Tips for Frugality at UCSB

Illustrated by Bridget Rios

Janice Luong

Opinions Editor

College is a time to get thrifty and cheap. We all want to have fun, but we have to face the facts: we’re broke. Having little or no income is difficult, and people often think that we have to sacrifice some fun because of it. However, here are a few ways to utilize Isla Vista’s (I.V.) and Santa Barbara’s events to the fullest, so you can have fun and save money. 

Have a shopping addiction?

I.V. has been upping its thrift game. Throughout the week, there are stalls/tents out at Little Acorn Park. Stop by and check out what our local Gauchos are offering for lower prices! 

There are also thrift shops in downtown Santa Barbara like Crossroads Trading, Goodwill, Alpha Thrift Store, and the Thrifty Flea (to mention a few). Transportation to all these destinations is free for UCSB students!

Another way is to join Facebook communities/groups for some crazy cheap finds. Groups like UCSB Free/For Sale, and Free & For Sale (UCSB) are popular. 

Take a hike or go to the beach!

There are many hiking trails around Santa Barbara and I.V. If you’ve never hiked, give it a try. Gather your friends and enjoy each other’s company surrounded by nature. You’ll kill two birds with one stone by getting a killer workout while spending time with friends! Hiking isn’t everyone’s favorite, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

I.V. is also home to many beaches, and with our gorgeous weather, how can we not take advantage of it? UCSB also offers recreational classes, where you can learn water activities like surfing, sailing, and boating. 

Spend too much on groceries? 

There are many student services on campus that are quietly available. You can visit the University Center and go to the UCSB Food Resources and Basic Needs office to see if you qualify for financial assistance on grocery fees. Sometimes, they can offer you gift cards to the local food co-op.

Want to get boozy?*

Bars won’t be your best friend. Instead, buy drinks to-go and split them amongst your friends. It ends up being not as expensive and you get more out of it! There is also, of course, boxed wine! Not only are they cheaper, but they are also environmentally friendly. Boxed wine also carried more volume than wine bottles. 

But if you’re not into wine, here is a non-exhaustive list of cheaper alcohol: 

  • New Amsterdam Vodka $15
  • Fireball $15
  • Jose Cuervo $20
  • Agavales $12
  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum $13
  • Bacardi Rum $15 
  • Crown Royal $25

*The Bottom Line does not condone nor promote underage drinking. 

Want to eat out? 

Two words: Happy Hour. Happy Hour is a short period of time during the day when restaurants will offer bites and/or drinks at a discounted price. Just cheap food and perhaps a smaller portion, but for the price you can still save by ordering more than one dish. Not a single loss here!

Here are some spots that offer solid happy hours (mostly in Santa Barbara): 

  • Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen 
  • Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach 
  • Eureka! Burger
  • Alcazar Tapas Bar
  • Soho Restaurant & Music Club 
  • Finch & Fork 
  • Rockfire Grill (I.V.) 
  • Woodstock’s Pizza (I.V.)