If you have been in Jamia for a while, chances are that you have heard or seen your friends, acquaintances and even yourself acting frugal at times. If you are not a native of Delhi, and have come here only for your Bachelors or Masters degree, you would know by now that money is tight and that Delhi is hell of an expensive city.
Though parents might make sure that you keep receiving a steady in-flow of money from home, the real problem is sustaining a respectable lifestyle in that shoe-string budget you are required to live by.
Probably when you were younger, money did not seem like an issue, but now that you are out and about, Gandhis seems to be slipping out of your hands more often than you can afford to. So this new-found adventure of attending and surviving college needs to be paired up with a check on your spending.
A smart financial plan to avoid being broke in Jamia will pay off in the future — the future being the next movie release of your favourite Bollywood star.
Things that could save you from being broke:
Mobile Phone Recharge: Surely, one cannot deny the fact that mobile phones are the Gen Y’s bridge for successful relationship building and maintenance. For those of you away from your families, mobile phones become all the more significant. And of course, every now and then, you also like to tell your Facebook friends about how many sleepless nights you have had in the past week or how you would like to be at any place other than the 9:15 a.m. class every morning. Though all mobile service providers are soulless blood-sucking parasites, try to find one of those Friends Packs that suit you the most.
House Rent: – If you have a family to stay with in the city, you’re among the lucky ones. If you got a room at one of Jamia’s hostels, you’re still lucky (we’ll talk about bad hostel food in the next point). But if you’re one of those stranded souls left alone to fetch a house for yourself, then look for a roommate to share your flat with. As of now, Jamia department washrooms are considered to be the most popular places to put up notices that say ‘Looking for a Roomate.’ After all, everybody with a bladder would see it.
Food: My sympathies with those who eat at the Jamia hostel mess. Compassionate mothers might shed a tear or two for your thinning weight, but the uncompassionate ones would argue that it is life’s hard way of teaching you the value of a good home-cooked meal that you never appreciated before. On days when you cannot stand potatoes floating in cooking oil, turn towards the Central Canteen. If not better food, at least, it offers you more options. FX Cafe, on the other side of the campus, seems to be for the Richie Richs, and they are a bit stingy with the food too. They will rarely fill your plates up and definitely never your bellies. Maggie Point near the Academy of International Studies is a little too far, but do walk the distance when your pocket makes you see cheap noodles as the main course.
Travel: Though you might graduate by the time the Delhi Metro starts running through the campus, the DTC bus will serve you all through your years here. Skip buying tickets every time you hop onto a bus, and get your student’s bus pass made. Yes, the long queue of students outside the office in the Proctor’s building seems intimidating, but don’t lose focus of what you will get: A one-time payment for all your bus travels at least for a semester!
Books & Text materials: The Zakir Hussain Central Library is there for a reason. Use it. Get your student’s library card made as soon as you join Jamia. In case, you need to buy some books, consider shopping online at Homeshop18 which offers more discount than Flipkart does. On other days, get some friends together and explore Nai Sadak in Old Delhi.
Scholarships: Apply for scholarships. Keep an eye out for when the forms are out. Applying for scholarships can be time-consuming, but if you think you deserve one, then it’s completely worth a try. Score well in your exams and who knows, if you’re lucky to be among the top scorers, you might be monetarily rewarded at the end of the year. Never underestimate the value of a few extra bucks.
Remember, it is important to set your priorities. Perhaps you could skip watching Salman Khan’s latest release, and instead invest that money you would have spent on movie tickets in buying a study lamp for your table. Your roommate might appreciate it as well. And just because you believe you are your parents’ favourite kid, doesn’t mean you can get away with drilling holes in their pockets. Monitor your ATM usage.
Getting a part-time job is usually not a feasible option, for juggling work and studies is no child’s play. If you’re considering being an intern somewhere, remember, even the best internships in this country do not pay.
And if at the end of the month you are left with a little bit of money, treat yourself. After all, you deserve a reward for planning your expenses so carefully.
[R. Nithya, class of 2013, is a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. This article was first published in the 2013 edition of ‘Episteme’ — Dept. of Political Science’s annual student magazine. We republish it here with permission.]