Especially with this pandemic going on, people are running out of ideas on what to do at home. Besides baking banana bread, oversleeping and engaging in heavy exercise, what many individuals decide to do is online shop. There’s essentially no drawback to online shopping. You can make fun purchases while also maybe supporting a small business. That being said, your finances can also suffer if you shop too much. Here are some of my favorite tactics to use when I shop in order to buy what I want but not spend too much money.

1. Use reputable and reliable websites.

  • This is not crucial since most websites that have good clothing may not be known, and sometimes small businesses are not known, so they are seen as not reputable. With that being said, be sure to do your research and find a good website that seems legitimate. 

2. Try not to impulse buy. 

  • Whenever I shop online, I really try to think about whether or not I absolutely want or need this clothing. I often leave the stuff in my shopping cart for a day or so, which gives me enough time to decide if I really want this top or these shoes. Another thing that helps me is to envision myself wearing said item; if I am not sure that I will like it, I won’t get it. Sometimes you’re surprised, but your intuition is usually correct; it’s often not worth buying something you’re not 100% sure about. 

3. Consider thrifting! 

  • Some websites are super expensive and people can’t justify spending so much money on certain items. Thrifting is a great way to save money on nice clothing. Now, it is very hit or miss, and you can’t really expect to find something. You also can’t really expect to come back and find it, because it might not be there. One time I went to a thrift store in Santa Barbara and found a cute pair of shoes but didn’t buy them because I was a few dollars short; when I came back, they were gone. You might have to expect this to happen. With that being said, thrifting saves a ton of money, helps the environment, and is a wonderful way to spend a day. You can also thrift online if you look hard enough; Instagram is all the rage to find thrifting accounts. 

4. Know your size.

  • Before you buy, MAKE SURE TO KNOW YOUR SIZE! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought clothes that don’t fit because I didn’t know my size. It’s hard to plan for clothes that have different sizing, but be sure to utilize size charts and use your best judgment. Don’t buy something that won’t fit because it’s the only size; it’s better to try your luck somewhere else.  

5. Familiarize yourself with return policies. 

  • If something happens where you don’t like the clothing or if it doesn’t fit, it’s important that you know how to return or exchange it. Nobody wants to keep something that doesn’t work for them. You can always donate or sell your clothing, but it’s often best to try to return the item so that you can get your money back or purchase the style or size you desire once you find it. Sometimes it’s hard to find return policies, and some companies have none. Just make sure to do your research!

6. Use coupons.

  • If you’re the type who often shops online, you might find that your bank account is being drained quickly. The best way to keep yourself from spending too much is to use coupons/cashback services. Honey and Ebates are some that I use. They find coupons for me and give me cash back on purchases respectably. Credit cards also do this too, depending on the card you have. This is a given that you will save money, and you don’t have to do too much work! Make sure to install Honey on your browser and connect Ebates to your bank and get to saving! 🙂

As a graduating senior at UC Santa Barbara, my graduation has been indefinitely canceled. I say indefinitely because nobody is sure if it is still happening at a later date or if the in-person ceremony will cease to exist. There will be a virtual ceremony on June 14, the same day as the former in-person ceremony, but many students will argue that this is not the same as a real celebration. However, all hope is not lost for recognition for those students who are graduating from high school or college this year.

A few weeks ago, my grandmother sent a text to my father and stepmother. The text talked about a “senior spotlight” that KGO, a local news station, was putting on for seniors affected by the pandemic. Anyone could (and still can) apply, and they will be featured on the station. My grandmother suggested that my parents submit both me and my sister, who is also a graduating sociology student at UCSB, to the event. I don’t know if she was submitted, but I know I was.

Technically, it was supposed to be a surprise for both my mom and I, but my mom “cheated” and looked up the website. At 6:00 pm, my mom, brother and I sat in the living room and watched the news. We assumed it might come on at the end of the hour-long show. Half an hour passed before we saw anything. Around 6:40 my brother got up to go pee and, wouldn’t you know, my name got shown on the TV.

(the picture featured on the TV program)

I’ll be honest that I had no idea what to expect and it was a bit shocking. I am a very shy person and don’t love this type of attention. You can imagine my surprise when I saw myself on the news and compliments started flowing in through my social media. Something about it was really nice. I never would have expected to be featured. 

A few days have passed and I have continued to get compliments on my mom’s Facebook post, my Snapchat post that my brother convinced me to make, and even Twitter. I’ve told two of my good friends to apply, and I haven’t found their pictures on the website yet, but I’m excited to see someone I know get featured. It’s a really nice thing that KGO is doing for those seniors whose accomplishments feel forgotten, and I hope many more people take advantage of it. There are about 130 people so far, and I’m excited to see those numbers rise.

Overall, it’s just really nice to get this recognition we deserve, even if it’s small and a lot of people might not watch the news. It shows that students, business, and news groups like this are all in this together. We all have individual struggles and losses that we have to deal with. We are one in the same and can get through this pandemic together. 

When you’re a kid, you probably don’t realize the value of a dollar. My parents weren’t rich, but they were comfortable enough so that I didn’t have to work to get most of what I wanted. Even when my mom lost her job, she was able to bounce back into another completely different field. She ended up quitting that and now works in sales and makes more than we ever have before. I watched her struggle but didn’t really have to experience it. I felt bad at times when I’d watch my stepsisters juggle school and work because their mom is a teacher and couldn’t afford to give them a lot of money. If they wanted money, they earned it. I never realized that my life wasn’t like that when I was younger. 

When I got to college, things changed a bit. I finally decided I wanted to work because I had my schedule and I felt like I was ready for the next step. I had wanted to work in high school but hadn’t had a lot of luck, which ironically was a trend for my older brother and I. We were both interested in working but it just didn’t work out due to a lack of time, and my brother never heard back from the job he applied to. 

I applied for a job at a grocery store and got it. I didn’t really know how to start; I wasn’t used to working, or constant discipline. I was horrible back then and sometimes I hated myself for not getting work right away. There was pressure to be good at the job, and even though I tried to give myself credit for being new, it was difficult for a while. However, I got better over time and eventually decided to work for my friends’ parents’ yogurt shop in the same plaza. This is where I feel like I started learning the value of a dollar. I saw my money slipping away because I didn’t know how to manage my money. After I left the grocery job, I stayed with the yogurt shop for a few more months. I was able to keep my routine of trying to save money, and though it wasn’t perfect, I stopped wasting a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need. I was able to save my money and prepare for an emergency.

When I had planned to start at UCSB, thyroid cancer caused me to go into treatment and defer a quarter. I didn’t work during that time or during my first UCSB quarter. To be honest, I hated it. I was bored and hated asking my parents for money. When I got a new job as a cashier I became happier; I craved the independence of working, as making my own money is so rewarding to me. I worked two jobs again for a while until I left the cashier job to focus on school and other commitments. Recently, I found out they were laying off my department at my job at the mall because the mall closed. I was already home but fully expecting to go back and it threw a wrench in my plans, making coming back to UCSB almost unnecessary. 

I didn’t know what to do. I was back home and had no money coming in. I only had school to look forward to. I’m glad I don’t work now because I wouldn’t have the time, but a few weeks ago it was a hard adjustment. I was used to working. I filed for unemployment and was luckily approved, and although I was grateful for the government help, I miss the independence that comes with leaving the house and going to work, talking with people, making friends you wouldn’t know otherwise, and being able to learn new things about the workforce. For me, the ability to work equals the ability to have independence. You can make new friends and people rely on you for something, but you can decide what sort of job you do. Also, when you make your own money, people can’t tell you how to spend it.

One thing I noticed is that I’ve actually been pretty good with my money. Ironically, I’m trying to be careful because I don’t get a stimulus check and I want to prepare for an emergency. I have a lot saved and am trying to not spend too much, save what I spent for my laptop which was a necessity. I’m shocked at how well I’m doing. When I least expect it, I’m dealing with money pretty well and I’m as ready as I can be if an emergency arises. I hope I can keep going when this is all over. 

By Madison Kirkpatrick

When you’re a young kid in grade or middle school, you probably don’t realize the value of a dollar. My parents weren’t rich, but they were comfortable enough so that I didn’t have to work to get most of what I wanted. Even when my mom lost her job, she was able to bounce back into another completely different field. She ended up quitting that and now works in sales and makes more than we ever have before. I watched her struggle but didn’t really have to experience it. I felt bad at times when I’d watch my stepsisters juggle school and work because their mom is a teacher and couldn’t really afford to give them a lot of money. If they wanted money, they earned it. I never realized that my life wasn’t really like that when I was younger. 

When I got to college, things changed a bit. I finally decided I wanted to work because I had the schedule and I felt like I was ready for the next step. I’d wanted to work in high school but hadn’t had a lot of luck, which ironically was like a trend for my older brother and I. We were both interested in working but it just didn’t work out due to a lack of time, and my brother never heard back from the job he applied to. I applied for a job at a grocery store and got it. I didn’t really know how to start; I wasn’t used to working or a constant discipline. I was horrible back then and sometimes I hated myself for not getting work right away. There was some pressure to be good at the job, and even though I tried to give myself credit for being new, it didn’t get better for a while. However, I got better over time and eventually decided to work for my friends’ parents’ yogurt shop in the same plaza. This is where I feel like I started learning the value of a dollar. I saw my money slipping away because I didn’t know how to work with my money. After I left the grocery job, I stayed with the yogurt shop for a few more months. I was able to keep my routine of trying to save money, and though it wasn’t perfect, I stopped wasting a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need. I was able to save my money and prepare for an emergency, almost like I finally knew how to deal with the economy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I had planned to start at UCSB, thyroid cancer caused me to go into treatment and defer a quarter. I didn’t work during that time or during my first UCSB quarter. To be honest, I hated it. I was bored and hated asking my parents for money. When I got a new job as a cashier I became happier; I craved the independence of working, as making my own money is so rewarding to me. I worked two jobs again for a while until I left the cashier job to focus on school and other commitments. Recently, I found out they were laying off my department at my job at the mall because the mall closed. I was already home but fully expecting to go back and it threw a wrench in my plans, making coming back to SB almost unnecessary. 

I didn’t know what to do. I was back home and had no money coming in. I only had school to look forward to. I’m glad I don’t work now because I wouldn’t have the time, but a few weeks ago it was a hard adjustment. I was used to working. I filed for unemployment and was luckily approved, and although I was grateful for the government help, I miss the independence that comes with leaving the house and going to work, talking with people, making friends you wouldn’t know otherwise, and being able to learn new things about the workforce. For me, the ability to work equals the ability to have independence. You can make new friends and people rely on you for something, but you can decide what sort of job you do. Also, when you make your own money, people can’t tell you how to spend it.

One thing I noticed, though, is that I’ve actually been pretty good with my money. Ironically, I’m trying to be careful because I don’t get a stimulus check and I want to prepare for an emergency. I have a lot saved and am trying to not spend too much, save what I spent for my laptop which was a necessity. I’m shocked at how well I’m doing. When I least expect it, I’m dealing with the economy pretty well and I’m as ready as I can be if an emergency arises. I hope I can keep going when this is all over. 

This is just part of my perspective regarding the COVID outbreak and its impact on the economy. I realize, though, that plenty of people, including students, will be in my position. I can offer three tips to people based off my experience. The first is to save. People are concerned with buying the newest items and not thinking about the future, but in times like this, savings can go a long way. The second tip I can give is to prepare for the worst; that is, prepare for not working. I didn’t think about not working and it was a huge change; I could’ve had a backup in case something fell through. Having something to do during this time can keep your sanity and make you think less about working. The last tip I can offer is to be patient. It’s hard right now and these times are unprecedented, but don’t stress! Everything will be okay, and you too can find relief during this time if you remain optimistic. It seems like a tall order but it’s possible!

Seemingly overnight, the American academic system shifted for the worse due to COVID. Classes moved to fully remote instruction and students were forced to use their resources in order to succeed. Not everybody has the necessary resources, though. My laptop doesn’t work anymore and my best friend doesn’t have a laptop. It seems like this is the best route to go but this situation seems to favor students who have resources. I’m definitely fortunate in that I’m able to afford another laptop because of my financial aid check, but not everybody is so lucky, and resources are dwindling.

Online classes are certainly not optimal for most students. The likelihood that you have a concern with the material and can’t get in contact with a professor is high. I was waitlisted for a class and never heard from the professor, only to learn that the school wasn’t in contact with her about the waitlist. For students with learning disabilities, like another friend of mine, it can be even harder to succeed in an online setting. I wish there was a way to make online more accessible, but there’s unfortunately not, and students are suffering from this pandemic.

Financial aid and rent are also something I think about. I’m trying to sublease my apartment until June, but with the pandemic, people unfortunately aren’t interested in moving. I feel bad for the people that absolutely cannot afford rent due to being laid off from jobs or other personal circumstances, but it’s hard to get out of rent without breaching some sort of legality issues. I’d rather not pay rent for a place I’m not staying in, so I might just go back to Isla Vista for a month and a half. I really love my apartment and my roommate (it’s my stepsister!) but I also like the lowkey life I have in my hometown. Financial aid is important because students are paying to essentially teach themselves class material and still have money put towards on-campus resources (at UCSB, this includes the Rec Center and the library) that aren’t being used because they’ve closed down until further notice. A student at my school started a petition calling on the administration to reconsider charging students these on-campus fees, but no progress has been made. However, the petition has a lot of traction so I’m confident that the administration will rethink their charging habits. 

You might be wondering, how does this affect my academics? Well, it’s mostly about the uncertainty of the situation. I don’t know when I’m going back to Isla Vista and that makes me nervous. My new laptop is on the way, and I need to be able to use that in order to access my classes since propping my iPad up on my laptop in order to see the screen just isn’t cutting it LOL. The issue is, I don’t know when it’s coming.  It makes me nervous that I might have to go back and not have the new laptop I’ve been looking forward to buying since I was 20. In addition, it can sometimes be hard to focus because my dad often calls me when I’m in class and gets angry when I don’t respond. My brother plays loud music, and my mom is definitely a lot more polite about it but sometimes she doesn’t understand the concept of my education as well. It’s hard to make people realize that this is not a vacation for college students, and some people maybe never will.

Finally, because I didn’t want to take classes after I walked, I realized this quarter that I had to take 20 units in order to be ready for graduation.  I was afraid I’d lose that motivation. However, with graduation being postponed, it came to me that I didn’t have to take 20 units this quarter.  Rather, I’m now essentially stuck with these classes. I guess it’s my fault for failing a class last quarter, but I learned my lesson. With online courses, stress seems to increase and teachers don’t account for the change in instruction. They’re doing their best but some just don’t really care and it makes me sad.

Overall, I’m really not trying to blame anyone. This is a national pandemic that nobody could have prevented. It’s just unfortunate that so many students are suffering. I just wish there was a better way.