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Stretching a Dollar in College

Besides Chad who’s father pays for his binge drinking lifestyle, a majority of us college kids rarely ever have money to spare. But somehow, we always find a way to make it work. 

First semester, we are always overzealous with our spending because our pockets are heavy with summer job moola. We tend to treat our debit cards like they were given to us by Chad’s father himself. This all takes an unfortunate turn when we go home for winter break and suddenly our cards start getting declined. 

Here are a few ways to $ave dat money on food, booze, and everything in between, Lil Dicky style.


By your second semester you realize that the college cliche of having “ramen for dinner” is not just a cliche but an actual way to survive. Once your bank account gets low, you quickly learn how to cheat the dining hall system…dining plan or not. There’s no moral issue with this. Not only are you paying for it one way or another through tuition, they also end up throwing half the food out anyways. If anything, you’re only helping the environment. 

Another no brainer, is to always sign up and participate in rewards programs. Those hungover Dunkies runs add up over time…so you might as well get a free coffee here and there. 

Here’s a quick list of restaurants that offer discounted or free items through their app:

McDonalds (Offers coupons for pick-up orders)

Taco Bell (Free reward after spending $25)

Wendy’s (10 points for every dollar spent. Which leads to freebies. They also sell a keychain at the beginning of every year that entails you to get a free frostie with every purchase)

Starbucks (Every purchase adds “stars” which can be redeemed for anything from a latte to a tumblr)

Dunkin’ (200 points = Free Beverage)

Chipotle (Freebie overtime)

Panera (Points that can be redeemed for freebies + Bottomless coffee subscription)

Dominos (Always has coupons on deck)


You might have a drained bank account, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get blackout drunk. But keep in mind, beggers can’t be choosers. You can find things to drink when you’re broke, it just won’t be your ideal beverage. 

When you’re scraping pennies to the dollar, you’re options are the following:

  • Find 24 quarters in order to buy two 23.5 oz of tangy poison (Four Lokos)
  • Beg your friends to go in on a handle of your locally named shitty Vodka (Rubi, Shitty K, Zhenka ect.)
  • Risk it all and indulge in some frat jungle juice

…and if you’re REALLY down bad, the option is there to drink any and all unoccupied beverages, but I feel like it’s important for me to say that I strongly advise against that.

Everything in Between

Although drinking heavily and eating often take up a majority of our time, there are other things we need to buy that we simply don’t have the money for.

For any and all miscellaneous purchases you make, always ask if the store offers a student discount. There’s a 50/50 chance they do. You’ll either look like a cheap bozo, or have more money to spend on alc. It’s your call.

There is a website (UNiDays) that shows you which companies offer a student discount, both online and in store. I think this website is universally known to any and all students, but here’s a helpful hack: When you sign up, don’t put your actual year of graduation. Instead, choose the graduation year that is the furthest from now. That way; you receive the discount when you’re a post-grad, struggling to pay back your student loans. 

Also, sometimes it’s worth it to go to those cheesy events your school has…they usually have some good free stuff. Companies love to pray on “stupid” college kids, so they’ll come in swinging at any event tossing out free stuff in order to gain exposure. At my school, they had the Bush’s Baked Beans dog come through and they were tossing out cans and cans of beans. I don’t fuck with beans personally, but the fans of beans were ecstatic. So, you really have nothing to lose by going to these things.

Written by Grace O'Malley

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