Philadelphia, PA, USA

7 Pick-me-ups for the Broke College Student

I don’t know about you, but when I was a college student I really couldn’t afford much. Majority of the time, I ate packed lunches to save on funds. Once a month though, I did look for ways to treat myself in inexpensively. Mental health days are just as important as sick days, and I totally promote playing hooky every now and then when you just need a breather. That being said, here are some other ways to pick yourself up when you’re just not into it and broke!

1. Ipsy

Ipsy is $12 a month, used to be $10, but with $12 you get 1 product a month that you want of your choice from their selection list. Including 4 other products tailored to your beauty quiz and a cute new bag every month! Let’s face it, makeup and skincare can get expensive. You can skip a month whenever you’re not up for it, and you also have the option to buy some add-ons and more. 

When you review a product, which you should do all your reviews, you get points that you can redeem for other products you’d like. Be honest when you review, when I go deeply in-depth with my reviews as to why something is good or bad for me, the algorithm seems to pick up on keywords better and make my next month or so much more amazing! 

If you get Ipsy every month you tend to collect a wide variety of makeup tools, makeup, skincare, etc., some of which is travel size others are full size. This was definitely one of my favorite things as a college student because let's face it even E.L.F. can get expensive if you're buying more than one thing. With Ipsy, I still get to try new products for my skin type and if I don't like something, I review it in-depth as to why. If I have an allergic reaction to something, which has happened, I contacted them, nicely and calmly, and they sent me a full-sized gift! 

Don't abuse the system and be kind when you contact them to assure the best results. At the end of the day, there are people on the other side of that screen therefore treat them as you’d like to be treated as if it were YOUR job to sift through support emails. 

That being said, Ipsy is definitely number one on my pick-me-ups list. It made me really happy when I was a broke college student. It was the one thing I never canceled, and always worked around it because it made me happy. I’m still with Ipsy 4 years later, today.

May 2017 ipsy glam bag beauty subscription washi tape makeup tools

2. StickiiClub 

StickiiClub is $10 a pack. If makeup or skincare isn’t your thing, maybe StickiiClub is. They go by the pack therefore you don’t have to be subscribed every month, but you can also choose to change themes every month. 

The three themes are cute, retro, and cool. Woah I’m getting ahead of myself, yes, StickiiClub is stickers but it’s also stationery goodies. Notepads, washi tape, a cute custom paper clip each month, and more. They work with so many amazing artists that I follow, and I love the custom packaging it all comes in. You cannot find this type of packaging anywhere else. If you’re a stationery nerd like me, you’ll love this type of pick me up!

I didn’t always choose to get a Stickii pack, to date I only have 3, but this was definitely a favorite for when I was craving more stationery goodies for my planner and don’t want to cry myself a rive because I spent too much. Stationery sold solo elsewhere can get just as pricey! This is also an amazing gift to anyone who you know loves stickers, and right now we're in a 90s throwback of absolute sticker love!

April 2017 stickii club cute pack sticker sheets example kimono japanese stickers stationery

3. Spending some time with a friend 

This should be priceless, if not go to a small cafe or Starbucks together and spend no more than $6ish. Most of the time I went over to my friend’s house and we just talked, vented about stuff, talked about ideas, and more. To this day, this is high up on my list because one of my friends is a grad school student currently, and it always makes me happy when she makes time for me by inviting me over. She also has rent to pay so she’s not exactly well-off even with her job, and with tuition, she is left with little money. 

It’s always the little things that count. So call up one of your besties, or a friend, tell them you need them and have a heart to heart. Inexpensive but yet priceless.

My friends Caileen Lauren and I posing on a bench during Covid-19 with some limited restrictions

4. Bubble tea

I know a lot of people that are iffy about bubble tea because of the tapioca bubbles, and that’s fine there are options for popping bubbles that have jelly inside or you don’t need to have bubbles at all. You can totally opt-out! For me, personally, and also for many others bubble tea is a great way to treat ourselves when we’re taking a mental health day. They’re fun, delicious, and not that expensive. Most often than not, bubble tea shops sell unique flavors, similar to cocktails, but nonalcoholic. For example, at Tea Do, similar to Kung Fu Tea, they have a drink called The Hulk. The Hulk is mixed with kiwi, green apple, lychee, and aloe jelly. It's not something common you can just find anywhere, but these tastes are absolutely priceless! If you love Playa Bowls or similar, you will love these specific bubble tea chains.

Also, be aware if you get one every day or more often than not they do get pricey because it adds up but one in a blue moon won’t hurt you!

Kung Fu Tea bubble tea boba yum delicious

5. Playing a game

There are many free to play games, as well as many places that do game nights. If you don’t know anyone it’s the perfect place to go and meet people, learn a game, and have something to look forward to. Join your local meet up group or create one yourself, I always loved finding out when the local game nights were because those were my favorite. Better yet, see if your school is offering one, if not, suggest it to the ones in charge! 

With social distancing, it may be a little hard, but as I said there are plenty of games you can play online for free. You just have to get creative! 

Other times, I would play video games online with friends or alone even. I mostly play Maple Story though, sometimes people joined, but the majority of the time I enjoyed grinding on my own just relieving stress. Where I found the time in my schedule, well let’s just say I slept in my car a lot during my college days.

Other free to play games:

Play Pokemon Go when you have free time or to relieve stress!

6. Reading a book/webtoon 

If you’re not into games, no problem, pick up a feel-good book or start a new webtoon. Although I don’t have an extensive reading list, my good friend Lauren does check it out her GoodReads list maybe you’ll find something you like! 

Webtoon wise though, you’re in the right place! I have just about any type of Webtoon you’d want to read romance, action, a slice of life, fantasy, etc. I also don’t guilt myself over fast-pass. All webtoons are free to read! Webtoons that have been completed are free to read for up to 7 chapters, and then you get 1 new chapter for free every day. If you want more you do what's called a fast-pass. Another example is, series that are originals and are currently ongoing get released once a week. Say you want to read ahead for 3 more chapters, well you need fast-pass coins to read them. To do this, you buy them from the app store, and they really don't cost much, but again, this isn't necessary since there's plenty of Webtoons you can read for free. There are also lots of Canvas creators, which are series that haven't been bumped up to originals yet.

For me, fast-passing one of my favorite Webtoons is my favorite way of making myself feel better when I’m trying to save money. To some, this may be pointless, but to me, it helps relax me, makes me feel happy, makes me get lost in another world so why judge me? 

Here are some webtoons from my gigantic subscription list that you must check out if you're intrigued!

Read a book, ebook, manga, webtoon, or comic to wind down!

7. Get Crafty

When in doubt get crafty, whether that actually means you get hands-on with some art supplies or you randomly jump into your car, your friend’s car, and go for a late-night drive to the ocean or to go stargazing. You need to act on what it is you need at that moment!

Take a hike, do a mini photoshoot with friends or by yourself, go ice skating, rollerblading, whatever it is you wanted to try go and do it! Experience never costs a lot, and many places have a student discount. Use it! Make use of it, you’ll never regret the experiences you had, but rather the ones you didn’t.

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite way to feel good about yourself? How do you spend your mental health days? Do you treat yourself to goodies, stay home, or spend time with friends? Let me know in the comments below!

7 pick me ups for the broke college student round up post pinterest pin

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