Having No Money and Having Fun Anyway

Naomi at Comiccon

We’re at week 4 of our Montreal session, and everyone is pretty settled in. Our rooms are starting to look more like actual humans live there, and I’ve finally caught on to which way I need to turn the keys. Unfortunately, living in Montreal is fearsomely expensive, and I quickly ran out of funds after the first few rounds of groceries and miscellaneous events.

By out of money, I mean out of money. However, I told my bank account not to cry for me, and I was going to figure out how to have a good time anyway. I’ve had a great time so far. So, here’s what I did and some suggestions for if you plan on coming up here with a tight budget.

DO FUN MATH

Nothing is more fun than playing Sims in real life! I did some amateur budgeting and figured in living costs… then spent the majority of my time figuring out what I’m going to do with my “fun money” ahead of time. If I don’t do that, generally it starts to seep away into snacks and other less memorable things. I knew that Montreal Comicon was coming up, and that there was a big Star Trek event there. I am a huge Trekkie (Picard > Kirk, fact) so I had to be there! The entire cast of Next Generation was having a panel, and if there’s anything I’d throw down money for, it’d be to see my favorite people and heroes actually existing. So, almost all of my money went towards that. No regrets.

STAR TREK

This event was the coolest thing I’ve ever gone to. I was determined enough to not only get the Gold Tickets (ooooh!) but to go by myself. I couldn’t get any of my friends to throw down to see people they didn’t really know, but that’s okay! Walking into Comicon, fully “Femme-Trek” and with a homemade Geordi LaForge VISOR, down the gold lane felt really powerful. I sat next to some British guy, and we bonded about our favorite characters, tech majors, etc. When the cast actually came onto the stage, I couldn’t even contain my excitement. After an entire lifetime of watching Star Trek: TNG and being inspired by their worldview and technology, which has arguably led me to take on the Game Design major (Holodeck game designer? PLEASE.) being able to see them in the flesh was entirely overwhelming. They’re real people, just like me, and that was a bittersweet realization that my “heroes” are really just a bunch of people trying not to bump into furniture, but also that I can totally attain my goals because I don’t need mystical properties. I’m just a human, but humans are great. I learned a lot about the cast and left feeling a little surreal but happy.

CHEAP THINGS

So, considering I put down on Star Trek and a metric ton of chocolate milk, I was left with little to no money for a while. I had to get creative with meals, and find cheap things to do around town. Here’s the suggestions I have so far!

GROCERY STORE LURKING

Hanging around Provigo is entirely worth it. They have great deals from time to time. I was lucky enough to come upon the sale of Barilla pasta for .99 cents each, and you bet I lived off that and parmesan for a good week or so.

Cat cafe 2

EXPLORING

Duh, right? I’ve spent a lot of nights walking around the city or even Place Des Arts. Great water displays, interesting people, and a great host for long conversations with new friends. We’ve happened across some small parks, and it is truly satisfying to find beauty in the city in your own trail blazing glory.

CAT CAFE

Cat cafe

No, really. A cafe full of cats. This was the highlight of my entire college experience, for the cost of a really cheap hot chocolate. Go in, get a pastry, and play with the extra-chill cats!! They will love you and you will love yourself.

SCHOOL TRIPS

Generally, I don’t like school trips. High school gave me a bad taste with a flurry of field trips I’d rather have played hookie from. Montreal has some really kickass events though, and they’re generally paid! Go take advantage of free food every moment you can, and go to the museums and other events. We’re going to see a crazy science and color movie soon in a dome theatre, and that’s going to be amazing.

Long story short, don’t let money get in the way of enjoying yourself! With some light budgeting and attentiveness to the city around you, there should be no problems and enough money to get some crepes once in a while. 🙂

– Naomi Fambro, Game Design Major, Official Blogger, Fall 2014

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