Its 1st october 2010 and the current academic year has just begun. Bristol which is a university town is suddenly aflush with students. Autumn is fast setting in too. I see students everywhere buying everything from chopping boards to knifes to bags of shopping to set up in their new homes for the year and they come from everywhere around the world and U.K! Welcome dear students, summer gets rather quiet when you guys are not around.
I always do my very best for these students by making them feel Take 5 is a place in Bristol they can receive the human friendships and caring these students received back home, apart from feeling a sense of being acknowledged and recognised. My worst nightmare is being in a town where you are treated as a stranger and have no places where you can drop in and feel at home. Over the last 14 years, Take 5 has been a place where students can have dinners, birthdays and parties or just drop in to use the wi-fi, have a latte or a quick chat.
Every time I see a student, I see a potential adult taking the crucial step of education in his/her path to the fulfillment of career and life goals. Nowadays, education involves taking out huge student loans even for hefty fees and I wish there were more ways they received advice and tips as to how to cut their costs. Some tips I can share are as follows:
1) Cut out unnecessary activities which zap money like smoking or buying drugs. Reduce drinking to a minimum as well as clubbing.
2)Use your credit card only for emergencies. Budget all your expenditure and buy only what is absolutely necessary . Shun expensive labels and always eat before you go shopping
3)Food is a big expenditure. Hence look for places that serve affordable value meals and limit your eating out. Plan your food shopping very diligently by making a list of meals you wish to eat in a week. Utilise all left overs. Try making food from scratch without wasting too much energy and time on it. One pineapple for around £1 will make you about 3 jars of fresh pineapple jam. Likewise one whole chicken for around £4 could be hacked up and roasted into a curry lasting 3 days. Try making your own humus, guacomole etc. Your refrigerator will be stocked with food that you made yourself cheaply that you can pack into sandwiches and share with others. Always share what you cook to spread love!
4) You can also do away with most face creams and hair creams etc. Instead buy a bottle of carrier oils such as almond, grapeseed or coconut oil and a few tiny bottles of aromatherapy oils you like e.g lavender, lemon, orange etc(these are unisex oils with fresh citrus smells). In the palm of your hand stir a few drops of carrier oil and a few of your favourite aromatherapy oil and massage it gently into your scalp and to your face. This will be cheaper, fresher and chemical free.
5) Use your hot water, heating and electricity with care to cut out wastage
6)Try to get part-time/casual work so that instead of going out on weekends and getting drunk and losing all your money, you could be working on friday/saturday evenings at a hotel earning money , meeting nice guests, learning bar work and gaining work experience.
7)Learn to say no, instead of a big yes to every invite for a night out. Instead focus on staying at the library, and doing assignments, preparing for exams, reading up etc.
8)Treasure every penny and pound you have. That is either borrowed or hard earned money in your wallet and it needs a rethink before you spend it. Always think of alternative ways of doing things, and arranging your schedule, friendships and activities, so they are not timewasting, tiring, destructive and a strain on your finances.
9)Choose your friendships wisely. Some friendships can result in bankruptcy, hurt, becoming alcoholic and drug dependent. Others can result in an improvement of lifestyle and personal empowerment and enrichment.
10)Exercise care and caution so you are not a target of parking fines or pickpockets or muggers. Bristol offers a lot of support for any problem you may have and never be shy of discussing things with your gp, personal tutor, or support organisations.