I almost didn’t rush because I was so intimidated by the idea of paying dues to be in a sorority. After grappling with the initial shock of the amount I would be dishing out of my bank account every month, I have realized there are even more costs to joining a sorority that I didn’t recognize at first. I call these the “hidden fees.” For the last two years, I have been trying to come up with ways to be inventive and resourceful in hurdling these fees.
It seems like we have T-shirts for every sorority event: recruitment, date functions, philanthropies, formals. We also have sweatshirts. And tanks. And vests. And quarter-zips. Even socks. The list goes on and on.
My first year, I bought every T-shirt that was available to me, because I thought they were so cute, and I wanted all of them. But at the end of the year I realized that I really did not need that many T-shirts. In fact, I realized that I had more T-shirts than I ever wanted; I started wearing T-shirts more than my regular clothes, which has really never been my style.
The best advice I can give is to limit your T-shirt purchases. Pick your favorites. You really do not need every single T-shirt.
The Coffee Culture
Most sorority girls live in a “coffee culture.” A world where the words, “let’s get coffee” are uttered almost daily. We love to show up to class with a Starbucks cup. Sometimes coffee dates are a social activity. I cannot tell you how times I have paid for coffee just to “catch up.”
This is not just with coffee. I hear “Let’s get lunch” or “Let’s get frozen yogurt” frequently as well. While we all love going out to eat, the reality is that paying for this adds up very quickly.
I can make a cup of coffee at home for so much less than it costs at Starbucks or cook dinner for someone at my house for so much less than it costs to eat out.
Our society is losing the art of hospitality, and we need to start embracing the sweetness there is in inviting others into our homes.
I do not live in my sorority house, so I have dinner at the house once a week with my paid meal plan. Different sororities have different meal plan systems.
My advice: Don’t miss your meal. You are paying for it, so make sure you plan it into your day as a must. It can be a great study break and a fun time to be with your sisters. The food is also probably much better than what you would have been eating. So really appreciate it.
Big Sis Week
This can be a really big money sucker. I know some girls can spend upwards of $400 on making sure their little’s big sis week is absolutely perfect with all kinds of elaborate gifts, food, and activities.
I would recommend simplifying; it is okay to pass down T-shirts and gifts to your little; in fact, it is really fun to have traditions of passing things down.
Also, use your connections. There are some really fun things you can do for your little if you get creative. (I had my little’s best friend from another school surprise her, and she loved it.)
One of my absolute favorite parts of being in a sorority is getting dressed up for a formal. I love curling my hair and putting on a fancy dress. But formal dresses can be really expensive.
My best advice is to be smart when shopping for a formal dress; look at different stores and websites to find a dress you love for less.
Also, borrow, borrow, borrow! I recently started a Facebook message thread with some girls in my sorority who wear the same size as me to share dresses. I love sharing my dresses, as do many others. There is no reason why we cannot utilize that resource. This goes for jewelry too, which can quickly become expensive.
While these hidden fees can be frustrating, if you are smart about how you handle these areas of your life, you can avoid wasting money you did not intend to spend. At the end of the day, being in a sorority is worth every penny.