Living Cheaply


Living in Davis is expensive, so here are some tips to help you live within your means.

  1. Guides
  2. Banking
  3. Bars
  4. Buy Used
  5. Discount Programs
  6. Food
  7. Free
  8. Housing
  9. Healthcare/Medication
  10. Internet
  11. Out of town destinations for cheap(er) things
      1. Electronics / Computer Parts
      2. General Big-Box
      3. Warehouse Stores
      4. Grocery Stores
      5. Outlet Malls
      6. Tech/Professional Schools
  12. Taxes
  13. Volunteering




Buy Used

Discount Programs






Out of town destinations for cheap(er) things

Electronics / Computer Parts

General Big-Box

Warehouse Stores

Grocery Stores

Outlet Malls

Tech/Professional Schools


However, you can visit California's state tax website and file your State Tax return for free using CalFile. CalFile allows you to file your state tax return electronically and you do not have to mail anything. [WWW]link You can get a free federal tax return from the companies above and then file for free from the State of California. In this way, you can do your both of your tax returns for free as long as you qualify for a free CalFile. CalFile allows you to e-file online and it is much faster than a traditional mailed tax return.

The advantage to online free e-file from these companies is that it is fast and convenient since it is online.


Volunteering can help you feel like you are giving back to the community. On top of that some events can get you free admission to a lot of fun/interesting events in Sacramento, typically food, and occasionally a free T-Shirt. The only drawback is you may need a car to get to the event since it is not in Davis.

Do not volunteer if you don't believe in the cause. You are there to help them, and being opposed to what they do is not going to help anyone. Do consider your own values when volunteering.

The following list are events that can net you some pretty sweet things for the cash strapped student.

Also see Volunteer Opportunities (where this stuff really should be).


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2004-11-21 11:48:15   Somehow, I feel something is wrong with the idea behind this page. If you want to live cheap, don't buy as much. Every single thing on the page though is about spending money. Maybe, I'll link to parks and games and stuff when I have time. - JackHaskel

2004-11-21 12:18:23   I like that idea. Also, though, sometimes you really do need to buy food, clothes, etc, and places like Costco are usually cheaper. Shopping wiser overall — spending less, buying less — is a better idea, for sure. Maybe we could have some links to like inexpensive foods and inexpensive recipes? - PhilipNeustrom

2004-11-21 12:21:19   Or maybe more of a guide to spending less while in Davis would be useful — maybe it should go here and then from here we link to this place (maybe named "Buying stuff for less" or something) - PhilipNeustrom

2004-11-24 18:55:24   The falacy at work here is that people who buy things from Costco buy stuff they don't need. I think that may be true of most Costco shoppers, but many of us Davisites prefer Costco because they sell larger sizes and therefore less packaging per oz of product (i.e., better for the environment)—and AT A LOWER COST. The Costco parking lot is filled with Davis vehicles, so obviously the soccer moms know about this place. Too bad there's fuel involved, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I don't know if anyone has ever figured out how much money you can save by buying necessities outside Davis, but I'm fairly certainly you can stretch a dollar twice as far. Here's the sad thing, most of the stores in Davis sell useless, overpriced TRINKETS—which is where most of the anti-costco people think we should be shopping instead. I wonder if the Davis city counsel realized that Cost Plus may eventually drive all those tricket dealers out of business. I also love the co-op, but I think they have become somewhat lazy in trying to get their members the best deals, because people are willing to buy products with a very high base cost (despite their professedly low markup), while you can get the same products for much less elsewhere. Take for example Tom's of Maine products, way too pricey. Bottom line, at Costco, I can get a 5 pound bag of tortilla chips for $3, I can get 16 eggs for $1, and they have a modest selection of organic veggies for WAY less. But hey, I suppose if you want to avoid buying things, you could always make your own soap. Fight club, anyone? - JaimeRaba

2004-12-02 10:10:05   Costco can be cheap for large groups of people trying to live cheaply together. An apartment of 6 guys can get a whole lot of paper towels, soda, laundry detergent, etc, for much cheaper. - RohiniJasavala

2004-12-12 18:59:36   I added the big box stores walmart and target. Both are generally good with prices, however I find both carry lower-quality items (you get what you pay for). Best to buy things from these stores where they can't really mess up the quality (packaged foods, etc). - JamesDawe

2005-02-01 21:03:01   I hear tell the target in woodland is packing up shop. Does anyone have an ETA on this? —ArlenAbraham

2005-02-02 11:20:04   I heard the target in woodland is closing when the new target in davis opens in 2006 —MyaBrn

2005-02-04 16:24:21   For those of you are serious about saving money and living cheaply, redeeming recycled goods and dumpster diving should be looked into. —ErnBro

2005-02-09 17:44:44   So here is a challenge/question for y'all. I have a bunch of friends coming in from out of town for a thing, and they are big Sake drinkers. They appreciate good Sake when they are sober, but once they are drunk any Sake will do. So... with that in mind, does anybody know where I can find a lot of Sake around here, for not a lot of cash? —EricKlein

2005-02-10 08:48:07   RE Sake: Try Kim's Mart... they probably have the large size bottles of drinking sake. Don't make the mistake of trying to drink cooking sake, as I once did. Yuk! Anyway, if Kim's doesn't have the large bottles of drink and you have a vehicle, Sac has a large Asian market on Broadway [near 10th by the motorcycle club] that definitely has a good selection of the big bottles. —AlphaDog

2005-02-10 08:54:35   Nugget often, but not always, has good sales on Sake. —JackHaskel -i'm hungry, why must nutella be so damn expensive...i could live off that stuff

2005-10-17 02:19:15   I have to say for all the people who put down places like Walmart and Sam's Club obviously do not shop for themselves and think that money must grow on trees. Also for all those people who oppose a Super-Walmart are idiots. If u rather spend up to and close to $70.00 for like 20 items at Safeway, be my guest. But here is some advice find a friend with a car and go shopping at places like Costco or Sam's Club and see how much money you have left over in the month to pay for other things. I also stress shopping at places like Food 4 Less or the Grocery Outlet in Woodland. Food 4 Less happens to be aligned with Nugget Markets, so I highly doubt the food quality is any different. But for those who have a level of skepticism that borders on stupidity keep on shopping at those expensive places. —MikeMele

2007-01-04 18:44:31   Winco in Vacaville has a bulk food section (unlike Food4Less) and they are better quality than Grocery Outlet. Check out —LinaPlanuty

2007-12-13 12:03:50   There should be an entertainment section as well. You can "rent" movies for free at the public Library. —MyaBrn

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