Archive | January, 2013

What a pain in my bbb….books?

22 Jan

As college students we know what it is like to have to buy books, which can be terribly overpriced and extremely dry to read.  Here are some of my best tips for buying books and ones that I use every semester to save me hundreds of dollars:

Get a list of books for all your classes from the University Bookstore (including the ISBN number if listed) and then copy the ISBN number (or title if ISBN is not given) and paste it into these searches:

This is what I do first and then I compare the best price for each book to the university bookstore price to see how much I save, if it is cheaper to buy the book on any of these sites, do it!  Something that you want to watch out for is renting books. While this may seem like a great idea, I am NOT a big fan, if you can buy the book and for the same price or a dollar or two more, definitely do it, that way at the end of the semester when you go to sell them back you can at least make a few dollars (even though it will probably only be enough to buy a soft drink with…..) still better than nothing.

Next, go to the first day of class to actually see if you will need the book, professors will tell you this information right away and they will also mention if you need the exact same edition or not, in which case if you do not, I suggest buying older editions, while the page numbering may be slightly different, and there is one sentence that is changed in the whole book this is the much cheaper route.

If the professor says that you do no need the book, do not buy it!! You don’t want it just sitting around collecting dust if you never use it and who wants to buy something they never use? (If you lived in the tropics you wouldn’t buy a snowmobile).

The last strategy before shelling out all the dough is to look on social media sites such as Facebook for people or groups that are selling textbooks that you will be interested in.  This is the best option because students cannot or don’t want to sell their books back for really cheap when they can sell it to other students for more, however, it usually is not more than $20, which is more than any bookstore will give them and less than any bookstore will sell it to you for.  So its a win-win all around.

Food……the grocery store

22 Jan

As we all know that living on our own is difficult; it is hard to manage money, friends, family, school and a job.  Another things that I always find difficult is grocery shopping.  When I go grocery shopping it is usually for one of two reasons: I am completely out of all edible food or I am procrastinating from something and want candy to eat.  Neither one of these things are good things to do.  Lately, I have been going on Sundays, after I have eaten.

However, when I get to the store I always have the same routine, first it is to the fresh produce section, where I get some bell peppers (random fact: bell peppers with 4 protrusions on the bottom are better for cooking and peppers with 3 protrusions on the bottom are better for just eating), carrots and celery.  Then I pick up one or two apples and three green bananas (I don’t like the yellow ones).  After I have my standards I then decided on either beets or radishes and salad or an avocado and tomato.

Next, I move on to the deli where I get 1/4lb of turkey and look at the selection of cheeses ( especially the fresh mozzarella).  I move on to the rest of the store where I buy cheese, milk, eggs and frozen chicken breasts.  Then I get to the frozen food section.  This is where everything goes terribly wrong.  I literally have to close my eyes as I walk past the ice cream and pizza rolls, then again past the lean cuisine dinners.  Once I make it to the frozen veggies section I get at least six bags of them!

Finally, I make it past the candy and into the checkout, where I always use the self-check out.  I scan all my items and I basically know every time what my bill will be and it is almost never more than $20, which may seem shockingly low to some of you but to me that is very high.

My first summer living apart from my parents and not having a meal plan on campus, I spent less than $10 every week in groceries, but not once in the summer did I feel hungry.  The thought of spending large amounts of money on things that were going to disappear in a week, scared me.  Which is why I did not spend much.

I suggest that as a college student, always make a list of what you want or need first, so the basics, eggs, milk, cheese and chicken are mine, then write down everything else that you want.  Now, look at the list and if there is more than 15 items on it, starting with the thing you need the least and want the most (frozen pizza bites) scratch them off.  This will help you to keep your budget low and your diet slim but healthy (if you get only basics).

Every once in a while as you walk through the candy isle with your eyes closed open them for just a second and grab yourself a sweet treat to reward yourself with all the money that you have been saving.

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