Cheap living

There are all kinds of deals out there for students on tight budgets

Photo By David Robert

You’re finally free. Free from high school drama, and maybe from overbearing parents. You have huge plans when you start college. The only problem is, nothing else is free. You become that nasty, five-letter word: cheap.

Just because you’re a starving college student doesn’t necessarily mean you have to starve—you just need to know where to look for a good buy.

“I try to get my parents to buy as much stuff as possible,” said art student Brian Stieger. “The rest of the time, I [legally] take stuff from work, and try to be resourceful.”

While not everyone has a parent’s wallet to lean on, many deals are available for students.

The ASUN Computer Den on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, offers student discounts on many computer products. Students are not limited to what the Den keeps in stock; they can find computers online at original manufacturer’s Web sites. The Den can pick up the tab for sales tax and shipping, which can add up on a student budget. Computer Den clerk and webmaster Kurt Adams said students can also save hundreds of dollars on software.

The Internet offers similar deals at With proof of university status, students can choose from a large selection of hardware, software and computer training books.

While computer products can make up a large portion of a student budget, books seem to be more of a concern.

“Before (college), all the books were supplied,” said Stieger. “I wasn’t used to buying all the books and stuff.”

The ASUN Bookstore offers used books, but in limited quantity. Used books can be found online at, but UNR Senior Megan DiPierro said she learned to beat the crowds to get the good deals.

“As soon as you find out what classes you have, buy your books right then,” DiPierro said.

Of course, college isn’t just about the classes. DiPierro said she went broke her freshman year—not because of computers and books, but because of drinking and eating out.

Photo By David Robert

This is where living in a gambling town really pays off.

Casinos often offer food and drink specials well within a student’s budget. While these deals can be found almost anywhere you see bright lights and hear constant dinging, a few are exceptional.

While Club Cal Neva’s Top of the Deck Restaurant offers great deals, they’re reserved for those over 21. The breakfast deals (including the 99 cent Ham N’Eggs) and late-night specials (available from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.) are well within even the most stingy student budget.

The hidden Little Nugget Diner is another restaurant with food well worth the price. For $3.50, you can get an “Awful Awful” burger with fries, which really is “awful big and awful good.” For $5.95, the Diner offers the “Hangover Omelet,” a large 4-egg omelet served with a Bloody Mary.

Since nudity is not considered acceptable at the University, students have to put aside some money for clothing. However, it doesn’t have to be much. UNR Senior Justin Gerthoffer said he buys all his clothes at thrift stores.

“There’s no way I’d buy clothes retail,” Gerthoffer said. “Two dollars for a T-shirt is a lot cheaper than $20, and I don’t mind used clothes.”

Gerthoffer said he shops at Salvation Armies around town, but DiPierro said she prefers to bargain shop at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals thrift store.

“The SPCA is a little more expensive than other thrift stores, but they carry more interesting stuff,” DiPierro said.

Students can also find all sorts of bargains at Savers thrift store, Ross and Marshalls Department Stores (for unused but still cheap items), or Soundwave CDs and Recycled Records for deals on used music.