The Berkeley benefit: never pay extra for anything you need

Tala Ram/Staff

We’re serious. It may not have been the reason you came to UC Berkeley, but man, you should be glad it exists. Because of the Berkeley benefit, you can enjoy a full and meaningful college experience without excessive financial worries. It allows you to get ahold of anything from clothes, books and food to twin-size mattresses, laptop chargers, kittens and Mad Decent concert tickets without ending up utterly broke.

Let us prove it to you. The Clog visited Berkeley’s student-approved bargain shops and asked the working employees for a photo and a line about what makes their store affordably awesome.

Clothes: Aw, he got the Velcros

We don’t have many chain clothing stores close to campus, except for Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. So where do we do most of our shopping? Thrift shops. Not only do we feel like hipsters supporting this brilliant system, but $50 for a T-shirt is just something of a … waste.

Buffalo Exchange

“We take what people don’t love anymore and allow it to become someone else’s favorite outfit.”

Tala Ram/Staff

Tala Ram/Staff

Located on 2585 Telegraph Ave., Buffalo Exchange buys, sells and trades clothes for awesome prices. Because the store gets 80 percent of its clothes from the local community, you can bring in clothes that you used to love and either exchange them for new clothes or for cash. The downside is that Buffalo Exchange tends to be pretty picky with what it buys, so make sure to only bring in clothes that are in good condition and fairly unique.

Mars Vintage Thrift

“We’re cheaper than Urban Outfitters.”

Tala Ram/Staff

Tala Ram/Staff

Mars is located on 2398 Telegraph Ave. and sells mostly vintage clothing. Its incredibly diverse selection of clothing and accessories includes some seriously hideous costumes, as well as also some really great quality, one-of-a-kind items for insanely good prices.

Books: I like big books, and I cannot lie

“Well, your iClickers tell me that ‘preserving neighborhoods with small shops and bookstores’ is ‘Quite Important’ to most of you. Very good. Now, tell me, how many of you buy your books online?” — campus professor Robert Reich in a Wealth and Poverty lecture

Every semester, UC Berkeley students spend thousands of dollars on textbooks. Our local bookstores not only have a rich history, tons of books and the most enthusiastic employees ever, they also have some of the most reasonably priced books around. Plus, there are no shipping costs. And they’ll even buy many of your books back when you’re done. Say what?

Moe’s Books

“We’ve been here since 1959, and our 100,000 stock of books is constantly changing.”


Tala Ram/Staff

Moe’s Books, located on 2476 Telegraph Ave., has been benefitting UC Berkeley students since 1959. It buys, sells and trades books all day every day, and if you step inside, you’ll discover that the seemingly quaint store actually has four book-filled floors! In addition to being a great place to buy and sell your used text books for fair prices, Moe’s is a reminder that Amazon can’t shut down all the little guys.

Pegasus and Pendragon Books

“If you’re into student discounts and selling textbooks that the student store won’t buy — that’s us.”

Tala Ram/Staff

Pegasus Books has been around since 1969, growing and dividing into its present three locations: 2349 Shattuck Ave., 5560 College Ave. and 1855 Solano Ave. In addition to buying, selling and trading used books for great prices, it have an impressive selection of staff pets, so if you’re in need of both books and some downtime with a furry friend, you can get them both here.

Food: Lettuce turnip the beet

Students probably spend more money on food than anything else — and for good reason. When it comes to food, it’s less about buying cheap and more about buying right. Surprisingly, 60 percent of students are ‘food insecure,’ meaning that their lean student budgets keep them from regularly consuming nutritious food. While we might think Asian Ghetto and Blondie’s are just another part of the college experience, food is one thing that’s worth investing in. It’s the fuel that’s going to keep you awake during your 8 a.m. Friday classes. That being said, choosing to be healthy doesn’t mean choosing to be broke.

Sam’s Market

“We’re, um, convenient.”

Tala Ram/Staff

Tala Ram/Staff

Sam’s Market, located on 2312 Telegraph Ave., is a family-run store that both sells your basic groceries and offers a sandwich deli. Because it’s so close to campus, it’s, um, incredibly convenient, and Fred’s famous chicken sandwich is apparently top-notch.

Student Food Collective

“We’re entirely student-run, we’re passionate about our products and you won’t find better-quality food for a better price!”

Tala Ram/Staff

Located on 2240 Bancroft Ave., the Student Food Collective is a nonprofit that provides low-cost sustainable food and food education to students and the local community. Its mission is to “provide fresh, local, healthy, environmentally sustainable and ethically produced food at affordable prices to the Berkeley campus and greater community,” which means high-quality food, solid prices and a great cause.

Everything else

Golden Bears look out for each other. You’re almost guaranteed to find anything you need without having to look too far beyond our campus. And things you don’t need, too. As a sample, this week, you will find the following items for purchase on the Facebook group Free & For Sale: concert tickets, ukuleles, five-piece dining sets, Krispy Kreme donuts, adjustable dumbbell sets, hamsters, freezers, Victoria’s Secret lingerie, custard bread, broadband routers, adult hula skirt kits, dish racks … you get it.

Free & For Sale Facebook group

“Find fridges, futons, textbooks, and tons of other stuff.”

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Free & For Sale is a UC Berkeley Facebook group for campus students to buy, sell and give items to other students. Anything goes, from flat-screen TVs to freshly made cinnamon buns. The good news is, everything you could possibly need is compiled into one place. The bad news is, there is so much of it, you can easily spend way too much time sifting through everything.



“Cal’s Official Student Marketplace”


BuyNearMe is a Craigslist spinoff tailored to students looking to buy and sell discounted items to other locals. The concept is similar to Free & For Sale, but it is easier to navigate because everything is categorized. If you’re selling an item, it’s additionally useful because you can compare prices against similar items being sold.


“Everything is $1.50! What more do you want?”


Tala Ram/Staff

Daiso is a Japanse company that carries almost everything you can think of — and then some. The store is located on 2369 Telegraph Ave., and almost all their items are $1.50. The quality isn’t always the best, but when you’re hosting a Japanese-styled dinner for your housemates, having authentic-looking Japanese teacups and chopsticks can be really fun.

Image Sources: Image 6, Image 7 


Contact Tala Ram at [email protected].