If you’re as excited as I am about the LUCC elections, you’ll understand why I’m writing about anything but that this week. This week, I share my simple secrets to affordable living. 1. Plan to spend three or four hours per term reviewing CRN numbers. I always seem to forget that the world values clerical skills over genuine learning.Perhaps that is the lesson the university is trying to impart to my friend Dan, a hard-working, thoughtful trumpet major who, wouldn’t you know, failed violin lessons. He never meant to take them. Could it be – gasp – that something about the 29-page MUIN PDF file with microscopic printing proved confusing? $50 later, problem solved. 2. Find a way to live off campus if you are strapped for cash. There is something comforting about not dealing with bills, especially for tuition. When it comes to a comprehensive fee, what’s another $2,000 or so? I am not trying to attack Dining Services. I think that the food has gotten considerably more interesting, tasty, and I really love the new colors. But running an entire in-house catering and food service department costs money. And this is good. Poor students like you and me need jobs. We also get to meet and to know the real, kind people who work to make the food and swipe our cards. The same overhead/job creation dilemma comes with on-campus living. But if you have graduated from high school more than four years ago, have sleep defects, or like loopholes, you too could disengage and live the spartan life. 3. ALWAYS use a wallet. This one seems rather obvious, but I have a sad – but true – story to tell. My sophomore year, over the course of two consecutive Fridays, I, in a manner far more pitiful than Dan’s dropped $50. It’s just that simple. I was using one of those BACCHUS wallets, and each time, I placed my money into the plastic fold when leaving North Shore Bank, and I just plain dropped the money out of my pocket. Months later, for my birthday, a good friend who witnessed this incident bought me a sturdy, leather wallet. It was the most wonderful gift ever. I’ve not lost money, per se ever since. Last weekend, though, my mom had sent me some cash so I could buy some groceries and cook for myself in the quaint but unfurnished three-story house near the Y that another super-senior and I share (at a considerable savings from Lawrence). I was so excited that I stuffed the envelope of cash into my back pocket – sophomore-style. I lost it. In a panic, I spent two hours retracing my steps. I feared the envelope – containing $60 and a sweet salutation beginning “Dear Peter” and ending “Love, Mom” – lost forever. Seeing the name, somebody passed the envelope along to another Peter: LUCC president Pete Snyder. Pete, recognizing the handwriting on the envelope as coming from another’s mother, called me. And really, as the flurry of LUCC presidential Facebook groups and posters begin to litter the campus, I find myself wondering: are we sure Pete Snyder needs to graduate this year? He should stay for another year, and he’ll have my vote. If Honest Pete is as sloppy with his CRNs as the rest of us are, who knows, maybe he’ll be facing a fifth year. If he does, though, since he was so nice to me, I’ll show him a few places where the rent is nice and cheap and the houses are quiet enough to allow even the worst violinist to practice until he gets a D.