Save, don’t spend, unless for Red Bull

By Megan Kutulis
October 2, 2008

The majority of the tuned-in, aware world has heard every detail of the latest economic crisis, but I know I’m not the only college student who was stuck wondering who these Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae people were.

The truth is, the downward spiral of the economy never seemed to have any direct affect on me.

Tuition payment? Check. Meal plan? Check. Clothes, food, shelter? Check.

Thanks to some awesome summer paychecks and some extra financial cushioning courtesy of mom and dad, I never really cared that the price of milk was getting higher.

However, now I’m back at school, and the lack of big paychecks or “just because” handouts are few and far between. Instead, I’m starting to realize that I’ve been riding with my gas tank on E and I’m hesitant to shell out $2 for Wayne movie tickets anymore. The economy is starting to have an effect on me too. Which leaves me begging the question.what can I absolutely not live without? Not as easy as you’d think.

My No. 1 necessity: gas. I babysit every morning for two girls who live down in Villanova, right across from what appears to be the most expensive Shell station on the Main Line. Every morning I pass it, I cringe at the daily 5 cent increases.

But as much as I’d like to be spending my hard-earned money on new clothes or, well, pretty much anything, I know that gas is obviously the No. 1 thing I just can’t live without.

Word to the wise: cutting out the extra rides to Wawa DOES make a difference, after all.

I’m a college student-I know the meaning of an all-nighter, and I know when you absolutely need that extra push to finish that paper. For some students it comes in the form of a Campus Corner menu, but I know there’s nothing more disappointing than opening up my refrigerator to see- gasp – no Red Bull.

I know that keeping up with my Red Bull obsession isn’t costing me thousands, but it’s not exactly pocket change. But I also know that without it, my missing assignment and skipped class count would be much higher than it already is.

Although there are plenty of things I’m not totally ready to part with, everyone’s different. For some students, it’s that extra $20 bill they have among the cobwebs in their wallets that’s being saved for a night out. After all, a night away from homework has been proven to preserve sanity and how can you pass that up?

In a more expensive category, some students can’t seem to pass up new cell phones and iPods. Seeing as how the Blackberry craze is hitting hard, it’s understandable how eager some students are to keep up.

But it’s not just a phone or an iPod that you’re paying for, it’s the songs we download, legally of course, the cases we buy and the applications we install. After a few innocent purchases, this addiction can get a little pricey.

For all of you out there who can’t live without your own personal must-have, but are having trouble paying for it, there are definitely a few ways to curb your spending and still enjoy those luxuries.

As hungry as you may be and as tempting as it may seem, try your best to refrain from buying lunch in Jazzman’s at 12:45. Meal exchange is a mere 15 minutes away, and you’re easily saving flex money for when you really can’t afford groceries.

Take advantage of what Cabrini has to offer. It might be a small campus, and we’ve all heard the “there’s-nothing-to-do” speech, but plenty of organizations on campus offer free or discounted opportunities to get off campus and enjoy yourself. Fast Track to Philly, sponsored by SEaL, passes out free round-trip train passes to students.

For shopping addicts, saving money can be hard, and passing up the chance to hit the mall is like a 12-step program. Instead, check out Plato’s Closet. The store, with locations in Springfield and Paoli, sells gently used clothes, handbags, name it. They’ll even buy back your used clothes, which means more shopping money for you.

Megan Kutulis

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