Young, wild, free and on a budget

Lily Fuentez, junior business administration major, wanders up and the down the aisles of the dollar store scanning every section, searching for any deals she can get her hands on. You name it; she buys anything from dishes to hairbrushes, from giftwrap to food.  

“I spend hundreds less per month than my roommates this way. I’m serious, hundreds!” said Fuentez.

Fuentez prides herself on getting crafty when it comes to looking for good deals and saving money. She is fully supporting herself through college, with no outside assistance from her parents. So, it has been crucial for her to work and learn the art of budgeting while in college.

At Chapman University, where the cost of living in Orange County is high, and tuition is even higher, Fuentez, along with several other Chapman students, have developed their own tricks of the trade when it comes to saving a dollar here and there, and were more than happy to share their wealth of knowledge with the rest of the Chapman community.

On top of working numerous jobs, both on and off campus, Fuentez has found that shopping at stores like Wal-Mart versus Target and buying generic brands has been a big money-saver.

As an even cheaper alternative Fuentez, along with sophomore communications major Sophia Anderson, find the dollar store to be a great place for hidden gems.

Anderson utilizes the dollar store when searching for crafting supplies or costumes, and finds many cheaper alternatives compared to stores like Michael’s.

With the necessities covered, many students have also found ways to save money when it comes to buying that little black dress for formal or a new swimsuit to go along with all of Orange County’s hot and sunny days.

Anderson always makes sure to browse the sale section of her favorite stores, first, and uses websites like Poshmark and EBay, which are both secondhand websites where you can buy and sell new or used items.

Makenna Sewell, sophomore business major, likes to use the Chapman affiliated Facebook page, Panther Couture, to make some extra money by selling her old clothing to others students.

“I made like $100 a few months ago when I de-cluttered my closet,” said Sewell.

Above all, though, the one thing that college students will find themselves spending too much money on is the one thing we all need and love:


Food is expensive, and becomes exponentially more expensive when constantly venturing off to new, hip, restaurants around Orange County.

Luckily, Molly Silk, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major, has got the eating out thing all figured out. She decides beforehand how much money she wants to spend, and only allows herself to bring that much money with her. This way she ensures there will be no splurging and no regret when the check rolls around.

Similarly, sophomore public relations and advertising major Mady Dewey has found an easy way to save a lot of money when it comes to eating out with the app MOGL. When you sign up and sync your card, you get a percentage back on purchases at select restaurants paired up with app.

With MOGL, you can get 10% back at restaurants like Zitos Pizza, Growl Juice Pub, Yogurtland, Mead’s Green Door, Which Wich, and many more.

It’s such a good deal that it almost feels like stealing, right? Who could pass that up?

On the other hand, junior studio art major Johee Kwak saves money by inviting friends over to make food together, rather than eating out. Not only does it save her a great chunk of change, but she also finds that these moments are much more memorable and valuable.

With the necessities of toiletries, clothing and food covered, it is important to discuss the most vital part of the college experience, having fun.

As great as weekend pool parties and Thursdays at The District can be, everyone is usually looking for other, more fun and fulfilling activities to do in the mean time.

When Silk finds herself wanting to try new things around Orange County, such as kickboxing or yoga, she first checks Groupon to find any good deals on these activities in the area.

It’s a simple and easy way to save money on new and enjoyable experiences.

Similar to Groupon, sites like LivingSocial and Yipit also offer daily deals on restaurants, stores, and other various activities in the area.

Being a college student is expensive, that’s inevitable. And more likely than not, you are still relying on your parents a lot for financial support, so do both yourself and your parents a favor and take these money saving tips to the bank, literally.
More importantly, save your money to spend on experiences like that wine tasting in Napa with your best friends, or that trip home to surprise your mom for her birthday. In the end that will be infinitely more rewarding and valuable than spending extra money for that name-brand hand soap you think smells really nice.

+ posts