ADVENTURES OF THE FRU-GAL – Clip the coupons while living on a college budget

Heidi Stenquist

Heidi Stenquist
City Times

As you make your way to your classes, finding parking and getting to all your classes on time, let’s take a moment to think about the many ways to afford the costs of student life while here at the concrete jungle.

Many of you have jobs like me; perhaps you’re getting a little financial aide to help or took a student loan. Making your way toward a higher education is the goal, but several of us live beyond our means and on Friday night leave reasoning behind to go out and relieve the pressure of reaching that dream. Through the course of the semester this Fru-gal hopes to persuade you to keep your eye on the prize and to act in accordance to your budget. Each issue look for tips that could save you thousands and keep your stress levels down to a minimum. Or at least till test time!

You’ve paid for your classes, the necessary health fees and are in the process of getting your books, you’re on the right track already, congratulations, but there’s much more to think about. Whether you live with family or roommates, the rising costs of life impede on the daily struggle of satisfying one’s needs. So, with that, let’s take some easy steps to financing those needs so you might just have money for something you actually want.

According to Maslow, the most basic physiological needs are food, water, shelter and clothing.

We’ll look at food first. Buy groceries using coupons, these can be easily attained through the Sunday paper coupon sections for the cost of one on-campus beverage, or for free at any local Starbucks newspaper bin on Sunday. Many choose not to cut coupons, discarding them regularly without thinking twice.

Maximizing your dollar makes great sense and using them with advertised specials at a place that doubles them is the ideal way to go. Think about it for a second . say you have a dollar off coupon for lunch meat, and then you see an advertised special at your local grocery store, (Vons and Ralph’s double their coupons, by the way) used in conjunction with the sale price you could be buying two packs of lunch meat for a dollar! Plus, there are many discounted bakery outlets found by a click of the Google mouse. Start collecting coupons, this could mean the difference of saving up to 75% of your grocery bill! The time it takes is worth it!

I look at it like a game of “How much can I save?”, and I usually save at least 50%. Trust the Fru-Gal folks; I’ve been able to even have friends over for dinner.

With all the food you will be able to buy, it allows you to stock up for harder times, a smart investment for anyone willing to spend a few minutes a week watching your weekly advertisements and thinking smarter about ‘how’ you buy. You may think it’s just “junk mail” but inside they hold valuable deals if you’re willing to look for them. Good luck and smart shopping. Till next time, work hard and work smart!

** Heidi Stenquist (a.k.a. “the Fru-Gal”) is a City Times staff writer