I am happy to introduce as a guest, recent graduate Lauren Davidson. Today, Lauren is giving tips on how to have fun and find entertainment on a student budget.
College is a time like no other. While it’s important to live life to its fullest, it is also important to be fiscally responsible. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance competing desires to have a good time while also watching what you spend. This is especially true when it seems as if some students have an unlimited entertainment budget.
It is possible to have some budget-conscious fun, though. Here are some tips to help you find great entertainment while staying within a student’s budget.
Find free events & free food
College campuses are full of free and fun events if you look for them. You could venture off-campus each weekend for concerts and bars, all which will quickly suck up your entertainment budget. Or, you could look first at what is available next door. Dorms routinely hold pizza and movie nights. During the academic year, most holidays will give rise to a number of free events, including mass picnics, festivals, and movies.
If your school doesn’t provide a lot of free events, chances are good that the college town you are in does. For instance, organizations and businesses off campus often offer free events to promote their product. Often, this means free food.
Going to these events could help you free up money in your budget, and you can get food without the expense.
Take advantage of the rec center
One of the best free perks of college is access to camping and sports equipment and the college gym. If you are outdoorsy, take a trip to the rec center and price out the cost to rent kayaks, tents, sleeping bags, bicycles, or anything else that interests you.
Buying this gear for a weekend camping trip could easily set you back hundreds of dollars if you purchased it. Renting from a private company could also cost your $50-$100.
On most college campuses, however, you can rent all the necessary equipment for free or for as little as $10-20 a night for a two-person set-up.
In addition to renting equipment, the rec centers at most schools often arrange getaways to local nature sites on the weekends and during holidays. Taking advantage of these low-cost or free trips is a great way to save on your student budget!
Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts
Student discounts are common in college towns, but not all businesses will go out of their way to advertise them.
If you’re in a store or restaurant that is in close proximity to your school, there is a good chance you may be able to get a student discount if you go out of your way to ask for one. The worst that anyone can do is to say no!
Some student discounts can save you 10-20% off of your bill at a restaurant or the cost of your haircut. These are a great way to save some money!
When looking for somewhere to go or something to do, call up two or three different locations and ask them all what their prices are and what sort of student discounts they offer. You might find that switching from your normal stores to different ones will save you a lot of money over the course of a semester.
Ditch cable and start streaming
While it’s important to get out of the house or dorm room, sometimes after a full day of classes and studying, all a college student wants to do is watch television or a movie.
Unfortunately, cable prices have skyrocketed in the last five years and aren’t really affordable for most students. If you do want to get or keep cable, make sure you have roommates willing to split the monthly bill. There are other ways to save on cable though.
One of the better recommendations is to ditch cable altogether and use streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. Even all these sites together would cost a fraction per month of what cable typically costs. And, you can still split the cost of these services with your roommates!
Streaming is also very versatile since you have the option of watching on a laptop, a smartphone, or a television. If you don’t have an Xbox or PlayStation to stream through, small devices such as Apple TV or the Amazon Fire TV Stick are affordable alternatives.
Remember, entertainment doesn’t need to cost a fortune to be fun!
Thank you, Lauren!