Illustration by Kelsey German
Illustration by Kelsey German

Saving Money as a Student

By Ethan Lauren

It’s hard to attend college in an area with a high cost of living. Here’s a selection of tips to save money, as suggested by students just like you:

Charles B—Student discounts are everywhere you look, like those sticky fruits that fall down from palm trees. Through BeachBoard you can access MasterClass for free, or pay $20 for a year-long Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Spotify and Hulu have a bundled discount deal for four years; I know because my discount ended, and I remember how truly sweeter life was when I was only spending $5 a month.

Kristin W—Prep meals ahead of time and budget for eating out. We all need food, Long Beach and Southern California in general having no shortage of it, but eating out can and will turn your bank account red. Pack a lunch of easy and affordable options such as: chicken, tuna, rice, beans, lentils, vegetables, pasta, and grains. Below is a secret family recipe stolen from Kristin’s apartment after our interview concluded:

Kristin’s Amazing, Spectacular, and Superior Overnight Oats (Trademarked)

  • Mason jar (16oz)
  • Rolled oats (maintains a good constituency)
  • Coconut milk (can substitute, but coconut gives a nice sweetness)
  • Chia seeds (for more milk absorption, and health benefits)
  • Fruit (Blueberries, raspberries)

Fill the jar halfway with oats. Pour enough milk for the oats to soak. Then a dash of chia seeds, some fruit for flavor, and place it in the refrigerator. They’ll generally keep for three days so make several at once.
Sam H—Ramen noodles. For when all else fails and you don’t even have the time or energy to make Kristin’s Amazing, Spectacular, and Superior Overnight Oats (Trademarked). Throw a cup of noodles in the microwave and you are set. Maybe toss in an egg and crack some pepper; or to mix it up, crack an egg and toss some pepper. And if you don’t even want to do that, eat it like a cracker. I once spent $18 on a fancy sandwich for a mediocre date and you know how much instant ramen that could have been instead? Save the money, and the heartbreak.

Marisa V—Never buy a textbook before the beginning of class. Not only could the textbook be unneeded, but you might often find professors who will accept earlier editions, which are often much cheaper. Not only that but there are countless resources online to find virtual copies. As far as whether that’s ethical, is it really that fair for students to buy a book under duress? Socrates once said, just before drinking a nice, warm glass of hemlock tea, that if you think you’re right, you’re right. I believe the pursuit of knowledge needs no price tag and I’m not ashamed to admit that.

But one of the easiest ways to save money is ultimately to earn more instead. Having watched “Heat,” “Point Break,” and “Hell or High Water” I have concluded that it doesn’t seem that hard to rob a bank. Two tenets to remember: prosthetics and calisthenics. For example, you wear a fake mustache or a prop nose, and then after the robbery you run into a bush and change into a different disguise. And that’s all you need. I haven’t tried myself but do reach out if you end up attempting.

I suppose you could apply for the many scholarships offered both on and off-campus, but nobody’s ever made a movie about a hunched-over student spending hours applying for scholarships. However, by implementing some of the above tips you’ll have the money to see any movie you want—send me an email if you don’t want to go alone.