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Apartment Hacks: A Guide to Saving Money and Time

It’s week six now. If this is your first year in your new apartment, you’ve had at least two monthly rent due dates pass, as well as the majority of your midterms. On top of this, you’ve had to do all the other things you’ve always had to do: homework, reading, extracurricular activities, volunteering, hanging out with friends and most importantly, watching Netflix. There’s also the very real possibility you don’t even have a couch yet.

Apartment life is harsh. It can be cruel. The relentless churn of monthly bills and rent payments, the never-ending mess (made worse by your messy roommate’s existence), the relative social isolation compared to the Hill. What’s an apartment-dweller to do? Here at Mojo, we understand your struggle. Money is tight. Extra time is nonexistent. Here is a handy-dandy guide with some apartment hacks to make your life a little easier.

Groceries and other basic purchases

  • Check out the Smart & Final weekly circular. It offers deals on basic groceries such as meat and produce.
  • Invest in a Costco membership card, either by yourself or with your friends and roommates, assuming at least one person has a car. Costco is great for bulk items like paper towels, toilet paper and groceries you use a lot of. (Emphasis is on “a lot.”)
  • Use Google Shopping Express. (It only offers dry goods; no fresh dairy, meat or produce.) There is a three-month trial with free delivery, and it generally delivers to your door within about 24 hours. This is especially efficient for heavier things, such as bags of rice or flour – both a time- and money-saver. Google Shopping Express offers many different items from different stores, including Costco and Smart & Final. It’s also useful for other items, though its selection may be limited.
  • If you only want to stay in Westwood and shop at Trader Joe’s, Ralphs or Target, be sure to keep a general idea of where to go between the three stores for specific items at their cheapest price. In other works, check and compare prices between Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Target because these stores are so close to each other! Trader Joe’s, for example, has cheaper bags of lemons than Ralphs – last time I checked, Trader Joe’s had a pound of lemons for a dollar and cents and Ralph’s was selling lemons for $4. Pro tip: Go with some friends who also need to do some grocery shopping and just split it up. Once you have a general idea of what’s cheapest where, you’ll always know you’ll be saving the most money on what you need. 
  • If you’re looking for specialty or ethnic foods, Ralphs is almost always a rip-off. Try looking for stores further away or online to get your box of Japanese curry, kimchi or whatever. Nijiya Market on Sawtelle Boulevard is much cheaper for curry boxes, for example, and Korean red chili paste can be bought off Amazon.
  • Make a monthly grocery budget. Save your receipts for a month and figure out how much you’re spending on groceries so you can figure out what’s necessary and what you can do without. You’ll be amazed by the final number.


  • Make an off-day a “bulk cooking” day. Whenever you have an uninterrupted two hours, make bulk foods like stir-fry and pasta salads so you can survive the rest of your busy week/month/life (until it runs out, I guess). You can also experiment with freezing bulk portions of foods, so buying freezer bags or Tupperware is a great add-on to this bulk-cooking technique.
  • Separate frozen meats into single portions, cut onions and other vegetables in bulk and refrigerate ahead of time. This speaks to the usual evening when you’re exhausted but still need to cook dinner, and you haven’t even defrosted your chicken breasts that are stuck in a hunk of other chicken breasts.
  • Cook “one-pot dinners” or similar dish-efficient meals. Plenty of recipes online are targeted at busy people who don’t like cooking food that results in 1,093,230,982 dirty dishes, not counting the final plate and silverware you’re eating off. Try making these, and figure out the best way to minimize the dishes you need to do.


  • If you live with other people (which you most likely do), you’ve probably figured out an efficient way to delegate cleaning responsibilities to everyone. While cleaning may be a drag, figure out the best, quickest way to complete your chores. Once you do that, buy appropriate cleaning supplies in bulk, and your chores will be a lot quicker and easier.
  • Invest in all-purpose cleaning supplies to cut down on the number of cleaning supplies you need to buy. This can range from Lysol wipes to general all-purpose cleaner. You can also make your own, for a variety of purposes. (Hint: This involves a lot of baking soda and vinegar – a good idea to buy in bulk from Costco.)
  • If you have a cleaning schedule that changes weekly or biweekly, try to negotiate with your roommates to have your midterm/heavy weeks off cleaning. A little bit of coordination and organization can go a long way, and it prevents your apartment from going entirely to the dogs.
  • Keep emergency cleaning supplies on hand. In other words, have a game plan for apartment cleaning emergencies, such as:
    - Your drunk friend vomits all over everything after you throw a party
    - Major spills on carpet or furniture, of any type (wine, food, etc.)
    - Other major disasters
    A lot can be fixed with around-the-house products, but you may need to invest in some heavy-duty cleaner to keep around for those disaster situations.


  • Keep a list of numbers for plumbers and repairmen on hand for all those things your lease doesn’t cover or your apartment manager refuses to fix.
  • Set reminders on your phone for bills and rent payments, even if your roommates are in charge of those.

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Stress Levels: Skydiving Malfunction vs. Midterms

Here are two truths and a lie:

  1. My parachute malfunctioned when I went skydiving.
  2. I’ve been on the fastest rollercoaster in the world.
  3. I lost my sunglasses in the Great Pyramid.

The second one’s the lie. Yeah, my parachute malfunctioned when I went skydiving! Needless to say, I survived. Here’s a description of my skydiving experience paralleled with the average person’s experience through a college class.

While the rest of UCLA drove home for Thanksgiving last year, I went skydiving with my cousins. I will not disclose the exact location because people might incorrectly judge and discredit it because of the parachute malfunction, a term very easy to fret about. I’m honestly considering going back to the same place to get a skydiving license once I collect enough money. That place is awesome!

I chose to do the accelerated free-fall jump instead of the tandem, which essentially meant that there wouldn’t be a guy attached to me through this experience. Instead two people would float around near me making sure a parachute is pulled. A choice equivalent of picking a class with an interesting description and a professor whose Bruin Walk review said almost nothing. So you know it’ll be amusing, but the risks were higher.

The day started off with a waiver form.  You know how you think, “They’ll keep me safe because otherwise they get sued”? Erm … it turns out they make you sign something that prevents your family from suing and also says that if they go ahead and do it anyway, they get fined.  It’s like when the professor hands you the syllabus and it has homework, a million papers, multiple midterms, a final and attendance requirements despite a podcast! Drop out?

So I signed my life rights away and made important decisions about what was to be done with my organs if I died. What followed was … well, lecture. Now usually my morning classes (the few I make it to) go like this:

But in light of what I had just signed, I was more like this:

We eventually got to the part where the instructor taught us about malfunctions. But just like the warnings professors give about failing their classes, my brain casually skimmed this information because what are the odds, right?

Well, my instructor later mentioned that the odds of a malfunction were one in five. Fret not, malfunctions aren’t fatal and have EASY fixes. These are NOT defects in the parachute but rather a problem in the way it opens.

Next we suited up, ready to take on the world! Standing on the edge of the plane looking down, I repeated the procedure in my head. Jump. Altitude check. Instructor nod. Practice pull. Pull! This is that moment when you’re waiting for the exam and you put away your notes because time won’t have it any other way. So convincing yourself that you are prepared, you just go for it. Finally, I jumped off. It was like the midterm for an impacted class – no way out! I had to play it out, and I really had to pass.

Right after that jump, though, I lost my mind. Adrenaline took over. I forgot I could die. Adrenaline rush + insanity + imaginary immortality. This is the part of the exam with those short answers that you seem to know all the answers to.

I had the instructor along my side like an open book in the exam. But I disregarded his signs. All I had to do was fall. Gravity was the only thing that was working right now. So I euphorically enjoyed the free fall without a care in the world. This is like when you revel in the effortless parts of the exam and forget about the time constraints and the essay question that await you.

At 5,000 feet above the ground, I was still just chilling, so the instructor pulled my parachute. As I rose, I realised my direction had changed. I was on my own now! Suddenly everything started going wrong. Oh yeah, you just reached the essay and there are 20 minutes on the clock!

I looked up and saw the parachute. I was whirring in the air a little unstably. Cutting the parachute to open the emergency one  was an option but I’d rather have turbulence than crash to the ground so I stared at the twisted lines of my parachute trying to figure out the easiest fix. This is when you stare at your blank page, no thesis in mind. Clock ticking …

I recognized it was a line-twist error and I just had to air kick! The parachute strings were twisting up like a swing’s, and I uneasily kicked the air trying to free myself from the twisted strings. I seemed to make no progress. This is the part where you ramble on in the in-class essay, no direction, no argument, no GPA in sight.

I really should have panicked now. But all I could think was, I know this is wrong so I know how to fix it and I went into crazy-fix mode. This is those last 5 minutes of the exam.

Then, all at once, I was free of the twisted parachute strings. They straightened up and I stopped whirring. The view was great. The controls were easy. I flew gracefully with the wind. This is when you turn in the paper and run out, the grades aren’t out yet but the turmoil is over.

Now sounds from the radio device in my ear started playing. Everyone on the radio call seemed very worried about someone with a green parachute. Someone named “Arusha”. I had a green parachute, and my name is Arushi! Maybe it was because of the whirring or maybe it was just an insane coincidence, I thought. So I ignored them and enjoyed the beautiful views as I flew around in perfect control of my now-fixed parachute. At last, I made my not-so-perfect but still quite safe landing. You passed the exam, just above the curve!

As I lay there on the ground in relief and yet the regret of the experience being over, the radio guy was still giving “Arusha” directions. I later found out that he messed up our names and meant to instruct my cousin who was in a state of shock through his dive and still quite unresponsive while parachuting. But anyways I made it and he did too.

Stress is for times that involve life-and-death situations. GPA and life don’t qualify for the same stress league, so go pet some puppies, get a drink and chill out!

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Arts & EntertainmentCultureHow-to

The Guide to the Getty

For those of you who have not yet been able to make it to the Getty Center, I highly recommend it. As one of the most visited museums in the United States, the Getty Museum is well worth visiting. Housing art from several different eras, it really does cater to all interests, from illuminated manuscripts to photographs to art from Van Gogh and Cezanne.

I don’t know too much about art, but while walking around there were several paintings that I recognized and was just blown away to see in person (AKA if you don’t like art, STILL GO).

For example, this Van Gogh painting is amazing:

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Plus it’s free. We’re poor college students. We like free. The only money I spent all day was $1.75 each way for the bus. Speaking of the bus, it’s super easy to get to the Getty (I’m talking about the Center, not Villa, which is a different destination altogether). There’s a stop right next to the entrance to Bel Air on Sunset Boulevard and Bellagio Drive. Just walk up De Neve Drive past Sunset Village, and you’ll get to a crosswalk. The bus stop is on the Bel Air side, right next to the entrance.

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

The walk is not that long, and the bus ride is super short. You get off of the bus at the Sepulveda Boulevard stop, you cross the street, and you’ve arrived! You take a tram up the hill to the museum, and, trust me, it’s super self-explanatory (I’m saying this as the worst person in the whole world at orienting herself and reading maps involving public transport). The view from the tram is great, and it only gets better the closer to you get to the museum.

The first thing I did was take pictures of the incredible view and of the museum and its gardens. It’s #instagramworthy. And I know, because I instagrammed it.

Rhiannon Davies/Daily Bruin

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to and what you thought of the Getty!

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Food and Dining

Ten Snacks For Less Than $1 From Hill Top Shop

Do you ever wake up too late to grab some breakfast from the Hill? Or maybe you’re running low on swipes for the week (for those of you who have regular meal plans)? Maybe you just got really tired of school food (I already did!)?

Like many college students, I’m broke! And always hungry. I’m ALWAYS leaving my room exactly 30 minutes before my lecture to make sure I get there on time and that does not allow me to stop by one of the dining halls or a to-go dining commons for breakfast. I also don’t have time to come back up to the Hill and grab some lunch. So what happens? I starve!

Other times, I get really tired of the food on the Hill. Unbelievable! Right? But it happens to a couple of people and it might happen to you.

If you’re like me, there’s a solution to that!

These snacks from the Hill Top Shop are each less than $1 and will definitely come in handy when you’re starving.


Nissin Cup Noodles: will fill you up – $0.89



Nature Valley granola bars: $0.79 (several different flavors)



Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts: $0.99



Sunshine Cheez-It: delicious cheesy snacks – Original: $0.79, other flavors: $0.89 



Keebler Snack Packs: THE childhood snack – $0.69



Famous Amos cookies: delicious mini cookies – $0.89



Keebler Sugar Wafers: $0.89



Special K pastries and bars: breakfast on the go – $0.89



Corn Nuts: several different flavors – $0.99



Knott’s Berry Farm cookies: strawberry: $0.99, blueberry: $0.79


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Five Pick-Up Lines You Could Use in College

In college it can be scary asking someone out. Worry no more! When you’re in a tight spot and need a pick-up line, here are some options for you:

1. Is your name Wi-Fi? Because I’m feeling a connection.


2. You must be the square root of -1, because you can’t be real.

3. I wish I was your coronary artery, so I could be wrapped around your heart.


5. You’re at the top of my Amazon wish list.

5. Are you a library book? Because I can’t stop checking you out.

I hope that the next time you build up the courage to ask someone out, you refer to Mojo for some ideas! We are here to support you. If you have any more corny pick-up lines, let us know in the comments!


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