The Importance of Free Stuff

As most people know, graduate students are typically kind of broke. This is especially true in a city like Boston where, in addition to yearly tuition, the cost of living is also bizarrely high. A side effect of my extreme poverty (and yes, I use that term hyperbolically, not literally), I’ve developed a reputation among my friends over the years as always knowing of opportunities to score free food. I like to pretend that it is some special talent of mine, but in reality, it’s due almost entirely to the amount of time I spend on Twitter.

Since I’m graduating soon and need to pass on my free food knowledge to a new set of 1Ls at some point, I’ve decided to disclose a few of my better sources:

Free coffee at Dunkin: The DD Perks app is an absolutely must for any self-respecting Bostonian who drinks coffee. America may not run on Dunkin, but Boston most certainly does. You get points for each dollar you spend (when you pay with the app), and there are weekly deals and occasional rewards for holidays. You also get a free coffee every Monday following a Sunday Patriots victory, so this one comes in handy for sure.  Last week, I finally cashed in my free birthday coffee (which I got back in January but kept forgetting to use). I of course got a large in order to maximize the value of the gift, but sadly that made me super jittery for a few hours. Arguably I was a smidge too excited in that case.

Free Otto’s pizza: Otto’s is another Boston (or at least BU) staple. I’m not a huge pizza person, but I do really like Otto’s. I had two late-night makeup classes (for the same class) the previous two Tuesdays, and my professor provided us with pizza for both!  I mean, I was going to come to the classes either way, but that was definitely a nice incentive (and two free dinners).  The broader point is that various classes and events at BU often have free food -usually either pizza, sandwiches, or burritos – and it’s a really easy way to save some money, especially if it’s at an event you were already planning on going to.

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day: My Ben & Jerry’s obsession is legendary, and it has escalated rapidly since moving to Boston. Like, it’s sort of a problem. In fact, here are two of my favorite photos of my entire life.

Me at the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont in October, which was one of my favorite life experiences.

Me at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont in October, which was one of my favorite life experiences.


This is me meeting ACTUAL BEN and ACTUAL JERRY at a Bernie Sanders event in Boston about a month ago. I don’t think a face can really show the full amount of joy I felt at this moment, but this is probably close.

One of the many beautiful things about Ben & Jerry’s is Free Cone Day, which is exactly what it sounds like. The exact date varies each year, but it’s always in April, and all you really have to do to find out about it is follow them on Twitter!

BostonTweet: BostonTweet (that’s his Twitter handle) is a must for a broke grad student in Boston. He tweets about free or discounted events and food on a pretty much weekly basis. Over the years, I’ve gotten a LOT of free food from BostonTweet. To provide a few examples, National Cheeseburger Day (free cheeseburgers!), free Chipotle promotions (a free burrito once, and free chips and guac recently), BoLoCo (a free burrito), and many other things.

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