Best bargains in San Luis Obispo

Lauren Rabaino

With the unstable economy, students with small incomes are finding relief thanks to various bargains. Whether you’re looking for cheap eats, cheap clothes, cheap gas or cheap fun, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs right here in San Luis Obispo.

Cheap eats

Food is a necessity but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Whether you’re grocery shopping or going out to dinner, there are deals to be found.

To save money the solution is simple: cook at home. Grocery stores tend to be cheaper than eating out.

“It’s a lot cheaper,” said political science junior Jaleen Waller. “I used to eat out all the time, but then I couldn’t do it anymore and now I shop at Costco and save leftovers.”

When comparing grocery store prices, some of the cheapest places included Food 4 Less, Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s. Food 4 Less had some types of bread for 98 cents a loaf, gallons of milk for $2.68 and cereal for $1.98. Trader Joe’s had the cheapest eggs at $1.49 and lots of low-priced organic options.

If convenience is important, San Luis Obispo also has some cheap restaurant options.

Frank’s Famous Hot Dogs offers several specials throughout the week. They kick off with Mini Burger Mondays where they sell mini burgers for 99 cents each. Tuesday after 5 p.m. is Hot Dog Happy Hour, where all hot dogs are discounted to $2.25. Monster Burger Wednesday offers burgers reduced to $4.15.

Fatte’s Pizza is famous among students for their buy one-get one free pizza offer. Pizza La Nova also offers a buy-one-get-one free special.

Students with a taste for tacos can go to Chino’s for Taco Tuesday which features $2 beer and $1 tacos from 4 to 9 p.m. The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach has free tacos during their happy hour every weekday.

For students craving something a little sweeter, frozen yogurt priced by the ounce is typically the cheapest treat. Bali’s Self Serve Frozen Yogurt is currently the cheapest option in San Luis Obispo with yogurt costing 30 cents an ounce.

Cheap clothes

If you want to find deal shopping downtown, most stores have good sales or at least sale racks.

Women looking to update their wardrobe on a budget have several options. Crazy Jay’s Clothing and Shoes offer a wide variety of styles of T-shirts and tank tops for $4.99. Lucky Lulu’s is one of the best spots for sunglasses with each pair costing just $5.

Some stores use big sales to appeal to the thrifty.

“I think with how the economy is, not many people can be able to afford it,” said Paula Boucher of clothing store Tiamo. “That’s why we have 50 percent off everything in the store. We like to save people money.”

Stores with both men’s and women’s clothing include Ross and Mervyn’s.

“I like to shop at Ross because I’m a college student so I don’t have much money. Also, I like the sale section of Urban Outfitters,” communications freshman Katie Henry said.

Good Will is another option if one wants cheap, albeit used clothing. “For clothing deals I go to Good Will; pretty good shopping there for $1,” environmental engineering senior Colin Nicol said.

Cheap fun

Life isn’t just about food and shelter, so don’t forget to budget some money for fun as well.

Some cheap movie deals can be found at the Palm Theater and the Sunset Drive-In Theater.

The Palm Theater offers Monday Bargain Night during which all seats are just $5.

Sunset Drive-In shows two movies a night and only costs $6.

“The drive-in is the best place to watch a movie. It’s cheap; do the math, it’s $3 per movie,” electrical engineering senior Nick Hageman said.

Boo Boo Records has cheap vinyl records starting at $1 and used CDs that range in price from $4.99 to $6.99. Their bargain selection has new releases for $10.

For live entertainment, Cal Poly students can attend any home sporting event for free with their PolyCard.

“I like to go to athletic events because they are free,” civil engineering junior Eric Gasper said.

Cheap Gas

Transportation costs can add up fast thanks to unstable gas prices. Three free alternatives to driving are walking, biking or riding the city bus. The bus is free with your PolyCard.

If driving is inevitable, Costco and Chevron tend to have the best price per gallon. However, Costco gas is for members only; its current price is $2.77 which is about 22 cents cheaper than the competition.

“I spend all my money on gas though. Flyer’s near the airport on Broad (Street) is cheap. If you pay cash it is the same price as Costco,” graphic communications senior Eric Bittman said.

All in one

If one-stop shopping is preferred, places like Costco, Ross and Mervyn’s may have what you’re are looking for.

Costco has almost anything you could want, including electronics, food, clothing, bicycles, mattresses, jewelry, furniture and gas. Annual memberships cost $50 but can be split between two people.

Ross offers clothing, accessories, bed and bath, household décor and kitchen supplies. Their slogan, ‘Dress For Less’, proves true with its wide selection of shirts ranging from $4.99 to $19.99. Women’s jeans start at just $12.99. Their kitchen supplies are perfect for students, offering a variety of pots and pans for under $10 in many colors.

As Mervyn’s prepares to close due to bankruptcy, now is the time to snatch up great deals while it liquidates its final merchandise. Mervyn’s offers low prices and deep discounts on clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry and home supplies.