The Student Handbook to Surviving an Economic Crisis

As if college students didn’t have a hard enough time affording life in San Francisco, let’s add and an economic crisis on top of it all. And, with the holiday season in full bloom, it seems as if students everywhere are in an uphill battle against the financial blues. However, because we are all going through this penny-pinching process together, it seems as if the only way out of this situation is collectively strategizing the best ways to save some of our quickly diminishing funds.

I have found that one of the fastest ways to burn through the dough is eating out. I know it’s tempting walking past your favorite taqueria in the Mission while smelling the pulled pork and watching giggling young folks sip on their cervezas, but there are more affordable alternatives that can be just as much (if not more) fun for you and your friends. Instead of paying for somebody else to prepare your food and the table that you’d eat at, make your own tacos and head to Dolores Park. Even if you aren’t confident in your culinary skills, there are thousands of recipes on the Internet for the not-so-savy cook in the making.

When it comes to the gift-giving time of the year, some people forget their holiday cheer after looking at the price tags of the items on their loved ones lists. But instead of getting dragged down by those run-of-the-mill gifts, get creative and make someone smile with a one-of-a-kind present! Pull out the scissors, glue, and construction paper and make a photo album for old friends or family members. They will certainly appreciate the extra time and thought that you put into making them a gift.

As for those day-to-day expenses, you’ve just got to be prepared. Bring snacks with you when you go out for the day. This way, you won’t end up buying over-priced muffins at the ritzy boulange across the street when your stomach starts rumbling and its half an hour until the next Muni comes. And plan ahead so that you can take the Muni and save a couple bucks. It may take a bit more time than a taxi, but you’re almost guaranteed to walk away from it with a memorable story to share at the dinner table that night.

Instead of getting depressed over the state of the economy, get creative. There is usually a less expensive way of living if you just take the time to look for it. And remember that laughing is always free, so when there is nothing else to do, get together with a good group of friends and see where your brainstorming takes you.

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