Students explore ways to save and create money
By now, many people have heard the phrase "he or she is a poor college student." They may have even used the expression to describe themselves. Considering that the College's comprehensive fee is at a new high of $51,990, the national economy continues to struggle and unpaid summer internships are more ambitious than ever, the saying holds more weight than ever. Whether they are living on or off campus, students are finding and looking for creative ways to save and make money during the year.<br />
While many students work in College departments, buildings and programs to defray personal expenses, students implement different strategies to keep the contents of their wallets from disappearing.
For many students, the number-one strategy for saving money is carrying as little cash as possible. When money is readily accessible, students find that they tend to spend without thinking. They are able to make small purchases that add up considerably over time. After spending seven dollars at the Spa, five dollars on a T-shirt and two dollar trips to the vending machine, students are surprised when they open their wallet to an empty bill pocket. "I find cash to be very fluid and easy to spend," Dan Sunderland '14 said.
Even though the College runs three dining halls, food is the black hole that sucks the most money from students' bank accounts. Waterville House of Pizza, Pad Thai Too, the Spa, Papa John's and Big G's are notorious for their ability to empty students' pockets. Every year, students resolve to cut back on their spending at off-campus dining locations. Nevertheless, the true success of these resolutions has yet to be determined.
Although it is hard to ascertain exactly how much money people save by listening to their professed attempts to limit consumption at off-campus dining venues, students do save money by taking advantage of on-campus resources. "I 'shop' at the College's own lovely Spa, its dining halls, and various locations around campus," Tory Gray '11 said.
Many students admit to grabbing fruit or other portable provisions to stock their dorm refrigerators and shelves. A portion of any student's cooking or baking ingredients, as well as place settings-utensils, plates, bowls and cups-are readily available in a variety of locations across campus. "I don't think anyone misses a few salt and pepper shakers here and there, and probably not that handful of tea bags from Dana," Gray said. The dining halls are also prime locations for filling up Nalgenes with water, soda and juice.
Beyond food, students suggest "borrowing" trash bags from dorms, printing in the library and taking paper from the printers in the Street as ways to economize at the College. Other money saving tactics include using coupons and looking up coupon codes for online shopping, collecting and recycling cans to return at Joka's or Hannaford and shopping at consignment shops such as Goodwill, Kenaset and Salvation Army, as well as stores such as the Dollar Store, Reny's and Marden's.
Some students even find ways to gather their school supplies and hygiene products on campus. "Last year I picked up every pen I found on campus. I didn't have to buy a single pen all year!" Kathleen Ricciardi '12 said. It is also reported that a handful of students wait until they are alone in dorm bathrooms to use others' toothpaste and mouthwash, and therefore never have to buy their own. (Writer's note: check the liquid line the next time you use your Scope!)
When saving money becomes too much of a hassle, a number of students on campus find ways to make a little extra dough on the side.
Erik Baish '12 began making pottery during his senior year of high school. On the Hill, Baish utilizes the pottery studio in the basement of Roberts to create pieces such as bowls, mugs and teapots. Although he keeps some pieces for himself, he sells and gives some away. "Sometimes I sell [pottery] to people I know, other times I give it as gifts and save money that way," Baish said.
Michaelina Deneka '13 also runs a one-man business in freelance web design called Bromide Bomb. Deneka, whom taught herself HTML back when she was 11 years old, did web design on the side as a teenager. Recently, though, she began making money off of her skill. Now, Deneka spends much of her time contacting potential clients and working on projects with her clientele. Regardless of the sporadic nature of her business-due in part to her inability to commute to her clients' locations and to her inability to be reached during class hours-Deneka thoroughly enjoys her work and appreciates the minimal income she acquires. "It's nice being able to make even just pocket change off of something that I enjoy doing, so in the end I do think the commitment is worth it," Deneka said.
Whether they are making money on the side, creating budgets for their expenses or finding ways to obtain necessities for free, students on the Hill use their personal skills and surrounding environment to combat their position as "poor college students."