I was clicking my shiny new gel nails off my shiny new MacBook the other day, pretending to be writing the next great American novel, when it occurred to me how things have changed. It’s mad, really. All that has changed.

For instance, luminous leg warmers used to be in fashion during the 80’s. And then again during my teenage disco days (or did I just think that?), and now they are, like, anti fashion.

Avocado’s used to be those mushy, tasteless, weird green yokes you’d see in the fruit and veg section, but rarely buy. Now its trendy to pay 12 euro to have one mashed into a single piece of brown toast.

Computers, mobile phones, and TV’s used to be, like, really big. Now they are, like, kinda small.

Boys in nightclubs used to tap girls on the shoulder and say “will you shift me friend?” … and well, actually, not much has changed there.

But a huge personal change has recently occurred for me. You see, I used to be a very, very broke b****, but now I’m only a moderately broke b****. As in, I used take money from the Trocaire box to pay for my boxes of amberleaf (that’s a joke Mammy, calm down – I don’t smoke rollies), and now I have some of my own money. Paper money!

Okay, I was lying about the gel nails and MacBook … but I do have some of my student loans paid off. How about that?

Seems like I should use this personal journey to teach all you peasants a thing or two about money, and how I made it through four years of university, without having any.

In a way, this feels like destiny – a lot of my Creative Writing lectures over the years consisted of struggling artists coming in to speak to our class about how we will “be very poor, and probably starve” if we try to make a living from writing. I’ll show them, I remember thinking.

And now, here I am, an intern editor-in-chief, sucking up a salty bowl of ramen noodles, which I bought with my own money. (Aldi, 29 cent).

I think the time has come to swallow my noodles, and hand you the bowl (the bowl will be heaped high with knowledge instead, that I shall feed you – *don’t try use these kind of metaphors at home, I have a university degree in creative writing).

Okay so, in today’s lesson, I will make a list of every possible way there is to survive without money in college, and feed it into your hungry little beaks, or whatever.


1) Leave the card at home

Once upon a time there was a college student who brought their bank card to the club. Let’s call her Caoimhe, because that was her name.

Long story short, Caoimhe decided to buy a round of jager bombs for pretty much everyone in the club.

The next day, Caoimhe realised she had no money left in her account. She had to eat cereal for a week. The cereal wasn’t even nice cereal, it was the healthy one that tastes like cardboard.

Caoimhe never brought her card to the club again. Instead, she counted out some of her paper money and decided “this is what I will spend tonight”, and headed off to the club with the best drink offers on.

The End.




2) Toilet Paper

Hey, did you ever notice those toilets on college campus? Did you ever notice that they are usually stocked with toilet paper? Did it ever occur to you that you could easily stuff your bag with a few slices, or lines – or whatever the correct term for pieces of toilet paper is – and save yourself at least 2 million euro a year?



3) Dates

Here’s your new dating policy: you try to only go on the dates that offer to buy you a coffee/drink/meal/bag of chips.

Obviously, it’s 2017, and we’re trying to be equal and all that – so, alternatively, you can try using the line “Oh Gosh! I seem to have forgotten my purse!”



4) Beauty Samples

This trick will be more suited to those of you who are majoring in drama, as it takes the particular skill of acting. However, I personally did not major in theatre studies, but used my flare for being unreal at everything/four years of practice, to perfect the act – so don’t give up hope.


What you need: 1 Brown Thomas Store, 5 pieces of make-up terminology, a good Sunday jacket.


Throw on your sensible Sunday jacket, to give you the “potential money spender” look, and wander into your closest Brown Thomas, with your head in the air. (NOTE: It’s important to keep your head high, as otherwise it will be obvious that you are totally intimidated by all the beautiful people and things you will probably never afford).


Find your beauty counter of choice, and score yourself a bag of free samples, by using no less than five make-up terminologies. Here is a sample copy of my script:


“Hi, I’m looking for a foundation with *excellent coverage, that’s not *drying on the skin. I want it to be *long lasting, and not too *oily either … I have *combination skin, so I’d prefer to try out a sample for a week or so before I purchase. I’m currently using *insert another expensive brand name here*, but I’ve heard great things about this particular brand from *insert name of beauty blogger here* …”


In order to have enough samples to get you through the college term, you should only have to perform this act once or twice per month. If you feel the Brown Thomas staff becoming suspicious of you, try borrowing your friends Sunday jacket and doing the act under a disguise.




5) Other Samples

It has come to my attention that often, there are food samples being giving out at supermarkets. If you ever find yourself in this situation, take as much as you can!

17 pieces of turkey on cocktail sticks are better than no pieces of turkey, as I always say.



Here’s a poem I wrote one Valentines day. It’s inspired by how those little sachets in restaurants save money and lives, so I honestly don’t know why I wrote it on Valentines day, but whatever. Here it is:


I’m so broke, but it’s not my fault.

Thank God, for sachets of salt.

I’ve no money, I’ll never develop,

If I don’t steal some sachets of ketchup.

I’m very poor, but at least I’m not prego,

That would be worse than robbin’ sachets of Mayo,

I’m absolutely skint, I feel like a beggar,

Please can I take a few sachets of sugar?




 7) Call over for tea

According to experts (me), if you call over to a mates house for tea in the evenings, or during the middle of the night, you will drink less tea at home.

‘magine all the tea bags, electricity, water etc, you’d save.


8) High Blood Pressure

According to science (I think), the higher your blood pressure is, the warmer your body temperature.

If you keep your blood pressure fairly high, by reading ridiculously sh*t articles like this on oxygen.ie and becoming infuriated about how they got published, you’ll never have to turn the heat on! Win Win!


9) Fly back into the nest

For the second semester of my third year, I decided to fly back home to my nest, where mommy and daddy bird were waiting with lots of dead worms for me to eat.

I saved at least ten euro every week, because I live in the country and there was no other birds my own age to drink cans with. It was nice.




10) Chat the Arse off a Taxi Driver

Most of us do this anyway … but if it’s not saving you any money, hunny, you’re doing it wrong.

Replace your usual “Are ya busy tonight?” with “Hello, I’M so busy. Busy being broke, trying to finish college, so that I can get a job to pay off my loans that I got to go to college in the first place. I actually have no money at all, I had to take money from the Trocaire box to pay for this taxi. So essentially it’s you that’s taking money from the trocaire box. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?”


Caoimhe Tully