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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

How to do college on a budget

Bianca Oppedisano
A woman shops for school supplies as the new semester arrives. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

College students everywhere are known for their lack of planning and impulse spending. While a majority of the time, they do live up to their legacy, these problems are not without solutions. Simply redirecting these desires to a more responsible purchase will both satisfy the urge and lessen the blow on their bank account.

The back-to-school season tends to justify most of these transactions with the hope of using the items for a better semester. While the argument can be valid in some cases, it’s typically just a comfort to the spender.

Every morning before class, it’s common to pick up a coffee from Dunkin’ or Starbucks. While $5 may not seem like much, spending that amount every day racks up to $100 in just a month; and multiply that for every month of the school year, that’s around $900. The simple fix is making coffee at home.

Whether living in a dorm or an apartment, it’s easy with a few products. Trader Joe’s sells their instant cold brew for $4.49. One bottle has twenty servings, enough for about a month’s worth of coffee. Although it might not taste as good as Dunkin’ or Starbucks, it does the job, and adding a syrup or creamer will boost the flavor.

Another weekly expense is groceries. While buying a bunch of frozen dishes sounds appealing, prices will rack up way beyond what is necessary. Setting aside an allotted amount for every grocery trip will help cut the excess spending. Also going to a couple different stores while grocery shopping may be helpful for staying under this amount.

The North End’s Haymarket sells produce for wholesale prices, including sales such as seven peaches for $2 and cherry tomatoes for just a dollar. They are open every Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are located on Blackstone, Hanover, and North Streets between the North End and Government Center (1).

Prices are so cheap because they need to get rid of the extra produce to prepare for new shipments every weekend. On Saturdays, right before close, they make all prices less than a dollar to get rid of the last of the items.

For other groceries, Trader Joe’s offers inexpensive pantry staples and frozen foods. If fresh produce doesn’t seem sustainable, frozen fruits and vegetables offer just as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts.

Another way to save a little is meal prepping to avoid eating out. Meal prepping can seem daunting, but TikTok influencers like @saltandsagenutrition make it seem a little more manageable. She offers videos on grocery shopping for around $50 per week, and meals with said groceries so there is no extra work.

Another part of back-to-school shopping is buying dorm and apartment essentials. For decor, Fedex offers full size posters for less than $2 each. Go to their website and under Design & Print, click Visit New Marketplace. From there just upload photos and they will deliver them!

For other apartment necessities, Target has a line called Room Essentials, which has every apartment basic imaginable from dishware to storage bins to pillows, all at affordable prices. For higher priced items, Facebook Marketplace is the way to go. Locals sell their unwanted items at low prices for either pick-up or delivery.

This school year, spending money should be less of a hassle when following these tips.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haymarket_(Boston)

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Editor-in-Chief
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator