Tag Archives: electric

Student Voices: Life on a Budget

“…anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a serious lack of imagination.”
– Oscar Wilde

Going Out

“MIIS offers monthly happy hours with kegs, wine, small appetizers, and a fun crowd that is free so long as one brings a cup…”

“Clubs like the United Nations, the American Red Cross, and the Environmental Task Force offer free movies and activities during the week and weekend…”

“Volunteer at tourist events, such as the Monterey Jazz Festival and Wine Tasting Weekend. By volunteering, the sponsor will often provide you with a free admission ticket.”

“The aquarium usually costs $20 per person; however, they offer one week in December which is free to everyone living in Monterey County, with proof of residence.”

“Peter B’s Happy Hour: You can’t beat this happy hour. Featuring a wide selection of appetizers for a few dollars each, and don’t forget the $2.50 beer.”


“…arrive at the Farmer’s Market right at closing time, and many food vendors give away or discount their remaining food.”

“Check out the Produce Market, a small, well-priced store on North Freemont Street.”

“Save coupons until the item goes on sale, then receive the coupon discount in addition to the sale price, which will often save 50% or more on the item.”

“…shopping in ethnic grocery stores is the cheapest place to find rice, curry pastes, etc.”

“What about those Starbucks lattes, macchiatos, and mochas? You can make those at home…All you need is a French press ($20), milk foamer ($10) and some great coffee ($6). Add some cocoa or caramel syrup to your espresso before adding the foamed milk and voila! Fun under $40 (that’s about 10 Starbucks mochas) you’ve invested in your coffee drinking for the duration of your time at MIIS…”

Bills (Ya know, the one’s you have to pay!)

“… to those who have just arrived in this country but have no cell phone to make local calls. You should download Skype. Then you can make free phone calls in the US with this software. It helped me a lot when I first arrived here.”

“Share a wireless internet signal (and monthly cost) with immediate neighbors.”

“Everyone at MIIS has a unique ability or talent that someone in the area could benefit from: tutoring, offering language practice or lessons.”

“[Use alternative rates on utilities] PG&E’s California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) Program offers a 20% discount on your energy bill.”

“Study at the library rather than at home. Not only will the distractions be less but your lights are off and your laptop is plugged in somewhere else.”

Saving Energy



Heat and air conditioning are the largest home-energy hogs. The U.S. Department of Energy says that for each 24-hour period, you’ll save about 3% on your energy bill for every 1 degree that you lower the thermostat setting.


Switch to “U.S. Energy Star-approved” light bulbs and save up to $60 a year. Most people spend about $110 per year on lighting using incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs cost more, between $4-$8, but pay off quickly. They also burn less fossil fuels. If every American home replaced one bulb with a fluorescent one, that would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.

And More…

  • Turn off the TV when nobody’s watching it. Having a 32-inch TV on for background noise for 12 hours/day for 7 days/week costs approximately $108/year. Watching it 4 hours/day costs $36/year.
  • Washing clothes in cold water saves another $60/year.
  • Powering down your computer at night saves $70/year.
  • Don’t let your ice box be an Icebreaker! A full freezer will help it run more efficiently. If you have empty areas, place plastic bottles filled with water. The bottles work double-duty. You’ll be more prepared for electrical outages because the ice will keep things frozen longer and you’ll have a safe emergency water supply.