I read an excellent article in The Yorker recently, about how to save money as a student. Having implemented several of the suggestions myself, I am now roughly as parsimonious as a crazed ascetic.
Now, some might say that if you spend the university experience scrimping on everything, sprawling on your pennies like an impoverished Smaug, and having a grand total of no fun’s a bad way to live. But they’re totally wrong. With this in mind, I have compiled some further tips.
Firstly, food. It’s just lying around for free, if you just get a little creative. Use food banks! Loot Waitrose bins (they throw so much stuff out!) Forage on campus, and in the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. Make a stew every day from your housemates’ leftovers and clipped nasal hair. Just put a pittance of thought into it, for god’s sake.
Water bills? Just shower in the Sports Centre every day. DUH. It’s free, and seeing those savage sweaty men every day might actually force you to improve your own physique.
You will discover a new world of excitement if you manage to get by without electricity or clothes. A novel world of dark and visionary naked dreams lies before you.
Walk everywhere. You do not need a bus or a cycle to get around in York: just learn the shortcuts and walk everywhere. Returning to your home in Surrey won’t feel like an automated, quotidian experience: it will feel like a grand pilgrimage towards Eldorado to reach the ancestral home of your forefathers.
Next, drugs. Do you really need to spend money on drugs? Experience has taught me many fun AND ENTIRELY COST-EFFECTIVE ways of experiencing the same rush of emotions. Go to church! It’s free, and it will involve the same convulsive wittering, the same ecstatic conversations with Italian men who you’ll never see again, and exactly the same communal energy, without the annoying trip-hop beats.
Now, for a house, squat around York. Sleep in churches, perhaps. There’s a nice little church with a radiator, and it also has a 14th century Northumbrian Doomsday myth emblazoned on a stained glass panel.
A TV? A computer? What do you think you are, a student?! Follow my advice, worthies: when you want to entertain yourself, head down to the York Magistrates’ Court. You won’t be charged a single penny (unless you actually get nicked). The characters you will witness will be more morally ambiguous than the best-written characters in The Wire, and the whole thing will end on a never-to-be-resolved cliffhanger. This is what people demand from television these days. You’ll just see less cocaine trafficking, and more cases of people swinging their member provocatively in York Zoo.
That’s the way to live. Miserable. Miserably RICH.