College can certainly put a strain on your finances. Between tuition, room and board, and books, it can be hard to find money for less essential, but still important, things like entertainment. Why not make the most of your limited funds by taking full advantage of the discounts available to you as a student?
- Understand why businesses offer discounts. Discounts can draw you in the door, which can give one store a definite advantage over another in the crowded world of shopping. Many businesses hope to foster brand loyalty by building a relationship with consumers at a young age. Local stores may figure the increased volume of customers from a nearby college will offset the loss of profit from the discount. If you can figure out which businesses could most benefit from increased student traffic, you're on your way to finding businesses with student discounts.
- Don't pay too much to travel. Whether you're dreaming of a Cancun spring break or heading home for Thanksgiving, your student ID may be all you need to enjoy a substantial discount on travel costs. Check with travel agencies close to campus. Some may even have the words "student travel" in their names. They will be most familiar with the available discounts. STATravel is a national agency devoted to the student market. If you don't like working through an agency, you can also contact travel providers like Greyhound directly.
- Take advantage of discounted entertainment. Does your college have a performing arts center? The school usually offers student rates, so you can treat yourself to a Broadway show or a concert by your favorite artist. Movie theaters in college areas often provide student rates, such as matinee pricing at any time of the day or special concessions discounts. It can make those study breaks much more affordable.
- Get a discount on membership fees. No matter what your field, there are state and national organizations you can join to prepare you for your future career. These groups offer substantial discounts for full-time students. Not only do professional organizations look great on your resume, they can provide excellent networking and development opportunities.
- Enjoy educational discounts on computer software and hardware. As a student, you may qualify for educational pricing on the computer programs you need to complete your homework, and maybe even the entire computer. Ask your college's computer services department for more information or visit the websites of your favorite software manufacturers.
- Pick up a discount card. Flashing your card at the right moment can save you money on anything from a take-out lunch to a new futon for your dorm room. The StudentAdvantage discount card is one popular option. Your college or community may also offer a local discount card. While available discounts vary from card to card, the companies were chosen with college students in mind. There may be a fee associated with these cards, so you'll have to weigh the potential savings against any initial charge.