A letter to the new students of Ireland
We know you’re not great with money, so we are writing to you with some tips to help you keep within a budget
Dear students: we know you’re not great with money, so we are writing to you with some tips to help you keep your spending under control until you start working in four years’ time
Dear students of Ireland,
Congratulations on getting into college. The Leaving was a nightmare, wasn’t it? Still, it’s in the past now and, aside from the recurring nightmares that will haunt you for the next 15 years or so, you don’t need to give it another second’s thought. We know you’re not great with money – hardly surprising as you’ve never had any (pocket money doesn’t count) – so we are writing to you with some tips to help you keep your spending under control until you start working in four years’ time. In Australia.
First things first. Stop smoking. Please, just stop it. I know, I know, all the cool kids smoke and you want to be like them, and I know you think a cigarette dangling from your lips makes you look like James Dean (it doesn’t). But believe me when I say that smoking cigarettes is one of the stupidest things you will ever do.
Forget the health implications – obviously, as an 18- or 19-year-old, you are going to live forever, so that isn’t a factor – but money is always a factor. If you smoke just 10 cigarettes every day between now and the moment you graduate, you will end up spending €7,300. With that kind of cash you could afford a skiing trip each winter and a two-week blowout in Ibiza every year. Or, alternatively, you could almost cover your registration fees.
Once you’ve given up fags, take up cycling. Don’t be tempted to buy some rusty piece of crap (it will be a nightmare to maintain and will end up dying a sad and lonely death on a campus carpark), and don’t even think of buying a shiny new hybrid either (that will be stolen faster than you can say: “I think the postmodern discourse as elucidated by Roland Barthes is so outdated.”
What you really need is a nondescript second-hand bike that looks a lot worse than it is. Shop smart and it should cost you no more than €200, to which you need to add lights, a helmet and a lock. Your total spend should be no more than €300. A student 30-day bus and Luas ticket, meanwhile, will cost you €98, or €882 over the course of the student year. So that’s €500 more you’ll have come June. Oh and don’t even think about getting a car until you are at least 25. They are ridiculously expensive. And taxis are, for now, out of your reach. Just accept it.
Food for thought
If you can’t cook already, learn. It’s fun, cheap, better for you and a great way to impress members of the opposite (or the same) sex.
The first thing you should do is steal one of Jamie Oliver’s books that your parents bought years ago and haven’t looked at since Blur versus Oasis was a thing. Many of the recipes in his Naked Chef books, in particular, are idiot-proof, cheap and delicious.
There is also a whole raft of websites devoted to student cooking. Check out studentrecipes.com, which is written by students for students. But books and websites aside, the most important thing to do is cook without fear. It is simple.