How to live cheap, or somewhat free, at Tech

Life for Tech students has never been easy. The curriculum here alone provides enough of a challenge within itself, but now with the rising costs of both living and education, many are faced with the threat of not being able to continue their schooling.

While the task may seem daunting, a closer look at the opportunities provided by the college lifestyle offers a glimmer of hope.

Whether you’re hungry or in need of a new wardrobe, look no further than campus itself. There is no other place that provides a multitude of economically efficient ways of helping to loosen the financial squeeze and lift the burdens of being broke like that of the American university.

Through the combination of a keen eye and thrifty mentality, you as a student can live for extremely cheap, if not theoretically for free.

Tackling the challenge of stocking up the pantry with groceries other than ramen noodles can seem like a nightmare. Unlike transportation or entertainment, food and nutrition is the one thing nobody can go without. Yet in the grand scheme of college life, food is the first category to be diminished when funds begin to run low.

When in search of food, ignore pricey fast-food restaurants and look no further than campus itself. The powers that be, here and at other universities, have developed an ingenious method in order to catch a busy student’s eye: offer free food. Among the multitude of clubs and committees, many, if not all, offer the opportunity for a free, hot meal at some point or another. In return, most of the clubs and organizations only ask for some level of support, if not just for a minute of your time.

Organizations around campus like Greek life (rush), religious groups (CCF, BCM, etc.) and cultural groups (TASA, CSA, etc.) provide the student body with the chance for either a free lunch or dinner during certain days of the week. As soon as the hunger pains begin to kick in, head to the nearest flyer hot spot to find out when, where, and what kind of food will be offered. Chances are there is an event going on that day.

If you are looking to update your wardrobe with the latest and greatest Tech apparel, but tight on funds then head to the Student Center or volunteer events like Team Buzz for all the free shirts you want. Various types of raffles take places almost weekly across campus. While most of the main prizes consist of bigger items like laptops or game consoles, T-shirts are given out solely as consolation prizes. Essentially, you could stock your closet with free Tech shirts and avoid buying shirts all year.

With rising fuel prices, public transportation provides an inexpensive method to transport yourself around both Midtown and campus. Take the buses to move around campus, the Trolley to move through Midtown and the shuttle to the nearest grocery store to avoid the staggering cost of commuting to and from campus.

Textbooks are not getting cheaper and still help to make up the bulk of college expenses, but there are multiple ways to ease the costs. Most of the pricey books professors require can be found within the racks of the library here on campus and are available for checkout over long periods of time. Check to see if anyone has had to class before you and ask to borrow their book for the semester. If all else fails, check the Internet for deals on book rental programs.

Entertainment in Midtown Atlanta does not come cheap, but luckily Tech offers a number of different chances for free entertainment.

Don’t feel like paying double digits to see the next big film in theaters? Wait it out, because chances are that it will probably shown for free at the next “Flicks on 5th” event, in which free movie screenings are held on 5th street.

After “Flicks on 5th,” head to a Tech sporting event to catch the next basketball, baseball or volleyball game for free.

Looking for a cheap place to take a date? Take him or her to the top of the Management parking deck for a picnic with the best view of the city.

Living cheap in college may seem like a challenge at first, but with a little ingenuity and determination you can save your cold hard cash to go out or to help pay back those loans.

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