Back to School on a Shoestring
By Christine G. Adamo


Why do people always assume college students are broke?

’Cause we typically are! But, hey, no matter what state your finances are in I’m pretty sure you share other students’ interest in getting a great deal on back-to-school clothes, gear and accessories. Am I right? This month, let me help you do just that – with recommendations and deal alerts related to local and online sources for back-to-school clothes, shoes, etc.

The following are just a few of my favorite things. Enjoy!

Hair We Go Again …

Amanda Mack (center) is Naz Girl About Town's favorite Gel Salon stylist.
Amanda Mack (center) is Naz Girl About Town’s favorite stylist at Gel Salon on Park Avenue.

Are you in the mood for a fauxhawk? A drastic re-’do?

Or do you just want a little taken off the sides and back? In any case, you’ll want to head for Gel at 1245 Park Ave. This rockin’, unisex salon offers haircuts, straight-razor shaves, color, eyebrow waxing and more – in an atmosphere that lends itself to thoughts of tattoos, piercings and roller derby leagues. And most haircuts are just $17!!!

You can get there by car, bike or bus by heading west on East Avenue into the city. Be on the lookout for the East Ave. Wegmans (off Winton Road). Pass it and Dunkin Donuts, as if you’re headed downtown. Take a left at the next corner. That’s Park, which then curves right. Gel will be on your left. (Look for the mural).

Walk-ins are welcome, but I recommend making an appointment: (585) 350-9913. Ask for Amanda Mack, Naz Girl About Town’s favorite stylist, but do us all a favor and tip her well. I mean, the girl gives great hair! In sum, Gel’s web copy probably says it best: “Near Colby Street and far from ordinary.” Online at

Sneakers, Sweaters & Ski Boots – Oh, My!

STP regularly offers extra savings on its already low, low prices.
Sierra Trading Post regularly offers extra savings on its already low, low prices.

Get a $10 Hanes T for $1.95 or $29.00 tank for $1.70 at STP.

Sierra Trading Post runs a killer website that offers crazy discounts on big-name brands it’s hard to afford otherwise. As if that weren’t enough, STP often runs special deals on closeout or clearance items. Shoe and boot brands include: Born, Cole Haan, ECCO, Kork-Ease, New Balance, Nordica, Sanuk, Skechers, Teva, Timberland and UGG.

In terms of clothing, you can quickly narrow down STP’s thousands of choices from companies as diverse as: Adidas, Columbia, Dickies, Gap, Hanes, Hurley, KJUS, Nomadic Traders, Paperwhite, Roxy, Tommy Bahama and Quicksilver. I usually log in, pick a category (i.e., Shoes, Sports & Outdoors), sort by lowest price and narrow by size.

Deal Alert! Use code ASX4977F (thru Sept. 30) for an extra 25 percent off any order of $100+. A few things are excluded, but it’s still a heck of a deal on stuff that’s brand new, well-made and highly affordable. If you see the words “View Coupon” in any item description, click to see what your additional savings are. Online at

Get Your Urban (Outfitters) On

Urban Outfitters Ithaca is located at 131 E. Green St. (14850), but you can just easily shop UO online.
Urban Outfitters Ithaca is located at 131 E. Green St. (14850), but you can also shop UO online.

If you’re a hipster, into bohemian chic or a fan of kitsch, shop UO.

Urban Outfitters has an Ithaca store that’s worth driving for, but its website offers so much more and makes it easy to shop (for SALE items!) from your dorm room. While UO isn’t the end-all, be-all, it’s a neat place to browse for tops, jeans, accessories and dorm room décor. Join “Urban On” for special offers like first dibs on new stuff or free shipping.

What I like about UO’s website is the opportunity to shop for stuff that looks dreamy, has a perpetual air of summer and would be hard to find elsewhere. Click on the “Only at UO” tab in the top right corner of each subpage (i.e., Women’s, Men’s, Apartment) to reveal other items worth considering – tents, hammocks, swimwear, mugs, frisbees, etc.

Deal Alert! UO is offering FREE shipping and returns (on orders of $50+) during the entire month of August when you create a UO account and enroll in the Urbon On deal-alert program. When I visited the site’s Urban On sign-up page, I was also offered 10 percent off my order. Online at

Need Roaring Good Electronics? Try Tiger Direct.


If you need a new tablet, laptop, etc., look into TigerDirect.

Tiger Direct is both a brick-and-mortar (though I’m pretty sure they’re limited to the West Coast) and online retailer of all things electronic. I was turned onto them years ago, while dating a bona fide computer geek. He loved getting great deals on computer hardware, software, gaming accessories and more. And I loved that about him.

Our relationship may not have stood the test of time, but Tiger Direct has left a lasting impression on me. Some people prefer shopping at places like New Egg, but I find TG easier to use and cheaper overall. You can search for tablets, laptop cases, motherboards, CPU bundles – you name it. They’ve even added jewelry to the mix, though who knows why.

Deal Alert! Tiger Direct runs “Daily Deal Slasher” specials. A recent example includes a $69.99 TV wall mount for just $1.99 (after rebate) with FREE shipping. Just be careful, when shopping for hardware, to note whether the item is new or refurbished. Steep discounts aren’t the norm, but great prices are. Online at

What’s that, you say? “Thanks, Naz Girl About Town!” Awww, shucks. You’re welcome. And remember: After you’ve gotten that haircut or had that cool new gear dropped off at your doorstep, post a picture of yourself – and/or your haul – below.


And, from me to you, “Welcome back to school!”

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