Tips for Shopping on the College Student’s Wallet

Let’s just put it out there: making money during college is hard, especially when your next paycheck goes automatically to textbook costs, program memberships, and the occasional snacks (holla at the freshman Unlimited meal plan). So when spring rolls around, and one realizes that there is nothing cute in your closet because you were dumb enough to leave everything at home, some shopping needs to be done. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself after that last pesky exam—whatever the reason, it’s always good to save some money when shopping.

Ebates 

Ebates is a great Chrome extension that alerts you to online sales, coupons, and codes from a great variety of stores, and also offers cash-back services for certain stores as well. While cash-back is not a great way to save money (3% of $10.00 amounts to almost nothing, after all), it does feel a little better for the larger purchases. Also, the alerts give you heads-up on the discounts and sales, so savings will be guaranteed there.

Thrift Shops

 Thrift shops are guaranteed to get you great finds for cheap, cheap prices. As long as you don’t mind second-hand clothes, which is rarely a problem, you can score stylish essentials for your wardrobe that barely make a dent in your wallet. Also, there’s just so much more choice—Forever 21 is great and all, but there are only so many graphic tees with questionable slogans one can own.

Amazon 

See something you like on the store website? Jump over to Amazon to see if there’s the same thing being sold at a lower price. Oftentimes, other sellers have items that are just as new and untouched, but at a much more reasonable price. Add on some Amazon gift cards you’ve gotten from completing psychology experiments, and that cuts the price down even more. There’s also the bonus of having Prime and only having to go to mail services to pick up your new pair of sneakers.

Student Discounts and Sales

All those weird holidays? Look out for sales at stores during those days. Obviously there are the big sales, like Thanksgiving and Labor Day, but sometimes the seasonal sales puts great items into their clearance section. There’s something kind of exhilarating about managing to snag a cute swimsuit for a quarter of the original price. Add on student discounts that some stores offer, and the price drops even more. Your wallets will be breathing a sigh of relief.

Buy Clothes Off-Season

If you want a piece of clothing, but it’s not exactly essential right at this very moment (no matter what your inner Aziz Ansari is saying, it’s not smart to always treat yourself), a great time to actually go and buy it is right when the seasons change and the previous season’s clothes get price cuts. Want that really cute jacket, but winter is almost over? Grab it once the spring clothes come onto the racks and save it for the next winter. Especially since most college students are going to be in the same environment for at least four years, these clothes surely won’t go to waste.

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