Student Discounts: How Your University and College .edu E-mail Can Save You Tons of Money
by Mackenzie Stewart
I love a good discount. Just take a look at the Benefits of AARP piece *cough*love letter*cough* I wrote. As someone with a low income, I make it a point to get the most out of my money when I spend it. This means my first step when I make a purchase is always look for a discount. If it were an Olympic Sport, I would win gold every time. Since I’ve spent so much time discount hunting, I want to go into detail about one that almost every site offers, but no one talks about: the student discount.
Why the student discount? On top of being low income, I’m also a college student! An older one, but a student nonetheless. This means I understand that money can be tight and having to replace something like your laptop mid-year can be a massive issue. Luckily, I’ve done the digging for you and can share my tips on finding and utilizing that student discount efficiently.
Top Tips for Utilizing Your Student Discount
To start, check your bills. I went through every expense I had and looked online to see if the company offered a student discount. Just within my own expenses I found:
$25 off a month with Verizon for up to two people with unlimited plans.
$4.99 a month subscription for a Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime bundle (Hulu itself offers a student discount of $1.99/month on its own as well.)
15% off every box with HelloFresh for up to a year.
Especially if it’s an expense that you don’t necessarily want to cancel, like having Disney+ because you like being able to watch Moana when you’ve had a shit day, check their website or chat in to see if they offer a discount. Some utility companies may even offer a student rate for basic service plans.
Use Your Student Discount While You Make Money
Use student discounts for your side hustle! Having something that you can do on your off time or passively can really help with things like affording groceries or adding money to a savings account. Sites like Canva, SquareSpace, Wix and even Adobe software like Photoshop and Illustrator offer students (and educators!) monthly or yearly discounts for their services. So if you’re into photography and want to make a little money doing senior portraits during summer break, you can use all those discounts to set up your website, create your social media graphics, and edit your photos for clients. You can use Canva to create ebooks, printable worksheets, or budget trackers and sell them through your SquareSpace site so you’re making money whether you’re in class or in the library pulling an all nighter for your econ midterm.
Use Your Student Discounts on Tech
If you find that you do have to replace that broken computer, broken phone, or earbuds, I highly suggest BackMarket.com. Back Market is exclusively refurbished electronics, but don’t let that stop you from checking their site. First of all, e-waste is a big environmental issue, and their site keeps tons of it from ending up in landfills. Second, because the inventory is refurbished or returns, they are heavily discounted from the original Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Thirdly, they offer a 5% student discount which basically covers shipping and sales tax.
To illustrate why I love this site so much: Back in February, I decided to get myself an iPad so I could stop lugging my laptop to work to finish school stuff. I found an iPad Pro 11 for about $350 total after that discount. The price brand new for that same iPad through Apple would be closer to $1,000. When I tell you this thing is brand new, I mean someone just took the plastic wrapping off the box, never even turned it on, and then returned it. I will brag about this deal until the end of my days. Back Market has all kinds of electronics. Everything from name brand computers/laptops, phones, earbuds, monitors, TVs, and even small appliances. It’s a big money saver on things that are now necessary to stay working, making money, and completing school work.
Use Discount Websites Specializing in Student Deals
Chances are, if you’re using a student discount, the company is using a third party to run the management of that discount and verification of student status. The two biggest being Student Beans and UniDays. These sites are an encyclopedia of student discounts. Wait, did I just reveal my age with the encyclopedia thing? Shit. Well whatever! They have big lists of discounts.
To access these discounts, you make a profile on their site. They’ll ask for information to verify your student status, either with your student email or student ID. Not all universities or schools are included, so it may require additional info, but usually it’s verified within seconds. Once they confirm your student status, you have access to the discount.
Pro-Tip: Continue to comparison shop on the discount websites
Definitely a comparison shop here though! Some sites offer better discounts or sales on their own sites or through an email sign up. Also be aware some sites will only let you use the discount once or once within a certain time period.
Local businesses can offer student discounts too! Especially if you live in a college town. Coffee shops, cafe’s, bookstores, and even some apartment complexes will offer students a discount. Even if it’s only a free cheese danish with your coffee purchase or waiving an application fee, free or less than full price is still awesome.
Things to keep in mind with your student discount
Other general things to keep in mind is that you obviously have to use your .edu email or have a student ID card. Make sure you have access to your student email account to confirm your enrollment status or have that physical card in your wallet.
If you study at an online school like I am and need to show a physical student ID, you can usually print something that shows proof of enrollment. I keep a print out of my registration in my wallet as it has my current enrollments, student ID number, and school letterhead and that usually does the trick.
Check how long the discount is good for. The Spotify/Hulu/Showtime bundle is good for four years while the HelloFresh discount is only one year. Others are one time use only. Stay on top of this, so you aren’t surprised when the discounts drop off your bill or if you budgeted to shop that store again and can’t use the discount.
Don’t shop just because you see a discount. The best purchase you’ll ever make is still the one you didn’t actually make. If you don’t have the funds, even with the discount applied, don’t do it. Use discounts for things that are already in the budget. If you really want to splurge on a new Apple Watch, check your budget (Nav.It can help with that part). Set up a sinking fund or an Auto-Save. Add money to that a bit at a time, and then make your purchase with that discount.
Don’t forget to use your student discounts
Look, you’re already committed to the tuition and hours it’ll take to complete your degree. At the very least, let that .edu email work for you in the form of student discounts. Don’t sleep on reducing monthly bills or saving on a one time purchase. You work hard for the money you make. Having the benefit to spend a little less on things you need is a great thing to have access to.
Mackenzie Stewart launched her site Life at 23k to fill a void for the people who can’t afford to invest or start an emergency fund. She wants to find and give financial advice that the underemployed minimum wage worker can use – not just those making great salaries with marketable degrees already.