There’s a funny stereotype for us college students, yea? We don’t have any money. What with exorbitantly high tuition and textbook prices, who can blame us?
That’s all hunky-dory, but it leaves the average student a bit down on their luck. Luckily, you’ll find that with some patience and clever searching, you’ll be able to circumvent paying full price in practically all types of stores, from food to tech and everything in-between! Who doesn’t want to save what precious little money they have?
By Jove, if you haven’t heard of Pocket Points, download the app immediately! The concept is very simple: don’t use your phone whilst in class! By not using your phone (and having the app open), you’ll be gaining points that you can use for coupons on any affiliated store in your area. Personally, I’ve used Pocket Points on digital coupons for free ice cream, discounts on clothes, longboards, and a pretty awesome “buy one get one free” deal for headphones. If you happen to have a cheap throwaway phone, even better!
When online shopping, begin the check out process but don’t complete it.
If you’re patient, the website will most likely send you coupons to encourage the sale. Now, this won’t work for every website, and it definitely won’t work for Amazon, but you’ll see many apparel or clothing stores be more than happy to throw you a 10%-15% coupon if you haven’t checked-out your cart after a few days. Just make sure when creating an account to remember to use an email that you don’t mind getting spammed!
Typically, abandoning your cart will make the good companies send you “It seems you’ve forgotten your cart!” type of email. If you use the link they provide to visit your cart and abandon it again, after the third time they’ll usually offer free shipping or a discount.
Discounts – Discounts – Discounts! You might be drowning in debt, but at least that entitles you to discounts at practically every important store! Usually, the clerks will be more than happy to work with you if you ask and have your Student ID present. I’ve used student discounts at movie theaters, ice cream shops, clothing stores, and all sorts of other places.
Here’s the thing: You’ll often find yourself looking for coupons online. That’s swell and all, but it’s too normal. It’s where everybody looks! The real money is local, my friends. That’s where it’s all at. Local businesses incentivize spending that way. Local newspapers, magazines, local ads and flyers! It’s all there waiting to be found, it just requires some research. You might have a gas station that offers free air for your tires across the street from one that charges 50c per minute of air.
Maybe you’ll go to Wal-Mart and see that a pound of provolone cheese is ten dollars, but at your local deli, it’s six dollars, and with a coupon they’ll throw in a sandwich for free! It’s all about opportunities.
Yes yes, I’m aware I just said that everyone does this, but that doesn’t take away from the viability of quickly searching for online coupons! They’re great, and usually don’t require more than a single Google search to find fantastic websites such as dealspotr.com, hip2save.com, and Groupon.com with an incredible amount of coupons available to you. It’s well worth your time if you’re looking for a quick few dollars off.
Yea, it’s annoying. Trust me, having twenty different cards for twenty different stores takes up a lot of space in your wallet. But oh boy, are the savings worth it. Regal Cinemas has an excellent points system, not to mention the student discount. So after a few visits, you can get a free movie ticket, or free food if that’s up your alley. Wal-Greens, CVS, Panera Bread, and many others all have pretty awe worthy points systems. Keep in mind, these reward cards are different from the credit-cards some stores will offer. Since I personally don’t want credit-card debt on top of the debt I already have, I tend to avoid those.
Spam is frustrating, but you can avoid it entirely when you create a new email solely for the purposes of the store you’re trying to buy from! Often times, they’ll send a 5% or even a 20% coupon after you create an account as a means of thanks for shopping there for the first time. If you ever feel the need to shop there again, make a new account! There’s nothing preventing you, and they’ll be sure to reward you again for shopping there “for the first time“.
All business want to generate a profit, but to do so they need exposure. There are many ways to achieve that, be it through advertisements or local exposure, but what better way is there to spread your business than through it’s current user base? Referrals are where this kicks in. You get coupons for getting your friends and family (even strangers) to try a service. These discount coupons are usually credited directly to your account. I know Airbnb and Uber give credit towards their services, usually $10 off the next Uber ride, and $25 off your next Airbnb stay. Believe me, there are many more.
Amazon Prime Worth More Than a Dime!
Free 2-Day shipping. Need I say anymore? If you’re a frequent shopper at Amazon, you have no reason to wait until you reach the minimum spending requirement for free shipping. If you’re a student, Amazon will reward your courageous efforts by indulging you in a 6-month free trial, after which they’ll charge you half the going rate for normal Prime users, for as long as you are a student. (If you happen to have more than one .edu email address, congratulations, you have more than one 6-month free trial!)
With Prime, you’ll have access to a variety of Amazon’s services, such as unlimited movie streaming through Amazon Video (not to mention their new original content), music streaming access through Amazon Music, and unlimited photo storage through Prime Photo. Also, this is probably the most important of all, for those of you who don’t have a car, or the gas money, Amazon Pantry lets you buy food right on their website to ship to you!
Textbooks are expensive, there’s no way around it, but you can mitigate the expense by shopping anywhere but your campus store. As convenient as it may be, NEVER buy books from your campus store. It’s almost assured that it will be far more expensive than buying the textbook online or at a nearby brick-and-mortar store. There’s no reason to buy a book new, even when you need an access card. Usually, you’ll be better off buying the book used, and buying the access card separately.
While we’re on the topic of buying textbooks, why do that at all? Surely it’s much better to rent! Amazon lets you rent almost any textbook at fractions of the total cost, and when it’s time to ship the books back, they pay for your shipping! How can it get any better?
Honorable Mention: Facebook and Instagram groups
Both those websites have rather large communities for buying and trading coupons! If you happen to have a coupon you don’t need, try to find one of those groups and see what you can get!
I am a student at the University of Central Florida and I had the opportunity to write this post as a part of the DealSpotr “Couponing in College Scholarship”.
“-Couponing in College + Money Saving Pro Tips-” detailed my personal tips and experience in trying to save money, and hopefully it was helpful to you. Thanks so much for reading!
If you’d like to check out the scholarship, this link will tell you all you need to know!