A Wise Broke Student Investment

I may be a college student for the moment, but unlike other students that sustain themselves off Ramen noodles, school meals and cheap lunch meat, my kitchen and belly is always full. Call me the Coupon Queen if you want. I’m all about saving some money.

Here’s another saving tip for you folks out there. Throw out that printer you may have gotten with your laptop and get a laser printer. I never thought about how much I would spend on ink until my first semester. At about $22 for black and another $25 for color, that was almost breaking the bank whenever I needed to print things that the teacher would post online for the next class.

A regular printer about $50 for ink and yes the printer itself was cheap, but on average I was having to get new ink about once a month.

The average inkjet will do about 200 or so pages, don’t quote me and the average laser will do about 1500- 2000 pages before running out of ink.

One semester I really needed a new one, I was finally tired of getting new ink and went out and bought a basic black laser printer from Wal-Mart, spent about $130 bucks, thought about getting another toner while I was there, but it came with one and decided to wait.

I bought that back in late June. I was still running with the same original toner that it came with up until last night when nothing would print. I had a refill toner kit that you put into the existing. It was only $14 and decided that it was worth a try. After watching a video on how to put it in, I was printing a report within 10 minutes at the cost of $14 instead of $65 (at the cheapest I found)  and it’s probably going to last me almost another year.

So donate that free/cheap printer you have and get yourself a laser and it’ll save you some major bucks.


College plus Work

I’m really in a writing mode today, I’ve updated the About page and this will be my second post for the day.

My management professor told me the other week that he is on a committee of sorts, can’t remember the name of it, to get students more students involved at school. It has been a problem where students essentially just go to class and may do other things that the school does.

The biggest issue that has stuck out is that most students, traditional and non-traditional students work. With working in the management class group, the biggest issue is availability to attend the amount of events that we need. And that goes with the work and class.

Most of those jobs don’t have the flexibility of change for their employees that go to school, shifts start and end at a certain time, classes start and end at certain time, classes take additional hours outside of class, and a person needs to sleep and eat and perhaps take of a family or other important activities.

When I was working in the restaurant industry, this is what happened and this may not be for all companies, the standing rule was you give them your class schedule and they would make your work schedule around it. There was a request off sheet, but that didn’t mean you were to have off on that day. Even sometimes, you wee still scheduled for a shift when you were at class or just had 15 minutes to get to work from school. Then the smart ones, would change their availability so that they can have some study time, then the manager would ask why, you tell them you need study time, then they would say to manage your time more wisely and not take the availability change because they only take the class schedule for your time off. I can’t speak for other types of industries or companies, but I am sure that there are many cases that are the same way.

Work places with flexible schedules, that is a students dream come true and hard to find. One of my past classmates works in retail, and his company has told him to put school before work. His work does call him when they need him and usually he does go when they need him. For me I am able to sign up for my next semester classes at least 6 weeks ahead and I let my boss know to get an idea, I know when the business picks up to coordinate my school and work load. When I first started there, I wasn’t sure how she would be with class schedule and she made it very clear to get the classes that I needed with teachers that I wanted and not to worry about work. Now I know when the busier times start and end, to where I can adjust my school and work needs.

Sometimes it isn’t easy going to college and working, but it takes a tremendous amount of stress away when you can do both with ease. Flexibility and the support of work has a big play of it all. Yes, no matter what time-management is definitely key, but when the mass majority of students don’t have the luxury of a full ride to go to college, traditional or nontraditional, work is another aspect of the daily life that is important in order to go to college.

“The Early Birds” Group Work for Management Class

We were given our members by the professor and we are to coordinate group events where we learn about different companies, coordinate schedules, come up with a group work plan with roles, responsibilities, events with at least least two members going to each, a 10 page paper about the group dynamics with appendix and a five to ten minute presentation.

In general, most people hate group work because there is a slacker and you have to do their work for them. My boss has even said the same thing when I told her about it. The one thing that the Professor has emphasized is that he can’t stand slackers. At the end of it all, there is a peer review within the group. I think as he has said it ,”Now I have heard that other professors/teachers do a peer review, but it doesn’t affect the grade. Well, I am here to tell you that isn’t the way I do things. I can’t sand slackers, and if the rest of your group members say that you slacked, then it can affect your grade.” I have worked with groups before where the teacher says that, and well it didn’t really happen that way, but for this professor, I think that it will.

When we had our initial meet and greet in one of the classes, I had said something to the effect of “Can we all agree that we hate group work, my let’s do our part and make the most of it.” We all laughed and agreed.

There’s five of us in the group and during the beginning of our work plan sessions for about one week one of the members never showed up to class when we were signing up for events. One of the members called him while we were working on it to see what was going on. I thing he was surprised when he got a phone at 8:30 in the morning. But we didn’t know and just wanted to know if he was planning on dropping the class or not.

What has been working for us, is to have some meetings before our early Thursday class.At first, we needed to finish selecting events and agreed on meeting at 7:30 (the class starts at 8 and ends at 9:15), During the meeting we knew that we needed to meet on a regular basis, bi-weekly on Thursday before class at the same time. In the first early morning meet, we got so much done; more than what we all were expecting. So hence the name “The Early Birds”.

Too Much Technology

I have been playing around with Outlook. Figured out how to add my Hotmail account into it, that was a pain. Then found out that it wasn’t deleting the emails in the Hotmail account. Apparently there’s different types of email settings POP and IMAP, then there’s the other thing dealing with local and web idk I got lost reading up on it. Then I get on to the Hotmail, and there’s another thing that’s its telling me and all the emails are gone, but they are apparently stored on my computer. Mmm… I gave up on it and will figure it out later.

But then it’s got me thinking, there is just way too much technology, it’s really cramping up my style. Taking four classes this semester, Applied Cal, Political Science, Business Stats and a Fitness class. I don’t want to say how I feel about the classes just yet, don’t want to jinx myself.

But take a look at this…

Math class – uses an additional service for the homework and practice questions (1st new program)

Fitness class – uses an additional service for the homework, has an e-text, has the fitness labs (2nd new program)

Biz Stat – lectures, and excel

Political Science – old fashion lectures, discussions

Not only with some of the classes you need to purchase the key card for it ( I could have bought another book with what I’ve spent on it on the key cards.) But then you have the educational software that the college uses, before it was something, then something else, now it’s the Desire2Learn suite. No wonder so many students find it hard to adapt.

I’m fine using all of the new technology to learn and do daily tasks, but where does it stop? How many more education programs does one have to learn to use by the time they are finished with college? It has gotten to be almost overwhelming. But then, where would we be without it?

And yet, technology doesn’t change… using an old Thinkpad T60 to do all this new learning with.


Smart Cleaning

I hate cleaning! Yes I will let the laundry and dishes pile up. I admit that I am not the most clean person. But that’s okay, because I will never be on one of those house-cleaning or hoarder tv shows. But I’m not here to talk about what I should do and don’t do.

Just a simple trick to cleaning smarter and working less.

Okay, so you have one of those pans or baking dishes that you cooked in and well, lets just say that you left it out and there’s stuck crud or not all of it came off the pan after you let it sit in some hot water. No need to endlessly try to scrub it or throw it away. (yeah, I was like that for a time.) Well here’s what you do.

1. Take said pan with stuck crud and put some water in it. I put enough water just to the top of the stuck crud. Place it over the stove like below and turn the heat on. I did have some dish soap in it from the other dishes that I was cleaning, but no worries. Now let it simmer for a little bit.

Stuck Crud

Stuck Crud

2. Once the water is hot, just take a wooden spoon and start scraping some of the areas that aren’t really bad. Now be careful not to get to carried away and make the pan slip and spill all over you (I’ve done that before. Ouch!)

Just after a few minutes.

Just after a few minutes, stuck crud is loosening up.

3. Now for the harder areas, I find that it is easier to take the wooden spoon the center of it, bare down a little bit and spin it. Helps to break it up, but do whatever works for you.

Freshly rinsed.

Freshly rinsed.

There’s a little bit left, but much better.

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4. Wash the sucker and you back to new.

I’ve used this for all sorts of cooking stuff and have salvaged a few old cooking pans that I was going to throw. Whatever you do, please use common sense and don’t blame me when you burn yourself, trust me I’ve done it before.

Also, you can use this technique to clean your microwave. I would do another post with pics, but I have given up it up over a year ago (it’s in the basement on top of the full freezer, just in case though).

But using the same technique all you have to do, it place a bowl of water in the microwave, set it to 3 minutes or so, then wipe it down. You can repeat the process if one pass doesn’t work.

And remember clean smarter not harder!


$2.58 Rib Eyes

Think this is a joke. That it can’t be done.

Went to the Farmer’s Market with a friend of mine that I’ve known for years, Stroll through, pick up some stuff then to the meat department. The selection puts any other to shame. On the end aisle, there were some rib eyes on sale at 4.99 a pound, put one package in the cart. Keep on strolling picking other meats up, chicken, chorizo, pork chops, ribs that were were almost $11 (last time we grilled out picked some up at the grocery and we paid about $16 -$18.

So here come the beef area. Haaaa gone and went to beef heaven. Why not just say it, the whole farmers market is heaven.

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My friend friend was afraid to look at the total, spent more that I wanted, but then again it has been 6 weeks or so since going real grocery shopping.

They had those packages of meat, uncut and such. At first I thought they were ribs, like I had gotten before, but they weren’t. They were boneless, uncut rib eyes at 4.19 a pound. Uh, yeah. Ended putting the original package of rib eyes up and got one of the smaller rib eyes at 4.19/lb.

When B gets back from doing a weekend project, I tell him I have something for him. “What is it?” “Close your eyes.” I go get it. He’s got his hands out close together. “Now it’s a man’s wet dream when it comes to meat.” “Oh boy.” I drop the whole thing.  Grocery bags are still around it, so he doesn’t know what it is. B opens it up. “Yeah, you can say that.” He looks at the price tag at it. “Not a bad deal.” “No it’s not, especially since they had cut ones for 4.99 a pound.”

On the island…

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B the Butcher eager and happy at work.

“So how many steaks can you get out of it.”

“Um,” he’s studying. “Maybe about 18 to 20.”

Isn't that beautiful
Isn’t that beautiful

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B the Butcher ends of getting 18 of those bad boys, and the little guy there at the end, that’ll be part of steak and eggs in the morning.

There you have it. The whole slab 46.47 and get 18 steaks for 2.58 each. Who could ask for a better deal.

10 Things Missed from Working in Restaurants

10. The cash. It was well, odd getting use to the paycheck. And now direct deposit.

9. The flexible schedule. (needing a day off easy to get someone to cover the shift. Someone always needed cash)

8. Using work as going to the gym. All the walking, a slow shift one could easily walk 2-3 miles a busy shift 4-6 if not more, upper body strength, the most popular dishes were on a big plate that was at least 1.5 lbs and all of the plates were ceramic on top of a large tray and those could easily get up to 25 or more pounds and it’s over and over again.

Let’s say sitting at a desk causes that “computer belly”. As I call it.

7. Working was actually fun. Yes, the stress was there when we weren’t expecting it, but the challenge of the multitasking, keeping up to not “get in the weeds” was what made it fun. Getting to know people, when you get to see people on a weekly or monthly basis, and then you see them outside of the work environment and are able to talk, truly talk to them, it’s just different than any other. I really can’t explain in a list format, perhaps another post on the subject is due.

6. Didn’t have to use the brain to figure things out. Not saying it doesn’t use brain power, but once you know the food and drink knowledge, learning to read body language and personalities everything becomes second nature. It’s even harder over the phone and you are trying to remedy the situation without other visual insights.

5. Dynamics of the restaurant. Not saying that an office can’t be laid back, every office and workplace has a different atmosphere. But in general, the restaurant was a a fun place to be around. Joking around with the bar, tables and staff. It is generally different than anything else, but you can take that and do it over the phone and have the same outcome, being personality and calming a situation in your own way to where it solves the problem.

4. Hearing other people’s stories. In this type of environment you hear it all. And with it you hear the lows, you are glad that you are not in that situation, and the highs where you want to be in that situation. But either way, you know that there is hope for either better yourself and not to get in a certain situation. I just like to hear people’s stories and live through theirs so I know what or what not do to.

3. Socializing with your co-workers after work/time off. It is just different than socializing outside of work than your co-workers in the office. The situation is itself is completely different in many degrees. if you have been in those shoes you understand. Simply, it’s a different beast. (I’ll have to expand on it in another post)

2.Constant contact. For any person, the contact is key to our survival. we wouldn’t be able to live without social interaction.

1. The regulars. Any restaurant wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for there regulars, it drives the business, in a different way than other industries. No business would run without their regulars, whether big or small. At the foundational level the regulars continues a business’s growth.

For that reason, bless all you regulars in any business because if it wasn’t for your simple efforts, no business would succeed. Again thank you!

10 Things Not Missed from Working in Hospitality

10. Complaining. This is too expensive. It’s too dark/bright in here. I can get this at “insert other place” cheaper. I was waiting too long for my table (on a Friday night). It’s too loud in here. I’m not going any further than this. Not going to leave off the internal complaining. I don’t make enough money here. (Mind you always had the good fortune of working at good volumed restaurants). This place sux. I hate so and so.

9. People asking me if my name tag was my real name.

Eh, shrug off. The situation, half Asian and half white so the Asian eyes, yeah I get it why the question would come up, but I don’t speak with an accent. Though I have had people ask me that and

Once there was a couple that were regulars of mine bring some friends in from out of town visiting and was asked that question. One of the regulars said that it wasn’t my real name and said that it was “Jane” or something. Whatever name was said was just perfect.

8. The late nights and weekends. Ugh, good riddance to those. I love the “normal hours” now.

The last restaurant/bar that I worked closed every night at 2. So that meant after closing duties were complete and since it was so late we had to wait on everyone to leave at the same time for security reasons, it was on average around 3 am. Even after getting home, it still took time to wind down. Also, if there were people at closing we were the place to push folks out, though there are some that do. So all in all no getting to bed at 4 am and having to work in the morning.

7. No more getting hit on because you work behind the bar. It’s not a prerequisite that you be single to work here. There was a swinger couple that would come in a spot the new hires. Poor kids, they’re are not just being nice. Yes, there are people out there like this!

6. Coworkers that will plead you to take their shift because of something, but when you need them to return the favor never happens.

5. Couples that date at work, make it known and create drama with it. Not saying that all couples do that, but for the most part it is that way. One couple, server & cook, were dating were dating for a couple of months. Cook got caught by server with another server at cook’s apartment, she had key, ended up giving other server black eye. Server with black wasn’t allowed to work because she couldn’t see out of said black eye. Ouch, double wammy.

4. Not enough to pay the bill. It happens to the best of us, the card gets declined and you have just a few short of the bill in cash.

This happened to a new manager that we had. They weren’t just short a few bucks where a drink or two or an employee discount would remedy the situation. This was by a lot. The new manager made one of them stay while the other went to get it “from home”, where they said it was. Come to find out, the manager recognized them from another place they use to work at and wasn’t going to put up with it.

3. Kids with fake ID’s. People can go to jail for serving underage. We’ve have them. But why would anyone use a fake ID in the first place where people know you. That is just beyond me.

2. The game room, but most importantly the claw machine. I have heard of this happening twice before I started working there and only experienced it once when I first started. (The machine was replaced, but needed to be replaced much sooner than it did.) Somehow  small kid was get the bright idea to go in there and get the toy that they wanted, whether if it was there own doing or an older sibling, the world would never know. But that’s what happens when you leave your kids in the game room unattended.

And last, but definitely not least.

Drum roll please…..

The number one thing thing that will not be missed…

The “in-the-weeds” nightmare! If you had worked in the hospitality/service industry, you know what I am talking about. The reoccuring nightmare behind the bar, 5 deep, phone keeps ringing for phone orders, tickets keep printing, servers don’t know where the bar food is going, customers and servers yelling for their drinks and the other bartenders aren’t around and there is nothing you can do.

What is with those dreams anyway? When the other half first moved in with moved in, it was the start of the holiday season and had those dreams at least three times a week. Wake up in a jerk covered in my own sweet. Every time it would wake him up and he would ask what was wrong. “Nothing just another nightmare.” Finally he asked if there was something wrong because they kept happening. He didn’t believe me that it was a common thing, until we went to a Christmas party and a group of us were talking about it.

Daycare @ Work

Earlier this week and today, one of the coworkers had her 3 year old boy at the office.

What?! A 3 year old at the office. Yes, folks there are those out there and here’s the reasons its employer approved.

  1. It’s a small office. To give you an idea, we rarely have “outsiders” aka customers/clients come in. Only once did we in a 6 month period and the sales reps that we are the vendors of came in within the last month to go over the new product lines that we carry.
  2. The employer wants her to work there, and all the staff for that matter. Not just saying “I want you to work here,” but deep down meaning it. As a background: the mom is in starting school on the weekends soon and  that’s the only way she can work without spending what she makes on daycare.
  3. Ultimately though, the kid is very well behaved for a 3 year old. When I mean well behaved, I mean it. He was taught right from the start. He’s one of those kids that the parents could go to a dinner, anywhere, and they would get complimented by the staff.

I’m off to work for Day 2 of Daycare @ Work. TGIF!