College is hideously expensive today, and the extra costs mount up swiftly. Lab fees, gym fees, books, equipment for science lab courses, parking fees, and heaven knows what else all add to the truly unbelievable cost of a degree. Students need to be comfortable, safe, well-shod, properly clothed, and decently fed, but there are many areas where savings can be realized in the four years of a college career. Let us see where we can save some other funds for the future.
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A student needs a really good haircut at the beginning of the semester. This is crucial for several reasons. Yes, this article is about saving money, but saving also means investing in what will pay off in the future.
First, this is your introduction to the other students. They will form an instantaneous impression of you that will remain with them for, literally, years. Those first days of college are a formative moment in most people’s lives. You are physically AT a college for a reason; to have a complete experience that includes social interaction with others. If you were not interested in that aspect of college, you would be attending one of the many fine online institutions and wearing your jammies and slippers and bed-head. At a residential or commuter college, you will be on display for two to four years and you want to make a good initial impression.
Second, this is an area of your appearance that will take way too much time anyway. If you can start with a fine haircut, whether male or female, you will save crucial and precious time that you should be spending sleeping or studying. A competent hair cutter can work with your hair texture and come up with a style that takes the least possible amount of time to look decent and presentable. That is your goal: speed and minimum fuss.
Third, if you know that your hair looks good, you are going to be less self-conscious about other aspects of your appearance. For example, if you notice that you do not possess the current craze in outerwear, footgear, backpack, or jeans, you can be less concerned about projecting an image of fashionable poise if your hair looks great. Those fad purchases can be deleted from your wish list. Ka-ching – money saved!
Therefore, get the best haircut you can before arriving on campus if at all possible. If you are coming from an area where such services are a bit scarce on the ground, budget for this, and get yourself to the best haircutter near campus as fast as you can. If you don’t like the result, after comparing your tonsorial crown to that of the most attractive students on campus, keep looking for a better place. Ask students who are from the areas near the college, who do look good, and who have a hair texture similar to yours, where they get their hair cut. Go there and do likewise. This may be the most expensive place in town, but not necessarily.
As a lower-cost alternative to patronizing the costliest salon or barber around, look for the nearest school of beauty. These places often offer their services as a way of giving the students practice in all the phases of their work. The prices are substantially lower than in a commercial salon/barbershop, and there are always teachers around to prevent disasters. You can be sure that you will get the benefit of the newest techniques and ideas about hair care, and save a bundle.
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Having disposed of the most time-wasting aspect of personal presentation, you can now proceed to slash the budget in almost every other area of personal grooming. You do not need professional manicures or pedicures while at college. Yes, this can be a rather low-cost indulgence, but it is unnecessary. The ingredients to achieve neat, well-cut nails (emery board, clippers) cost a fraction of the expense of paying someone else to do it for you. You will need healthy nails for lab experiments, not long glittery ones with butterfly decals on them.
You will not need tanning salon sessions either. These are true health hazards and the time spent in them is time you will need for studying, or sleeping, not roasting.
The benefits of a spray-on tan are dubious, and you may find that you look ridiculous. Look closely at the campus leaders. Do they have spray-on tans? If the campus has a significant snob element, the well-heeled kids will not need a spray-on tan; they will have flown to warmer, sunnier climes for a real tan. If you can’t compete with this, don’t try. You can save your money for a trip somewhere sunny when you graduate.