Starving Artist Survival Guide


Being an artist means giving up a lot of things. But you don’t have to live in abject squalor just for the sake of your art. Here are a few ways you can create a reasonable facsimile of some of the creature comforts you remember from Mom and Dads on the cheap.

1. Reuse your durable paper products. Two-ply toilet paper works as a coffee filter. Pizza boxes can be used as a large dish or even a temporary bath mat in an emergency.

2. For the price of a vacuum cleaner, you can buy a dozen area rugs from your local thrift store. Rugs that can hide a lot of things.

3. Got a 100-CD spindle lying around? Perfect. Use the top as a bowl. It can hold an entire box of cereal or a family-sized can of ravioli, and is even dishwasher safe.

4. Shampoo is expensive. Consider these alternatives, in decreasing order of cost and/or desirability: body soap, dish soap, baking soda, vinegar.

5. Waterproof your expensive touchscreen gadgets by placing them in two Ziploc bags. Brand name only, please.

6. Worn-out tires + a round, tire-sized glass plate = instant coffee table. Très chic.

7. Hot plates are so 1970s. Invest in a waffle iron (you can find new ones for as little as $25). You can grill vegetables and cook eggs on it, use it as a panini press, and at the end of the day still make waffles.

8. Forget the mini fridge: that space in between the window and the screen is the perfect place for cooling bottles of beer, as long as it’s cool outside.

9. Stacks of cinder blocks make good stools. With the right-sized piece of wood—say, a salvaged door or even a few 2x4s—you’ve got a computer desk.

10. Fun fact! Cereal never tastes good with half-and-half, even if you dilute it with water.

College life doesn’t last forever. Get prepared for what comes next. Stories from the front lines here.

image – Shutterstock