How to survive: Living out of home

Living out of home sounds like a tough gig right? It shocked me the first time I learnt that my clothes don’t actually wash themselves, iron themselves and magically end up back in my room in a nice neat pile. And dishes don’t wash themselves either. What’s up with that!?

After living out of home for almost 3 years now (it’s amazing I’m still alive), I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two on how to pull through.

  1. Living in a share house is a good idea

Living in a share house can get pretty frustrating at times. Whether it’s that one roomie that plays his heavy metal tunes way past midnight, or the other one who only does their dishes once a fortnight, living with other people won’t be fine and dandy 24/7. But there is one massive upside to living with housemates, and that is saving on bills. Living in a share house means that bills will be cheaper as expenses will be split between you and your roomies. Does $80 a month for internet seem too pricey? No biggie, you and your flatmates will split the costs, meaning you won’t be spending a fortune on living costs.

2. Shopping for groceries can actually be cheap

One word; Aldi. Aldi is basically a supermarket heaven for people (like students) who don’t have a never ending budget to spend on food. Shopping at Aldi saves me a ridiculous amount of money. I can get away with spending $50 on food that will last me an entire fortnight. Buying food in bulk and freezing small portions saves you money in the long run. More food for less money, who could complain about that?

Another trick I’ve developed is doing my grocery shopping late at night. Shopping at Coles and Woolies past 8 o’clock = bulk discounts. Supermarkets greatly reduce the prices of food that may be expiring soon. This is the prime time for picking up some cheap snacks to eat over the next couple of days.

grocery

3. Having to do your own cleaning isn’t so bad

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your house doesn’t actually clean itself. But seriously, cleaning ain’t even that bad. I have developed a habit of cleaning my house whenever I find myself procrastinating. I can avoid studying and do something productive at the same time. By homework may not be completed but at least I have a clean house to procrastinate in. Procrasta-cleaning. It’s actually a thing.

But on a more serious note, if you do happen to live with roomies, chose a day where you can all chip in and do some housework. More helping hands = less work for you. Plus the job gets done in no time and you can retreat back to your room sooner for another Netflix binge session.

4. Your house may become the new hangout spot

If you happen to be the only one in your friendship group to have left the nest, chances are your place will become infiltrated with visitors in no time. Who would want to hang out at their parents house when you have your own place for your friends to trash? But really, all social events will now take place at your house. Need a place to have pre-drinks? It will be at your house. Want to have a movie night with your mates? It will be at your house. Want to have a nice dinner with your friends? It will be at your mate’s parents house because cooking kinda sucks right? Just get used to the fact that having your own place is totally awesome, and your friends think so too.

5. So. Much. Freedom.

The best thing I learn about living of home is that I now have so much damn freedom. Living out of home literally gives you the opportunity to do whatever you like. If you want to eat an entire packet of Tim Tams in one night and stay up until 4am googling Harambe memes, then you can do just that. You won’t have your parents nagging you to make your bed or clean the bombshell that is your bedroom. You can absolutely trash your room and leave it for a week and no one will even question you (as long as you keep the door closed).

freedom

So there you have it, just a few things I’ve learnt whilst living out of home. Do you have anything else to add to the survival list? Leave a comment down below!

Until next time,
Sophie.

 

How Not to Die in your First Year of Uni

I know what you’re thinking, uni isn’t that bad right? Well you’re correct. Uni is easy! It’s like riding a bike. And the bike is on fire. And the ground is on fire. And you’re on fire. And everything is on fire because you’re in hell.

Just kidding…

But really, uni isn’t exactly the cruisy, “party-all-day-every-day” lifestyle that everyone makes it out to be. Surprising right!?

Rewind to my first day of uni. Spanish lecture at 12.30 on a Monday. I was so terrified of not being able to find the lecture hall that I actually arrived at uni at 10 o’clock and walked around like an idiot for 2 and a half hours. Yet I still managed to be one of the last students to actually arrive to the lecture. Good one, Sophie.

The main point of my little recount is that uni is actually pretty damn stressful. Think of having four 1500-word essays, a 15 minute speech, 85 pages of reading, 24 take-home-quiz questions, a group presentation and a research report all due in the same week, and that basically sums up your entire time at uni!

Okay maybe I exaggerated a little. but you probably will feel like you’re about to die at 27 different points through-out each semester. So I’ve decided to offer you a little bit of advice to ensure you don’t drop dead and leave nothing but your hex debt for your family (I know we all secretly wish the latter of the two would actually happen).

Advice time!

  1. Your subject outline is actually a life saver

The learning style at uni is completely self-driven. It’s not like high-school where teachers remind you of homework and assignments and make sure you’re up-to-date on your classwork. At uni, you’re expected to know what’s due without anybody telling you. And this is why your subject outline will become your new best friend. It literally tells you every task that you are required to do through-out the semester. It’s basically the university version of a high-school teacher, except with less nagging and more paper and staples. If you follow your subject outline, I guarantee you won’t miss a single task (I hope).

2. Use your breaks wisely!

In my first semester of uni I used my breaks for catching up with friends and going shopping at the mall. Don’t do this. It’s not smart. I found myself struggling to catch up on lectures and staying up to 3am just to finish homework questions for my next tutorial. If you are smart, unlike I was (don’t worry, I’m wiser now), you’ll use your breaks as study blocks to catch up on notes and work on assignments. That way you may be able to avoid the 3am cram sessions (no promises on that one).

 

sense

Image via: buzzfeed.com

3. Go to O-week

Aside from all the study and stress, the social side of uni is also something you’ll be experiencing a lot. I’m not encouraging you go out every weekend and party, but the university social life is something you probably won’t want to miss out on. I do recommend going to o-week, and not just for the free stuff at the market stalls. Orientation week is actually a really good way to meet friends, get involved in campus life and learn your way around the uni, as well as getting free food and partying of course, because what uni student doesn’t love that!

4. Don’t forget to eat!

This probably seems stupid, and I probably sound like your mum, but eating properly at uni is actually super important, and it’s something I learnt the hard way. Apparently living off a bread and m&m’s isn’t a sufficient diet (although it is a great way to ruin your immune system!). But really, I learnt that eating properly is not only important for your heath and well-being but also assists in helping you stay awake in lectures. Concentration is so important at uni, and eating a healthy diet and getting a good night sleep will allow you to achieve that. You need energy to study, and eating proper food is a much better idea than taking half a packet of NoDoz, trust me.

So there you have it, my 4 pieces of advice for staying alive during your first year of uni* (*based on personal experience, results may vary from person to person). Take it or leave it, but university is definitely one of the most stressful and most enjoyable times of your young adult life, so just remember to have fun and make the most of it while you can.

Until next time,

Sophie

How to be a “Less Poor” Uni Student

If you’re a first-year uni student who has recently left the nest and is living out of home for the first time, chances are, you’re going to struggle with everyday adult tasks like buying food, paying bills, washing clothes and remembering to brush your teeth (please tell me this last point is pure sarcasm and no one actually forgets to brush their teeth). In my opinion, everyone struggles when they first leave home. It’s almost like a tradition that is meant to be fulfilled. First-time renters living off two-minute noodles and 85 cent bread that tastes worse than your neighbours soggy doormat is a normal way of life. Right?

It’s a fact, a huge proportion of uni students struggle when they first leave home. Paying rent, buying food, transportation to uni and the cost of textbooks can be costly and overwhelming. But with a few tips and tricks that I have developed in my first (extremely expensive and exhausting) semester at uni, you too can cut the cost of living and start savings those pennies.

help-me-i_m-poor

Grocery shopping

A little trick I have developed in my time as a university student is visiting my local Woolworths at night. Why is this you may ask? Reduced prices. At the end of the day supermarkets drop the prices of the products that expire soon. And this doesn’t necessarily mean expiring the next day either. I frequently do my grocery shopping at 8 o’clock at night and pick up tonnes of bargains that don’t expire for 3 or 4 days. 3 litres of milk for $1.20, a kilo of chicken breast for $4, a 6-pack of rolls for $0.75, two t-bone steaks for $3.30. In fact, on my last grocery shop every single product I purchased was reduced. I walked out of Woolworths with 7 bags of shopping that cost me $27, and saved $49 just from buying reduced items. If you ask me, that’s pretty damn good.

Another top tip is buying fruit and vegies from a fresh food market. They seem to have considerably lower prices than supermarkets and a huge range of produce. The prices at my local fresh food market are so ridiculously low that I have stopped buying fruit and vegetables at supermarkets all together. Just last week I picked up a kilo of sweet potato for $0.88, a kilo of apples for $0.99, 3 cobs of corn for $0.99, a kilo bag of carrots for $0.70 and 3 broccolis for $1.65. I literally paid for it with money I found on the floor of my car.

Pro tip: if you come across a fresh food market, it is most definitely worth checking it out. Seriously, do it. I saw some pumpkins for 80 cents a kilo yesterday.

Paying bills

The only advice I have for paying bills is, save. Save, save, save, save, save. Don’t get caught up not paying your electricity bill and having to shower in the dark with no lights on until you dig up enough money to pay it. Create a separate savings account containing money that is purely for rent, electricity, water and internet. Deposit money from your part time job or youth allowance each week or fortnight into this account and LEAVE IT THERE. Even better, setting up a direct debit for things like rent and internet payments make life a whole lot easier. You don’t need to worry about forgetting to pay the bills because the money will automatically come out of your account and you won’t even notice it.

Pro tip: Create a savings account that is not linked to your debit card. That way you won’t be tempted to spend the money you specifically saved for bills. 

Phone plans

Phone plans can be super expensive and not offer a great deal of call and internet credit for the price you pay.  But now-a-days there are so many re-sellers that changing to a cheaper plan isn’t a problem. Re-sellers such as Virgin mobile and Vaya use Optus phone lines, meaning you are using the Optus phone tower to receive service. However, their phones plans tend to be a hell of a lot cheaper. I recently made the best move by changing from Telstra mobile to a Telstra reseller called Telechoice. With Telechoice, for $35 a month I receive unlimited text messages, $650 of calls and 2.5GB of internet per month. With Telstra it was costing me $70 per month for the exact same deal. Telechoice provides the same service coverage as Telstra does, as with other resellers who use Telstra towers. My advice: if you can’t afford your phone bill but still want the same service coverage, opt for a reseller of that particular company. It makes a world of difference.

Pro tip: Do some serious research, read some reviews and always read the fine print of the phone plan before signing up (even thought it’s super annoying and time consuming).

Textbooks

When buying textbooks, purchasing them brand new will most likely put you into debt (true fact). But there are ways to avoid this. Buying second-hand textbooks from previous students saves you a tonne of money. A lot of students tend to sell their textbooks on Buy & Sell Facebook pages or sites such as Jekkle at the end of the semester. It’s definitely worth checking out to see if students are selling the textbooks you are in need of for your next semester. Another way to save money on textbooks is to shop around for an old edition. I saved myself $175 on a textbook this semester by purchasing the older edition, which I must add was almost identical the new edition minus a few pictures and examples here and there. The main point is that the content was EXACTLY THE SAME, and I didn’t have to cut off my hair and sell it just to afford the book.

Pro tip: Whip out your bartering skills and offer sellers lower than the marked price, if they are desperate to sell the textbook, you may be able to save your self even more money.

Transport and Parking

If I could give a uni student any piece of money saving advice it would be DO NOT PARK ON CAMPUS IF YOU ARE NOT A MILLIONAIRE. Parking in a carpark at the university will send you broke in about 5 hours. It is very pricey and can be very easily avoided if you stop being lazy and park a few blocks away and walk to the uni. Simple. Even better, carpooling with friends is an awesome way to save on parking and petrol. Not only can you have an awesome road-trip-like experience whilst pumping the jams on your way to uni, when everyone puts in money for petrol, it turns out a lot cheaper than travelling alone.

Pro tip: Getting to uni a little earlier than usual increases your chances of not having to park 3 suburbs away. If you really do want to avoid the uni car park prices and find a free spot within walking distance, DO NOT hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off.

So there you have it, a few little money-saving tips and tricks that I’ve developed over my first semester at uni that I felt the need to share (mainly because 99% of my friends constantly complain about being ‘a poor uni student’, but don’t we all?). But if you follow these simple tips as well as adding in some of your own money-saving magic, I can assure you that you will be a less poor uni student.

Until next time.

Sophie