Posts Tagged ‘saving money in college’

Chapter 6: Living my 12 Year Old Fantasy: Working at an Indie Bookstore

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

After my freshman year, I knew that I would need to learn more about budgeting

and that it would be beneficial for me to get a job and receive a steady income. My parents have always been helpful to me when I need money, and I’m grateful to them both for that, but I wanted to be responsible for myself and earn my own money.

I knew that I could get a job on campus, but I also knew that there was a local bookstore in town right off campus. Since I was about twelve years old, it has been my dream to work at a bookstore. Specifically, a small bookstore in the hills of England and living in a little cottage away from everyone. Then one day Harry Styles would walk in and pronounce his love to me, just like in every fanfiction ever. Now I was 19 and I knew Harry Styles wasn’t going to be appearing in Westchester, New York, but I could still get part of this fantasy by working in the bookstore!

My friend Jill that I had mentioned earlier was my current roommate at the time and we motivated each other to get the courage and go to the bookstore to ask if they were hiring together (by ourselves it was too scary). We walked into the store one afternoon and luckily they were hiring for weekend shifts. It was perfect!

Me and Jill taking a goofy selfie after our first training shift

We worked on our resumes together, prepped each other for interviews, and helped each other find a good interview outfit. The afternoon of our interview, we both got the job and started training the next week. We were both extremely excited to be able to work at a place filled with books and get paid to recommend our favorite books.

It has now been two years of  working at the store and I’m so grateful for all of the skills I’ve gained and the people I have met. Because of this job, I had no other choice but to finally learn time management skills and how to balance schoolwork and work-work. It was difficult at first, but if you are truly motivated and love what you are doing, eventually it becomes possible. I also taught myself budgeting and have become much better at speaking with people thanks to the retail part of the job. Even when there’s a mean customer, I’m able to smile and work hard until they leave. Once they’re gone, that is when my coworkers and I scream to let out the stress.

Me and my coworker being asked to take a photo with Elvis when the Elvis movie was promoting

Speaking of coworkers, I ended up meeting some of the best people thanks to this job. In my past job, my coworkers were incredibly toxic and were very “cliquey”. I was nervous about joining this job because some of these people had been working here for a long time and thought it would be the same as my last job, but thankfully it was the exact opposite. Everyone accepted Jill and I right away and were always ready to help when we were confused, and believe me, we were confused. If you’ve ever worked in a bookstore and use the computer program “Book Manager”, you know how confusing and complicated the program is. Even now I’ll still occasionally text my boss with a question.

This job has also been beneficial with my own major, as someone who is interested in publishing. I have met other publishers, have discovered some of the big publishing companies, and have learned how to sell pitches about a book soon to be published to booksellers. I strongly recommend getting a job that may be helpful towards your major. It gives you a quick glimpse into your future and is definitely a great resume booster.


  • I wanted to get a job starting my sophomore year of college
  • My roommate and I applied to the local bookstore in town
  • We got the job and I met great people and gained important skills
  • Getting a job in sync with your major is extremely helpful in the future

Want to get BBQ food perfect to eat while watching Sunday Night Football? Bring this coupon and Student ID for 15% off!

By Mia Ilie

Mia Ilie is a student at Pace University, graduating in May 2024 with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a focus on publishing. She grew up in Rockland, New York and is currently living in Westchester, New York where she attends school and works at a local bookstore. You can always find her with her nose in a book or screaming to Taylor Swift with her friends.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


Going Out in the City on a College Budget: Five Whys and Five Hows

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Growing up, going to “the city” (that is, New York City) meant dressing up in whatever dress I wore for Easter Sunday or Christmas Eve and going out to dinner at a Zagat-rated restaurant somewhere in Little Italy with my family.  In those days, Mom and Dad paid.  When I first moved to the city from Westchester four years ago, going out meant throwing on a shirt and skirt in hopes of looking somewhat decent on the line of an overhyped 18+ club that I or my roommates were “on the list” for, thanks to a Facebook group that boasted to keep us up-to-date on the hottest and cheapest NYC college-age nightlife.  I quickly denied the existence of such a life.

pitfalls of fake IDs

When I turned twenty-one, I retired my once-used, two-years-expired fake ID that flaunted the image of a girl who looks absolutely nothing like me except for the fact that we are both 5’4” and have brown hair and brown eyes. At 5PM on my twenty-first birthday, I entered a heavenly paradise: Trader Joe’s Wine Shop.  Knowing that I would, without a doubt, be carded there, I stood on line with two bottles of Three-Buck-Chuck and my awkward but somehow freeing sixteen-year-old smile staring at me from my driver’s license.

When it comes to going out, the city has much to offer besides Trader Joe’s Wine Shop.  Bars are everywhere, nightclubs are plentiful, and parties often literally happen in the streets and under them in the subways.  Having gone to Manhattan for college, I was faced with the challenge of the city in addition to traditional college distractions.  Still, I believe that the ups outnumber and outweigh the downs when it comes to the typical college student’s desire to celebrate the weekend, weekday, or lack of knowing what day it is.

  1. You can leave your apartment without a set destination.  Don’t know where to go?  Just go.  Look for “two for one” signs.  Follow crowds.  Gravitate towards noise.  Ask loud people you cross on the street where they just came from and hope they remember.
  2. You meet people (whether you want to or not).  Though you may unwillingly find out about a stranger’s hygiene, astrological sign, and pick-up techniques, you may also make some new friends or at least go home with an interesting story or characters for that screenplay you’ve been working on.
  3. You don’t have to designate a driver.  Subways, taxis, and sidewalks are a New Yorker’s best friends.  Because few people going to college in the city have a car with them, there is no need to draw straws at the beginning of the night (though you may want to designate a pack leader to lead the way home if you’re sleepily returning at three in the morning).

    Designate your shoes when you don't designate a driver. Walking in heels can be tough!

  4. You can always find a place to eat.  From cookies to dollar pizza to street meat to pretty much anything, food is always available and often cheap.
  5. Nowhere is off-limits.  Though you may have to wait a bit longer for subways to arrive the closer it gets to sunrise, every borough is at your fingertips.  This also allows for you to try a new place when “the usual” just isn’t enough. 

The bad news?  Money doesn’t grow on trees, and, if it did, you still wouldn’t have any because you likely don’t have any trees growing on your fire escape.  The city is always outside your door, always awake, and always hungry for your wallet.  Plus, the fact that you may or may not already be going broke paying for a college education doesn’t help any.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past four years, it’s that you should always be prepared.  If you plan out at least part of your night ahead of time, you don’t have to pay much for a night of fun.

  1. Eat dinner home.  Instead of going out to eat, make dinner with some friends in someone’s kitchen or have a potluck dinner.  This is often cheaper and healthier, and allows you to start the weekend celebration together and then head out when everyone is accounted for.

    Leave yourselves a large tip with all the money you save when you celebrate at home with friends.

  2. Buy your own alcohol. If you are 21 and drink, look online for which liquor stores or beer distributors have the best deals on your beverage(s) of choice, and hit them up before they close.  Make your own concoctions, which can be fun!  And, if you do go out afterwards, you’ll probably be less tempted to spend money on overpriced drinks.
  3. Arrive early.  Many locations (bars and clubs alike) that charge cover fees charge differently according to what time it is.  If your usual bar has a good happy hour, meet up with a few friends for cheap drinks.  If a club says that admission is free before ten o’clock, consider getting there early.  Don’t forget to account for the time it takes to wait on line!  Also, when possible, be female—you’ll probably pay less to get in to some places.
  4. Have your own dance/karaoke/movie/theme party.  Sometimes a night in can be even more rewarding than a night out.
  5. Take advantage of your college or university.  While you might associate school events with middle school dances when the sexes stood on opposite sides of the room and stared at their feet or giggled in circles, school-sponsored events can often be fun.  The people putting them together are probably either paid to do it (and probably at least somewhat good at it) or they are college students just like you with similar ideas of fun.  Check your school events calendar, as well as any deals that your school and local businesses offers like student-price movie tickets, coupons, brochures, and other student savings.  You’ll be surprised what you can find!

It's who you're with that counts most.

Of course, there is no perfect formula for saving money, but over time you should discover what works for you and learn your own methods along the way.  While you’re in college, remember that you’re in college.  Remember that you’re not the only one concerned about saving money while having fun, that there are whole schools of students worried about the same thing.  In this realization you can find your savior—your friends.  No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, surround yourself by good people and you can’t go wrong.


Take advantage of a great happy hour at Cuba!


Carina, New York University. Read my blog and check out my Twitter! FOLLOW ME!!

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