How to shop on a college budget

Jessica Hodge

As a college kid, you have to shop on a college-kid budget. It’s hard to find stores that have what you want at the price you can afford. Sure, American Eagle, Pacsun, Forever 21 and Champs might have the ‘trendiest’ clothes, but is it really in your budget to pay $50 for a pair of jeans? Well I know it isn’t in mine.

Where are my all time favorite places to shop? Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Craigslist, eBay and secondhand shops that price their clothes for cheap. My favorite pair of jeans is from Goodwill, $7. The fuzziest hoodie I have? It’s from Salvation Army, $3.50. Not only do these places have cheap clothes, they sell them for a good cause.

TVs at Best Buy will always be sold. There will always be a person with enough money to go in and buy a TV from high-end places. However, the people on Craigslist with $10 TVs might just need a few extra dollars for their house or car payment. Maybe they’re selling everything they have because they don’t have the sort of money to afford food. Craigslist is full of real people that need real money. Places like Best Buy and ABC Warehouse or IKEA will always be drowning in money because their companies are huge. The people on Craigslist or eBay won’t always have millions of dollars.

Which brings me to my next point: sell your unwanted things on Craigslist or eBay! People love sites like those and even though you may not get as much back from how much you spent, you’ll be helping someone get an item for cheap while you make $5 to $10. It’s a simple way to make a few extra bucks to pay our electric bill. Also, it’s easy to sell your things. Take a picture of the item, create a post, wait for an email. We’re all computer savvy, and sometime throughout the day we all have 5 minutes to spare.

The other option is to donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army. They are always looking for more trendy clothes that don’t fit us college kids after we gained the freshmen 15. So you get no money back; it isn’t a huge deal. You could be helping another person out by giving your clothes up so they can wear them for a good price.

If you donate to Salvation Army, you can get money off of your tax returns (if you do your own taxes). It’s a great way to give back to your community while also getting a little something back from it. I also personally love Plato’s Closet. You sell your clothes to them and they give you cash on the spot. It’s a simple way to get rid of some of your summer clothes before winter starts to close in.

In reality, American Eagle, IKEA and other stores are great. I bought all of my furniture from IKEA. But once your parents stop supporting you monetarily, it’s difficult to fork over that much money for something that could be bought for so much less. Craigslist, eBay, Goodwill and other store are a great way to not only spend little amounts of money, but to also make money when you’re selling unwanted items.