"Being Not-Rich at UM" Guide

Submitted by wildbackdunesman on April 18th, 2018 at 7:09 PM

A UofM student created a guide for students at UofM that don't have a lot of money on how to find deals, get good jobs on campus, etc..  You can find her guide here - LINK.

I certainly wasn't poor, but I wasn't rich either.  I often meet fellow UofM graduates and as we talk they rattle off a dozen or so of their favorite Ann Arbor establishments and I always feel a bit ridiculous as I never have been on the inside of most or even all of the places that they go on and on about.

I simply couldn't afford to eat out a lot.

About 20 years ago when I was living in West Quad they didn't serve dinners on Sunday evenings.  So my roommate and I would grab loose change and walk up State Street to a place that I think was called "State Street Liquor," because they had a special on Sundays where you could buy an entire extra large cheese pizza for like $5.  We would pour the free crushed red pepper seeds all over it in the store and then take it back to the dorm room.  I thought it was pretty good and it was a lot of food...half the pizza could stuff me and for just $2.50.

Does anyone have any other tips for those currently at UofM that don't have a lot of money?



April 19th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

Back in the early 90s, the econ department and B-school sometimes ran trading simulations where they paid participants. Your pay was based upon outcomes of the simulation, but you generally pocketed arround $20 for <=60 minutes. Sometimes you would show up and they would have too many people and they would still pay you $10-15 to go away. Back in those days you could stretch $20 to two nights of drinking and a slice or two.


April 19th, 2018 at 3:24 PM ^

about Amos Tvesrky who was a psych researcher/professor at UofM starting in the 60s.  He's essentially the father of behavioral economics and a bunch of theories about decision making and common errors of the human psyche.

Anyway, he essentially started these paid experiments first at Jackson State Prison by offering inmates candy and cigarettes to participate in studies.  Since college students are just about as deperate, the practice soon found its way to campus.

I feel like you have to participate in at least one voluntary psych experiement at UofM as a requisite for a true UofM experience.


April 18th, 2018 at 7:21 PM ^

long ago...about 30 years ago living in West quad, they used to hand out coupon books. Inside they had BOGO for Tubbys with purchase of a large drink. My Sunday consisted of two Jumbo famous with a large lemonade...I could milk that out for lunch and dinner and survived it. I also spent quality time in the cafe trying to get there at open of a meal, ate, did homework, goofed off a little, had another small meal before leaving for class as I was trying to bulk up at that point. Usually maximized meal time. Another nice skirt around, during spring break, we were given meal stipend money...and East Quad dining was still open for Inteflex...so we cashed in on both ends of the deal. 

With all of the opportunity on campus, there is always work available if you look for it. roommate worked at the Union doing night security and just scheduled classes later in the morning. Another was a bouncer at Ricks, I worked at the track and tennis building after practice and on weekends making some decent cash. They also hired ushers for football and basketball games and paid OK. I worked security in the press box for hockey...still balanced sports and school...it's not impossible.


April 18th, 2018 at 8:36 PM ^

I only went there once and that was years after I graduated.  I took my future wife and sister there for lunch...if I remember right my bill for our three sandwiches, sides, and drinks was something like $65 and that doesn't count extras that they bought to bring home.  All told, I dropped $100+ there.

I was so happy to pick up the tab for them.......but didn't voice anything...


April 19th, 2018 at 3:29 PM ^

than I ever did while in school.  In fact, I can't remember ever eating there while in school and none of my friends went either.

The expensive restaurants (Anything on Main St., Gandy Dancer, etc) were treats for when the parents came.

It was a lot of $5 footlongs from Subway, Mr. Spots and tons of pizza for me while in school when I "ate out". Otherwise, a lot of PB&J sandwiches, spaghetti and other cheap stuff cooked at home.

What's Good Fo…

April 26th, 2018 at 11:10 AM ^

When I was an undergrad Zingerman's started making their own bread for sandwiches. The heels would be left over so right next to the register they would sell little bags with three or four heels in them for a quarter. Those were great because the bread was so substantial and chewy that you could make a meal out of it--even if you weren't full your jaw would be so worn out from chewing that you would have no desire to eat for a while.

I was there a few months ago and found out that they will still sell you heels for ten cents each. I bought ten and got three lunches out of it for a buck.

East German Judge

April 18th, 2018 at 7:24 PM ^

You can work in the Dining Halls starting at $11/hour as a student, they supposedly really need student help so an easy job to get, probably get free food also I would guess.


April 18th, 2018 at 8:54 PM ^

I worked at several sororities.  In retrospect I probably should have gone for student halls although I lived off campus all 4 years.  The pay was about the same but in the student halls I would not be hand serving fellow students like I did at sororities.  That sucked.  I took psychology tests that paid 40 bux usually.  


April 19th, 2018 at 3:34 PM ^

what I would consider the worst job I've ever had.

Usually there were no books to put away so when that was the case, you had to just go into the stacks and read through all the texts to make sure they were all in order.  Had to document your starting spot (which was where someone else documented a stopping point), your ending spot and all of the books you found out of place. The most tedious thing ever.  I didn't last longer than a few months.


April 18th, 2018 at 7:29 PM ^

Shit, even when I had money (thanks to a fellowship for my Master's year and the internship I had that paid me reasonably well for doing basically nothing while living with my parents), I rarely ate out. My roommate and I bought really cheap stuff at the grocery store (dinner was often garbage-tier deli sandwiches or pizza rolls), and our idea of 'eating out' was going to Subway before games at Yost.

I did occasionally treat myself during my grad year to a nice beer or five at Ashley's, especially once I accepted a job offer around Thanksgiving. At that point, I was in my "survive to get your degree and go make real money" mindset.

Winchester Wolverine

April 18th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

Not a UM student (though I wish I was) but I grew up in a poor family of 9. My mom always got creative with meals.

Pro tip: If you're on a shoestring budget, ramen, instant mashed potatoes, and bisquick will get you a long way.


April 19th, 2018 at 5:43 AM ^

My Depression-era Mom used to take leftover spaghetti noodles, mix them up with scrambled eggs, and serve that. My sisters hated it, but I never understood why. It's eggs. It's spaghetti. You like them separately. What's wrong with them together? (That's a mindset I've retained into my adult years.)

Addendum to your pro tip: Cooked macaroni is a great meal stretcher, too. A cup of that, added to a can of chunky soup, makes a half-assed stew that really isn't too bad. It's certainly filling.


April 18th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

But “being not rich in college” I waited tables at Outback full time all 4 years. Rarely left without food I would eat after the bar or for breakfast.

Brian of Ohio-…

April 19th, 2018 at 3:35 PM ^

Me too, for the same reason. At the time, Michigan was $23,000 per year for tuition out of state while life in Oxford was only like $12,000 out of state.

Plus, Miami accepted my college credits I earned in high school, while Michigan said no. I walked into Miami as a second semester sophomore with 1/2 my Miami Plan classes out of the way.


April 18th, 2018 at 7:41 PM ^

This was 15 years ago but the students working at the Subway in the basement of the Union had a BLATENT disregard for the guidelines on how much stuff they're supposed to put in a sub.  Ask for everything and you'd basically end up with two subs worth of stuff crammed into one bun.

The Heidelberg has free chicken wings and nachos from 5-7pm on Friday (unless they've changed recently).  That used to be 90% of my Friday caloric intake.