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Illustration- Minor in Theater Arts
Syracuse NY

Art on a Budget

Clarissa Baston on Tuesday, 29 September 2009. Posted in Coursework, Majors & Minors, Student Life

As a college student, being frugal is crucial.  As an art student, being frugal is extra crucial.  Students in other majors might argue that art students don’t have to purchase stacks of overpriced textbooks every quarter, but what they don’t realize is how much money we do spend on our supplies and lab fees. 


When CIAS students begin their freshmen year, they are encouraged to purchase an art kit that can cost up to $500 or more!  This may seem like a hefty price at first, but the kit should still be useful up to your senior year.  However, the majority of the supplies provided, such as pencils, paint, and erasers, will have to be replaced at one point or another.  Also, professors will ask you to purchase specific materials that are not in the art kit.  I once took this non-toxic printmaking class and I had to buy all the materials for that class.  I probably spent $60 on everything and paid a $75 dollar lab fee on top of that.  A lot of the supplies in that class had to be replaced too, so my wallet became very, very light. 


I hope all you art kids are not scared off at this point!  While the economy is not at its best and attending college is not exactly cheap, the last thing any art student wants to do is purchase expensive art supplies.  So here are a couple tips on how to save a few greenbacks and maybe relieve a little stress:


#1.  If professors are just making you work on your technique for a project, you don't have to buy the high quality materials.  For example, if you are just doing a color study in water color.  Don't buy the watercolors that are $12 a tube.  Professors know you're on a tight budget, so it's ok to use the cheap stuff.


#2.  When something is on sale and you know that you are going to be using this item often, like masking tape, newsprint, etc., buy as much as you can!  You will be saving money in the long run. 


#3.  COUPONS! COUPONS! COUPONS!  I know it sounds really cheesy, but a lot of the art/craft supply stores offer coupons and also accept competitors' coupons as well.  The Art Store (which is my favorite place) now accepts those coupons as well.  A lot of the coupons are %40-%50 off of one item, but if you're lucky you can find the ones that are %20-30 off of your entire purchase.  AC Moore is just down the road from campus and if you go on their website you can print them out.  *One thing to note though, different stores have different rules about how their deal with coupons.  For example, Jo Ann Fabrics will accept more than one coupon, but they have to be different coupons...not the same coupon printed out a bunch of times.  AC Moore, on the other hand, only takes one coupon per customer per to get around this, i usually print out a lot of coupons and bring a bunch of people with me.  If you feel lame clipping coupons...I guess paying full price for something is wayyyy cooler. 


#4.  The Art Store offers student discounts!  Just show your student ID and your bill will be for a little bit less. Every penny counts!


#5.  For those supplies that you constantly replace, here is a website that is awesome to get them from.  It's called and they have crazy discounts on art supplies.  If you sign up to be a VIP member, it's only $25 for an entire year, you can get a larger discount placed on your purchases.

That's all I got for now.  I hope this helps some of you become smart art shoppers!