With tuition, housing, food, and overpriced movie tickets to pay for, we all consider ourselves poor college students. Every timeHow To - Be A Cheap Student we open our wallets, we’re faced with a gaping black hole – and we know better than to put any money in there since it’ll just get sucked back up. And unfortunately, we don’t have a source of unearned income like we did back home with the family. So how do you get around all of this?

Take advantage of those meal points! Since you studious people are in class for most of the day, chances are that you skip a few meals during the week. Under one of the regular meal plans, you can usually have two meals in the dining hall every day, so if you eat less than that, then you should have a few to spare every now and then. You may think that the Bear Market or the RSF’s refueling station are overpriced, but it’s a great way to stock up on snacks and other small items that you can bring to class and eat-on-the-go.

If you haven’t yet forayed into the wonderful world of online shopping, by all means start now! We know it may seem ‘sketchy’ at times, but as long as you’re not looking for a roommate on Craigslist, you should be fine. Sites like eBay are really useful if you like getting cheap stuff – remember to filter your search results by “Free Shipping” so you don’t get ripped off by hidden shipping fees. For those of you who are a tad slow with a computer mouse, look for items that are “Buy It Now” so you can get going with your life. Amazon’s a bit more expensive, but a tad bit more reliable if this paragraph didn’t reassure you.

If you’re more of a thrill-seeker however, you should know that the thrill of base jumping can’t compare to the rush of adrenaline when an online auction winds down to the final seconds. Keep hitting the refresh key and bid 75 cents higher than you have to right as the timer is approaching zero – it works every time.

Don’t go on that spending spree when the new semester starts. Instead of buying all of your textbooks, wait until a couple weeks into the semester. Though some of the nerds out here might fret over how they can’t do their homework without all their books, you never know if/when you’re going to end up dropping a class. And a quick Google search could turn up PDF versions of entire textbooks. Find out from students who have already taken your class if your book’s going to be a dust collector or a study tool – and it it’s the latter, then try to get it from them for cheap.

The assortment of flyers on the message boards in Sproul might be painful to look at, they’re worth the occasional second glance. Lots of clubs lure their members with free food, and there’s nothing stopping you from joining them for dinner. Besides you never know if you might actually be interested in that club – they might give you a reason to go in the future … besides the free food of course.

Time is money, especially in our busy lives. If you didn’t already know, your college fees include that “free” bus pass sticker on your ID card. So use the public transit to the greatest extent that you can to make it worth it. We’re not condoning laziness by any means, but it’s rather nice to watch hordes of slow-footed students stumbling down the sidewalk whiz past you as you sit back against that hard, uncomfortable seat.

So next time you can’t feel your wallet in your pocket because it’s so light, take advantage of at least one of these tips. Embrace your inner cheapness – it’s inside of everyone, but you just have to know how to bring it out.

Image source: Truthout.org under Creative Commons



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