Sophomore Sentiments: Summer savings for thrifty students

Meghan_WEBSummer is just around the corner, and everyone seems to be looking forward to the long vacation. But summertime also comes with some hefty expenses. Having fun can be costly! How can broke college students enjoy summer without breaking the bank? Here are some helpful tips.
Swimming is a popular summer pastime, but it can be expensive. If you go to a public pool, consider investing in a season pass to save money. In some communities, the public pool has one day each week when everyone swims for free. Finally, be sure to take advantage of friends who are willing to share their pools.
If you are a beach person, there are some ways to save. Some beaches allow visitors to choose whether or not to utilize lifeguard sections. Opt to sit outside of the monitored areas to save some cash, but be sure to stay safe by staying close to the shore and being aware of rip currents. You can also start your beach day after 5 p.m., when lifeguards and beach tag checkers go off duty. Swimming as the sun sets can be a pleasant experience.
Going to the beach later in the day can also eliminate some parking costs, depending on the hours of parking regulation in your area. Parking a few streets away and walking is always an option that may offer a free spot. A final option for those close to the shore is to ride a bike to the beach.
There are a few things you can do to prevent the costly wear and tear that comes with swimming. For instance, rinse bathing suits with tap water after a day in the sun to prevent sea salt or chlorine from ruining the fabric. The life of your bathing suit is shortened when you let it dry with salt or chlorine in it.
If you have light-colored, fine, or delicate hair, you are at risk of developing a green tint. Spending too much time with your hair submerged in pool or ocean water can permanently damage your hair, leaving you with green pieces or very dry, straw-like hair. You can rack up quite a bill at the salon getting this fixed. You can prevent this problem by soaking your hair in water before you go into the pool or ocean. Because your hair is already wet, it can’t absorb any of the sea or pool water, and you are good to go. Keeping a gallon container of water in your car will leave you ready to soak your locks, and can also be used to rinse off sandy feet at the end of the day.
If you are not the swimming type, seeing a movie is always a fun activity to do with friends, but don’t pay $11 for a movie. Go to a matinée instead: It’s a good way to start out the day and it is usually much cheaper. Some movie theaters will give you a student discount, so keep your Rider ID handy just in case.
Another way to save money is check out your local chamber of commerce. Whether you are in your hometown or on vacation, the chamber of commerce will have information about all the attractions in the area. They can tell you about free events such as festivals or concerts, and can provide coupons for restaurants, local stores or even movie theaters.
If you are looking for cheap airfare, studentuniverse.com is a good resource. If you don’t have the cash to hop on a plane, try checking out areas closer to home. New Jersey is filled with interesting spots including nature reserves, lighthouses and other historical sites that could provide an inexpensive day of adventure.
Another easy way to take advantage of the sun, stay fit and save on gas is riding a bike more often. If your place of work is within biking distance, that would be a good way to start.
In order to prevent reckless spending, set up direct deposit through your employer. It’s much easier to spend money when it’s at hand. Keep that money where it belongs — in the bank and away from temptation.
Summer is full of opportunities to spend money, but it is also an excellent opportunity to spend time with friends and family, make the most of your break from school, and most of all, enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it!

-Meghan Meehan
Sophomore journalism major

Printed in the 04/30/14 edition.

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