How to stretch your budget as a college student in Berkeley

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Beini Liu/Staff

UC Berkeley is known for a variety of things. We are the original University of California, we’re the No. 1 public university in the world, our acceptance rates get lower and lower every year, and we also happen to be located in one of the most expensive college towns in the United States.

Living in Berkeley can be rough. With so many mandatory expenses, we find ourselves stretched out a little too thin. We at the Clog want to give you the inside scoop on saving money in a town that was built to suck us dry!

Bring snacks onto campus

Campus is surrounded by so many different options for food. From various dining locations on campus to the infinite possibilities on Telegraph Avenue, the temptations can lead to full stomachs but empty wallets. Bringing snacks from home can help limit these temptations without breaking your bank!

Eat out less

Of course, nothing would be better than buying another whole Sliver pizza again this week. But is it really worth it? (Honestly, it is, but that is beside the point.) Eating out frequently can drain your bank faster than you can finish a slice of that Sliver pizza.

Wait for the 51B

AC Transit, especially the 51B line, is probably the bane of our existence. Constantly playing the guessing game of whether the bus will be on time can really stress someone out. However, utilizing your free bus pass can help minimize costs more than you think. Spending about $7 for a Lyft or Uber to everywhere you go can add up over time!

Make your own coffee

Coffee is vital for college students to function, and with locations everywhere, such as the Free Speech Movement Cafe and Caffe Strada, the temptations are unavoidable. Spending $5 for coffee every day can amount to $35 per week, $140 per month and $1,820 per year. Making your own coffee right at home can lead to big savings and may even help you wean off of coffee a little.

Carry cash

Although cash might be a hassle to carry around, it can help you save a few cents here and there. In Berkeley, you may notice a lot of places charge a few extra cents for using a card. Using cash instead of your card could help reduce the money you spend. Those extra fees can be the difference between you getting Sliver pizza and not getting Sliver.

Use coupons and sign up for rewards

Do you always see those people handing out coupon booklets near Sproul? Well, maybe instead of speeding by, take one! You would be surprised at all the deals that come in that little booklet. Along with coupons, try out reward systems and discount cards.

Take fewer showers

Water bills can be cut short with fewer showers. Imagine how much money EECS majors save every month! Don’t want to smell? Buy some deodorant for $2 that will last you more than a month.

Being a student at UC Berkeley is draining enough, but living in one of the most expensive college towns in the United States drains more than your physical and mental energy. These few tips involve minor changes that can make a major difference in the long run!

Contact Joyce Cam at [email protected].

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