Getting a Job After University: Where to Begin

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of graduation? Check out this blog post where Cheap Students covers how to beef up your resume, and better prepare yourself for graduation.

Grocery Shopping Basics

An introduction on how to grocery shop better, save money and cut down on grocery bills in the future. Contains links to Canadian grocery flyers as well as prices to look for.

Textbooks: A How to Guide

A post covering how to purchase and sell textbooks at the beginning of each semester. Textbooks often cost quite a lot purchased brand new, use these tips to save money on your next textbook purchases.

Learning Tab

Check out the learning tab to view free online resources where you can learn new languages, develop your computer skills and find ways to further develop your resume.

Job Hunting

Check out the job hunting section, filled with resume, cover letter and job interview tips and resources all to help throughout the job hunting process.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keeping up with the Olympics: London 2012 Cheap

The London Olympics begin tomorrow and this means that for the next month everyone will be once again completely obsessed with sports that they only watch every 4 years. Now unfortunately we all don't have the ability to sit and watch TV for 24 hours and catch every single sporting event. So hopefully to help everyone out I have put together a bit of a one-stop shop so to speak of all the Canadian channels, apps and live streaming websites that can help you make it through and keep up to date.

Check out for Canadian related information

Apps to download
iLondon 2012 App $1.99 iTunes

Free Apps
TSN (Just the general app, will have section for olympics)
NBC Olympics Free iTunes
Score Mobile(Just the general app, will have section for olympics)

Watching Live Online

Watching Replays (legally)

Websites to live stream from
Google: Live Sports Streaming

TV Channels showing the Olympics
TSN-Redirects to CTV
The Score

View Schedules Here

Twitter: People to Follow
  • An easy way to keep track of what's going on. Check out what's trending
  • This Olympics are said to be the Olympics of social media. It's going to be a great way to stay connected
London 2012
Official Olympics and Paralympics channel - Sport, culture, behind the scenes information and opinion on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Official Twitter account of Join the conversation leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Connect on Facebook Google+ YouTube #CTVOlympics
The Olympic Games
CDN Olympic Team
News on the Canadian Olympic Team toward London 2012 and beyond.

London 2012 Image Canadian Olympic Team Logo Image

Monday, July 23, 2012

Financial Tips for Students

This blog post is short and sweet, but consists of a list of financial tips that I choose to follow and hope you will think about. As usual this isn't an exhaustive list, and it's not something that you need to swear by. But it's a list that is meant to make you think. Am I making the right choices with my money? Am I prepared for all the expenses of the school year?

If there's anything you feel is missing or off the mark feel free to leave a comment on this post. If it's an awesome tip I will definitely add it to the list.

1. Be conscious of the debt you have. Keep track of your student loans, lines of credit and credit card bills.
2. Always save, keep money stockpiled in case of emergency.
3. Coffee and food purchases at the cafeteria at school pile up.
4. Keep track of what you're spending-the more conscious you are of your spending habits, the more likely you are to fix them and try and spend less.
5. Make expenses aside from tuition as low as possible. That includes rent, cable/internet, food, "entertainment"
6. Spend cash when you can. Take out what you need and don't bring your debit card along. Debit cards make spending much easier, only when you check your statements do you actually realize how much you spent. It tends to pile up pretty quickly. aka try to avoid starting a bar tab when you go out.

7. Find ways to get rewards for purchases. Ie. Air Miles Mastercards, PC point Debit Cards (for groceries) etc. These can add up to extra benefits and save you some cash. Why not get benefits from the purchases you already make?
8. Always pay off your credit card balance in full! Not just the minimum payment. You probably already have student debt, try not to add any further debt on top of that.
9. Come up with a student loan repayment plan. How much do you already owe? What do you estimate you will owe by the end of school?
10. Set your educational and career goals. Do you want to travel? Can you afford going to grad school right away?
11.Never buy if you don't have to. Borrow from friends. Sharing is caring. This is always good when it comes to textbooks an unfortunately very large investment unless you put the effort in.

Additional Reader Tips
  • Try to get as much free entertainment as possible. Have a BYOB board game night or poker tourney using snacks as betting chips. Look into free concerts at the school; often in the faculty of music but also young artists starting out nearby. Try karaoke, or a trivia night at a local pub (with a strict drinks/food budget). Look for film screenings in the area or at the library.
  • Many schools have course books on short-term loan at the library. If you are diligent enough to not leave a semester of reading to the last week you can avoid buying the book all together. Especially for books that are only needed for homework questions (ie math, physics etc). I photocopied the pages I needed. Also think about sharing a book with a roommate or trusted friend.
Tips via Twitter
@NewGradeLife Start Saving as soon as you can and let the nest egg grow!  
@lyss090 Load up a store gift card card and set a time frame to reloading it. Eg,  - $10/month on the 1st of every month. 
  • @CheapStudents additional notes for @lyssa090's tip-Make sure to only put that amount on, use it as a way to limit your purchases to that certain amount per month at that establishment and not use any other form of payment to make purchases at that store.

What are rules that you live by when it comes to your finances?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer BBQ's: Student Style

With warm weather, and summer comes lots of BBQ's and backyard parties. This summer I have attended a lot more BBQ's then I previously had in summer's before, simply since I am living away from home. Now me being both frugal AND a lover a food here are a few tips to make the next BBQ you attend awesome, cheap and the food you make tasty.

If you're hosting;
  • Get friends to bring their own;
    • Food
    • Alcohol/drinks
  • Get everyone to split on bringing certain food items or necessary things for the BBQ
    • Smore's supplies
    • Charcoal, Fluid etc.
    • Food that everyone is sharing ie. Chips and Dip, Lettuce etc.
    • Ice
  • Don't use paper plates, despite what you think, throwing out plates every single BBQ will add up. Another bonus of being a student is the fact that your dishes aren't the greatest, just use the same one's you use when eating inside!
If you're a guest;
  • Bring your own food, you get what you want and don't feel guilty eating your friends food.
    • When grocery shopping during the week make a few food choices based on what's good on the BBQ 
      • Chicken/Beef/Pork Skewers
      • Steak/Burgers/Hot Dogs
      • Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
      • Red Peppers/Various Veggies
    • Honestly everything tastes good on the BBQ
  • Bring your own alcohol, you can even be the one to bring a certain part of a blendable drink and get one of your friends to bring another ingredient. Plus if you don't have a blender, one of your friends may have one! Sharing is awesome isn't it?
  • Load up on BBQ foods when they are on sale; buns, hot dogs, burgers and keep them in the freezer.
Some awesome BBQ recipes
  • Most of these recipes were made by me fiddling around and throwing ingredients together. Therefor there aren't exact measurements and cooking time instructions (BBQs do vary in temperature though so that kind of saves me there)
Spicy Franks Red Hot Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Chicken Breast (Boneless or with Bone, I remove skin usually to reduce fat)
  • Franks Red Hot Sauce (the amount you put on depends on how spicy you like things)
  • Seasoning Salt/Cajun Spices etc. 
  • Sour Cream
Instructions; put chicken breast, franks red hot sauce, and various spices into a plastic bag. Shake around so chicken breast is completely covered. Grill on the BBQ until completely cooked. Once cooked, serve with a side of sour cream for dipping, it will cut the spice a bit too.

Goat Cheese Filled Chicken Breast
  • 1 Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 1/5 of a goat cheese packet
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Chopped Cherry Tomatoes/Finely chopped Spinach
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Toothpicks
Instructions: Lie Chicken breast on the largest flat portion. Take a knife and slice horizontally into the chicken breast from one of the sides (just like you would for a sandwich bun). Don't cut all the way through. You have just cut the pocket where the goat cheese will be placed. Take goat cheese and place into a small bowl. Dice up cherry tomatoes, spinach or whatever you want to mix in with the goat cheese. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and use a fork to mix the ingredients together. Take this mixture and place in the chicken breast pocket you previously cut, place this more in toward the back of the chicken breast, away from the edges. Once stuffed, take toothpicks and seal up the edges as best you can. Sprinkle seasoning salt on the outsides of the chicken breast for additional flavour. Place on the BBQ and flip halfway through to get both sides cooked. After its finished being cooked remove toothpicks and enjoy.

Awesome Tin Foil Packet Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Cinnamon
  • Cooking Oil (Canola/Olive)
  • Tin Foil
Instructions: Chop sweet potatoes into bite size chunks (they do shrink slightly when cooked). Tear off a large enough piece of tin foil to wrap and seal around the sweet potato pieces. Lay sweet potato chunks in the middle of the tin foil (shiny side out), sprinkle cinnamon on sweet potato and drizzle with oil. Seal up and form the tin foil into a packet surrounding the sweet poatotes. Throw on the grill and check every so often to make sure nothing burns (make sure to seal the packet back up once you finish checking). Sweet potatoes will be ready when the pieces are soft. If cooking with meat, put this on the BBQ first, it takes longer to cook than meat.

Tin Foil Veggies
  • 3 Different veggies; Example: Tomatoes, Snow peas, Peppers
  • Oil
  • Salt/Pepper or Soy Sauce
  • Garlic clove
  • Tin Foil
Instructions; Cut vegetables into bit sized pieces. tear a large enough piece of tin foil to completely surround vegetables in a packet. Place vegetables in the middle of the tin foil sheet (shiny side out), drizzle with oil and soy sauce/salt/pepper whichever you prefer (you can also add red pepper flakes or anything else). Chop up the garlic glove into about 8 pieces and place within the veggies in the packet. Seal up tin foil packet and then place on BBQ. This will take a bit less time then the chicken, and a lot less time than potatoes.

Tin Foil Spiced Potatoes
  • 1 Potato
  • Salt/Pepper/Seasoning Salt/Cajun Seasoning etc. (this is where you add the spiciness if you want it)
  • Oil
  • Tin Foil
Instructions: Cut potato in half length-wise. Cut into multiple slivers lengthwise as well. Place on a sheet of tinfoil (shiny side out) and drizzle oil, and sprinkle with seasoning salt and other spices. Fold up tinfoil into a packet and place on grill. Cook until potato wedges are soft. If cooking with meat, put this on the BBQ first, it takes longer to cook than meat.

BBQ Roasted Pepper's
  • Whole Red/Green/Orange/Yellow Pepper
Instructions: You don't even need to cut the pepper. Simply wash/rinse and then place on the grill. Leave on until the skin is burnt and then remove. Let cool and then peel skin off and remove seeds/stem etc. The pepper should be completely cooked and not crunchy at all. For those that don't want to peel the pepper. Cut into rings/remove stem and seeds and place on the BBQ that way.

If you attempted any of these. Look at you go..your a BBQ pro.

And then if you don't want to do any prep. Check out M&M Meat shops. They have some awesome stuff and you can literally just throw it on the BBQ.

Image Source BBQ Photo

Anyone have any other tasty and easy BBQ recipes?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to Make the Most of Your Summer

This blog post is a bit of an overlap of various topics I have covered in the past. But since it's almost the middle of July already, I know I am already starting to worry, did I make the most of my summer? Some students often take a course during the summer, and while others take multiple courses while working as well. Kudos to all of you!

No one's here to judge anyways, you personally are the only individual that can determine whether or not you made the most of your summer from a personal development stand point. But here are a few things to consider, and a few ways that you can still do before you head back to school.

1. Have you achieved the goals you set out at the beginning of the summer? Did you learn a few new skills at work? Did you get a volunteer position that you really wanted?

  • If you still haven't achieved the goals you set out, this is the midway point (well a little bit past but who's counting). Sit down with your manager/supervisor at work and see what you can do to achieve your goals. If you were unable to land that volunteer position that you really wanted, e-mail them back and follow up, see if there are any opportunities during the school year that you can do on a part-time basis.
  • Be persistent, and take initiative, that's the only way you can achieve your goals.
2. Have you updated your resume?
  • While your still working you have a much clearer idea on the tasks that you completed and skills you learned while working or volunteering or the ones you learned from non-university/college courses. Make sure to start adding/editing your resume now when all of this is still fresh in your mind.
3. Make sure to gather samples of your work.
  • Have you worked on some really interesting projects this summer? Make sure to get copies of these and keep them, put them in a portfolio, scan them etc. These will come in handy the next time you apply for a job (which may be next summer).
4. Have you travelled enough?
  • This summer has been super packed for me personally, I feel like I have gone on a tour of Ontario. Aside from all the serious stuff I normally talk about, make sure you make some awesome memories this summer so at least you have something great to remember while your soul is being destroyed at school....

5. Still want to learn something awesome? A language? How to use Photoshop?
  • One of the goals I set out at the beginning of summer was to further develop some of soft skills which may be hard to learn on the job etc. There are a bunch of courses available online often for free that can help you out this category. You can view a few of many websites out there that can help you learn new things in the Cheap Students Learning section. One of my goals is to get a lot better at using the Adobe suite of programs, I'm still working away..
  • Another excellent thing to do is to just READ. I know it sounds super lame, but start getting your mind  working again, school will be a lot less of a shock to the system. 
6. Have you saved up enough money?
  • Unfortunately this is the least fun thing to ask yourself, but it's true. Have you planned out how much you will need for the next school year? Will you have enough to make it through? Some things to consider.
    • Rent
    • Food
    • Tuition
    • "Entertainment"-partying, alcohol, movies, dinners etc.
    • What money will you get from loans, OSAP, scholarships etc.?
  • If you already find yourself in the red based on the income you have earned this summer, make sure to save every penny you can from now until school starts. Maybe trying and take on another part-time now that can transition into the fall semester in order to keep you afloat or check out scholarship websites, start applying and see what you can do to get some extra funding. By thinking about this now it will be a lot less stressful when you suddenly can't afford food for a week during the school year, close to exams. School is already hard enough.
Images Lake Jump
Does anyone else have any tips to make the most of summer?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Laptops: Buying Guide

For students it's simply a given now that we have laptops, and unfortunately it's very rare for a single laptop purchased before University to last you for the entirety of your degree. So because of this we need to budget, save up and at some point purchase a new laptop to get us through classes, essay's and various other school related projects.

I had the unfortunate problem of purchasing an HP laptop before I started university, it lasted quite a bit of time but it sounded like an airplane, was as hot as furnace, had the battery capacity of a AAA battery and had a screen flickering problem by about a year and a half. Now I'm not saying all HP laptops are bad, I just wont be purchasing one any time soon. During boxing week sales this year I purchased a Lenovo laptop which I haven't had any problems with yet...knock on wood. Before I made that purchase, I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching what laptop to buy, which brand, PC or Mac, battery life vs screen size. The list goes on. Now, since I spent countless hours researching and researching, and being extremely OCD about it, I can pass on some major points to cut down on research time and keep it simple.

Once again, there are people that are gamers, spend countless hours on their computers and require insanely powerful ones to do so...I believe that a majority of you won't be using your laptop for that purpose..and this post is for you.

1. Budget-Determine how much you are willing to spend, this is the most important part, this is how you determine how intense and powerful your laptop is and whether or not you can actually afford an Apple computer (is anyone else aware of the fact that they are just taking over?!)

2. Ask yourself a few preliminary questions.
  • Check out this laptop quiz from Inc. Some of the specs are old in terms of the laptop recommendations. Here's an updated score sheet.
    • If you answered mostly As, you are most likely a gamer or a graphic designer, and you'll need a souped-up machine with optimal power, portability, and versatility. An Intel i7 processor and 10-12GB of RAM will maintain your machine's speed and battery life as you run multiple applications. Opt for a super-sized hard drive (750GB-1TB, 7200rpm) to accommodate your multi-megabyte files. Gamers need advanced 3D graphic chips, along with 2GB of dedicated graphics memory. Geek-up your notebook with more built-in hardware, like a rewritable DVD drive and Bluetooth technology. Wireless broadband access, either built-in or through an access device, will keep you from being tethered to Wi-Fi hotspots. Stick with a 15.4-17 inch screen or wider, allowing you to view spreadsheets and movies with ease. And upgrade to at least six USB ports so you can connect more of the latest peripherals. Example Alienware M17x
    • If you answered mostly Bs (This is probably where most students are), you like to mix business with pleasure. You aren't an obsessive tech geek, but you want the flexibility to watch Family Guy while checking your email and updating your Facebook profile. For work, you'll be doing the basics: email, word processing, spread sheets, and Power Point. But, for fun, you'll also be downloading music and storing digital photos. Permanent data, such as pictures, mp3s, and documents, are stored on the hard drive. The more you plan to download, the more hard drive space you need. You need at least an 500 GB hard drive, and one with at least 7200 rpm will perform better. The computer stores the programs it is running right now in its RAM, or random access memory. In order to run multiple programs at once, quickly—say, a DVD, a music player, and the homepage—you need something with at least 1GB of RAM. A built-in wireless antenna and an Ethernet port will connect you to high-speed internet. Be sure to get something with plenty of USB ports for your speakers, flash drive, and a mouse. For entertainment, get a CD/DVD drive and at least a 14.1 inch screen or less. ExamplesMacBook  Various Dell options 
    • Since you selected mostly Cs, you're all work and no play. Your main concerns should be portability, security, and durability.It's much easier to travel with a smaller, lighter machine, and a 13.3-inch widescreen will fit nicely in your carry-on and on a tray table. A shock-mounted or solid-state hard drive (SSD) will give your information some extra protection, and a spill-resistant keyboard is also important. And you'll definitely want a fingerprint reader – a security scanner built into the palm rest that allows you to enter multiple passwords with the swipe of a finger. If business takes you on the road, make sure you can use an extended battery and that your notebook is equipped with 802.11 agn Wi-Fi. Frequent travelers should look for EVDO or HSDPA options—mobile broadband connections that don't require internet hotspots. Bluetooth technology will let you sync the laptop with your smartphone and also let you use a wireless mouse, but you'll also want some USB slots to accommodate an external optical drive or hard drive, as well. Look for 1-2GB of RAM and a 100 GB hard drive, but keep in mind that more memory will mean more weight. Examples Dell Business Options Lenovo Thinkpads
3. What's are the most important features for you?
  • Does it need to be pretty/nice looking? (this may knock business laptops out of the running)
  • Do you need long battery life? (Apple kills this)
  • Large screen size or small screen size? (ultrabook or netbook or laptop?)
Most often Apple's MacBook and MacBook Air covers most on this list, if not all. It just depends on the money you want to spend.

4. Check out these sites for various laptops that you can choose from.
5. How to get a deal
  • (A great spot to find cheap Dell laptops, you can also get the warranty switched over to you through the seller, do your research with this, contact the seller etc.)
  • (Great site to find information on various deals through Dell, Lenovo etc.)
  • & (both often have doorcrashers and various deals)
  • Want an Apple Laptop but for cheaper? Buy refurbished you can purchase Apple care for these as well 
6. Other deals to watch out for
  • Apple often has a student deal available towards the beginning of the school year. It varies, some years it may be free Office, it used to be a Free iPod touch. Bestbuy and Futureshop often try to replicate these deals, so speak to them and see what they can do for you in store.
  • Back to school deals often start in August (I think its cruel personally, we still have a month before school starts! But unfortunately I don't influence these things)
  • Around Black Friday every year (US thanksgiving) Apple, Dell and other large manufacturers have sales on as well as on Boxing Day.
5. Found a laptop your interested in? 
  • Check out CNet's reviews for most laptops. Type in the model number and there's likely to be a review. 
  • Often you can go on YouTube and search the model you are considering as well. There are a ton of video reviews to view.
When you're about to buy..
1. If you collect Airmiles or Aeroplan miles, go through either of the following to collect miles on your laptop purchase. Buying with a credit card that allows you to collect these miles will let you double dip as well!
2. Consider shipping and taxes. These extra's often add up big time when your buying a laptop since it's an expensive purchase

3. Warranty or no warranty?
  • Most computer manufacturers will give you a 1 year basic coverage as a warranty that comes with purchase. Now from my experience, laptops, cell phones and other electronics tend to break just after the manufacturers warranty expires (I think they plan it that way...) so adding on an extra year of coverage for $50 to $100 may be worth it for you. Apple's Applecare also seems to be a pretty comprehensive option. Definitely consider it, because we all know how well we take care of electronics. Dell also offers Accidental Damage Coverage-yes this covers spilling beer on your laptop. 
Some Extra Tips
Hopefully this post hasn't completely overwhelmed you but instead provided a great guide for when you're purchasing your next laptop. Good luck!

Image Source's: Dell Laptops Macbook

Friday, July 6, 2012

Moving Into Your Rental Home: Cable/Internet

One of the fun parts of moving into a new student house, or moving back into your student house after the summers over, is sorting out cable & internet among other things. It's a chore, no one likes to do it, and then on top of it you have to pay money every month for the services. So the goal here is to make it simple, show you have to save some money and make it a little bit less of a chore. This post strictly deals with internet and cable, as well as cable alternatives. Notice how the title of this blog post doesn't include home phone, it's never something that I even considered because who needs a home phone while at university, save yourself some cash, please! 

Internet and Cable Providers & Deals

  • Check out Rogers. They offer a Student deal (Usually 8 months, great Bandwidth and pretty affordable. It will pop up on the Rogers site in late July, August)
    • In the case of Rogers there is an entire discussion on Red Flag Deals about Retentions & New Customer  where you can find out how to get an even better deal, it just takes a lot more negotiating
  • Check with Bell, I haven't used Bell since the days when you plugged your internet into your phone line so I'm not much help when it comes to their services. 
  • Leverage previous agreements with Rogers or Bell, use them against each other. You can often get  fairly large discounts on cable & internet if your contract is set to expire.
  • Tekksavvy-Internet and Cable plans are cheaper, but make sure to check, they often charge you for a modem
  • Shaw- This provider is only of great use to those who live outside of Ontario I believe
  • Telus-Another provider for those non-Ontarian's 
Often providers will offer deals where you only get the cheaper rate for 3 to 6 months and then you get charged a really high amount for the remainder. Try to avoid this, because most of these deals also require you to lock in for at least a year (which doesnt really work for most students) These fun deals are courtesy of Shaw and Bell. 

Some definitions for you
Bandwidth - Generally referred to as the volume of information per unit of time that an internet connection can handle aka. how much you can download in a given month, if you go over this amount your internet provider will charge you a stupidly high amount of money per GB
Retention - When referring to retention in this post, it means that you currently have a contract with a cable/internet/phone provider and its coming to an end. In order to keep your business your provider will call you (multiple times) and try and keep your business. This is when you have room to bargain.
Internet Speed - Mbps?!?! - internet speeds often range from about 3 Mbps to anywhere as high as 75 Mbps for Rogers services anyway. Here's the download speeds provided by Rogers based on internet speed you have. 18 Mbps is the internet speed provided for their Express plan which is often decent enough speed wise for university students that just use the internet for downloading, checking out websites, going on Facebook etc. Those who need more, know they do and don't need my advice.

Download speedThe time it takes for the data to leave your computer and get to someone else's server, which takes places when we do anything from opening a website to downloading music or movies/tv.
Upload SpeedUpload speeds become important when you have a bunch of pictures that you have taken and they are now on your computer, and you want to send them to a relative

Bandwidth Saving Tips
  • If all of your room mates love a show but can't watch it at the same time, download it instead of streaming it online. Use a USB and give each other the episodes/seasons it will save bandwidth by preventing all of your roommates from streaming the same episode multiple times
  • If your the only one that watches a show just stream it, streaming a single episode uses less bandwidth than downloading it
Cable Alternatives (just sticking with Internet)
  • Apple TV-For about $100 you can purchase Apple TV, which allows you to sync all Apple devices in your home with the box and watch video content, play music etc all through your tv (requires an HDMI connection with your tv)
    • For those who are more knowledgeable about technology can also unlock Apple TV in order to stream tv shows, movies etc right from your box. Apple TV will require that you have a decent amount of bandwidth with your internet plan so make sure to take note of that. 
  • Just stream tv shows and movies on your computer, how often are you actually home to watch your favourite show when its on tv?
  • If your tv has an HDMI hookup, you can buy a HDMI cable, attach it your laptop (some laptops don't have HDMI output) and watch streamed tv from your laptop on your television.
Some more tips
  • When talking on the phone with a customer service agent, ALWAYS get their name, and their employee number. That way if you ever call back and quote them on something you have proof that they exist and that you spoke to them
  • Do your research. Check out what other providers are offering, their prices and the specs (internet speed, bandwidth etc.)
  • Have a set target in mind price wise before you get on the phone to talk to a representative
Wrap Up
For most students you don't need more than basic cable (if you even want to buy it) and a decent internet package with enough bandwidth and decent enough download speeds. Don't get weaselled into multi-year contracts if possible because a lot of students end up switching houses, room mates go their separate ways and you don't want to get stuck with a contract in your name at a house you don't live at anymore.. Take advantage of student offers and make use of your parents previous relationships with these cable companies. Saying "my parents have been with your for x number of years, can you get me a better price" may actually work. Make it known that you are a student and you aren't rolling in cash, can they offer you a better deal? Most prices are negotiable, so never settle for the first offer they provide