While college is the prime time to save, for many students, it is also the prime time to spend. In the four years of freedom following high school, young adults are seeking to develop a rich social life with new peers in a new setting. Between grabbing a coffee between classes, going to the movies on the weekends, and attending local concerts, small expenses can add up quickly. Though balancing academics and a social life can be challenging, the real struggle lies in balancing expenses.
College students love free things – who doesn’t? One of the perks to being a college student is that there are many companies looking to market towards our demographic. Primarily in the first few weeks of school and throughout the year, companies often send representatives to campuses to distribute free samples of their products. Don’t be afraid to ask for more of what they’re handing out; you could walk away with a box of free samples! Being in Boston definitely has its advantages with a huge student population.
Several well-known companies attend events such as CollegeFest at the Hynes Convention Center, and College Day at Fenway, specifically to hand out free product samples to students.
Of course, not everything in life is free. There are many other ways that I’ve learned to save a buck here and there on and off campus. Using your college ID card can get you tax deductions at local restaurants, and free or discounted museum passes. (Searching your school’s website is the best way to see how to save with your card.) It can be beneficial to find out if local stores and restaurants offer rewards programs. Many places offer cards or apps that allow you to earn rewards or in-store discounts. To find out about other local deals, search the internet for limited-time sales or free events going on in the area.
Another must for any savvy college student is keeping up with your school’s social media outlets. Schools often host free or discounted concerts for students, hold events on special occasions with assorted freebies, or communicate local events that you may not have heard of. If you stop by events or lectures held for prospective students or outside groups, you can often pick at the leftovers of a lunch buffet or snag some free pens.
Lastly, and most importantly it is key to remember that it never hurts to ask for a discount or free sample. Who knows, you might end up only paying with a smile!
This year’s freebies (roughly): pair of jeans, 5 pairs of sunglasses, plastic cups, 15+ t-shirts, enough hummus to fill a refrigerator, concert tickets, bottles of coconut water, 3 water bottles, ping pong balls, Frisbees, energy shots, sports drinks, bags of crackers, concert tickets, museum passes, pens, stickers, posters, reusable bags, jewelry, ice cream, coffee.
Anna Lee is a student at Boston University