People joke about being a broke college student all the time, and while it seems like an over-exaggeration (how many millennials are living wonderful lives off their parents’ Amex cards?), it’s easy to feel penniless at college. Especially when eating delivery from GrubHub for weeks at a time during midterms. Below are some tools and tips you can use to save money while still living it up at college. Trust us: your parents and your wallet, will thank you.
College organizations, events and fundraisers know exactly how to pull in student participation: by offering free food. If you go to Activities Unlimited or any other club fair this year, you’ll see just how many organizations are willing to dish out the cash for pizza if it means more members. Take advantage of this. If you’re interested in a club, attend a meeting — not only will you likely make friends, you’ll make your stomach happy. For example, Night on the Row is a night where fraternity and sorority houses open their doors to showcase their stuff for freshman, and the night is often packed with tons of free food and lots of fun activities.
Also, keep an eye out for deals hosted by local vendors on national food days. Federal Donuts usually gives out free donuts to students with valid student IDs during National Donut Day in early summer, and coffee chains all over Philly usually offer free coffee for National Coffee Day, which is coming up soon! It’s Sept. 29.
Several entertainment venues are loaded with opportunities for discounts. The Philadelphia Art Museum hosts “Pay What You Wish” programming, where you can pay any size donation to visit. These are held on the first Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every Wednesday night 5 to 8:45 p.m.
The Cinemark movie theater offers great discounts on Tuesdays. All movie tickets are $5.50, all day long. This is not a student specific deal, but seeing as this theater is the closest to Drexel’s campus, it’s a great way to save money when seeing movies. The theater is located at 4012 Walnut Street on Penn’s campus.
You can save some money and feel super fancy when you dine at Drexel’s Academic Bistro. The Center for Hospitality and Sports Management hosts an Academic Bistro, which holds a dining service (either lunch or dinner) one day a week each term. Usually the service starts around Week 3 and is run completely by students. Students in the culinary program cook the food being served, and students in the hospitality program do the serving — the whole program is tied into other coursework, and the students receive a grade at the end of the term. Due to the nature of the bistro, diners can pay a small price (usually between $10 to $13) for a delicious three-course meal. This is a great way to meet other students and professors and have an amazing meal on the cheap.
Listen to your University 101 teachers
When you’re sitting in your University 101 class, and the teacher is droning on and on about email subscription services, coupon deals and newsletters that contain information about events in Philly, don’t ignore them! Even though there might be a lot of subscriptions initially, you can always weed them out further down the road if you aren’t interested. University 101 will tell you about lots of deals for students and pop-up events that aren’t widely publicized otherwise.
Similarly, for Pennoni Honors College students, Ticket Tuesdays held once every month are an amazing way to get into great events and venues for free. With just a $20 safety deposit (which gets returned to you when you pick up your tickets), you can attend a very wide variety of shows, exhibits and concerts.
A hack for non-honors students is to find an honors student to hook you up — they can reserve one ticket for one other student each Ticket Tuesday. Nobody needs to know who will actually get the second ticket! But you didn’t hear that from us…