Staff Notebook: Living life on half the price
When I was growing up, my mom drove an old beat up 1984 woody station wagon. Even a minivan would have been less embarrassing than this car, and since it sat nine people, my mother became the queen of carpooling. If that was not bad enough, we shopped at stores like Aldi and Goodwill. I remember being mortified as my mother would park that boat in plain sight for all to see, screaming the message, “We’re too poor to shop at Meijer or buy new clothes from a store.”
Now as an adult, I can thank my lucky stars that Aldi and Goodwill exist, because in this day and age I still cannot afford to buy new clothes from a “real” store. I would like to proudly proclaim to all that can hear me, “Why wouldn’t you shop at Aldi and Goodwill?” I am sure many of you have discovered the joy that is Aldi and Goodwill, but just in case you have not, here are a couple tried and true tips from one starving graduate student to all you starving undergraduate students.
1. Sign up for the Meijer gas program on their Web site. By owning and using a Meijer gas card at their pump, you can save a few cents per gallon. You can also sign up for their texting program which sends you a text a few hours before gas prices are going to go up.
3. Meijer has a reduced produce and bakery rack at all their stores. The food will need to be eaten right away, but it is a great way to buy fruits and veggies you otherwise could not afford. At the Knapp corner store the produce racks are located by the bagged salad, and the bakery racks are by the ice cream.
4. Goodwill and The Salvation Army both offer 10 percent discounts to college students. Just be sure to show your ID before they start to ring up your items. Also, The Salvation Army offers a 25 percent discount on your entire purchase if you donate anything to the store on the day you make your purchase. Be sure to pay attention to their color of the week. Any clothing item with that color is half off, and on Saturdays after 5 p.m., any item in the store with that color is only 49 cents.
5. Get a GR library card and borrow movies from the library for free! The Yankee Clipper branch is about a mile down Leonard and they can borrow from any GRPL library in the city. They also have a great selection of magazines and CDs, which you can borrow for three weeks at a time.
6. Aldi (located on Alpine and 28th Street) and Save-A-Lot (on Leonard) can really help save money on groceries! You will need to provide your own shopping bags, and at Aldi you will need a quarter to “rent” a shopping cart. You will get the quarter back when you return the cart.
7. The best online coupon sites: