headed off to a nearby club where, like most men in there that night, he feigned interest in any girl who’d listen until they got back to her place.  At this point, he did his business, jumped in the shower and was out the door before she could say, “call me.”

But before you pass judgement on Winchester’s Casanova, this probably isn’t the lowest a university student has sunk in their days.  For instance, who hasn’t taken a deep sniff of some suspiciously yellow-looking bottle of milk and thought it’s worth the gamble?

Is that really any better than using a girl to get to her shower gel?

Yes.  Of course it is; but the point remains – there is only so far you can, or rather should go to save money as an adult, but it’s a universally accepted that when you’re a student all bets are off.

Drinking ‘vintage’ milk is a good litmus test, but the fun really begins when you start thinking laterally.  Example: one of the few advantages of being a fully fledged adult under 5’9” is that I can still buy extra large children’s clothes because there’s no VAT on them.

For short people the XL children’s aisle is the Duty Free clothing haven of the high street.

Yes, over the years I’ve heard of, or been a part of, countless examples of skimping, scraping and saving.

Toilet roll can be pretty expensive, right?  Why not trying buying two-ply, then peeling the layers from each other.  You’ve just made yourself a 2-for-1 bargain!  Sure, the whole thing loses its structural integrity and you wind up with poo on your hands, but, Hey!, everyone has to make sacrifices.  As Gandhi himself said:

No pain, no gain.

Here’s another example: you’ve probably noticed how much more good quality beer costs in comparison to cheap lager – because, let’s face it, beer is expensive even at the best of times.  Well, here’s an even cheaper alternative than getting s&#t-faced on Foster’s: Simply pre-load on gallons and gallons of water before you leave.  If you’re self-conscious that people will think worse of you for not drinking, never fear.  Once inside your local, excuse yourself to the toilet. At this point, you should have you’re own Pete Clemenza to have planted a pint glass behind the cistern.  You can then urinate into the pint glass and – problem solved!  No-one ever be the wiser. And if you’re concerned about drinking your own urine, think about what your friends are drinking.

The best advice I can possibly offer, however, is your choice of housing.  If your choice is between an expensive house where you’ll be given your own personal space and know everyone you’re living with, or a much cheaper alternative, the only downside being next-door to a dub-step aficionado, with it’s repetitive pounding on your ears akin to the rhythmic ballet of someone being sodomised in the next room, I urge you to take the latter option. You’d be mistaken for this advice, like the others, is flippant, and it may well be.  But I know that for as long I live I won’t forget my neighbour’s truly disturbing tale.  You’ll have the rest of your life to live in a nice, quiet house; university is the time for passive-aggression, staying up until 4am talking to complete strangers, and banging on your Skrillex listening neighbour’s door with your head, because your hands are covered in your own excrement.

Advertisements