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If I Only Knew…

How to save on living/clothing expenses as a progressing university student



Two years ago, I dared to move into my own apartment downtown. It was a studio suite with hardwood floors and a large balcony door through which the cherry blossoms greeted me in the spring. I loved that apartment, but looking back at the year I lived there always makes my wallet cringe.


Having space meant that I needed things to fill it with. Unfortunately, I was unaware of what I’m about to share with you and ended up spending an extravagant amount of money trying to make my apartment feel like home.


Nobody can deny the allure of freebies and you can get them right off the street. Take a walk or drive around your neighborhood and you’re bound to find an old couch or two begging for an invitation to your pillow forts and movie marathons. There are desks and cabinets and chairs just waiting to be plucked off the front yard and replanted. It’s especially convenient if you don’t intend to stay in Victoria for an extended period of time and so are hesitant about spending money on such homely necessities.


You can even find advertisements for some garage sales on UsedVictoria. This website is similar to Craigslist. It allows you to buy or sell new/used goods, including clothes, vehicles, furniture, and electronics. Fact: my roommates and I recently got a foosball table off UsedVictoria for $80. It’s a pretty awesome website tailored to local areas so it’s definitely worth browsing.


When I first moved into my old downtown apartment, I had to sleep on a makeshift bed composed of a yoga mat and a blanket. It was very uncomfortable, but I was reluctant to purchase a mattress because they don’t come cheap. Out of pure agony, I marched to Sleep Country and got my $500 bed (but not without catching some Zs in the store). I don’t regret it because my bed is a cloud that’s hard to part with each morning, but two years after that purchase my friend in Seattle showed me Overstock where you can get your own cloud delivered to you for at least $200. (Thanks, J, but it’s a little too late!)


It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t tell you about Value Village – a warehouse chock full of items that will gratify your home and bank account. It’s located at 1810 Store Street, brimming with trinkets, books, clothes, furniture, equipment, shoes and jewelry. Most of these items are used and donated, but therein lies the charm: it’s like the king of thrift stores. Also, every year Value Village reserves a section dedicated to Halloween. You’ll be spoiled for choice with their selection of costumes and props, but don’t wait until the last minute to get your guise!


Clothes-wise, I encourage you to drop by Leche’s Clothing (1541 Fort Street), The Patch (719 Yates Street), and Flavour (581 Johnson Street).


Leche’s Clothing buys, trades and sells used clothes and accoutrements – reduce, reuse and recycle, right? I happily obtained a London Fog coat and a leather jacket for the oncoming fall, at just $20 each.


The Patch has a grand selection of recycled, vintage and contemporary apparel and accessories. You’ll be surprised by the brands that this store has collected and the prices they’re being sold for. (High-end goods don’t always carry a high price.)


You may have caught Flavour’s pop-up shop in the Student Union Building. If you missed it, don’t worry; their downtown store isn’t going anywhere. It even has an upper level called Flavour Upstairs that’s dedicated to all things vintage. What I love about Flavour is that they also carry affordable new items, which is comforting for those who might find the idea of wearing someone else’s worn threads unpalatable.


To close the curtain on this article, I’d like to take this opportunity to promote a phone app called Carousell. It’s become widely popular back home in Singapore and I’d love to see it gain some speed here. Carousell makes selling your used items convenient and easy. All you have to do is take a picture, post it and wait for an interested party. “Sell in a snap. Buy with a chat.”


I hope this information helps you avoid the predicament I was in before. Good luck!

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