Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saving on hot drinks

It's the time of year when the floods start falling from the sky and when I cannot manage to get my feet warm or dry. Oregon winter. Ugh. What makes a prolonged day on campus a little less cold and drippy? A hot cuppa! Of course, a regular mocha habit is not exactly the cheapest of indulgences, so here's how to enjoy your hot drinks on a budget.

Most important: bring a reusable mug with you to campus. I am the worst retainer of travel mugs (I broke one in a fit of rage and misplaced the other), but I am determined to hang onto the one that I got for Christmas. A travel cup is excellent for bringing drinks from home, which are infinitely cheaper than even filter coffee on campus. If you are buying on campus, every EMU run shop on campus (including the Knight library) offers a 25 cent discount to anyone who brings his or her own cup. Bonus!

If you don't have a mug of your own, but like to drink a lot and pay a little, consider buying a Giving Mug at the Duck Stop in the bookstore. They are $9.99, you get a coupon for a free drink, and you can get a 16 oz drink for the price of a 12 oz every time you use it. $1 of each sale of a mug goes to the Moss Street Children's Center to support childcare at UO.

A little trick I learned: If I bring a tea bag in my lunch, plus my travel mug, I can get hot water at the library coffeeshop for FREE, and I've got a steaming cuppa that cost me pennies instead of dollars.

Mondays and Wednesdays are usually when I find myself dragging on campus. Lucky for me, that's when the Duckstop offers $1 coffees! On Mondays, they offer a $1 12oz that has twice the caffeine of regular house coffee. I only had the supercharged drink once, but I tell you, I was a GENIUS for hours afterward! On Wednesdays, they offer $1 house coffee in any size. Travel mug discounts may not apply at the Duck Stop, because I have never been offered one when buying my $1 coffees, but that may not apply to all drinks.

In this stormy weather, let's tip back a cup of liquid sunshine on the cheap!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Student Services: UO Health Center

Enrolled UO students who pay student fees are entitled to services at the Health Center. Because of the fees that we pay each term, we can get discounts on prescriptions and over the counter drugs, free counseling, super cheap clinical visits (though you are charged more if you miss your appointment), access to the travel clinic, affordable teeth cleaning, and free contraception through CCare. Unfortunately, ladies are no longer offered a free yearly exam through CCare. When you call to make an appointment, just ask how much it's going to cost. There are also regular health workshops that we can take advantage of, though I'm not sure how much those cost. A big bonus at the UO Health Center is this big table with jars full of free chapstick, earplugs, tea, and prophylactics to grab whenever you want. And if you're sinking money into your bad habit, you can get help to quit smoking at the UO Health Center. Might as well, since you won't be able to smoke on campus next year anyway.

UO Health Center

Counseling & Testing Center

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"How your broke ass can give back"

In the spirit of skint, here's a video showing how you can support charity when you haven't got a dime. He says he'll donate a penny for every comment, so spam him hard.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Freedom from want

In the spirit of Christmas, let's talk about the pressure to buy, buy, buy, and how to avoid it.

Let's face it, we're surrounded by consumerism. Ads and sales and store windows encourage us to buy, buy, buy. Even local media reports on releases of the latest game system or iphone. How is a skint student supposed to get by when everything around us tells us how much we NEED? Basically, avoidance strategies.

Watch not, want not
Don't watch commercial television. Even during the news, flashy ads try to convince us to try a new flavor of Mountain Dew, tease us with buy one/get one sales and get into our heads with repetition. It's what they get paid to do, make you want to buy. If you never see the ad, you have no idea how much you need it.

Ignorance is Bliss
Unless you are planning to go into the tech industry, it's probably safer not to follow technology blogs. it will only make you feel like the phone/computer/game system/mp3 player you already have is not good enough. My brother is a gadget guy, and falls into this trap a lot. of course, he makes more money than I ever will. i say, if it still works, it's good enough.

Lead us not into temptation
Don't go window shopping at the mall for fun. It's a nice idea to "look but don't buy" but the siren call to open your wallet will be strong. Stray not from the straight and narrow path to the thing you went in to buy and hurry back to the cash register. If you're going to Fred Meyer for groceries, enter and leave by the doors closest to the groceries without wandering into the department store section. just keep telling yourself, "I don't need it. I'll get one after I get that high paying job." Or if you're like me, "Hmm, how can I make that out of scraps from MECCA?"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Fun Day in Springfield

Note: This is my baby. I have wanted to put on a positive Buy Nothing Day event for a long time, and it's finally coming to fruition. I'm STOKED and I hope lots of people can come (hint hint)

Free Fun Day
November 25, 1pm-5pm at The Gathering Place, 230 Main St., Springfield, OR

With help from MECCA, The Gathering Place offers a fun, creative alternative to Black Friday. On the day after Thanksgiving, come with family and friends to make recycled crafts and enjoy a potluck meal. Why chase sales when you can make recycled gifts for your loved ones? Free Fun Day is low stress, no cost to you, and is a great green start to the holidays. For more information, contact me, froregon (at)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update on banking fees

Thanks to a highly publicized petition through, a number of banks that had previously stated that they would be implementing a debit card use fee have heard their customers. One of my banks that jumped on this boat, Bank of America, has said that it will not charge me $5 every month to use my debit card. That may not be all that matters (Kudos to those who took the plunge and switched to credit unions) but it matters to me financially as a student. Dodged that bullet.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Extreme Skint Tip: Change your handwriting

Do you find that your handwriting is usually large compared to your classmates? Are you still using wide ruled notebooks? Are you going through tons of paper each class? You may want to consider changing your handwriting. Make it smaller. Get the letters closer together. If you're using a pen, switch to a fine ball point. If you use mechanical pencils, use .5mm lead instead of .7. With more words on the page, you'll use less notebook paper and confuse handwriting analysts.