The Best Places To Shop on a Student's Budget

Just because you live on a student's budget doesn't mean you don't love to shop. And those of you who don't enjoy shopping still need to go to the store for necessities. But most retail outlets are expensive, so where can you go to find what you need on a budget?

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Consignment Shops

These shops are heaven for the frugal and eco-friendly. Whether you decide to shop at a privately-owned store or one that's run by a not-for-profit organization, you'll save money and find almost everything you need. Sure they don't carry grocery items, but many of them now stock hygiene products and cleaning supplies that didn't sell well in major chains. Need clothes? Here. Need furniture for your student apartment? Here. Need shoes? Here. Need games, books, purses, book bags, socks, antiques, bubble bath, tools or auto wax? They likely have it all!

Social Living Sites

Websites dedicated to saving you money and providing you with deals, like Groupon.com, Eversave.com and LivingSocial.com, are the wave of the future. Even when you go to McDonald's they now have a sign asking you to inform them of any LivingSocial.com deals before ordering! These sites provide discounts for your local area, with everything from restaurants and movie deals to lessons and spa packages. They also offer deals on unique products that you may want or that you decide to buy for a gift. You don't even have to leaf through the newspaper to find coupons and local deals.

Online Stores

Many sites, like DealTaker.com and RetailMeNot.com, are dedicated to providing consumers with discount codes for shopping online. By never leaving the comfort of your own home you can save money on nearly any product at your favorite stores. They often have links to the sites that allow the coupon codes to be automatically deducted. As long as you don't mind waiting for the stuff to ship, this is a great way to shop.

People-Run Marketplaces

Websites like Amazon Marketplace and eBay.com are not necessarily stores, since they're built on others selling their products either new or used. While some stores link up to these sites and try to unload surplus or discontinued products (discontinued means it will no longer be sold, not that it was recalled), most are people like you selling books and DVDs. As long as you check customer reviews, you'll likely be safe from any scams, but it's always good to be cautious. In fact, Amazon.com now withholds payment from sellers until a product has been mailed out.

Superstores

We've all gone to Walmart and Kmart with the hope of saving a few dollars - and usually we do. As long as you go into the store with a list or the products you want to buy in mind, this can be a great place to shop and stay on budget. However, since they have so many products, it's common for our eyes to wander to something we never intended to buy. Superstores have everything from other stores, plus medicine and food. Where else can you go to buy paint, aspirin, a cell phone, a frozen pizza and underwear all in the same place?

Wholesale Clubs

If your family has a membership to a wholesale club, this is a great way to save money. They have food in bulk quantities, and they also have clothes, school supplies and furniture. Not only can you get foods to snack on while you're doing homework, but you can also get a desk chair to sit on, the pajamas you'll wear and the laptop you'll write your research paper on!

Farmer's Markets

The last item on the list, but not the least important, is farmer's markets. They exist in most every city and offer seasonal foods for ridiculously low prices. Many of them even stay open the whole year. Shopping through local farmers is not only trendy right now, it's also environmentally responsible. You can buy all kinds of ingredients, decorations, flowers, kitchen supplies and freshly cooked food all within a quarter mile stretch. You'll also know where your produce came from and that it wasn't sprayed with chemicals to bring out the natural colors.

Now that you know where to shop, find out how to make a student budget and stick to it at all times!

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