Applying to UCSB: $40. The cost of your first year at UCSB: $25,000. Knowing where to find the cheapest burrito in Isla Vista on a Saturday night: priceless.
Now that you’ve reached one of the most prestigious universities in California, it’s important to know how to navigate your new school with the arrow on your compass pointed toward cheap.
Despite what you’ve heard about the party life at UCSB, students do actually study (sometimes). In order to keep up with all of the other studious partygoers on Del Playa Drive, you’ll need a few textbooks. The UCSB Bookstore in the UCen offers the complete collection, but the Isla Vista Bookstore and Beat The Bookstore, both on Pardall Road, often have better deals on some books, especially for students who get in line early. Also, at the end of the quarter, both of the stores offer more money back for books than the UCen.
After you’ve hit the books, you might want to hit the stores for some new clothes. State Street, which is located in downtown Santa Barbara, provides a great variety of stores. But in order to save a few bucks, head to some of the smaller stores like Angl, Reference and Yellowstone. Retail chains like Levi’s, American Eagle and Express provide quality threads without straining your wallet too much. You may have to pick through the racks for trendy finds, but the extra effort is worth the bucks you will save. When it’s time to accessorize, check out So Good Jewelry, also on State Street. Its walls are lined with good deals on jewelry.
Living in proximity to Isla Vista also means invitations to the all-important theme party. If you don’t want to break your bank shopping for ’80s leotards and Halloween costumes, check out the local thrift stores. Alpha Thrift Store is always popular and there are two locations, one at 5624 Hollister Ave. and one at 5949 Hollister Ave. There is also a Goodwill downtown at 302 W. Carrillo St.
During the year, you’ll probably hear a few stories about an inebriated friend who made it back to one of the residence halls, wandered into a room that they believed to be theirs and woke up in the morning in a stranger’s bed. Now that you live in a building full of identical rooms, minimize your risk of spooning someone else’s teddy bear and partner up with your roommate to decorate your new home. Linens-N-Things, Bed Bath and Beyond and Kmart all offer good deals on decorations. Linens-N-Things and Bed Bath and Beyond often stock items catering to the small size of your budget and your dorm room. All of these stores are located in Goleta. Bed Bath and Beyond is in the Fairview Shopping Center on Fairview Avenue, and Linens-N-Things and Kmart are in the Calle Real Shopping Center on Hollister and Storke Road.
Once your dorm room looks exactly how you want it and you’ve bonded with your roommate, you’ll probably want to go home for a weekend. Plan ahead to fill up your gas tank outside of Isla Vista. The 76 Station at 5755 Hollister Ave. currently charges about $2.90 for a gallon of regular – a deal that’s hard to beat anywhere in Santa Barbara. Many students also choose to fill up at the Shell Service Station, located at 55 N. Fairview Rd. or at the Mobil Station located right off the Glen Annie Road exit.
Afterward, maybe you’ll have enough dollars to buy a late night burrito. Enjoy it, kid!