A guide to having fun in college without hurting your wallet


We all know college can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should be forced to stay in your room by yourself while your friends go clubbing. There are many ways to afford college and have fun at the same time.

Students spend about $1,300 on entertainment every year. That is a high number, but there is one effective way to lower that …

Invest in some board and card games.

Board games can supply students with fun while also allowing them to spend that time with roommates or friends. A $20 game can entertain a group of friends for hours without getting bored. Now multiply that number, if you were to gather four friends with four different games, you got yourself a good old-fashioned game night. Throw in a $5 pizza or two from Little Caesars, and you’re set for the night. Some good games to consider investing in would be Monopoly (of course), Unstable Unicorns, Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme.

Other than entertainment, students also need to be able to afford food while they attend school.

Students spend around $3,500-$7,500 on food annually. Getting a job in dining services or outside eateries can help students lower this number. Other than ZU Media, I also worked at the Cougars Den Cafe (on APU’s East campus). Working there came with some food perks. You get free food when you go on breaks or full meals when you work long enough.

Along with lower-priced food, you’ll be making money while you work, so you don’t have to rely on your parents. It’s a win-win situation, and if you are thinking about getting a job here on campus, Handshake can show you who is hiring. Just log into your APU homepage, type Handshake into the search bar and start applying.

Other than eating and entertainment, students also need to update their wardrobe.

Hand-me-downs and clothes from years prior can last a good while, but eventually, we all get tired of wearing the same clothes. Carolyn Schneider mentions in her book, The Ultimate Consignment & Thrift Store Guide, how you can get clothes for cheap from the thrift store.

The average discount a shopper can find on apparel in thrift stores is upwards of 50 percent off,” Schneider wrote. “Many stores offer additional discounts …  If an item does not sell in 30 days, it’s marked down an additional 20 percent, and if it does not sell in 60 days it is marked down another 20 percent.”

I love thrifts shops because you can find a variety of clothes and come out with something you never imagined picking up. Around APU, my favorite shops are Goodwill and Valley Thrift, both within walking distance.

Some people may think it takes a certain kind of person to pull off the wide selection the thrift store has to offer, but I assure you, this isn’t the case. One skill avid thrift shoppers all have in common is that they know how to look around the shops. Take the time to look at all the racks and you’ll find something you like.

Another thing many people fail to take advantage of is student discounts. College Ave says students should ask “for discounts wherever [they] go to get lower rates on everything from meals to car insurance to travel.”

In terms of eateries near APU, Cafe Bungalow and Dickeys both offer student discounts when you show them your student ID card. Get in the habit of asking cashiers at restaurants or stores if they offer student discounts. It may only be five or 10 percent, but saving even a dollar can be the difference between going out for the night or staying in.

Of course, there are so many other ways to save money in college, such as renting/sharing your textbooks, or opening up a savings account and budgeting your money. These are good techniques, but there are more enjoyable options.