Ah, frosh week – that swirling mess of independence, first classes, new friends and a near constant stream of social stimulation. It can be a time of excess, to say the least.
For many young and jittery souls, frosh week consists of junk food binging and reconditioning the brain to run on a few hours sleep. For others – the plus-19 crowd, of course – it’s a giant funeral for all those brain cells that will be missed when it comes time to hit the books. Then, there’s the endless stream of events – $30 for a boat cruise here, $5 to get into the campus pub there. It adds up.
After a summer busting your butt landscaping or carefully crafting cardboard boxes in a factory, do you really want to burn through your hard-earned cash in that first week? Didn’t think so.
In the spirit of “been there, done that” here are a few things to keep in mind to help you survive frosh week and become a bit more financially responsible while you’re at it without missing out on one of the best weeks of your life.
B is for Budget
Sit down with your folks and hash out a budget. Figure out, realistically, how much you’re comfortable with spending on entertainment and stick to your guns. If your school provides a frosh week social calendar, pick through it before hand, and budget for must-attend events ahead of time.
If you’re living in residence and have a meal card, don’t use it as a limitless line of credit directly linked to the bank of junk food. Keep in mind the meal plan you signed up for is expected to last you the majority of the year.
Suss Out The Discounts
All those enthusiastic, pen-waving people from the mobile phone companies lined up by the student centre probably aren’t offering the smartest discounts. But there are tons of restaurants, movie theatres and clothing stores looking to give you a discount if you show your student card.
Also, do some digging online and student message boards to see if there are used textbooks available for your classes. Check first to make sure the course doesn’t require an updated textbook. In fact, don’t buy your textbooks until you’re absolutely certain you need them.
Plastic and Bars Don’t Mix
If you’re going to the campus pub – a great spot to establish your future study group – leave the plastic at home. I get it, everyone wants to be the guy/gal buying half the bar a round of Jagermeister shots, in theory. But taking your credit or debit to the bar is just asking for overspending when you’ve had a few more then you planned and are feeling a bit tipsy. ID, student card, phone, keys and $10-$30 dollars in cash – that’s it (I’m sure there’s an anagram in there somewhere to help remind you).
Job up, Young One, Job Up
Okay, so maybe you anticipated spending frosh week fighting sleep and making new friends but there’s no reason you can’t spend an hour or so a day looking for a part-time job on campus or nearby. After all, the first week is when most the campus jobs fill up. And wouldn’t it be extra nice to be making a little bit of cash while everyone else is digging through the couch cushions in the common room looking for change to so they can do their month-old laundry?
Are you kicking off a new school year today? What are your top tips for saving money on campus?