In high school I would slave away at one summer job or another. I twisted fro-yo, consoled crying kids at arts camp, and made bank as a nanny. Seventeen years old and I had a lot of purchasing power, which I more than happily exercised. Every spontaneous online purchase, though, was met with the same chagrin from my mom. “You’ll want that money in Boston,” she’d say. In what may come as a surprise to no one -it definitely has stopped surprising me -she was right. While there are a lot of creative ways to save in Boston, there are also tons of tempting ways to splurge. Here’s a definitive list of the best of each:
Top of the Hub: SPLURGE. Located on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower, this restaurant is basically a must at some point during your BU career. Entrees are not cheap and there’s a strict no-jeans rule, but for a 360-degree view of Boston from the sky, it’s worth it. Start saving those summer job tips for this one.
Movies: SAVE. There is hardly ever a reason to cough up $15 for a movie on the Boston big screens. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for a plethora of freebie movie deals. I interned for Allied International Marketing last summer, and we would send out free movie tickets weekly. My friend (and fellow CA) Joe scored us tickets to see Trainwreck a month before it premiered, and we were pleasantly shocked when Amy Schumer herself walked out to introduce the film.
The Paint Bar: SPLURGE. At $35 per class, this can be pricey for a random afternoon activity. However, you definitely get what you pay for. Not only does the Paint Bar staff provide you with a canvas, paint, and thorough instruction, it also fills about 2.5 hours of your time with relaxing music, good conversation, and in the end, a new piece of art. And don’t let the name fool you —I’ve been there four times without ever taking advantage of the “bar” aspect.
Your Coffee Habit: SAVE. Yes, there are three Starbucks on BU’s 1-mile-long campus. And yes, Boston in general is laden with fancy, one-of-a-kind coffee shops. But those shops are expensive, and that Starbucks habit is going to add up. My advice? Invest in a Keurig during your pre-college Bed Bath and Beyond trip. The $4 you save on every coffee will pay off. Skip 9 Starbucks coffees, and you’ll have enough for one Paint Bar visit.
Study Abroad: SPLURGE. Okay, so technically this is not something you’ll spend money on in Boston. But it is an opportunity that BU affords you, and, ironically, it’s not the most affordable adventure you’ll ever embark on. Several of my friends are abroad right now, and after working hard to fill their savings account, they’ve been able to travel all across Europe, funding flights to Rome, Barcelona, Budapest. Personally, I’m saving for the study abroad program in London this summer. The visa alone put me back $500, and flights will be another $1000, but seeing the world? That’ll be priceless.
Transportation: SAVE. Uber and Lift have a huge presence in Boston, and the T runs very conveniently down the center of BU’s campus. Even those $2.60 rides add up, though, and I can’t stress enough how beneficial walking has been during my time at BU. Not only is it free, but it also gives you time to clear your head and get some fresh air (you might even stretch the mile-long walk to count as your daily exercise… I know I have). Transportation is one of those little expenses that can make a big difference. Always opt for the cheaper alternative.
There are so many fun opportunities in Boston, whether you decide to dip into your savings or not. Regardless, though, heed the advice your mom is inevitably giving you during your summer job, and save some of those paychecks for semesters in Boston.