Surviving the recession

It seems like we’ve all heard the bad news about the economy—companies going bankrupt, people losing their jobs and the stock market descending.

It seems like we’ve all heard the bad news about the economy—companies going bankrupt, people losing their jobs and the stock market descending. So what is a college student to do? Here are a few tips, some are practical and some maybe not so much, but all are ways to handle the stress of the disappearing bulge in our once hefty wallets.

Making money
Scour for gigs. Jobs may be hard to come by, but odd jobs are always out there, from the sensible “Part time Personal Assistant” to the outlandish “Wanted: Women with big, beautiful feet.” If you are a Jack or Jill of all trades, you can make a nice sum of cash. Many of these are only one-time deals, but you can also find part-time work in this section of the website.

Move to the Midwest. A little drastic, maybe, but right now jobs in Wyoming and South Dakota are booming. If you want to venture into the fantastic world of mining, or are just desperate to survive, it could be the solution. Especially if you love 4-foot snowdrifts, bars on every corner and being bombarded with country music!

On a more serious note, employers in those areas are so desperate for workers that many are willing to even pay room and board. Even a summer spent in this small area of the country where jobs actually seem to be attainable could earn you some good money for your time and inconvenience.

Sell clothing at consignment stores. This isn’t a way to make hundreds of dollars, but you can make some extra money buy taking those jeans you never wear anymore and carting them over to a place like Spanky’s or if you’re trendy, Buffalo Exchange, who will give you money for them.
Saving money
Do you really need to buy the most expensive food out there? Don’t you think you could survive without 100-percent organic food from Whole Foods in your cupboards? A perfect recession recipe is good ol’ rice and beans, offering complete protein—and those items both come rather cheap.

A classmate of mine also confessed that tuna, mustard and steamed rice are surprisingly good together. Leave it up to a college student to know an amazing conglomeration of ingredients to make a tasty and affordable dish.

Invest in a bulk store membership. We all have to use toilet paper, so you might as well buy enough to last you a year and pay way less for it.

When using liquid laundry soap, and you are at the end of the bottle … use a pair of pliers to pull out the handy pour spout, and you will get another two loads worth of soap! Or those little end bits of bar soap … save them up and place in the toe of a worn out pair of panty hose, tie them shut and you can use up that soap without the bits getting lost!

Shop at thrift stores! Be advised, I’m not talking about the trendy little shops that offer gently used vintage for more than it would cost to shop in a department store. I’m thinking Goodwill, Salvation Army, stores of that ilk. Half of my closet is stuffed with clothing that was someone else’s trash and my treasure.

If you have mending or sewing skills you can get really creative here. If you are really good, you can make a lot of your own clothes and save even more!

Book prices, whether for textbooks or just pleasure-reads, can add up as well. The Web site allows you to trade books with other like-minded individuals, so all you pay is shipping! Finally you can read all those novels you’ve wanted to, and not have them lying around your apartment afterward.

And check out, it’s a great resource for college students as well. It allows you to rent your textbooks for a small fraction of what it costs to buy them, even at a used price. Not to mention that Chegg also commits to plant a tree for every book rented. Going green never looked so enticing or easy!

Craigslist to the rescue again! If you haven’t checked out the free section here, you are missing out. Find glorious items such as a free pet rat, a Red Bull cooler or a eucalyptus tree! More practical items abound here as well. There is also

Friendly advice
Don’t let your debit card become the enemy. Too often, like credit cards, debit cards are a temptation to spend when you really shouldn’t. Set an amount of money each week that you can afford to blow, and pull it out of your bank in cash.

When the cash is gone, you are done. Don’t take your debit card with you to places like Northwest 23rd, the bar, Powell’s or anyplace else you might feel tempted to go on a “the economy sucks” spending therapy session.

Maybe we are headed into the next Great Depression, maybe not. In either case, be a trooper and be prepared!