Guest Post: Introducing… BROWS

10 Mar

Hey guys, Brows here (and if you think that nickname’s odd, you should know they used to call me Miles for my apparent resemblance to Miley Cyrus)! I was asked to write a blog post for the ever-witty ‘Chopstick and Chunks’, so I thought I’d write about something that plagues a great many of students and young adults – finance.

I’ll take that £2.27 – That would buy me a pint!

From a student perspective, it’s easy to run out of money. Whether it’s rash spending (I’m a beggar for buying books and alcohol – an odd combination, perhaps, but that’s English Literature students for you!) or those pesky nights out that start with a sensible ‘I’ll just have one or two’, and escalates to buying everyone in the bar a sodding drink. Even if you’re the most sensible student on earth, accidents happen, and you’ll more than likely end up broke and living on 15p noodles at some point.

Prevention is kind of obvious – cutting back on the booze, getting a decent shop in when your money first comes in, crap like that – but that’s not going to help when your money’s already gone. So, I thought I’d put together some tips for what happens when you hit panic mode.

1)      DVDs and GAMES. Have a large collection? Selling your DVDs is an easy way to make cash when you’re broke. Places like CEX are excellent for this, especially since you can check on their website how much they’ll buy them for. Just ask yourself – does my flatmate have this DVD? Do I really need it? Can I watch it online instead? Depends how cautious you are on the last one, I guess! But a small stack can make you a pretty penny if you need it – and you can always buy it back later. Games tend to fetch more if they’re recent, so it’s always worth considering.

2)      BOOKS. Got a ridiculous sized text book from your first year, or something relevant to student studies? Most universities hold book sales in their on-campus libraries. I know with the two universities I have been to, you handed your books in along with how much you wanted to sell them for. At my last uni, if they weren’t sold you got them back – bonus, since if all else fails you can flog it on eBay. Ever had a book that cost forty-odd quid? Think how many students will want it if you sell it for £20. Even if your uni doesn’t run one, it’s not hard to club together with mates to hold your own, and there are shops that will buy off you. It’s worth checking for a local buy-and-sell Facebook group, too – or Gumtree.com if you can’t find one. I’ve made a pretty penny both ways.

We need a banana for scale here.

3)      CLOTHES. These can be a bit harder to sell unless you go on eBay. While worth it, eBay can be a bit of a hassle, so it’s worth having a nose around your local town or city. Most places will have boutiques that take in your clothes to sell on, and pay you a percentage of the profit once they’re sold (usually around 60%, which isn’t bad). Handy if you’ve got a nice jacket you’ve outgrown, or something new and unworn that your grandma sent you and you hate. Not the most instant way to make cash, but if you hit the fashion trend, you’re gold. A lot of small retro/vintage boutiques have sprung up that specialise in this, and since vintage seems to be the in thing of late, you can make a killing. It’s worth tapping into Google, too, since there are a few online places for this – something I know my sibling uses for survival!

4)      BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION. Now, this is up to your individual conscience for this one. If you have a British Heart Foundation charity shop nearby, it’s worth signing up for a donation card. Costs nothing, it just means that with it, the BHF earns more from selling donations. What it also means, however, is that your details are one file. So if you have clothes or books you can’t sell elsewhere, donate to them, and a little while later, you’ll get a letter through the post. This letter will tell you how much profit was made, and tells you to get in contact if you want all or part of that money. Pretty nice of them, huh? I personally couldn’t do it and let them have it, but it’s good to know that it’s there if you’re desperate.

Bart tells another incredibly amusing fart joke as Lisa plays air guitar.

5)      ACCOMODATION POSTERS. You may have noticed that electrical devices are really frickin’ hard to sell – charity shops and the like don’t take them, and very few people will buy a spare toaster off eBay.  It’s worth advertising in your student halls, if you live there. I recently sold my printer using that method. However, here’s an important tip: if you’re advertising by poster, DO NOT put your number on it. You’ll get pranked the hell out of, I guarantee it. Instead try your email address. Much safer. Of course, when it comes to phones/game consoles/music devices, it’s worth trying places like CEX first. But if it’s not going to earn you much, this method is handy for spendaholic students passing by (much like ourselves!). Try the communal areas for this.

6)      RUMMAGE! My last proper tip is to look through your old baggage. Do you have stuff left at your parent/family’s house? If you’re anything like me and my mates, you probably still have a good few boxes of stuff hiding under your old bed. Have a think about this. If it’s not in your flat, then do you need it? Are you missing it? I tend to find it’s mostly CDs, since they’re all burned onto your laptop anyway. These are best flogged on eBay for £2-3. Sounds cheap, but if you think – sell five and you have a tenner. Sell ten and you have £20. Beautiful! But yeah, if you’re not using it, chances are you don’t need it. So next time you visit your mum, have a poke through it.

There! These are the tips I’ve used to minimize my own damage. Prevention is better, but mishaps happen to the best of us. Sell your rubbish, buy the cheapest stuff, and you’ll be financially healthy in no time. And try to limit those mad nights out, eh?

All the best,
Mr. Brows.

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