holding up a sumo orange

Thrifty Ways I Get By On a Student Budget

I have not paid for a phone plan in over five years. Even if a phone plan is twenty dollars a month, the little costs do add up (that is 240 bucks a year!) People are generally shocked by this. They ask me how I was able to email them while out on my commute (there are wifi networks within TTC stations and a Starbucks seems to never be far from wherever I stand). They ask if I am able to make calls to landlines (I use a free app called TextNow). Yet yesterday, when I confessed that I had no phone number to a professor who was about to iMessage me a few articles to read, he replied: "I didn't have a phone plan for five or so years during graduate school, too."

vegetables on a conveyor belt at checkout
When grocery shopping, I try to buy all the produce that is on sale for the week, with an emphasis on carrots, rice, and other veggies that store well.

Getting by without a phone plan is one way to save yourself a few dollars (and spam phone calls) a month. But there are also other small tips to save pocket change. If you bring your mug into a coffee shop, places like Sorry Coffee give 25 cent discounts to those who BYOM (bring your own mug). In addition, the less obvious is... if you bring a large mug, then no milk will be wasted in making your drink! The mug I bring is has a 700ml capacity, which usually leaves ample room after all the milk has been poured in (for a mocha, per se).

a bowl of chicken, carrot, celery, and tomato soup
A bowl of chicken tomato soup I prepared the other day. I like to add in some jasmine rice, which I cook in a rice cooker beforehand.

I also have gotten into the habit of making my own soups instead of buying them from grocery stores or restaurants. Beef bones are often extremely affordable—even at nice butcher shops and at Whole Foods. A couple pounds will cost maybe six or seven dollars and yield a large pot of stock. Veggie scraps you have leftover (celery ends, woody parts of asparagus stems, carrot peels) are also excellent for vegetable stock. Though few shops sell chicken bones, I had discovered (over a phone call) that Cumbrae's on Queen and Bathurst will give you these bones for free if you call and ask at 11am. They take the meat from their rotisserie chicken to make sandwiches and have nothing to do with the bones, as they don't make chicken stock.

a bag of chicken bones
Here are the bones of one chicken. Note how it is not all bones, there is a bit of meat. Though if you are making chicken soup, you'd probably want to throw a chicken breast in the pot, too.

Do you have any thrifty tips and tricks? I'd love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below.

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