So after a few year s(cough cough), I’ve gone back to college to finish up my AA and get ready to transfer to a CA State University.
Like any endeavor in my life, I’m trying to do the college experience on the cheap. Here are a few ways you can save money while going to school:
Start out by completing a FAFSA. That’s a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Regardless of your family income or situation, you should fill it out. You never know what kind of loans, fee waivers, or grants you may be eligible for. I was able to get a Governor’s Board Fee Waiver, which paid for my classes. All I had to pay was the Health Fee (which is $20).
Amazon Prime has a discounted program for students. The first 6 months are free (Courtesy of Sprint, and just $6.49/month after that. That’s 50% off the regular price.
You can rent your textbooks online, Amazon rents textbooks. Your local school library may also have short term checkout of some textbooks. You may have to ask the librarian for more information.
If you need a new computer, Apple offers a discount through Unidays. I’m still in the middle of setting my account up, but it looks like Unidays partners with hundreds of retail partners.
School supplies are always cheaper if you buy them off campus. I like to shop for school supplies at Dollar Tree, they have lots of great stuff all year long.
A list on online retailers offering discounts can be seen here, courtesy of Dealhack.
Once school starts, get a Student ID card.
Beyond saving money at on tuition, books, and supplies, your student ID may give you discounts out in the world! College students who meet some criteria may also receive a discount on your automobile insurance, cell phone bill, even fee free banking products.
Movie theatres, museums, local attractions, and restaurants sometimes give students discounts, make sure to check before you go.
It’s coming… For some of us, back to school is NEXT WEEK! For others it’s later in August, and some lucky folks, have until Labor Day in September. Regardless of when your kids go back, it’s nice to be prepared and save money.
Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and stay on budget!
If you are worried about being able to provide a nutritious, healthy lunch for your kiddos, The San Diego Food Bank sponsors Neighborhood Distributions throughout the month all over the county. You can go and get free, fresh produce- usually between 10-30 lbs. per family. No proof of need- Just grab your reusable shopping bags and go!
Adjusting back to the school-year schedule can be a little tough- That’s why we start to get the kids back to bed at their regular time starting the beginning of August. For our kiddos, keeping them busy and active all day, really helps. Trips to the playground, beach, zoo, and pool really help.
We’ll be hitting up the night time zoo this week!
And one last back to school tip: Let your kids play and hang out with friends as much as possible before they go back, especially if they aren’t able to see some of their friends at school. We’re hosting a K’Nex Play Time Party with Tryazon this Wednesday at Shadow Hill Park in Santee! If you and your gang will be in the area, please stop by! There will bea chance to win prizes, yummy snacks, and cool toys!
On the 1st Sunday of each month, Meet the Need offers a free lunch, free gently used clothes and household goods, and a bag (or two) of healthy groceries. During the holidays, they also offer needed goods, like backpacks and school supplies- just in time for back to school!
Registration for Meet The Need will be held in the church lobby at the top of the campus in the main foyer. Registration will begin as early as 8:30am and will be open till 10:30am. This is the same place you’ll register for the Backpack Giveaway. The earlier you show up (whether a first time guest or a returning guest) the earlier you can get your wrist band and will be called back into the boutique earlier.
Registration will be from 8:30-10:30am
Registration will be CLOSED from 10:30-12:00pm
Registration will re-open down at the Meet The Need building at about 12:15pm.
Doors open for Meet The Need at 1:00pm
There are Growth Groups which are essentially small groups that meet all over the campus and we’d love for you to get checked in for Meet The Need and then be free to enjoy a Growth Group beginning at 9:00am and then especially join Faith Chapel in the main service that begins at 10:30am in the sanctuary.
NOTE: You do not have to register early or attend services to attend Meet the Need. However, if you don’t it is advised that you get there about 12:15pm. The line can be quite long during special events like this one.
This event is great for those in need who go back to school in Early August.
Back to school approaches! For us, school starts on August 23rd. For some families, back to school is a hard time because the cost of backpacks, school supplies, new clothes and shoes can really add up.
For those in need, the SMOAC (That’s Santee Mobilehome Owner’s Action Committee) is helping out families in need. On August 19th at the Santee Library, starting at 10am, SMOAC will be handing out backpacks with supplies to families in need.
SMOAC is looking for donations too- if you aren’t in need and want to help, there are lots of ways to help out!
On August 11th from 5-9pm Chipotle in Santee is hosting a fundraiser.
Donations of items such as: backpacks, #2 pencils, paper, pens, glue sticks, rulers, pencil sharpeners, white glue, notebooks, scientific calculators, crayons, safety scissors are requested. Most of these items can be picked up at Target, Walmart, Office Depot, or 99 Cents Only fairly cheap.
Donations can be dropped off at Santee Library, Cameron YMCA, Mission Realty Group in Santee, Santee Lakes General Store, El Cajon Toyota, Oggi’s Pizza in Santee, and the Santee Chamber of Commerce. If you are busy and can’t make it to the store and drop off locations, You can buy a gift card for a teacher or send a check to SMOAC. The mailing address can be found in the photo above.
The goal this year to to help 1500 East County families in need!
No Proof of need is required, just show up at the Santee Library on August 19th. The event starts at 10am, but you may want to get there a little early to beat the rush.
For those of us living in CA, NV, AZ, TX we have the opportunity to save money by shopping the great deals at 99 Cents Only. 99 Cents Only is different from other discount/dollar stores in that the majority of locations feature a refridgator and freezer case with a variety of name brand foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to fesh and frozen foods, most locations have a great diverse stock of shelf stable foods too.
And 99 Cents only has more than food, they carry the same types of items that you have grown accustomed to seeing at discount/dollar stores, such as health and beauty aids, school supplies, and kitchen tools.
While 99 Cents Only does not accept manufacturer coupons, they frequently send out coupons that are good for a free item when you purchase X number of items (most recently they have been buy 5 items, receive one free). And there are a few apps that are not retailer specific (such as checkout51, snap by groupon, Mobisave, berrycart, shrink,and shopnimium) that you can submit your receipts to to earn a little extra cash back!
Not everything is .9999/each, many of the items are .7999/each, .6999.each, 2/.9999, or 4./9999. .9999? What? That’s right, after many years in business, last year 99 cents only had to increase prices just a fraction to keep up with inflation. So at .9999/each (or really, rounded up to $1.00), many things are still a screaming deal.
Here are just a few of the great deals that you shouldn’t pass up:
Carrots. A 20 ounce bag (that’s 1.25 lbs) of baby carrots is .9999. At most regular grocers The same bag is upwards of $2.50.
Bagged greens. Most locations carry multiple brands including Dole, Ready Pac, and Earthbound Organics (just to name a few), which can sell at most mainstream grocers for upwards of $4.00/bag!
Disposable person care items, such as cotton swabs. 1000 cotton swabs for $1.00! That’s a lot of clean ears! A box of 500 or so can run upwards of $5.00 at most mass merchandisers.
Men’s dress socks. I’m serious. At $1.00/pair, you’re saving approximately 75-80% over department store prices. Most of hubs socks come from 99 cents only, and he’s been wearing them for about 2 years.
Cake mix. I’m talking name brand here. Unless there is a sale and you have a coupon at the local grocery store, you’ll be spending a few bucks for a cake mix. Drop by your local 99 cents only and take a gander, you’ll be surprised by the variety and brands of cake mixes available. Last time I stopped in to my local store, they had Pillsbury cake mixes!
Bananas. Most grocery stores in San Diego charge .65/-.80/lb for bananas! Most 99 cents locations have bananas for just .49/lb. some select locations have 3 lbs/$1.00!
School/art supplies. Perfect for the parent of an artistically minded kiddo or a homeschooler, most locations have a great selection of construction paper, paint, craft kits, and bulletin board supplies. We get most of our craft supplies at 99 cents only!
Party Supplies, from disposable plates and utensils to goody bag filler, most locations have a decent variety. Not just plain colors, but fun themed goodies as well. Our local store has princess, pirate, minion, TMNT, frozen, sweet 16 themed party supplies.
Bread. This photo isn’t the best representation of what they have most of the time,cut most stores have a variety of fresh breads from companies like Sarah Lee, Orowheat/Arnold’s, and bread in the freezer case too from brands like Ecce Pannis and Texas Toast. Don’t forget to look for bagels and buns too!
Ethnic spices. Making a batch of menudo? Trying your hand at curry? Need Jugo? Don’t forget to check your local 99 cents only for ethnic spices before you start cooking! I get a large bag of bay leaves twice a year and split it with a friend. Perfect for soups and stews!
There is a lot of stuff that may be a good deal, depending on what your rock bottom price for specific items is. To determine if something is a good deal for my family, I keep a price book with the prices of the top 20 items I buy most often at the 5 stores I shop at most in my area. You can learn more about price books here.
Recently I spied .79/can Starkist Tuna can, 10 lbs of potatoes for .99, 1 lb packages of fresh Dole Strawberries for just .99, and name brand ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce for just .69/each.
If you are hesitant to buy produce at a discount store because you are concerned about freshness, call your local store and ask them what day their produce truck comes. Most of our local stores receive their produce truck on Thursday mornings, so I am ready to shop for fresh fruits and veggies as soon as I drop the Kiddo off at school.
For my family, 99 Cents Only is the starting point for my shopping each week. I start by filling my cart with tons of fresh fruit and veggies, checking the freezer case for any deals, and picking up any needed canned goods that are not on sale elsewhere. By starting my shopping at 99 Cents Only, I am able to keep our food budget at $50/week! When there are really good deals (like the case of Larabars for only 99 Cents!) I tend to spend a few extra bucks and stock up, since quantities are limited and 99 Cents Only doesn’t offer rain checks.
What’s your favorite thing to purchase at 99 Cents Only?