By David Bakke
With the cost of attending college on the rise, students now more than ever are looking for ways to save money. But if you're a student, you already have a plethora of savings opportunities available to you. (To learn more on how students can save check out Budget Basics For College Students.)
TUTORIAL: Student Loans
Most often, by simply showing your student ID or entering your college email address, you can save 5, 10 or even 20% off a range of purchases. To take full advantage of your student status, always ask for a discount and familiarize yourself with these seven easy ways to save:
The first place to look for deals is the city or town where you attend college. Many stores around campus will offer a standard student discount of 5 or 10% on regular purchases like food, movie passes, books and clothes. If you aren't sure where to find retailers that offer student discounts, ask other students.
Oftentimes, you can get significant discounts on various computer software products just by having a student-related email address. Also, Amazon offers its Amazon Prime shipping service free for six months to students with a university email address. You can also find discounts on cell phones, cosmetics, shoes and more.
Another way to save some cash is to apply for a free or inexpensive checking account. Check with your local bank or credit union to see what deals they offer. If you choose to bank online, U.S. Bank offers a checking account with no monthly maintenance fee, four free non-U.S. Bank ATM transactions per billing period and a free set of checks. They offer online bill pay and have over 3,000 branches nationwide.
To take full advantage of credit card perks, you need to pay your bill in full and on time every month. However, the sign-up bonuses and rewards programs can be significant.
In particular, the Discover Student card offers a 5% cash back bonus on specified purchases, 1% cash back on any other purchases when you make your first purchase within three months of opening your account and 0% APR for the first nine months. This card has no annual fee and no fee for additional cards.
Select locations of many fast food chains, such as Burger King, Papa John's and Subway offer discounts of up to 10%. Check with your local restaurants to see what discounts they offer as well.
A variety of websites are dedicated to discounts on student travel. One of the most comprehensive sites is Student Rate. Membership is free, and they offer discounts of up to 10% at many national hotel chains as well as discounted spring break travel packages, airline tickets and more. Before you book your next vacation, search multiple websites for the best deal.
Macy's offers a 20% discount for students, and J.Crew and Banana Republic both offer 15% discounts. Many other retailers offer student discounts, but deals are not advertised prominently. Inquire at your favorite department store to see if you can get a discount for being a student.
The Bottom Line
One of the best ways to manage your finances is to save money on the things you buy the most. Utilize your student status everywhere you can. Some deals are easier to find than others, but with a little legwork, you'll be able to save money and make the daunting task of paying for college that much easier. (For other discounts, check out 9 Student Discounts You Shouldn't Miss.)