Tag Archives: money

The Grown-Up Life: Getting My Bank Fees Waived

So earlier this week I did a thing that made me feel pretty grown up, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Last weekend, I put the finishing touches on my website for when I graduate (See? So grown up!) and I needed to buy a domain name. I decided on http://www.littleharpontheprairie.com. Side note – if you click on that link it will help me rank higher on Google searches :)

So anyway, I tried to purchase the domain, and the transaction failed. I got a message saying that I was refunded. I decided to try again, to see if it was a one-time thing. Still failed. I decided to wait until Monday, when finally it worked.

Fast forward to Thursday, when I get an email from PayPal saying there were insufficient funds in my bank account. My heart stops. What? I log into online banking to see that those two first failed charges were processed and the refunds didn’t come in time, so I was looking at two NSF charges of $45 each. Yikes! My PayPal has always automatically paid with my credit card, not my chequing account, so I was shocked and upset that this happened.

Cue an hour of being really upset and feeling really, really dumb. “Isn’t there any way to fix this?” I cried. So naturally, I Googled it. Turns out if you just phone your bank and ask, they’ll waive a fee for you. I did just that and got one of my $45 charges removed. They could only remove one, they said, and maybe if I was a pushier person I could have gotten the other one removed too, but I was just happy that I got anything at all.

I’m still out $45 dollars, but that’s a lot better than $90! And I felt pretty smart that I figured out how to do that, so my ego was soothed too. The main lesson I’ve learned here, though, is that I should always double check my payment method when using PayPal!

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Cooking: The Second-Year’s Nemesis

Chances are, if you were living in residence for your residence, you are now living in some sort of accommodation that includes a kitchen and now you are staring at the cupboards and appliances which stare back at you unhelpfully and you realize: you have to cook for yourself. Yikes.

Maybe you’re one of those people who always cooked a lot for themselves at home anyway, so it isn’t really a big deal, but I am not one of those people; my parents always made the meals in our house. That’s just the way it was. So when I was left alone in my kitchen to try to feed myself, I was anxious. What should I make? Will I screw it up? Will I make a mess, will I break something? Will I over spend on food?

I’ve been cooking for myself for approximately the past two and half weeks (although it feels much longer than that), and I’m feeling much less nervous now. Once you get the hang of things, it isn’t so hard to manage. So although I am no expert, here is my method of feeding myself and relatively healthily and cheaply.

  • Start with what you know. Make a list of all the things you know how to make and what you’ve made before. Gather recipes that your mom made at home so that the familiar tastes will remind you of home and not feel like such a shock. Speaking of mom, get her to walk you through some basics of cooking and a few of your favourite recipes before you leave.
  • Plan ahead. Figure out what you want to eat for most of the week and do a shopping trip at the beginning of the week so you don’t have to go to the store every other day. That way if you also need to take something out of the freezer to make later that night, you’ll remember and not have to deal with frozen pasta sauce that won’t come out of its tupperware.
  • Freeze things. Cooking for one can be challenging, especially since most food is sold in fairly large packages.There’s nothing more disappointing than having your food go off before you can eat it, and things like pasta sauce and cheese can go bad pretty fast. So once I open a jar of pasta sauce, I freeze in serving-size tupperware what I don’t need right away, and when I buy a package of cheese I grate about two thirds of it and freeze it and leave the rest in the fridge. If you’re sharing a fridge/freezer with a lot of people and don’t have room, you’ll have to get creative. Maybe try coordinating shared meals with your roommates? I only have to share with one other person, so I have it easy…
  • Cook ahead. Cooking during the week when you have no time can suck, so making a larger meal on the weekend and then eating leftovers all week can save you the trouble. This week is taco week for me!
  • One thing I like to do to stay healthy is to make sure I have at least one thing from each food group in every meal. Well, the big meals anyway. Breakfast I tend to skip out on the meat group.  I find the hardest thing to get enough of is fruits and vegetables, but what I’ve found that fresh fruit and vegetables like grapes or carrots can easily be added to a meal to fill it out. And frozen vegetables like peas and corn are SUPER easy and fast to make in the microwave.
  • My words on eating cheap: stalk the flyers, take advantage of deals, and don’t buy what you don’t need. Good deals are a no brainer, but sometimes people forget that they don’t really need chips or granola bars, or the most expensive brand of cereal.  In addition, meat such as chicken is usually much cheaper than its equivalent in beef, so maybe hold back on the cow.  Budget yourself, and see what you need to improve on in your spending habits.

I think my favourite go-to food is the quesadilla: fast, easy, and melty-cheese-good. Probably not coincidental that it’s also one of my favourite comfort foods. :P

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Filed under Suite Life, Wellness

Need a Job? Work on Campus

Are you looking for a part time job for during the school year? The bad news: so is everyone else. The good news: UBC has tons of opportunities for employment for students, so your chances of being employed aren’t actually that bad.

Work Study/Work Learn

Work Study and Work Learn is a program run by Career Services that “supports and subsidizes meaningful work experiences on campus.”  “Work Study” is the program name for domestic students, whereas “Work Learn” is the program name for international students. It’s pretty much the same thing; international students, just make sure you have a valid Study Permit and Social Insurance Number.  All Vancouver campus students currently enrolled in courses at UBC and with a valid UBC student number.

Hours are 10 or less per week, and pay is generally pretty darn good. Jobs offered can range from lab assistants to research assistants to working in various UBC departments or libraries. The goal of these programs is to give students professional experience, in many cases in the field of their study.

Most Work Study/Work Learn positions were posted last week, but more will continue to be posted until mid-September. Be sure to apply soon, as positions are often filled before the final application date has passed.


Work on Campus Week

This week there will be a recruitment fair in Brock Hall, 1874 East Mall. Drop by between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on the following days to meet employers on campus. Remember to bring your resume!

Monday, August 27th – AMS Food and Beverage

Tuesday, August 28th – Parking & Access Control

Wednesday, August 29th – AMS Retail

 Thursday, August 30th – Annual Giving

(Annual Giving is a call centre that calls alumni and asks for donations.)
For more information, visit Careers Online.

Don’t forget, there are plenty of other job opportunities post on Careers Online throughout the year, so take a look at those too.

You can also apply to work for UBC Food Services or the UBC Aquatic Centre or the many independent businesses on campus, such as Save On Foods and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Happy Hunting! (Bet you thought I wasn’t going to mention there are only 8 days til school starts, didn’t you!)


Filed under Campus Life, Suite Life, Uncategorized, Wellness


Finally, the weekend!  Hoorayyyyy! *does happy dance*

Well, as of today, I’ve gotten through two weeks of classes.  I’m really enjoying all of them, and I don’t get too much homework, but I’m looking forward to getting some time to just chillax in my dorm room and just veg out.  I actually love just sitting around not doing much, but homework doesn’t really agree with that behaviour… haha.  It can wait til tomorrow.

I’m starting to watch myself in terms of how much money I spend; I’ve already been to the ATM twice this week.  I spent some money on breakfast foods so I don’t have to go to the dining hall every morning (which I think is justifiable), and I bought a house t-shirt, and then I went thrift shopping with some people from my house to get more of my house colour (orange isn’t a plentiful colour in my wardrobe), and then I ate supper at Fresh Slice yesterday (which by the way is really really yummy pizza for pretty cheap – the only thing is they don’t take the UBCCard), and then today I went and got the marbelous cookie again… oh my guilty pleasure…

So I haven’t spent TOO much as of yet, I just need to watch myself to make sure it doesn’t become a habit.  After all, I need that money to pay for my residence.  I’ll let myself eat out now and then, as long as most nights I do eat in the cafeteria.  And there’s this tuque at the Outpost I really want… well.. maybe next week, if I’m a good girl. :P

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