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Tips For Ballin’ On A Budget

3 - Published December 3, 2009 by in The Life

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What’s good my Lax Brethren? Max Pro here for the fourth time on LAS to blow your mind with some advice on making life a little easier. My 4 1/3 years at the U of Oregon have been a massive roller coaster, zooming from living the chill college life to a deadly combination of broke, lost, hungry, and behind in school. I’m here with a few tips that got me through some tight spots and were easy on the wallet.

Google = Free Stuff

google_docs_logo

Screw you, Bill Gates

I’ll start with the uber-user friendly company Google. I use gmail, search, and image search like everyone else but if you didn’t know they’ve developed some other really cool, free stuff. When my trial ran out on Microsoft office on my laptop, I was  in a jam and needed  to write and email assignments to professors from my computer. As an econ major, I also had to run spreadsheets and create basic graphs.

This put me at a crossroad because I was not willing to cough up the dough for a very expensive computer program. My refusal to buy forced me to an alternative and thank the internet gods I found Google docs, the free equivelent to Microsoft’s Office. Not only is it free, and able to save in Adobe, Word, and Excel, but it autosaves to your online account nearly every minute. So if you wrote a paper on your laptop and it fried mid-sentence, you’d be able to run to the library, finish and print your paper without losing much, if any, of your document. If you need you can get homies or classmates to collaborate on your project simply by sharing the doc with them online. Meaning, you can make huge study guides that you and whoever you choose can dump information simultaneously into the same document. Check it out, its money.

Bonus Google Tip: Not having an iTouch or iPhone is kind of a bummer. I can’t check LAS on the bus, or store tons of music on my phone, or any of that other cool app stuff. Balling on a budget forces you to make decisions and that’s life, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be useless if your stranded without internet. Try texting 466459 (Google, its free) and type in something like “Pizza Hut (your zip code or city, state)” and boom you get a text back telling you the addresses and phone numbers of all the Pizza Hut’s in your area. Pretty handy when you’re out of town or are lost and need to call your destination for directions. It can even answer some trivia, test it out let me know if you find out it can do more stuff. I’ll admit it has given me a few answer to crossword puzzles, I’m not proud of it but if you’re not cheating you’re not trying.

Forget Buying Textbooks

Buying books for class is ridiculous. You have to pay hundreds of dollars to buy a book you only want for about three months, then have no other choice but to resell it to your peers or the bookstore for a hefty fraction of what you paid. Like paying for Microsoft, I refused to give up my dough and searched for an alternative. After trying to split books with classmates and attempting to buy books online, I settled with just not buying books at all.

Nearly every professor keeps one or two books on reserve at the library all the time, as long as you don’t leave your homework or studying until the last minute, you can get all you need out of the book at the library, or even check it out overnight. Be smart, don’t go buy all the books the first day. You’re not a putz. Roll with the class and only buy the books are absolutely necessary. Then laugh at all the noobs that complain about dropping five hundo on some stacks of paper binded together.

Get Lost

Your iPhone can't help you now.

Your iPhone can't help you now

When it comes to maps, I prefer not riding with a GPS. I feel a sense of direction is a invaluable life (read: man) skill.  Like being able to make a good sandwich, catch a football, or start a badass fire.

Having a computer screen tell you exactly where you are and where you are going detaches you from your environment and for me, the mental spatial mapping. I’ve gotten lost my fair share amount of times this fall through my migrant worker travels, but I always find my way back using one of my (no joke) 3 maps/gazetters that I keep in my car. As a bonus, everytime I get lost I learn something about that area and increase its familiarity. This may sound dumb to some of you that use the GPS and can’t tell what direction you’re currently facing, but good luck when 2012 comes. That zombie virus is finally going to get out, satellites will be abandoned, and you won’t have a clue how to make it to the safe bunker that’s “five miles south of 121st and Baseline” without your precious digital voice baby walking you out of the driveway. Don’t worry though, I’ll be at the bunker, taking fatty sidearm rips at zombies from the roof.

Like Mom Says, “Buy Bulk”

Costco: so cliche, everyone knows it, but nobody shops there in college. I stop there every time I drive by just to buy the hotdog/soda deal, or a chicken bake, or a salad, and/or a smoothie, or a sundae, or a churro. Man, I love Costco.

Like Willy Wonka but with packaged goods

Like Willy Wonka but with packaged goods

Any young man that had a Mom cook for them growing up probably has the problem of getting tired of preparing every meal or is a terrible cook. I’m the former. Costco has every meal you could every imagine to throw in a microwave, oven or toaster. IN BULK!!! Frozen mini hamburgers, frozen hot wings, frozen chicken tenders, even frozen french onion soup. Even new video games are 10% cheaper at Costco. I could go on and on about TV’s, batteries, jeans and socks and what a great deal I always get but I think you guys understand by now.

OK, Jar Jar Bro’s. Go forth with what you’ve learned here, get out there, and BE somebody. You’re welcome.

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About the author: Maximizing Prophet, an economics guru,, is transitioning from former laxer and student to current coach and laborer. When he isn’t doing work, Max Pro loves to throw it up in the gym, rip five hole all day, and bump Jay-Z like he’s from Marcy Projects. Additionally, the Prophet blindly reps Nike, the Ducks, the Blazers, Tillamook Cheese, Joey Harrington, the Willamette Valley, Deschutes Brewery, and The Simpsons because they’re from Oregon.

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