Make the Most of College and Do It Without Busting Your Budget

click to enlarge Make the Most of College and Do It Without Busting Your Budget
Many of us only get four years to explore every peak and pitfall of what it means to be a college student. There are bad first dates, awkward office-hour meetings with professors, too much iced coffee, too few naps, cramped dorm rooms and sweaty walks across campus.

But there are also great first dates, enlightening classes, funny instructors and unexpected moments of growth among the discomfort.

Your college years, unless you’re an overachiever, are short. Here are some ways to take full advantage of them while not blowing your budget. After all, there’s a good chance you’re already piling up plenty of student debt. No need to add maxed-out credit cards into the mix.

Your Student ID: Your student status gives you discounts on everything from food and entertainment to a new laptop. Don’t be afraid to flash that ID and ask for savings.

Food: Student benefits aren’t confined to campus. Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut, TCBY, Buffalo Wild Wings, Qdoba and Taco Cabana all offer student discounts. Just call ahead to see if a location honors your ID.
Movies: Alamo Drafthouse, AMC and Regal Cinemas give students a discount when you show your card.
Museums: The McNay is always free for people under 19 and only $5 for students with an ID. Students get into the San Antonio Museum of Art for $12 instead of the usual $20.
Subscriptions: Amazon, Hulu, Spotify and most newspapers offer student rates.
Tech: Apple, Microsoft, Panasonic, Lenovo and Best Buy give students special pricing, but only if you request it.
Bonus: Get around town with free or discounted bus rides when you show your ID. You’re helping cut carbon emissions while you’re at it.

Gyms and Outdoor Spaces: Staying fit is important. Take advantage of what your campus has to offer, and you can skip that pricy gym membership.
• On-campus gyms offer workout classes and intramural team sports — either for free or pretty cheap.
• Your student status lets you explore every corner of campus at no extra cost. Sprawl out on the manicured lawns and use outdoor patios for studying when the weather is nice.
• Intramural team sports serve a triple purpose of delaying your status as a washed-up high school athlete while giving you the opportunity to meet fellow jocks and staying in shape.

Health Services: College can be hard on your mental and physical health, but many campuses offer clinics and other health resources at low or no cost.
• Most schools have on-campus clinics within walking distance of your dorm or apartment. They can be a free or inexpensive alternative to a visit to the minor emergency clinic.
• Check to see if there’s a pharmacy in the health services building so you can pick up meds on your walk back from class.
• College mental health services aren’t always the most robust, but if you’re feeling hopeless and lost, an appointment can be the first step to getting back on track. Services are usually free or relatively inexpensive.
• Women’s health clinics on campus are often easy to access and offer a range of services from birth control consultation to annual exams and STD testing.

Libraries: From a quiet place to study to free-of-charge media access, don’t overlook these valuable campus resources.
• Campus libraries are beautiful, cool, quiet havens. They’re also curated for college students and offer access to databases and archives other people can’t get their hands on.
• Beyond tomes for academic research, libraries also offer movies, music and leisure reading free of charge.

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