Sunday, December 16, 2007

College Life

Shopping Cheaply In The City
By Gunes Atalay

It is hard to be a student in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world, where even full time workers struggle. Then how are we supposed to survive? We are full time students, and part time workers in some cases and our parents can’t give us unlimited allowances.

In this situation, there is only one way to make it to the end of month –being a smart shopper. For those who don’t know the little secrets of the city, that can be very tough. As a careful shopper, I will help those who don’t know where to go because New York City is very big, it keeps a lot of little secrets.

One of the first places I found out to shop for clothing and household materials are Conway stores at 11 W 34th Street, 450 7th Avenue, and 1333 Broadway. They are all walking distance from each other and very easy to reach. Even though the area is midtown, where everything is so expensive, these stores are a lot cheaper than average. All clothing items are constantly on sale and household items are a lot cheaper than any other store. You can find very high quality stuff cheaply, you just need to look for it.

Another big store right around Conway is Jack’s 99 Cent Store on 110 W 32nd Street. This dollar store is a lot bigger than any other, and holds the same brands supermarkets do. It has three floors: The first floor is for dollar items and the other two floors hold everything else, that cost more than a dollar, but are still significantly cheaper than many other stores. From plates and make up to pillows and sheets, anything is possible to find in this store. It can get crowded to a level where it’s annoying, however going there at the right times and shopping smart can save you a lot of time and money.

The third option, and the one I love the most, are thrift stores - for those who don’t mind buying used stuff. There are many through out the city, however not all are very cheap. The ones one the Upper East Side can be more expensive than a regular store. I found the best variety, and prices on 23rd street between Third and First Avenues. There are about seven in a row, including a Salvation Army store. The staffs are usually very friendly and most of the stores have student discounts. You never know what you will find in there, and going there frequently and checking what they have can be very helpful. You won’t believe what you can get for $3 to $15.

The last place that I found is an entire area that most New Yorkers seem to forget about: Spanish Harlem. People who don’t know the area think that it is very dangerous. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Spanish Harlem a.k.a. East Harlem is the area between 107th Street and 125th Streets and it is not only safe and friendly, but also very cheap. The area holds a variety of stores such as food, nail salons, clothing, and beauty supplies and is actually about 10 minutes from our school.

For those who prefer convenience rather than cheapness, these places may not be the best options. But for those who really have to try hard to make it to the end of month, spending some time in the subway and trying these places will make a big difference.

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