Ways to pinch a penny

Mar 302004
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

As a cheerful, rosy-cheeked optimist, I try to find the best

parts of any situation and focus blindly on them. So with CSU’s

pending budget cuts, I set to work like an eager beaver with an

endangered redwood. You know how politicians say children are the

future? Well great news! This budget massacre means they think

we’re officially adults!

Here’s the situation. The state won’t give CSU money. We’re

college students, and we have no money. Without money, our degrees

become worthless. This will lead to unemployment and the demise of

capitalism, the enslavement of mankind and a crippling chocolate

shortage. But I may just be seeing the world through my

rose-colored glass shards.

With money-tree technology not panning out, the only plausible

solution is to increase tuition. This could cause problems for many

students, whose parents aren’t made of money, or those whose

parents are only made of ones and fives. But did you know you could

scrounge up several thousands of dollars in just a few weeks with

the following simple money saving tips? It’s true! Kinda.

If you buy your own food or just wish you did, you’re probably

overspending. You’re trading something that does not grow on trees,

money, for something that does grow on trees, food. All kinds of

common plants are edible – the forward thinking pioneers actually

imported dandelions to America as a food source, and today the

sour, disgusting, pervasive weed is still just as technically not


There are other ways to get cheap food if grazing isn’t your

thing. Many wedding receptions have great big tables filled with

free food. With the clever application of Tupperware, the leftovers

could last longer than the marriage and be twice as delicious. In

fact, any public gathering is a potential free meal. Business

conventions, political rallies and even an unguarded pic-ah-nick

basket all mean free food.

There are other places where you can ‘trim the fat’ besides

watching what you spend on what you eat. What better way to save

money for education than by cutting the money you spend on

education? It’s not uncommon to spend hundreds of dollars on

textbooks, and it’s equally as not uncommon to never use those

textbooks. You can cheaply replace textbooks with the Internet,

which once you’ve filtered out the lies, porn, mistakes, fiction

and ads, is a veritable thimble of useful information.

By now you’ve probably saved at least $1,300. But if and when

the public funding dries up and the university needs to lean its

massive weight on the student body, your financial pelvis simply

can’t be strong enough to support the educational behemoth. CSU

needs to earn some money of its own.

Traditional methods to rake in the cash such as bake sales,

bootlegging, car washes or parking tickets simply won’t pull in the

kind of dough that’s needed. A lesson can be learned from history,

wherein lies one of the most successful examples of reverse

psychology, prohibition. All the university needs to do is ban

liquor, and students will feel compelled to buy it illegally. Then

just invest in a share of profit from the local liquor stores, and

all the university’s financial problems will melt away in a drunken


With these sensible suggestions, the student body could easily

afford a massive tuition hike. The taxpayers were right not to

assist higher education, as they need to save their money in case

one of our current stadiums gets dirty and we need to buy a clean

one. If only we had power equal to the awesome might wielded by

taxpayers and voters. If you are lucky enough to know someone with

the power of vote this November, try to convince said voter to

elect an official who will either fund higher education or further

money-tree technology.

Jonathan’s column runs every other Wednesday.

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