Sunday, May 5, 2013

Living in an apartment or dorm? Save some money!

I'm a college student living alone in a 1-bedroom apartment. The going gets tough sometimes and I could stand to save money here and there. Here are some tips for any dorm room/apartment dweller.

Use natural lighting.Use natural lighting.
  • Use as much natural light as possible. Open all those blinds, draw the curtains, and only use light switches when you really need them.
Take offers from your parents and generous friends.
  • If anyone offers for you to come over for dinner, take them up on it. Not only will you get a free meal, but also company!
  • Likewise, if someone offers you any item, take a look. If it's clothes and they fit, why not? If you don't particularly care for whatever it is, think of other friends to whom you could re-gift it (if the condition is good).
Ditch cable.Ditch cable.
  • Cut out commercials by using Netflix, Redbox, or another movie provider.
  • Many apartments and colleges have a television room. Use this when craving TV.
  • Libraries have free DVD rentals.
Unplug electronics that aren't in use.
  • Okay, so you've probably heard this a thousands times, but it helps your bill significantly! Unplug your desktop, laptop, TV, lamps, toaster, blender, and all other lesser appliances!
  • Leave your larger appliances (washer/dryer, stove) plugged in, as constantly unplugging can wear down the electrical outlet and cost you more for repair in the end).
Use Craigslist for furniture.Use Craigslist to furnish your apartment/dorm.
  • It's not always the most fashionable option, but Craigslist can have outstanding deals. check out the FREE section. Fold-out sofas are frequently put up for free.
  • Many other household items are available on Craigslist, such as decor and smaller appliances.
Take advantage of free samples.
  • is a site I use often. You can get anything from free cans of Pepsi to free shampoo samples to a coupon for a free burger at a local fast food joint.
Travel smart.
    Travel smart.
  • If you're going away for spring or summer break, consider camping instead of hotels. Many campsites cost $15-$35 a night, as opposed to $100+ for a hotel. Borrow a tent if you can (or even camp in your car) and have fun surrounded by great outdoors while also enjoying the new place you're visiting.
  • Look for free things where you're headed. Seek out natural wonders like hot springs, rocks to climb, hiking trails, free concerts, etc. If you know any locals, ask for insider advice on a cheap trip.
  • If you live away from family, try to carpool with friends to visit home.
  • Pack sandwich fixings instead of eating fast food constantly during a road trip.
  • Drink water (with lemons if you like) at every restaurant.
  • Chose museums wisely. If you think a certain museum will have the same features as your local one, skip it.
Enjoy the perks of your apartment or campus.
    Enjoy the perks of your apartment or campus.
  • If your complex offers gas grills, use them often for everything from burgers to beans. If there's a fire pit, use this for s'morse with friends, or roasting hotdogs.
  • Your turn to host a night out with friends? Instead of spending on bowling or the like, play volleyball/basketball/whatever if you have access to a court. Also, hit up the pool when the weather is nice.
  • Most apartments offer free coffee and tea, so use this instead of brewing your own.
  • If there's a community event, check it out. Even if it's for something you don't care about (a Mary Kay party, etc), there's probably free food.
  • Use the free workout room and don't be tempted to purchase a membership at the local gym.

*This is also an article on WikiHow. I am the author of that article and would be more than happy to prove such if necessary.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Plan a Colorado Springs Summer Vacation

Where to Stay
  • Because Colorado Springs' summer weather is lovely (if not a little hot), consider camping instead of staying in a hotel. This could save you $100+ a day.
  • For hotels, use websites like Trip Advisor to find the best deals based on your check-in/out dates.
  • Couch surfing is the free way to stay anywhere! Visit https://www.couchsurfing.orgto find people opening their homes to travelers like yourself.

FREE Things to Do
  • Garden of the Gods is so beautiful! Hiking, climbing rocks free-hand, biking-- all beautiful and fun! So much to see there.… The Trading Post is a little restaurant area that has delicious buffalo burgers! You can also pan for rocks there. Horse-back rides are available too.
  • The Pioneer Museum is a free museum downtown that talks about Colorado Springs' history. You get to ride in an old-timey elevator, see old guns, take pictures wearing old-timey clothes, see a replica of an old house, and more! (You can ask them for a scavenger hunt. It's most fun if you do it with friends or family and see who can answer the most questions.)
  • The Briargate YMCA has a free skate park. Here's the website with the address:…
  • Manitou Springs is a nearby city. There's a huge arcade and even a penny arcade (with some antique games)! Walking around there is wonderful because of the many unique shops and a great park. It's what we call a "hippie" town. :) They have a rubber duck store. It's easy to spot because there's a giant rubber ducky outside.… There's also an awesome creperie. (The Nutella & banana crepe is to die for.)
  • Visit for more ideas and a calendar with free events!
Things Requiring Money
  • Take a tour through the amazing Cave of the Winds! You can take a normal tour, or pay a little extra to do the lantern tour. On the lantern tour, they tell you ghost stories and you carry your own lantern. Highly recommended. A "bat-a-pult" (a seated zipline) was recently installed. This costs $20. You can pay to pan for rocks here too, as well as visit the gift shop and play an arcade game downstairs while waiting for your tour.
  • The Cliff Dwellings are a little pricey but pretty cool if you like history. These are ancient Indian homes that were carved into cliffs. You get to walk around inside the homes (you can climb a few steps or ladders to go to the 2-story ones). There's also a museum there.
  • Glen Eyrie is a beautiful castle and grounds in Colorado Springs! ($6 for everyone except kids 5 and under are free.) You can also pay to have a fabulous, fancy tea!…
  • Visit for more events and ideas!
I removed this from my own writing on Wikihow, as I can't use links to other websites on there. This article is also remnant of an answer you may find on Yahoo! Answers, but that is also my work. :P I live in Colorado Springs, so this is an insider's look at this beautiful city.