Top 5 loan-blowing purchases

Because you’re worth it – Geoffrey Parker Monopoly from Zontik Games

STUDENTS have been known to be irresponsible in the past, and no time is ever more ripe for irresponsibility than the fabled loan day. It comes at varying different times depending upon which university we attend, but it’s safe to assume that by the end of February the day has been and gone, and the bank accounts of thousands are back in the positive (for now).

The NUS itself has a helpful information page to answer the question of “what are the costs of study and living?” in which they cover the essentials: rent, food, travel etc… and some things most students probably let fall by the wayside in lieu of a few more pints, like insurance, leisure, personal items (like soap). But if a student were to seriously stinge, clutch at their purse-strings and say “You know what?! I’m not just doing dry January, I’m having a full dry academic year!” what could they get for the money granted in aid of their education?

Listed below are my top five items, but first, in order to arrive at the figure to be written on the cheque, I did a little maths with the help of a trusty calculator.

Under the full loan and grant for the current 2013/14 academic year, a student is given £7729 to live on (grant of £3354, loan of £4375).

If we are to take off the average rent outside of London, as recommended by the NUS, of £4384, and the price of a 20kg bag of basmati rice from Makro per semester (£33.29 x 3), we are left with a cool cheque’s worth of £2793.03.

Let’s see what you can buy come the last loan installment.

5. A bottom of the range Mac Pro

In the last month of 2013, Apple released it’s newest edition of the Mac Pro. For the hearty sum of £2793 you can grab yourself a bottom of the range, brand new Mac Pro & Apple Care with no screen, no keyboard and no mouse, but that thing will probably come with as many free apple stickers as you want. Display it proudly on a coffee table or maybe use the new redesign as a small vase to hold pebbles until you can afford the rest of the branded peripherals next year.

4. “The Monopoly set for true players”

If you want to show the ladies you are indeed a ‘true player’, the best way by far would be with this hand-bound calfskin Monopoly board embossed in gold. Spend your money wisely by purchasing vast supplies of high quality fake money. This edition comes with pewter pieces (although sterling silver or silver-gilt pieces are available for those with cheaper rents) two ball-cornered dice and “a pair of nearly indestructible leather dice cups”. It’s just within price range at the moment, but get it fast, because I hear the dollar is getting stronger.

3. A night with former test cricket and Strictly Come Dancing legend, Mark Ramprakash

In 2010, The Telegraph published a list of celeb hire prices, and Mark came in at a cool £3000. A little above our budget, but a student can always haggle. Having not seen Mark on this Christmas’ edition of Strictly, I’ve got an inkling he’ll go down to £2800, and if you can show him a great night out in your uni town, why shouldn’t he?

2. Ray Winstone’s gun from the best Indiana Jones movie to date: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

One of two of the actual prop guns fired by Hollywood A-lister and Betfred front man Ray Winstone’s character “Mac” in the Oscar-snubbed fourth installment. Prop Store states that it was used in the classic scene “when he and the Russians capture Indy and Mutt after their encounter at the cemetery.” At a paltry £2719, you’ll have change to burn.

1. Buy yourself a year’s worth of Karma and put a massive smile on some kid’s face

If none of the selfless goodies above tickled your fancy and you’re feeling a little under the weather due to not eating anything but rice for the past 6 months, make yourself feel better by donating to help this kid get a brand new wheelchair. Make not only his and his family’s day, but know your pain and suffering was worth it for something other than a prop gun or a night playing leather Monopoly with a cricketer. On the other hand, just pop it in the Salvation Army box and go get some free soup. It’ll be a hell of a lot better than boiled rice.