Bwog on a Budget: Inaugural Edition

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At this time of year, newness comes in all forms, from the obvious (your new dorm, your new classes, your new books, your new backpack) to the unanticipated (your replacement macBook charger, your subscription to Netflix to replace Kim’s.)  And while the novelty of these items is, well, novel, the polish of your purchases and the glow of your post-consumption satisfaction wears off as soon as your credit card bill comes at the end of the month.

In addition, New York City is notoriously pricey, your Morningside Heights being no exception. So when it comes to the question of making the most of their money, our heady first-years are pretty hard-pressed. 

But this semester, Bwog is at the service of the 12s. We will be offering tips to help you make ends meet and to prevent you from feeling broke all the time. The intention is to provide you with easy and applicable ways to save money.  Expect lots of information about wallet-friendly restaurants, stores and cultural venues in addition to periodic budgeting techniques.

The series begins this week with easy lessons:

  • Instead of Westside and Morton Williams, go to Fairway. The produce is far cheaper.  Embrace buying in bulk.
  • Instead of Book Culture and the Columbia Book Store, use Yes.  Online shopping involves delayed purchasing satisfaction and postal charges, but the savings are worth it.
  • Instead of Poland Spring 24-packs and coolers, reuse and refill your bottle at Butler.  The water fountain there is by far the coldest on campus. And you’re saving money and the planet simultaneously.
  • Instead of Marlboros, DIY it with a pouch of Drum loose tobacco. The opportunity cost of rolling your own is astronomical.
  • Instead of club-hopping downtown, support your local bar. And in the morning you’ll be glad you saved. Try Sip Bar and Lounge on 109th and Amsterdam. Half-priced menu Mondays and free tapas with all drink orders during their bi-nightly happy hours. West Village it’s not, but after a couple rounds it’s pretty easy to forget the chintzy atmosphere.

Many of these may be already be familiar to you, if so, you’re ahead the game and well on your way to reaping monetary gains.  And upperclassmen, if you have further suggestions, please use the comments or email us. The 12s, as always, will reward you lavishly.

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  1. well  

    Instead of Marlboros, quit smoking?

  2. how about

    instead of overpriced fairway, just walk a couple blocks *gasp* uptown and go to the MET..where things are even cheaper

  3. or...  

    ...C-Town on 125th.

    • actually  

      I shopped at C-town last year for about a month, expecting to save a bit of money. But when I looked over my recipts and compared them to stuff I'd bought at Westside, on everything except for milk and cereal, Westside was a little cheaper and generally had better quality stuff -- I was surprised.

      Unless you've got a massive fridge that can fit like a month's worth of groceries, fairway's not (in my opinion) enough cheaper than westside to merit the walk.

      Also bwog, that's not "opportunity cost" at all. OC is the immaterial cost of doing what you do, that prevents you from doing you're next best option. E.g. the total cost of going to college = the accounting cost (the amount you pay in tuition) + plus the oppurtunity cost (let's say the amount of money you could have been earning if you didn't go to school) = 50k per yr tuition + 30k salary you might've earned = Total cost of each year of college = 80k

      • agreed

        Westside is surprisingly cheap and clean compared to all the surrounding grocery stores. While C-town and MET foods are cheaper in the packaged foods and cans, it's a hassle lugging everything back home, and the produce frequently looks less than fresh...and I would strongly advise against buying meat there.

      • Sorry bwog

        ..but you are getting totally owned by all these econ majors.

  4. EAL  

    Why would anyone bother to buy bottled water when the tap water here is great? NYC water is some of the best in the country. Bottled water is a massive waste of plastic, and I'm sure Poland Spring is really filled from some garden hose in Maine anyway. Instead of wasting money, use your Nalgene and get your water from the sink.

  5. uhh

    Fairway is uptown from Columbia. No one is suggesting riding the subway to the one downtown. Another food option is fresh direct. They have a lot of specials and often you can get free shipping or significant percentages off of your order.

  6. um, bwog?  

    I know you really love Principles of Econ and all, but you've completely misused "opportunity cost". That's (roughly defined as) the cost of the time you spend doing something because of the value of any stuff you could have been doing instead.

  7. Anonymous

    but there are far better ways to save money than rolling your own cigs and going to fairway.

    get a job--bartending you make mad cash

    get free food at every event/opportunity that comes your way

    bring a flask whenever you go out so you can order less drinks when you're out.

    these three things alone can save you a lot of chedder

  8. abebooks  

    is based in canada (victoria, bc i think), so most credit card companies charge a foreign fee (mine usually ranges from 30-40 cents). remember to factor that in...or juts use

    which searches a bunch of used book sites

  9. hmmm  

    sip is great but NOT cheap.

  10. excuse me  

    produce is not cheaper at fairway. indeed most produce is consistently cheaper at westside, especially fruit

  11. books saved my ass in undergrad... and then you can resell them for more than on campus.

  12. the key

    the key to saving money in nyc is taking advantage of the amazing opportunity to make money in nyc! JOIN THE BARTENDING AGENCY. you will make $30/hr to stand around. seriously. best job ever. i made enough as an undergrad ('08) to finance months of travel following graduation.

    but, for those ladies who have the option, the barnard agency is preferable since it's a lot easier to get into (har har, make jokes) AND the agency takes a WAY smaller cut of your pay ... you get cash at the end of each job instead of the columbia bartending system, in which the agency processes your money and takes a cut for themselves, then gives you your check weeks later.

    go forth and bartend!

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