ClichÃ© as it may sound, students are considered pretty damn broke. As much as you may work, let’s face it, funds can get pretty low after all the textbooks and tuition are paid for. Let us embrace our student stereotype and bask in the fact that we’re totally strapped for cash. Here are a couple of ways to pinch those pennies, stretch those dollars, and get a few deals for free. (Or, let’s compromise: how about really, really cheap?)
Sites such as Craigslist, Kijiji and even Facebook marketplace have tabs marked free. Yes, people actually want to give you things. Nice, right? Well, once you sift through items such as cribs and cardboard boxes, you can actually score some pretty cool stuff. How about a bookshelf for your dorm or a semi-new TV? Use these sites to your advantage and you can find some really useful things that won’t damage your wallet in the slightest. Just be careful with furniture because lately bedbugs have been a problem here in the city.
So, now you’re wondering how to get on Craigslist if you don’t have Internet at your place. Well, start at school. Concordia’s free wireless network allows you to connect virtually anywhere on campus, so while you’re on break (or in class, we know you do it) start searching. If you prefer surfing somewhere with more of an atmosphere, there are tons of cafÃ©s around the downtown and Loyola campuses that give you access to the Internet &- usually all you have to do is buy a coffee. And even then, if you don’t want to fork over $6 or more at Starbucks, make sure to go with a friend that you know is willing to buy an overpriced mezzo caramel whipped latte creation, whatever that means.
Now that you have saved some hard earned cash by scoring some free Internet and some free stuff, you might think you can go shopping for some new clothes. Well, you’re wrong. You’re still broke, remember? So get started on some spring cleaning nice and early and encourage (or force) a couple of friends to do the same. Then, pick a date, pile your junk, uh, I mean valuables, and swap! It is a good alternative to going to secondhand stores and you can make a night out of it. With clothing swaps You wont spend a dime and you get a cleaner closet out of it too. Not so shabby.
So you’ve done a clothing swap, checked out Kijiji for some free things, and now you’re bored. But, you’re a student, right? So be studious and tackle that essay that you’ve been putting off all week. Project Gutenberg is a virtual literary database that has 16,000 books available for free download or online reading. It’s a great, free resource that will come in handy when writing papers, searching for quotes, or simply reading a book. Chances are they won’t have a lot of current or specialized stuff, but works that are out of copyright will most likely be available.
Surely by now you have worked up an appetite from writing that essay, but you can’t afford your usual grocery bill this week. Why not take out that box of cereal and that bottle of soda, plus whatever else you can find in your cupboard, turn them over, and dial the 1-800 number on the back. Companies love to hear feedback from real customers, and when it is slightly negative feedback, they love sending unsatisfied customers vouchers to redeem free stuff at the grocery store. You might feel a little guilty, but just think about how much these companies rake in compared to you. It will make this dirty deed that much easier.
Another way to stretch your dollar is by taking advantage of the fact that you are students. There are tons of resources out there, like the Student Price Card, which is only $9 and it gets you great deals on retail, restaurants, and entertainment. And although you might feel like your mother looking through the Publi-Sac, clip those coupons! Seriously, they can save you a bunch of money, just ask your grandma.
Another easy way to score some free stuff is to turn on your radio and call, call, call for those contests. The busy signal might get seriously annoying, but if you keep trying you may just end up winning some pretty cool, and free, prizes.
So, who said that nothing’s free? These are just a few of the ways to get some stuff for cheap in the city. Take advantage while you can, because soon enough your student status will run dry and you’ll have to enter the real world, get a job, and actually start paying for things. And, if at the end of the day, you still find yourself a broke and hungry student, you can always go home to mom and dad’s, where you know a warm meal will be forever awaiting you on the table.
Interested in reading The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana or Pride and Prejudice? Visit www.gutenberg.org for a list of free downloadable books.
To obtain a Student Price Card check out www.spclive.com and receive a $10 gift card free from Bluenotes, Suzy, Jean Machine or Pentagon