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College Life Hacks Every Syracuse Student Should Know

College Life Hacks Every Syracuse Student Should Know

Life is expensive, and when you’re a student who’s a wannabe baller, you need some seriously powerful saving tips. These are the college life hacks that take you from broke to ballin’ in the 315.

College Life Eat Hacks

Students thrive on coffee, but a good latte can be pricey. Never fear, we have a few places where you can get your caffeine hit for next to nothing. For your early morning fix, you can roll out of bed by 9:30 and make it to any of the department offices or career development centers on campus. (Our favorite is the one at Newhouse.) You can walk a little further and pay less than $2 at People’s Place for decent drinks. You can also take advantage of what’s available at Ernie Davis Dining Hall if you have a meal plan.

You can’t live on coffee alone, but you can survive on food from the occasional campus-wide or school specific event. No campus event is complete without a slice (or four) of Varsity Pizza. You can also save a few bucks by picking up restaurant coupons left behind in common areas. If you’re not keen on dining out, you can always stay home and cook. With a tiny grocery budget, shopping at one of the local farmers’ markets is a no-brainer. You can get a week’s worth of fresh produce for 10 bucks. The market is open downtown on Tuesdays and is at the CNY Regional Market every Sunday.

Instacart is a grocery delivery service and a great tool for comparing prices at local grocers like Price Rite, Tops, Wegmans and Aldi. After creating an account, you can enjoy two weeks of free express deliveries to your dorm or apartment. The service makes it easier to stick to your budget and save on ubers.

College Life Work Hacks

Whether going to class is your full-time job, or you have a work-study job, there are some costs associated with your day-to-day commute. The convenience of using your own vehicle as your only means of transportation is costly. Parking on campus is a whopping $1,000 per year, and you’ll likely park 2 blocks away from your destination. As long as you have a student ID, you ride free on the Centro Bus within a certain radius. Many off-campus apartments are within walking distance (walking is the cheapest option). Even if you live as far as Aspen Heights Apartments, there’s a shuttle provided to you at no cost. 

You’ll obviously need to bundle up, as buses and shuttles tend to run a little late in the colder months. The best way to stock up on comfy cold weather gear is to be proactive and buy winter wear in the summertime. As the semester comes to a close, students are moving out of their dorms and leaving behind boxes of clothes. Don’t be afraid to sift through these freebies! Consignment shops like Boom Babies (located on Westcott) are another great alternative, especially for winter formals. Additionally, for the shorty’s, don’t be embarrassed about scouring the kid sections.  

You may also find your required textbooks at a nearby thrift store, though the easiest method is to look for hand-me-downs from friends (or friends of friends). Another college life hack is buying used books on Amazon, but the cheapest option is borrowing from the library.  

SU at Play

It’s no secret that SU likes to have fun, but why pay a premium to party. While grad students can enjoy daily specials at the Inn Complete, everyone can head over to the Corner Bar for $1.50 jack and coke and a lengthy list of $2 wells. If your group decides to pregame before going out, purchase mini bottles instead of full-sized. Also, never pay for a venue. Take full advantage of your apartment’s clubhouse or basement.

Ultimate Life Hacks

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Barnes Center at the Arch, you’re missing out on a wealth of wonderful resources. The fairly new wellness center is great for weekly self-care days and is fully-equipped with a mind spa, state-of-the-art massage chairs, daily meditation and yoga sessions, and three conjoined Jacuzzi tubs. The cost of entry is a SU ID. 

For more pressing health issues or preventative care, you don’t have to call mom to figure out how to make an appointment. It takes less than five minutes to logon to the patient portal and schedule a time with a doctor at your convenience. They can address any health concerns you may have. There are free flu shots and free condom and feminine hygiene products available in bathrooms. The center even offers mental health services. 

Toiletries are a necessary expense that comes with owning an apartment, and there are plenty of ways to get by without breaking the bank. Dollar Tree carries your favorite paper products at the lowest prices, but free is always better. With holiday break approaching , you should definitely raid your parents’ place for a single roll of toilet paper to hold you over for the short return to campus. 

When it comes to furnishing your apartment for next semester, look for freebies in your apartment’s main lobby. There’s a giving table at Copper Beech Apartments that provides lamps, bins, and dish racks for its residents. Garage sales and Facebook Marketplace are also dependable resources for cheap furniture finds.

If you’re interested in more college life hacks, check out how to shop smart in Syracuse.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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