Ah, I remember back to the days when I was a penniless college student. I remember feeling great pride that I was able to live on nothing and somehow my poverty made me more real and better than people who squandered their money on empty objects that only made them consumerist pigs. Then I got a credit card and all that went out the window. Hello Mall. Hello Trip to Mexico. Hello Gourmet Organic Free Range Fair Trade Food. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t maintain all of my thrifty behavior from college because I would be much better off financially. Here is the first of three thrifty money tips that I will touch upon in my Tightfisted series.
Money Tips I learned in college
Don’t Buy Anything Retail
Every article of clothing that I wore during college was used. I either went to the local thrift store or the Buffalo Exchange. One great thing about B.E. was I would trade in my old fashion style (goth) for my new one (punk) and not spend a dime. I also was lucky enough to have a great roommate who would share her clothing with me and vice versa so this doubled my wardrobe.
I also never bought a single cd or book during college as 1) There was a great library where all of these could be borrowed and
2) I traded in all of my older cds and books for new ones.
While a thrift store will cover everything from cheap reads to furniture, what about food? There are a great deal of discount food stores out there. I typically frequented many of the small discount groceries around my neighborhood. My current chain store favorite is Grocery Outlet. They have amazing deals on food and they even carry organic body products. I’ve been able to find Kiss my face bar soap and Avalon organics shampoo for cheap. These stores are like the food lottery. Sometimes they have what you need and other times you’re S.O.L. If you go to these stores you may find that some items are past their expiration date. Here is a great site that will school you on what is ok to eat and what is not.
Additionally, I saved money by buying most of my food from ethnic groceries. This is the Mecca of the thrifty food deal. I can’t tell you the amount of money I’ve saved at my local Asian market. You can easily go into one of these places and spend $20 and walk out with double the amount groceries you would from any retail supermarket. To boot, most of them also have delis so you can get great grub for cheap.
Don’t forget to check out Part 2 and 3 of my series: