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From frugal first-years to stingy seniors, we all find ways to save

An essential part of the college student experience for many involves being frugal with your money. Financial issues and their harmful effects such as food insecurity and lack of school supplies affect many students nationwide — especially here at Rutgers, where the food pantry has seen an increase in usage recently, as reported by The Daily Targum.

Whether it's buying cheaper alternatives to commonly used products or utilizing services for discounted prices, here are some interesting stories, practical tips and tales from off the beaten path from fellow students that all revolve around the same thing: saving your precious money.

David Zhu, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said, “I make a new Amazon account with a new email every six months for the student Prime free trial. You can have more than one ‘delivery’ email like ‘’ that is linked to your ‘receiving’ email. So you make a free six-month trial on Amazon and after your trial ends you cancel your Prime account, delete your delivery email and make a new ‘delivery’ email so you can make a new Amazon account with the free trial option available again.”

Many different students mentioned utilizing this same trick. I tried it and it worked for me as well. This helps with cutting down on excess delivery fees and it additionally saves time and money that would otherwise be spent on taking trips to the store. 

Eshaan Gandhi, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, frequently takes trips to New York City. He said,  “When I go take the train to New York, I don’t buy a ticket all the way. Only until Newark because no one checks the ticket after Newark.” This piece of advice is slightly illegal, so I wouldn't recommend it. Take the advice at your own discretion. 

One recurring experience mentioned by students was throwing parties in residence halls. Students who turned to this tactic said they charged for entry and usually made a bit of cash by the end of the night, actually making it a net positive (for their wallets). Once again, I don't recommend this, but apparently it helps maintain a steady budget. 

“My friends and I go thrifting. There are a couple good stores, but we usually go to Goodwill. It’s really fun and you can find stuff you wouldn’t normally find in regular stores. You also end up saving a lot of money. Reusing clothes is good for the environment, too,” said Elijah Somrah, a School of Engineering sophomore.

In addition to these individual students' stories on saving, there are many services or places where you can attain a discount just for being enrolled as a Rutgers student. These include, but are not limited to, discounts for Spotify Premium, Apple Music, HBO Go, Headspace, ASOS, H&M, Forever 21, Converse and The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal and Microsoft Office even offer their services completely for free with your Rutgers ID.

There are many other discounts similar to these, so don’t hesitate to ask if there is a student discount available while buying food or checking out of a store.

Lastly, attending a big state school like Rutgers means that there are loads of resources out there for use. For example, we have a free online movie database called Swank that contains many great movies such as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Dark Knight” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” just to name a few.

Many other services such as the gyms and libraries on each of the different campuses are free for student use as well. This can aid in cutting down the cost of buying books, textbooks and paying for gym memberships.

Hopefully, these stories, tips and tricks are useful in helping you save money during your time here in college. It is not always easy financially being a college student, but the resources are out there if you seek them. If you are able to get creative you might be able to save even more money or possibly even make some.

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