By Carolyn Turgeon
Whether you’re a baby-faced froshie or a seasoned Ram on the verge of graduation, we all face the same problems: school, the money we pay to go to school and the money we are expected to spend on going to class. The problem is, if you’re new to the game, budgeting can be tricky. Compiled below is a directory of where to go and what to buy to ensure that your school year goes by as cheap as possible.
The bane of all university students are your books. Some classes will require none, some five. Some will never use them but expect you to show up with them. They’re all expensive, but some more than others, especially economics.
Your best bet is avoiding the Campus Bookstore on Gould and Victoria Streets as much as possible. Though stocked with every book you could possibly need, by request of your professors, the easiest way to rack up your bill is by going where Ryerson wants you to go and will most easily profit off of you.
Close-by alternatives include BMV Books, a used bookstore located on Edward St. just off of Yonge. It may not have everything you need, but the prices make it worth a look. And don’t forget the sales rack at Indigo Books or any other overly expensive corporate bookshops.
In turning to the Internet, there are many textbook resources. You can go the common route and scroll through Kijiji and Craigslist until your eyes bleed, but thankfully there is one online option that might prove much easier. Ryebooks.com is a site devoted to buying, selling, trading and exchanging college and university textbooks in Toronto, with different threads for each institution.
And don’t forget that there is a used bookstore on campus, in the basement of the Student Campus Centre (SCC). Not only can you find many required textbooks at reduced prices, but it’s a handy resource to keep in mind when you finish your classes and want to make money off the obscure tomes you never want to see again.
Remember when you were a kid and your school used to give you a list of all the things you’d need during the school year and everything was sunshine and rainbows? Now you can only guess and either be missing things you require or wasting money on things you’ll never use.
To avoid wastefulness and unpreparedness, consider not even buying anything until after the first week of school. It gives you a chance to get a grasp of your classes and what they really require. Really, how much will they actually make you do in the first week?*
The first rule of school supply shopping is don’t even think about doing it on campus. The Campus Bookstore may have everything you need, but it also comes with an extensive price tag.
Venture out of the campus bubble instead. Hit up Grand & Toy in the Eaton Centre or even a dollar store. It’s not like your notes are going to be that coherent, might as well keep them cheap.
*The Eyeopener does not guarantee that you won’t have real shit to do in the first week. Unless you are in journalism. That we know.
To many students, going back to school is a chance to show off their new wardrobe. For university freshmen, it’s the chance to meet new people and reinvent yourself. And whether you are a fan of high fashion, or someone who prefers clothes so casual they border on homeless, you’re still in for some spending. It’s costs a lot to look that cheap.
You can continue to troll through the sale racks until you’re at your wit’s end, or you can take the clothes you are tired of or don’t fit into and take them to the Kind Exchange on Queen Street. They allow you to buy, sell, trade and donate clothes, perfect for the bargain-hunting student, and since their Queen location has opened they have been rumoured to have a great selection.
Another cheap idea is to hold a clothing swap. Though not a very complicated idea, it can prove very fruitful. Simply gather some of your new or old friends and pool all the clothes none of you want anymore. Then spend as much time as you like trying things on and taking home what you like.
It may seem rather feminine to many of you, but add in some alcohol and anyone can handle it and come out with some new absolutely free clothing.