College has a way of dwindling your bank account faster than you can chug a lukewarm can of Natty Light.
After tuition, books, rent and bar tabs deduct themselves from your free student checking account, it is only a matter of time before you're contemplating selling your plasma and living off Easy Mac.
Before you do, take a look at some of the tricks that allow even the stingiest of college students to eat great, dress trendy and have fun without breaking the bank. There is no frugal living without first owning the cheapskate's bibleãthe Gator Greenback. The one time you should not steer clear of people handing out fliers in Turlington is when these are distributed. Gator Greenbacks are free books full of coupons for places all over Gainesville ranging from car repair shops to ice cream stores. They really come in handy.
If your parents pay your phone bill, try signing up for Mobile Campus. You'll get text message updates regarding cheap rent, free food and discounted clothing.
For other food deals, try Mother's Pub on University. As long as you are over 18, you can enjoy 35 cent chicken wings on Mondays after 7 p.m. and $2 burgers with fries on Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m.
If you like Chinese food, China Star offers an entire dish (including pork fried rice and a can of soda) for $5.45.
If you haven't met Craig and his list of free classified ads yet, now is the time for introductions. Craigslist.org has linked people with roommates, jobs and even tickets to Gator games, but the most valuable use for students could be getting books through the site. Amazon.com and Facebook Marketplace are also smart ways to find cheaper books than you would at the bookstore.
As a college student, you will learn that being trendy doesn't have anything to do with being pricey. At places like Plato's Closet, Fashion Exchange, Flashback's and Sandy's Savvy Chic Resale Boutique you can find great name- brand clothing for a quarter of the price you would normally pay. Think French Connection dresses for $15 dollars and Quicksilver tees for $5. These stores will also pay you for your gently used clothing and accessories, so your old clothes can pay for new ones.
Now that you've figured out how to buy the basics, let's have a little fun. The Florida Museum of Natural History offers a "Museum Nights" special for students on select Thursday nights, allowing you free admission to participate in demonstrations and hands-on activities at the museum.
If you're more of a homebody, Blockbuster offers a great deal called "Wacky Wednesdays" at all its Gainesville locations. Rent any three movies, including new releases and Blu-ray, for $5.55 on Wednesdays only. This is definitely a deal for stay-at-home savers.
For social butterflies, fraternity barbeques and concerts at Flavet Field are money-saving gems. They are fun, great for meeting people, and best of all, free.
If you find yourself bored, hungry and considering dipping into your rent money to go out on Saturday night, try cutting corners instead.
After all, the best things in life are (almost) free.