Cheapskate's Guide to Life at CityU
Essential Survival Guide for the Student Living on Breadcrumbs

Needless to say, every student who has properly embraced “student life” knows the depths a student will plumb when the 25th of the month arrives, and your wallet is only good as a paperweight or doorstop.

It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to compare such budget living to trying to survive like Bear Grylls would if Ultimate Survival was being filmed at your university campus. You would scale high cupboards looking for a tin of baked beans, delve into the deep and forgotten corners of your fridge to find an old piece of cheese or, most daringly, lift up books in the lost corners of the library in the hope of finding a tasty grub. Such a student will have tested the very boundaries of the latest scientific knowledge on nutrition by attempting to live on instant noodles and water for three weeks in a row.

But, fear no more, your days of Ultimate Survival are at an end with this definitive guide on how to live like a virtual hobo at CityU.   

Places we’ll visit:

  • Nam Shan Estate –
    • Wet Market
    • Wellcome Supermarket
    • General Goods Stores
  •  Sham Shui Po –
    • Electronics Stores – Golden Computer Centre
  • Temple Street Night Market
  • Campus Bookstore and Stationery Shop
  • Homey Kitchen
  • AC2 Canteen
  • Run Run Shaw Library

Nam Shan Estate
Nam Shan Estate is glorious – it is the go to place for all cheapskates at CityU!

Most things the human heart desires can be purchased here, especially food but also all the general things you might be in need of, like a laundry baskets, hair clips and even the ubiquitous padlocks. The truth about Nam Shan Estate is perhaps best summarised by one notable student (who isn’t notable enough to be noted here): “If you couldn’t find what you were looking for in Nam Shan Estate, you probably didn’t look hard enough.”

Nam Shan Estate Wet Market – A virtual land of milk and honey. Everything in the line of fresh produce can be bought here. There is no fish too rare, no fruit too foreign and no vegetable too weird to not be sold here. And be sure to bargain!

Nam Shan Estate General Goods Store – On the way to the wet market, you will see a handful of stores that look like a kleptomaniac’s paradise. These are the legendary general goods stores of Nam Shan where you’re sure to find whatever it is you could possibly be looking for.

Nam Shan Estate Wellcome Supermarket – This is one branch of Hong Kong’s popular Wellcome Supermarket group. You’ll find all the household necessities you’ll need and then some (plus they come cheap).

Sham Shui Po – Golden Computer Centre
If you’re ever lacking a female adapter for your male AV/USB adapter sprocket, then this is the place where you’ll find it. The stores in the Golden Computer Centre stock everything in the way of computer accessories: all manner of cabling, XBOXs, PS3s, etc., etc., etc. They also do repairs for most things electronic.

Temple Street Night Market
This is what some would only describe as a market on Temple Street that takes place at night, but it’s so much more than that! The streets are jam-packed with a hundred different stalls selling everything, mostly esoteric clap-trap, but if you’re in need of a cheap pair of socks or a fortune-teller then I can think of no place better.

Campus Bookstore and Stationery Shop
Do you have an uncontrollable urge to buy a ring binder, or are you in urgent need of a stapler and notepad? If so, then this is the place to go. The campus bookstore stocks all the textbooks you require, as well as a very, very wide range of stationery sold at student prices. And, if that isn’t enough for you already, try Cut-Price on the 4/F of AC1 for even more great stationery deals.

Homey Kitchen
The mecca of the miscellaneous for the man/woman in urgent need of necessities. In addition to selling cheap food, Homey Kitchen stocks toilet paper, internet cables, phone credit and so on.

AC2 Canteen
Have you ever been so hungry that you felt you could eat a hamburger the size of a small elephant? Well, you’re in luck because the cafeteria on the 4/F of AC2 sells hamburgers the size of small elephants and various other kinds of food at seriously affordable prices. If you’re looking for beef for your buck, look no further!

Free Printing – Run Run Shaw Library – Information Space and Oval
Of course, there are numerous things that make CityU a seriously cool place to be, but one of my personal favourites is the free print quota (now isn’t that something only a mother could love?). You can do all your free printing from any of the computers in the Information Space and Oval sections of the Run Run Shaw Library. If you have any difficulties, there are plenty of friendly, English-proficient staff about who are more than willing to help out (more info can be found at

Free Food
A number of philosophers, like Oprah Winfrey, have stated that “nothing in life is free”, but if you’re a cheapskate student with drive and intelligence you really can have some stuff for free. CityU, including GSO, offers various fun activities throughout the year, such as the Welcome Party, the Festival of Sacrifice, the Festival of Lights (Diwali) and the Mid-Autumn Festival and plenty more, at which you can experience other cultures and, most importantly try out delicacies from around Hong Kong and other places in the universe. These are just some of the exciting events that happen throughout the year, so simply get involved in student life at CityU and opportunities for free grub will abound (there are numerous other benefits to getting involved, but as this is a cheapskate’s guide let’s focus on the food). The world is your oyster (and oysters are delicious!).

As you can see there are plenty of ways of being a cheapskate at CityU, and if you’re even a quarter as cheap as I am then you’ll no doubt save some serious cash. Remember fellow CityUers, the world is as cheap as you make it.