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Winter fun on a college kid’s budget

The weeks leading up to and including final exams are a very stressful time for every student. After spending yesterday afternoon feverishly studying, I was considering going out to eat and attending the Chinese Lantern Festival going on at the state fairgrounds. The only problem? My bank account did not agree with those plans.

It’s always disappointing when you check our balance and need to scrap the plans you had in mind. However, keeping gasoline in the car and the bills paid is certainly more important than spending $30+ on food and entertainment. I closed my banking app, determined to stay under budget this week. I still wanted to find a way to relax and momentarily put my mind off of my upcoming exams though, so what was there to do?

Chelsea and I instead chose to head towards home, the opposite direction of the fairgrounds and the expensive downtown restaurants. We made two quick stops on the way to our apartment – one to Walmart and one to Goodwill. At the first, we purchased cookie dough. At the second, we perused the back shelves of the store for games, and walked away with a 2009 version of Taboo that cost $2.99. (If you’re unfamiliar, Taboo is a game where you try to get someone to guess a word or phrase without saying a set pre-determined words relating to what they’re trying to guess.)

The result was a fun and cozy night in, spent laughing around our secondhand dining table. I nibbled on cookies and sipped on hot chocolate, playing round after round of Taboo with my girlfriend. Since there was only the two of us, we played by continuously trying to beat our highest previous score each round. It was a lot of fun, not only because the game itself can be mentally challenging, but also because we were able to use a lot of inside jokes and language to get the right answers.

Last night taught me two very important things: 1. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to cure your boredom and 2. You can say “Like a clone, but naturally born” to describe ‘twins’ in the game of Taboo.

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