Absent laundry, the biggest transition for most college students is learning how to manage his or her cash flow with the parents not around. In the midst of a recession, students are going to have to be that much more conscience about spending this year. Here are a few ways to uphold some collegiate necessities without risking starvation or even worse: canceling your Xbox Live subscription.
1. Maintaining the Coffee Fix — How else can you get through an early morning class without your daily grind? Paying for the electric bill is a hassle, but there is always room for a four-dollar beverage. Starbucks comes to mind first, yet there are caffeine alternatives. Regular coffee can be found anywhere, but something like a smooth mocha can also be found at … McDonald’s? Yes, Mickey D’s has a new line of drinks that will keep you up and running and your wallet still in commission, too. From lattes to iced coffee, these drinks run close to a full dollar per cup compared to Starbucks — and that adds up.
2. Keeping the Party Going — In a recession, everyone has to make a few sacrifices, but a student should not have to give up his or her right to party. The Beastie Boys fought just too hard to let it slip away. Taken from the fixed income model, this year try the fixed beer run. Carefully plan out when and where to party this year. When going out to a bar or club, plot out where the specials are, bring a certain amount of dough, and leave your credit card at home. Also, limit the nights out and have a house party once in a while. Dividing up money for a bulk of drinks will always ease the paying pains. Lastly, make sure your one cheap friend always pays up, too.
3. Road Trip! — Whether it’s on Christmas vacation, spring break, or skipping class for a long weekend, be creative with your leisure this year. We all know how hot and sweaty Cancun and Daytona are, so take time to explore other places that may cost less. Example, gather up a group and drive to Montreal, Canada on spring break. Splitting gas for one car will be a steal compared to a plane ticket and finding a student hostel instead of a sand infested hotel suite will be cheaper as well.
4. Domestic Downsizing — I like my Daily Show before bed as much as anyone, but with all the studying, football games, and partying is cable needed? Cable bills are despicable and hardly a necessity. If it is on TV, you probably can watch it on the Internet. Plus Netflix subscription is a fraction of the monthly cost. Yes, the companies try to persuade you to get cable by making the cable/ Internet combination cheaper at times, but if you really want to save cash, trash them both. Go to the library or coffee shops for Internet and hit up sports bars for the big game. If you have to, bum a season finale or two off the friend who still has the hook up.
5. Walk There — This may be the most difficult one of them all, but the rewards are great. Do you really have to drive down the street because it’s “too cold” out? Late for class, rain or shine, walk as much as you can this year. If you live far from campus, then get to know the bus route. Most bus lines and colleges have a student agreement, so take advantage of it. Public transport in the 2000s is equivalent to Technicolor sweaters in the 1980s. Think about how great it will be to not have to fight for a parking space.
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