Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

College Savings: How to Haggle Your Way to the Best Souvenirs

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

I have a confession to make. . . . Are you listening? Good. Well, here goes…

I’m a packrat.

I can’t help it. Wherever I go I like to take mementoes with me. My best friend calls me the Souvenir Kleptomaniac. If there’s a free gift or college discounts to be had, I’m there. At restaurants I save the little business cards and menus and circle what I ate. I keep receipts from purchases in other countries just because there’s a different language on them.  I’m a sucker for nostalgia and remembering my trip in every detail possible is important to me. Although people aren’t generally this extreme, the act of bringing home a keepsake is usually one that people follow. The most important thing about souvenir shopping is getting the most for your money without going bankrupt.

As discussed earlier, sometimes it’s hard to pack everything you need in one suitcase. However, make sure you leave some extra space in it so you have room to bring things back.  You don’t want to have to buy an extra piece of luggage to fit everything you want to bring home. Extra luggage means more plane space, means more money out of your pocket.

Be wary of scams.
If you’re going to a country that makes a lot of money off of tourism chances are the people there are waiting for you: and they’re prepared. They want your business and they want you to spend your money on keychains and postcards and bottle openers with funny sayings on them. Don’t feel the need to do your entire souvenir shopping in one day at the same place.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

My friend bought a hat from a vendor in China for 25¥ ($5!) that ripped only seconds after purchasing it.

Do not buy souvenirs at the airport.
Those T-shirts that say I HEART [insert country’s name here] aren’t going anywhere. You will see them wherever you go throughout the country, and will probably get a better deal on them in other stores than in the first one you see.

Learn to haggle.
And don’t be ashamed of doing it! The locals want your money, and chances are the initial price they are asking for that miniature sculpture of that famous landmark is a lot higher than they expect you to pay. Haggle with vendors for a better deal. If you are uncomfortable with the asking price—walk away! You’re not obligated to buy anything, and many times walking away will encourage vendors to immediately drop their asking price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

We bought cute panda hats in China that we found a week later for half the price.

Save your money for one priceless gift for yourself.
That’s not to say don’t buy yourself anything else the whole trip. However, study abroad trips leave lasting impressions. Having one precious item to take home from your adventure will mean a lot to you in years to come.

 

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It's very special and something I will treasure forever.

My favorite purchase of the trip: a Jade necklace. It’s very special and something I will treasure forever.

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-Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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Pretty Woman

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Although New York City boosts one of the hottest fashion scenes on the planet, my life here isn’t always conducive to looking my best. In the summer I’m too hot to feel pretty, in the winter I sometimes have to sacrifice personal style to stay warm, and during the school year my full schedule of work, an internship, and classes distract me so much that fashion is the last thing on my mind. La Petit Coquette has the solution to my style conundrum: picking out the perfect outfit when I’m already late for class is impossible, but with a drawer full of flirty, frilly bras and underwear I don’t have to forfeit feeling beautiful and confident when I’m in a rush. La Petit Coquette’s fabulous student discounts promise to add a much needed dose of sugar and spice to your underwear drawer: 10% off with your student ID, 15% off on your birthday with your student ID for sexy gift to yourself, and free bra fitting with your student ID.

Its 9:45 and you slept through your alarm again. With fifteen minutes to get to your first class, it looks like you’ll be wearing sweats to school again. Not to worry! La Petit Croquette’s lingerie will come to the rescue. Slip into one of their fun bra and underwear sets you got with one of their student discount coupons and suddenly those drab sweats feel like a designer dress. After all, real style isn’t about your outfit, its about your attitude, and an exciting new pair of underwear is an easy, fun way to make your attitude go from exhausted to confident and ready to take on the world.

-Elisabeth, Eugene Lang College ’12

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What Recession?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual unemployment rate across the country has more than doubled since 2006. While the national unemployment rate for the month of April was 9.9, the unemployment rate for New York wasn’t too far behind at 8.4.  This is troubling, not only for the entire workforce, but for recent graduates as well. It seems that the end of the recession is never going to come and that all is lost. I beg to differ.

For the past two years of my life, while many have been running around in a frenzy, spreading the word that “there are no jobs because we are in a recession,” I have been denying what everyone seems to be saying. I’ve never really been too keen on statistics, as I learned how they could be altered, while completing my studies in undergrad. I often saw students change both words and numbers around, molding their PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets to fit certain ideas, even if the real numbers or real data didn’t match up to these concepts; sort of the way some journalists do with their “objective” stories. I’d rather base my opinions on what I see. And based on what I’ve been seeing, we are in no way, shape or form, experiencing a recession. I can prove it.

Exhibit A: I want you to pick a Saturday when you have nothing but free time or even a few hours, preferably mid-afternoon to three o’ clock PM. Take the train to 34th Street in Manhattan and walk along this street, from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue in either direction. Take notes, look around, and take pictures if you want.  What do you notice? Is it desolate? If not, approximately how many people are walking the streets? Do they have bags in their hands? Are they going into stores? Do the stores seem crowded? If your answer to the last three questions are yes, then you have successfully proven my point thus far. Recession’s, don’t usually include the joys of shopping.

Exhibit B: Let us move on to entertainment. I have been to the movies about three or four times this year. Now that may not be a lot to some, but each time I went, I always felt that I was on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. By the way, I’d visited three different theaters and the environment was always the same, from Chelsea to Midtown to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the crowds were always there; even on weekdays! I went out with a variety of friends for three weeks in a row to several restaurants around events around the city, and they were packed as well. Hmph, some recession!

Exhibit C: Now according to some, there are no jobs. Really?!? Then how come when I visit web sites such as craigslist.org or monster.com or the career web sites for the colleges I’ve attended, I see thousands upon thousands of jobs, internships, and careers? These are added on a regular basis and come from all industries as well as all career levels. But how can that be if we’re in a recession?

By now I hoped you’ve figured out the answer; just reread the title if you haven’t. So, keep looking for jobs, continue to shop, eat, and live. That’s what I’m doing because I live life by looking at what’s directly in front of me. Plus I’ve never really liked the news. It’s so depressing!

What will you do? Will you believe what the statistics say or will you believe what’s directly in front of your face?

Shana H

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