Greek life on a budget

For some, the only deterrent to Greek life is the cost: With dues totaling an average of $500 per semester, the sisterly love or brotherhood you’ve dreamed about isn’t so priceless after all. But if your heart is still set on bearing those letters, cut down the cost with these tips.

1. Scope out scholarship opportunities

When you add dues to philanthropy events, the bill for Greek life adds up quickly – up to $650 per semester for some chapters. Thankfully, most sororities and fraternities offer scholarships to help cover both academic and extracurricular costs. A list of chapter-given scholarships are listed online.

2. Don’t let big-little week break the bank

Every Greek event can seem like a major financial investment, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to big-little week, sororities often have limits for how much each member can spend, so worry more about outsmarting your sisters deal-wise than outspending them. Reuse old supplies for decorations for your little’s room, and remember that hand-me-down letters can be more a heartfelt gift than brand-new ones from an off-campus Greek store. When you’re thinking about gifts, keep free options in mind, like enlisting a group to serenade your little with a personalized song.

3. Ditch pricey outings for low-cost options

That night out at the club or the spring break trip to Cabo can be tempting, but opting for lower-cost outings can be just as fun. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on Uber rides, group brunches and cocktails, plan a night in to bond with your brothers or sisters over movies, a home-cooked meal and some good (or Three Wishes) wine. Scour Groupon or Sosh to find cheap group activities, and look out for student discounts.

4. Live with other members in a residence hall

Greek housing can be cheaper than some housing options for non-affiliated sophomores on campus. Most Greek housing ranges from a little more than $10,000 to $12,760 a year, with only nine single rooms in International House ringing in at $14,240. Meanwhile, sophomores can pay up to $14,240 for a two-person room in Amsterdam Hall, a single in FSK or a single in Guthridge Hall.

5. Know which charges are mandatory

It costs $45 to sign up for recruitment ($35 if you register before July 13). Mandatory dues – the fees you must pay to remain in a chapter – vary by organization. But for the optional items, like event T-shirts and decorations, how much or how little you choose to spend is completely up to you. Try limiting yourself to ordering one or two clothing items each semester – choose between your favorite fraternity tanks and formal shirts. Otherwise, both your clothing and debt will pile up.

6. Avoid fees for missing events and chapter meetings

Remember your time does equal money for events like chapter meetings and recruitment. Be sure to attend the most important events every year. Every Greek organization has different rules for missing events, but ditching chapter in some organizations can cost about $10 each time.

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