Student Life

Best Student Discounts and Budget Hacks in 2020

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College-related expenses definitely add up. Even if you enjoy the benefit of scholarships or tuition-based financial aid, there's always books and supplies, clothing, and necessary software. And what about banking, streaming services, and other technology tools?

If you already feel anxious just thinking about these concerns, then you've come to the right place. Nobody wants any added stress during the transition, especially with ongoing COVID-19 concerns. We're here to help!

Fortunately, there are ways to access the resources you need without hurting your wallet. Many companies and services offer their products to students at a reduced rate.

To give you a sense of the options, we've compiled a list of the best student discounts available in 2020. We've also included several savvy hacks to help cut costs and keep you on budget. Discounts change all the time, so be sure you verify the most up to date savings ahead of time. Find out how much you can save heading into the fall semester below.

Streaming

  • If you have a .edu email address you automatically qualify for a Spotify student discount. For only $5 a month you get one of the best deals out there: ad-free Spotify Premium, including access to Hulu and Showtime at no extra cost. Non-students pay nearly $30 a month for these services.
  • YouTube offers a similar discount, slashing its normal premium pricing by 50% for students. For $4.99 a month you can access all of the platform's content and original programming.
  • Apple offers its streaming service, Apple TV+, free of charge to students with an Apple Music student subscription. The Apple Music student discount includes 50% off the regular monthly rate for up to 48 months. That means you pay only $4.99 a month for both Apple Music and Apple TV+ (Apple TV+ does require that you own a compatible streaming device).

Hack: Good old password sharing. If you have a group of friends or colleagues with different streaming accounts you can save money by pooling your resources sharing login information. Just remember: the first rule of password sharing is that you do not talk about password sharing.

Banking

  • Bank of America offers checking accounts to students with no monthly maintenance fees. If you use their checkless banking services you can also get overdraft fees waived.
  • Wells Fargo automatically waives all monthly maintenance fees for all account-holders in the 17-24 age bracket.
  • Chase Bank offers a similar deal, including a $100 sign-on bonus for qualifying transactions made within 60 days of opening the account. Possible qualifying transactions include debit card purchases, online bill payments, and direct deposits.

Hack: You don't have to be a finance major to keep a good budget. Free money tracking apps like Mint, Credit Karma, or PocketGuard can help you keep and maintain good records. Some banks like US Bank and Bank of America also offer free breakdowns of expenses.

Software

  • Office 365 Education provides free student access to the Microsoft Office software suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, etc.). These tools are ubiquitous and integral to college learning.
  • Evernote Premium extends its intuitive note-taking platform to students for 50% off through the first year.
  • LibreOffice and OpenOffice both offer free, open-source alternatives to Microsoft Office. Both platforms support Mac, PC, Android, and iOS.

Hack: There are a ton of affordable apps and web-based tools out there that provide services similar to popular (and expensive!) programs. Instead of breaking the bank on Adobe Photoshop, for example, you can use free apps like GIMP, Pixlr, and Canva. Many colleges also keep institutional licenses with companies like Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft. Check with your technology office to see what you have access to!

Tech and Shipping

  • The Amazon Prime student discount includes free access to all Prime benefits for the first six months. After that period you can keep the service for four years at half off.
  • Want some free AirPods? The Apple student discount includes a pair with every purchase of a Mac. The company also offers discounts on iPads and other devices.
  • Microsoft offers similar student deals on laptops, tablets, and other electronics.

Hack: Refurbished technology is still good technology and in many cases you can find solid devices for a fraction of the price. Apple and Microsoft both sell certified refurbished products, but there are other options out there. If you use a third-party just be sure things work and that you read the fine print.

Text Books and Supplies

  • It's not always easy to find discounts on textbooks, so you'll need to get resourceful. One good piece of advice is to download a PDF or Ebook version if you can find it. These editions are usually cheaper than hard copies.
  • Sites like Amazon, Abebooks, or CampusBooks offer cheaper alternatives to most school bookstores. You can also buy used versions of textbooks from a friend or colleague done with the class.
  • eBay is also a good option. You can use the site not only for affordable textbooks, but for other supplies you may need to outfit your dorm room.

Hack: For supplies, avoid buying things on campus. You can get all the supplies you need for much cheaper from places like Target or Dollar Tree.

Clothes

  • Topshop extends a 10% discount on all orders to qualified students.
  • Kate Spade offers a student discount program that includes 15% off all online purchases.
  • Take advantage of the Nike student discount and get 10-20% off all purchases.

Hack: Thrift stores! You can find some fashionable hidden gems at places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Both have locations in every major city and sometimes extend student discounts. Be sure to check out your local second-hand shops as well.

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