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Thrifty Thursdays: How to Survive in Boston on a College Student’s budget

- Alex

As a resident college student of Boston, I make up 1 person out of about half a million people in my demographic. Luckily, Boston is a fantastic city for college students for many reasons, one of those being the lack of necessity to spend tons of money to have fun during the school year and summer break. Here are my top four tips for how to survive on that minimal salary you receive from your campus work-study job, while still having maximum amounts of fun.

1) Explore, explore, explore!

Boston is known to be a fabulous walking city and while there is a severe lack of a grid system, one can waste the day away walking around all of Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods. Downtown Boston is the place to be if you want some solid seafood, a nice waterfront view, and a lot of tall buildings. If you’re more like me, some could say “hip-er” neighborhoods like Brookline and the South End might suit your fancy. Plenty of cute storefronts, friendly looking people, and even outdoor markets on the weekends and during the summertime. Just walking around and looking at the architecture is a great time, but do stop in to some of the great bakeries and coffee shops and treat yourself once in a while. My personal recommendations include Flour Bakery in the South End and Athans bakery in Brookline—the best places to get a croissant and a coffee!

The North End is Boston’s resident Little Italy and a small price can be paid for some of the best cannolis you’ll ever eat. If you’re looking for a more post-grad, particularly music-oriented area to wander through, try out Allston/Brighton right along Commonwealth Ave…you’ll be sure to run into some fellow college students. And speaking of college students, Cambridge anyone?


2) History doesn’t have to be a mystery

Boston is wrought with history, dating back to the 1600s. While some may consider it a little “lame,” walking the entirety of the Freedom Trail is still on my Boston to-do list after three years of living in the city. It’s free, interesting, self-guided, and a perfect way to make fun of tourists (slightly kidding about that one). There are many organized tours throughout Boston, but why not take it upon yourself to be the explorer while also saving some cash for adventures later on. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is another worthwhile option; although there is a small, but worth it, fee to explore that historical museum


3) Take advantage of free events!

Many museums in Boston offer free viewing nights, such as the Isabella Stewart Gardener, Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, and all are worthwhile events to observe. Boston is also known to have many free food festivals (honestly, what gets better than that?) during the summertime so watch out for those! Additionally, like in many other cities, Boston also offers many summer free outdoor movie showings.


4) This isn’t New York…nature is right at your doorstep

From the pond in the Boston Gardens, to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, to the Newton Woods just outside of Brighton, to the Blue Hills Reservation just outside Boston in Milton, MA, nature is plentiful in Boston. Take a bike-ride down Commonwealth Avenue and you’ll encounter a plethora of parks, green spaces, and-gasp-trees!

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The beautiful thing about Boston is that it is a relatively relaxing city for the average over-committed and stressed-out college student to chill out for a change and enjoy the nature and pace of life in one of America’s oldest cities. And you also don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy some of the best things about the city. So, what are you waiting for? Go have some free fun!





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