Cheap and cheerful way through college
Turn your back on brand names and only buy own-brand foods – you will save yourself a packet. A litre of milk from Avonmore costs €1.14, a litre of Tesco milk costs 75 cents. Find out when your local supermarket discounts food that is about the go off (if you don’t want to ask in-store, ask online). The big retailers sell a lot of food that is about to pass its use-by date every evening after 5pm, so if you time your shopping right, you will do well. Buy produce that it is loose rather than already wrapped and keep an eye on the unit price rather than the price on the shelves.
Visit cheapeats.ieevery now and then. It has a lot of feisty content about where to get eats that are, well, cheap. The site also has a weekly wrap of the specials on offer in supermarkets around the country which will make your life easier.
The best way to save money on your shopping is to get it for nothing. If you’re in the market for free stuff, then check out Free Trade ( dublinwaste.ie), the Dublin local authority’s online initiative which helps people pass on their unwanted household items for nothing. If you’re not in Dublin, check out freecycle.orgor jumbletown.ie
4 Learn to brew:The brew-it-yourself movement is hot and can save you a mountain of cash. A starter kit is for sale on thehomebrewcompany.iefor just €50. For that you get a fermentation vessel, a thermometer, syphons, a capper, bottle caps, a steriliser and the ingredients for 40 pints of lager or cider. Once you have the kit, the ingredients cost less than €20, which means your pints will cost you under 50 cents a pop.
“It is very easy to do, it really is basic,” says Mick Carr of the Homebrew Company. “You get much better beer this way, so it is not just about the money, it is also about the taste.”
If beer or cider isn’t to your taste, the same company is selling wine kits for €22 and the kits are enough to make 20 bottles. Sounds disgusting, right? Apparently not.
“Some of the wine is great quality,” Carr says. “You’d be surprised. There are not that many chemicals in it, so the hangovers are not bad.” Hmmmm. We’re not entirely convinced by the merits of homebrew wine but it might be worth a go.
5 Sign up:Join the most well-organised club or society in your college even if you have only the most passing interest in what said club or society does. It will have biggest budget, the most regular parties – with food and alcohol – and you’ll get to meet a whole bunch of potentially nice folk into the bargain.
If you’re looking for freebies, get on the mailing list of every gallery in your city. There will be openings and at those openings there will be wine – and maybe cubes of cheddar cheese on cocktail sticks if you are really lucky. You will also be exposing yourself to a bit of culture – what’s not to love about that?
6 Coupon culture:During Freshers’ Week, you will almost certainly be given all manner of coupons and you don’t actually have to be a first year to get your hands on them. Just make sure to hang on to whatever coupons you get. You will need them before the year is out.