How to College on a Budget

The Poky Dot

College is a wonderfully wild adventure. How fitting that you are being educated in wild, wonderful West Virginia!

We appreciate the fact that most of your time is taken up with school activities, homework, labs, class. . .  Gee, come to think of it, you really don’t have much free time, do you?

But when you are ready for a break, we have some inexpensive suggestions on how to re-group and survive college life so you can focus on the task at hand, of course.


water falls

Valley Falls State Park


Things to do:

Valley Falls– Completely free access to what is quite possibly the most beautiful area of West Virginia. The rushing water and flowing falls are all you need to relax, but there are also plenty of hiking trails, too.

Pricketts Fort– This is a beautiful 1800’s style fort on 17 miles of land. Take a walk or rent a bike to travel the smooth path through to the next rail trail. Performances and events are also offered throughout the year, some of which are free to the public.

Tygart Valley Cinemas You could spend about $10 on just a movie in most places… except Fairmont. Half price Tuesday is the best night to go.

Palatine Park – Offers free events and concerts starting in late spring so be sure to check back. Free entertainment is good on a college budget!

Seth Burton Disc Golf Complex –  Includes two 18-hole premier disc golf courses at Morris Park, 112 acres of Marion County’s natural, wooded beauty. Tournaments take place throughout the year.

Main Street Yoga – College life can be a little stressful. Take a break at Fairmont’s coolest yoga studio. With classes offered daily, there is no excuse not to be Zen.


3 women at a coffee shop

Joe n Throw Coffee Shop


Things to drink:

Joe n Throw– Although coffee shop specialties aren’t exactly the same price as gas station coffee, it’s a much cooler place to hang with friends. It’s the best caffeine in town with the most handcrafted mugs. Check out their pottery classes to make your own.

Short Story Brewing– A local brewery serving local brews in style. Original brews include but are not limited to Argonaut, Surefire and Into the Fog.

Rambling Root– This is a perfect place to release your inner hipster. Craft beers from across the state are offered with live Appalachian entertainment.

Insider tip: All three places have live entertainment just about every weekend, some with cover charges and some without. Check out their events on Facebook!


man selling hot dogs

Yann’s Hot Dogs


Things to eat:

Cantoni’s– Garlic knots. That and New York style pizza is all the information you really need. And the wings. And the white pizza. And the hoagies. But that’s it … I think.

Yann’s– This is a must-try if you’re new to Fairmont. It’s not really about the hot dogs- which are delicious, by the way- it’s more about the experience. It’s a tiny little building at the end of the Million Dollar Bridge run by a quintessential character in our charming town. So when you go to order your hotdogs, you don’t ask for ketchup. You don’t ever ask for ketchup. Got it?

The Poky Dot – If you enjoy funky diners then this place is for you. The food is as colorful as the atmosphere!


women's upscale resale consignment store

Savvy Consignment


Things to wear:

Savvy Consignment– Savvy consignment is not only a way to spend money, but it’s a way to make money. Bring in clean and unwrinkled clothes and get a cut of the price when they’re sold.

The Penny Pincher and – Goodwill – From adorable dorm room necessities to name brand clothes, you can get the majority of college-esque items for about $1.

Gabriel Brothers – Locally known as Gabes, offers famous name brands for up to 70% off. They also carry everything from washcloths, to cookies to mirrors. A collegiate must stop!


record store

Assumption Records


Things to have:

Assumption Records– This is wall-to-wall-to-wall records from just about any era and any artist. The dollar section costs exactly that.

Arts & Antiques Marketplace  Atmosphere is essential to college living. Cover up those white generic walls with beautiful pieces from Arts and Antiques. From vintage to hipster to elegant, the five floors have something in everyone’s price range.


What are you most looking forward to in college life? 


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