If you're tight on cash, you should ... 

Thrift stores, cheap beer, free concerts and more

Attend an art opening

Most exhibition openings are free and usually offer complimentary cocktails (Yay!) and loads of interesting people. Check out Poem88, Mint, and Beep Beep galleries to keep current on upcoming openings and events. Atlanta's major art institutions also recognize the burden on students' wallets. The High Museum of Art ($16.50, Half-Price Friday Nights, Fulton County Free Saturdays), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia ($1), the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center ($5, free Thursdays) and the Museum of Design Atlanta ($5) all offer student discounts and other deals.

Start a business

College is a think tank for ideas with thousands of potential customers just itching to spend their parents' hard earned money. Starting a business is a great way to make a name for yourself — just ask the folks at CampusBubble or Kreemo — and could help solve that pesky employment problem that plagues so many new graduates.

Eat fancy for $10 at La Tavola on Monday nights

Every Monday night, this lovely little Virginia-Highland trattoria serves up a special $10 pasta menu. The selection changes week to week, but you can expect things like creamy carbonara and baked rigatoncini with ricotta cheese and a bright-red sauce. Romantic, fancy, cheap. That's amore.

Go to a Braves game

College students are eligible for half-off tickets in the Upper Box seating area when they show their ID or order with a ".edu" address. If that's still too pricey for you consider the $1 Skyline (Sections 422L and 437R) seats. These first-come, first-served tickets go on sale 2-1/2 hours prior to each home game. You can't beat a buck. BYO food.

Drink beer at Sensational Subs

Stress is a killer, haven't you heard? Give yourself and your wallet a break between classes with dirt-cheap pitchers at Sensational Subs: $8.25 for 60 oz. of Busch Light. 33 Edgewood Ave. 404-523-1420.

Go thrifting

Dorm rooms could always use some sprucing up, but spending loads of cash on furniture, kitchenware, or other knickknacks will deplete your bank account fast, and you'll probably end up tossing most things once you move to a bigger space. If you have a few hours to kill or need bowls to hold your ramen noodles, a coffee table that's not from Ikea, or some seasonal threads on the cheap, allow yourself some time to wander around Value Village on Moreland Avenue, Last Chance on North Decatur Road, Cathedral Thrift House on Piedmont Avenue, or Salvation Army on Marietta Street.

Learn how to cook real food with free chef demos at the farmers market

College years are all about developing life skills for your future, right? Well, you've got to eat, so cooking is a biggie. Local farmers markets with free chef demos — like the ones at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market Saturdays at 10 a.m. — are great resources for the budding home cook. On Aug. 9, catch chef Suzanne Vizethann of Buttermilk Kitchen. On Aug. 16, learn from Jimmy Ellis, chef of the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel.

Less-than-$5-eats on Broad Street

Broad Street is the go-to lunch destination for the Downtown work crowd and Georgia State University students alike. Here are five on-the-go eats (and drink) under five bucks:

1. Samosa Chaat with chutney, $4.99, NaanStop

2. Atlanta Dog with chili, slaw, and cheese, $4.99, Reuben's Deli

3. Café Sua Dá (Vietnamese iced coffee), $3, Dua Vietnamese Noodle Soup

4. Slice of cheese pizza, $2.15, Rosa's Pizza

5. Spanakopita, $2.50, Ali Baba Mediterranean

Hang out on the patio at 529

There comes a time in everyone's life — about every other week, midway between paychecks — when the budget just doesn't allow the rock star lifestyle to flourish the way it should. You could go check out some bands, buy some drinks, and be social, or just sit at home and revel in the fact that you paid this month's power bill. But if you're balling on a budget, the patio at 529 is the place to be. There's no cover to hang out outside, and it's an excellent place to perch for a night of endless East Atlanta people-watching and conversing with strangers. And who knows, perhaps someone will buy you a drink. If not, Black Label is only $2 a can.

Take advantage of free music

Attend Criminal Records' free in-store shows and meet-and-greets, and look out for record swaps at Argosy and Aurora Coffee. Free shows are always a treat, and Criminal Records in Little Five Points usually hosts an afternoon in-store performance once a month with no cover charge. Performers including Black Lips, CHVRCHES, Deerhunter, Manchester Orchestra, Goodie Mob, Cheetah Chrome, and Matisyahu have all graced the stage. Argosy in East Atlanta and Aurora in L5P also host occasional record swaps for all who want to revamp their collections without breaking the bank.

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