I never thought that what was happening with our economy was going to affect me directly. You always hear stories about people losing jobs, not being able to afford rent or food, cutting back on almost everything but what is a necessity, and lots of other financial problems. I was hit hard this year, with feeling the effects of our countries economic crisis. I work at two different bars in Lincoln Park around the DePaul University campus. I was used to supporting myself, and getting by with enough money to buy things that I wanted. I never had to think twice about what I was buying, until this year. I wasn’t making the same money in tips that I was used to. I was working more hours and shifts but still making less money than years before.
I blame the economy, people have stopped going out to dinner and bars to drink. They stay home and save their money. When it finally sunk in that my salary had been cut drastically, and it wasn’t just a bad couple of weeks at the bars, I had to come up with a new way to manage my money. I had to cut back on going out to dinner, out to bars, going shopping, and so much more. I was only making enough money to pay my bills and then had just a little money left for the week. I have picked up on a few tips that really helped me save money during this tough time.
1. Buy groceries, so that you can cut back on how many times you go out to eat. Preparing meals at home will save you money.
2. Get a meal plan from DePaul. It’s simple you don’t even need to pay on the spot; they just add it to your tuition bill. Go to the 3rd floor of the Student Center, and sign up for small meal plan. It helps save money on campus when you want a bite to eat or a coffee.
3. Save coupons or deals that you get, to stores or restaurants you frequently go to.
4. Cut back on using credit cards, try to set yourself a manageable allowance for the week, and don’t go over your budget.
5. Look for bargains and sales at stores that are in your price range.
6. Make a list of all the bills you have to pay for that month and set-up a budget that you can work with.
7. Use gift cards that you have lying around from Christmas, birthdays, etc.
8. If you are of age (21) and you like to go out on the weekends to bars, try pre-gaming at home before you go out (responsibly) to save money on drinks at the bar.
9. Take public transportation as much as possible. Utilize that U-pass of yours. To avoid cabs try to plan ahead so that you are not in a rush and have time to take public transportation.
10. Put away 10% of your paycheck into a savings account. Then hide another 5-10% of your paycheck some place safe (in your room). Put the rest of your paycheck into your checking account or bank.
11. Go to the movies on nights that have student discounts. Take advantage of any student discount you can find.
Those are just a few tips from one college student to another, on how I have been surviving during this economic crisis. It sucks, I know, but I am finally living within my means. We can only hope things will soon look up. Lastly, I would like to leave you with a list of bars/restaurants in the DePaul University neighborhood that have great deals everyday of the week.
1. Kelly’s Pub on Webster- Mondays: $1 tacos, $1 Coors Light drafts Tuesdays: $1 burgers, $1.50 Bud & Bud Light bottles Wednesdays: 10-cent wings, $2 Miller and Coors drafts, $3 other drafts Thursdays: $3 22oz Miller Light, Bud Light, and Coors Light Saturdays: $5 23oz Blue Moons Sundays: $2 Miller Light bottles and Becks
2. McGee’s Tavern & Grille- Mondays: $1 Tacos, $2.50 Bud Light bottles, $2.50 Coronas Tuesdays: 10-cent wings, $3 Blue Moon and Stella, $5 Margaritas Wednesdays: $4 Bomb shots, $3 Import drafts, $2 Domestic drafts, $1 Burgers Thursdays: $1 Bud Light bottles, $3 Margaritas, $3 Imports, Free buffet from 6-8pm Fridays: $5 Bomb shots, $15 meal package includes a buffet, all drafts and well drinks from 6:30-9:30pm Sunday: $3 all Miller bottles and Coors Light bottles, $4 Bloody Mary’s
3. State Restaurant on Webster- Mondays: $2 bottles of Bub Light, $5.95 sandwhiches Tuesdays: Trivia Night (cash prizes) $5.95 Burgers, $3.50 bottles of Landshark, $3 bottles of Bud Light Lime, $10 domestic pitchers, $15 import pitchers Wednesdays: half-price food with purchase of a beverage, half-price wine bottles Thursdays: $6 gourmet salads with purchase of a beverage, $6 premium martinis, $2 bottles of Miller Light and Coors Light Fridays: half-price bottles of wine, $2.95 appetizers till 6:30 p.m. Saturdays: $4 mimosas, $6 Bloody Mary’s Sundays: $4 mimosas
4. Kincade’s on Armitage- Mondays: $1 ½ lb. Char Burgers (with $2 fries), $3.50 312 Drafts, $5 Vodka Redbull, $5 glasses of wine, team trivia starts at 8:30 (win prizes) Tuesdays: $2.50 mixed drinks & drafts, 30-cent jumbo wings Wednesdays: $1 longneck bottle special, $5 3 Olives Grape & Cherry bombs Thursdays: $5 Kilo Kia Mixers, $9 domestic pitchers, 30-cent jumbo wings Fridays: Free buffet 5-7 p.m., $3.50 Shiner Bock Drafts, $4 Milagro Tequila shots, $5 Jim Bean cocktails Saturday s: $3.50 Bud & Bud Light bottles, $5 Stoli cocktails Sundays: $3 Bud and Bud Light bottles, $5 mimosas, $5 select bombs, 30-cent jumbo wings
5. Goodbar on Halsted- Thursdays: $2 Miller Light and Bud Light bottles, $4 bombs, $3 well drinks
I found all these specials on the restaurants/bars official websites, and some of them are subject to change. There are a lot more food places around campus that offer student discounts, so look out for those. Taking advantage of these specials is a great way to save money, while mingling with friends! All the places listed above are within walking distance from campus, so get your friends together and take advantages of these local deals in your neighborhood!