How to ball on a budget

By on May 2, 2012

By Michael Baldwin–

College can get expensive; tuition, meal plan and book are going to leave your bank account empty. With all these expenses how is one able to afford anything else? This article is here to ease the vice grip on your wallet. These are a few ways to be a baller on a budget.

Goodwill Hunting

No I’m not talking about that movie with Matt Damon. If what they say is true, and vintage is in, then Goodwill is a designer boutique. Second hand/thrift stores, like Goodwill, are filled with clothes that people have donated for various reasons. It may take some time, so search through the racks of apparel, but be very patient and diligent while looking as to not pass up a hidden gem. Shirts and pants cost only a few dollars. With most things in the store being under $5, this store is a must visit. Fashionable and frugal.

Share Netflix

Netflix is a great site to find all types of movies and television shows. Now with apps for phones and tablets, Netflixs can go anywhere with you. With a price tag set at $7.99 a month it’s affordable for one person, but if you and a roommate or a buddy get an account and share the password and payment it will be dirt cheap. With it being an online service the person you share it with doesn’t even need to be at the same school or country as you.


In college those dollar menus may look more like your daily food pyrmid than a menu, but resist the urge because this a trap to snare your hard earned singles. You can get more bang for your buck by buying things to cook. Pasta is a fan favorite to those trying to save money. For the same price as five double cheeseburgers, you could get enough food to feed you and 2 other people for the whole day. Some buddies and yourself could get some money and have a dinner party for cheap. Cooking for someone is also a bit romantic so perhaps this could even be used as a date idea.

Student ID

Your student ID isn’t just for accessing your meal plan, it can also get you a lot of things around the city. For example free transportation. The TARC allows students to ride for free. That’s right you can go anywhere in Louisville and southern Indiana with your student ID for free. One can also use it to get student discounts at certain places around campus and the city. If you’re not sure if someone has a student discount just ask them, the worst thing they are going to say is “no”. Some of these discounts can score you free drinks or 15 percent off your bill.

Free Stuff

Always be on the look out for the two best words in a college students life, no, not “class cancelled,” I’m talking about “Free Food.” These signs are everywhere the first couple weeks of college. Some group is always giving out free food, and not only is this a chance to get some free eats, you can also use this time to meet new people or perhaps, everndare I say it, learn something. At these events there sometimes are also free sunglasses, shirts or water bottles, so make sure to stock up.


With gas prices skyrocketing, its hard to save money while at the pump. However, there are several ways to save money when filling up, for example, Krogers has a reward system called fuel points. When you buy groceries you gain fuel points, and when you get enough fuel points you get discounts on gas. A quick and easy way to gain your points is to fill your prescription at their pharmacy; turn your illness into profit as each prescription filled there is worth 50 fuel points. Another way to save money is to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Many gas stations have the use of an air compressor for free, so find one and fill those tires up. Lastly, cut idling down to a minimum. If you have to wait longer than ten seconds somewhere turn off your car. This will save you a small fortune in gas. Not only that, it’ll help the environment which is also a plus.


You are paying to use the meal plan so you might as well utilize every dollar of it. Even though the things in the Cards Nest are ridiculously marked-up there are a few ways to save money while using your meal plan. When ordering a Papa Johns pizza from the SAC, opt for the carryout option, this will save you about two to three dollars every time you order a pizza. Not only will you save in delivery fee, most of the time they have special carryout sales, so make sure to ask about those. When going to pick up the pizza, take the Cardinal Shuttle (free) over to Thrust Theatre and walk (free) to the Papa Johns. Over the year you’ll accumulate enough savings to have at least one free pizza.

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Photo Illustration by Michael Baldwin/The Louisville Cardinal

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