The trick to being a successful ski bum is spending your money where it counts. Whether its sleeping in a walk-in closet or subsisting off ramen and Gatorade powder…a penny saved is equal to one you won’t have to earn doing actual work and missing valuable mountain time.
When it comes to hardgoods (skis, snowboards, boots, bindings) I don’t recommend you skimp but getting away with the cheapest functional outerwear is a must. I found this breakdown between low-end (Decathlon $65) and high-end (Mountain Hardware $350) down jackets pretty useful. Shop around, use Craigslist/FB marketplace, spend judiciously and buy a roll of duct tape while you’re at it!