Sunday, May 30, 2010

College Entertainment for the Frugalista!

So if you are anything like I was, and like how most of my friends currently are... at this time of life most of us 20-somethings have little to no true concept of money. Blame it on the underdeveloped frontal lobe, ignorance, or just naivety... but most of the people I associate with who are college students like myself, just don't get it. They don't get that they are racking up debt by how they are spending, they don't see years down the road when it is all going to catch up with them. When they want a dream wedding = no money. When they want babies = no money. When they want a vacation = no money. And instead of all these great things, they will have debt and collectors and bills and stress.

Of course, college is the time of one's life. Being frugal doesn't mean sitting at home on your couch twiddling your thumbs every night, knitting a sweater for Grandma.. it just means being smarter, and choosing to spend money in a wiser [is that a word?] manner, that's all! So here are some tips for entertainment in college on a budget.

Go BIG. But only once a week! - Don't go to the bar, or the club or concert, etc every night of the week. Let yourself have one night a week that you go 'big'. Get that special house margarita... but only on Friday's. Go out to dinner, but only on Friday's... you get the idea. The rest of the week, try to keep in low-key. Rent a movie (Redbox = $1!), have the girls over and have a wine night, hang out on campus, go to a free event etc, etc. Instead of going to dinner, maybe go out for a snack instead (frozen yogurt, coffee (IHOP!), or something else) It will save money and you'll still get the satisfaction of getting away from your crazy roommates cooking skills, or lack thereof. Just try to stay low-key on the nights that aren't your big night. Plus, staying low key the rest of the week will make your big night that much sweeter!

Early bird gets the worm - Go to the early afternoon showings instead of the late night showings - they are always cheaper, and not to mention, a lot less crowded (Think perfect seats and nobody taking 'your' footrest! Bliss!!)

Ask & Ye Shall Receive - Always, always, always ask if there is a student discount. Most places, especially in a big college town, have discounts for students. You just have to ASK! :) And be prepared to show a school ID!

Adult Beverages - 3 words, people. Make your own. Yes, I know that swirly-tie-die-frozen-margarita-goblet-thing looks AMAZING, but it is probably also $10. Make your own drinks - much much cheaper. Pretend to be a bartender for your friends and see what kind of concoctions you can come up with.

Be One with Nature - Research parks in your area. My friends and I used to go to a great park in our city on a Saturday and call it a day. There was a giant frisbee-golf course, a big field calling the boys names' for a game (or five) of football, swingsets, walking trails etc. Bring bikes, soccer balls, footballs, frisbees, and just spend the day running around the park hanging out. Everyone would also bring a food item each and we would grill burgers and hot dogs and have a picnic lunch. I have some great memories from those cookouts at the park, and it was much cheaper than going to an amusement park. Another idea is look for any type of national parks around you. My friends and I found a canyon that had 12 different hiking trails about 1.5 hours north of our city. We carpooled (AKA split gas costs 5-ways!) and paid our admission into the canyon and spent all day hiking and spending time together. Seriously, my sweetest and most cherished memories of my time with my friends are the times where we left all the "stuff" behind, left all the frills in the city, and just made our own fun. Money does not equal happiness or a good time.

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