By Jillian Terry
Dollars and common sense
For many students, bank accounts take an especially hard hit during the summer with more free time and nice weather, those hard-earned dollars seem to evaporate even quicker into the warm summer breeze.
However, there are many ways to help alleviate some of the back-to-school spending pressure. While some big-ticket items like tuition and rent aren’t going to go away any time soon, many purchases made by students on Memorial’s campuses can be lessened with a thrifty attitude and careful attention to detail.
One of the first major shopping sprees at the beginning of the semester happens at the bookstore. The throngs of students with armloads of thick, expensive textbooks is a happy sight to book publishers, but often a sad day for those who have to spend hundreds of dollars on books they’ll likely only use for one semester.
So, before shelling out full-price for brand new texts, be sure to ask questions about what exactly is required by course instructors.
First, check with the professor to see if a copy of the textbook will be put on reserve at the library if it’s a text you won’t be using heavily, it may be more economical to use the one there, or photocopy the relevant information.
Also, ask about whether the most recent edition of the book is necessary often, professors will allow earlier editions to be used and may even help you to find the differences, making it possible to purchase the textbook second-hand. As well, many introductory English and research/writing courses list a writing guide of some flavour in the required books list.
However, most students probably have one of these from high school English class, providing the same basic information about writing essays. Checking out posted flyers around campus as well as websites like Facebook and MUNBooks are the best ways to find deals on used books.
After the textbooks have all been purchased and the semester is in full swing, another item often crops up that, if not careful, can cost you more than originally bargained for.
Photocopying is a necessary part of academic life at university, especially because many books needed to teach certain courses are either out of print or so expensive that the professor doesn’t want students to have to purchase it. Whether it’s material from the reserve desk or a copy of a friend’s notes from a missed class, there are frugal ways to photocopy. If time is plentiful, scanning is a good option that costs nothing, and the notes or text can be read directly from the computer.
If a paper copy is needed, reducing the size of the material so that two pages can fit on one sheet cuts costs in half. Better yet, gather a group of classmates who all need the same material copied and head to a local copy store Copy Canada is on Military Rd., just a short walk from campus or the Copy Centre in the University Centre to take advantage of bulk copying prices. Just be sure to remember that reserve materials have to be returned within two hours of their rental to avoid paying the stiff overdue fines.
Yet another important necessity at school is eating. Whether or not some students wish to acknowledge it, the brain functions better on a full stomach. Of course, packing a lunch is the preferred option, but isn’t always possible, especially at the height of the semester.
However, late night trips to the supermarket can be beneficial most of the major supermarket chains discount items like baked goods and fruit late in the evening, making them ideal to bring to school the next day.
If, on the other hand, you have to purchase food at or around school, look for student specials or opportunities to use discount cards like the SPC card, available to purchase for under $10.
And in terms of weekend eating, even if you’re not a lucky Bowater House resident who gets to take advantage of the famous Bowater Deal at Big Bite Pizza, there are cheap options available around the university. Quintana’s Mexican restaurant just across the street in Churchill Square offers a free nacho bar at their upstairs lounge, Arribas.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, locally-owned restaurants like the Sprout and Mustang Sally’s offer delicious cuisine with most entrees under $10.
Whether it’s related to academics or not, university life can take a toll on your wallet. But by simply thinking about expenses before they happen, and having a clear budget for on-campus spending, you can save a little cash for the more important things in life like that Spring Break trip down south you’ve been dreaming about.
Jillian Terry is a frugal arts student.