Articles, College, Money, Tips

Savvy Spending 101: How to Save Money at College

Updated July 27, 2021

College Expenses

As many people know, being a college student can be extremely expensive. Even in cases where an individual has scholarships and/or federal aid to help them cover fees (such as room and board, tuition, and textbooks), there are still countless other expenses that fall on the student. These additional expenses include paying for things such as food, clothing, school supplies, dorm accessories, electronics, transportation costs, and fees for clubs, sports, and Greek life.

To help ease the burden of paying for these expenses, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite discounts and money-saving tips for college students.

Best Student Deals

1. Spotify

> Spotify, a Swedish music streaming company, has become one of the most popular music platforms in the world with over 299 million monthly active users in 92 markets.

> With Spotify’s student deal, anyone attending an “accredited higher education institution” can get a Spotify Premium Student account for the price of $4.99 (+tax) per month. Once you sign up and verify your enrollment status, this amount will be automatically deducted from your account each month. However, you have the ability to cancel your subscription at any time.

> With a student account, you get access to Spotify’s 60 million+ tracks, 1.5 million+ podcast titles, and 4 billion+ playlists. This plan includes unlimited skips, on-demand playback, ad-free music that is available offline, and more.

> In addition to the plan’s various music-related offerings, a Spotify Premium Student account also gives you access to other non-musical perks including an ad-supported Hulu plan and an ad-free SHOWTIME streaming service plan.

> Normally a Spotify Premium Individual account, an ad-supported Hulu plan, and a SHOWTIME streaming service plan would cost you $26.97 combined. However, with Spotify’s student discount you can get all three for just $4.99 (+tax) per month. This is an overall savings of $21.98 per month.

> For more information on a Spotify Premium Student account, visit: Spotify Premium Student

2. Adobe

> If you’re looking to become a graphic artist, advertiser, photographer, web developer, magazine editor, or if you wish to do any other number of creative jobs, chances are you’ve heard of Adobe. Many college students in a wide variety of majors are often required to have ongoing access to editing programs such as Photoshop and InDesign. However, paying a monthly subscription for one or more Adobe products can become expensive very quickly.

> With Adobe’s student discount, students can save over 60% on Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud is, “a collection of 20+ desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX and more” (Adobe). With Creative Cloud, you get unlimited access to editing and design programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and more for a discounted monthly student subscription fee. In addition to these programs, you also get access to thousands of fonts, 100 GB of cloud storage, and more.

> With the student discount, individuals will pay $19.99 per month for the first year they are subscribed to the Creative Cloud platform. After that, the price will rise to $29.99 per month. The price does rise after the first year However, it is still an amazing deal due to the fact that individuals who don’t use the student discount normally pay $52.99 per month for a Creative Cloud subscription.

> To see if you are eligible for Adobe’s student discount, visit: Adobe Student Eligibility

> To learn more about Creative Cloud and the Adobe student discount, visit: Adobe Creative Cloud for Students

3. UNiDAYS & Student Beans

> These are two student discount programs that partner with hundreds of popular brands, retailers, and restaurants to bring amazing, exclusive in-store and online discounts to students all over the world.

 > To learn more about UNiDAYS and how to create an account, visit: About UNiDAYS

> To learn more about Student Beans and how to create an account, visit: StudentBeans

Money-Saving Tips

1. Don’t hesitate to ask a store associate, customer service agent, or cashier if the place you are shopping at offers any student discounts.

> Many popular stores offer little-known online or in-person student discounts to individuals who either show a valid student ID or who use services such as UNiDays or Student Beans.

> Here are some examples of the various types of establishments and specific companies within those industries that offer student discounts at participating locations:

Restaurants: Burger King, Mc Donald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen, Subway, Dominos, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut

Clothing & Shoe Stores: American Eagle, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, Levi’s, Aeropostale, Adidas, H&M, Hot Topic, New Balance, Nike, Reebok

Museums & Fine Arts Events: American National History Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall

Publications: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post

Car Insurance Providers: State Farm, Esurance, Nationwide, Allstate, Geico, Farmers

Wireless Carriers: Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

Electronics & Entertainment Services: Amazon, Best Buy, Spotify, YouTube Premium, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Sony, Dell, GoPro, HP, Norton, Samsung, WordPress

Financial Services: Chase, Citi, Discover, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank

Eyewear & Vision: 1-800-Contacts, GlassesUSA, Oakley, Ray-Ban

Makeup: Clinique, MAC Cosmetics, MILK Makeup, Too Faced, BH Cosmetics

2. Sign up for the loyalty program of any establishments you frequently shop at.

> Upon becoming a member of a company’s loyalty program, you may be subscribed to an email newsletter, receive a punch card or store card, or be encouraged to create an online account that grants you extra benefits. Many companies also offer loyalty members the ability to earn points by making purchases or completing specified actions. These points can then be used to get special discounts on future purchases, claim free samples, and other unique perks. Many establishments also offer special birthday deals, holiday deals, BOGOs, coupons, app discounts, survey discounts. Most of these are part of their loyalty program.

> Almost every single company you shop at will have some sort of loyalty program you can sign up for so make sure to take advantage of it. Some of my favorite loyalty programs that I’m a part of and that have been the most valuable to me include ColourPop, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Better Life, RedBubble, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Rakuten.

3. Take advantage of the non-alcoholic happy hour deals various restaurants offer.

> In order to attract customers during off-hours, many restaurants hold a non-alcoholic happy hour where various menu items are highly discounted.

> At participating locations, Sonic holds a daily happy hour from 2pm-4pm where drinks and slushes are half price. Sonic also currently offers half price cheeseburgers every Tuesday after 5pm. This is for anyone who orders their meal using the Sonic app.

> Chili’s is another restaurant that frequently offers happy hour specials on various food and drink items. In the past, food specials have included discounts such as $6 Boneless Wings and $4 Texas Cheese Fries. Each Chili’s Bar & Grill restaurant location offers different happy hour specials for food & drinks so make sure to check with your local Chili’s to find out what deals are available in your area.

> Taco Bell also holds a happy hour, known as Happier Hour, where you can get special deals and discounts on menu items from 2pm-5pm. Right now you can get any medium drink or regular freeze for $1 as part of Happier Hour.

> It is important to note that the availability and pricing of these offers may change as time goes on, so make sure to call or check the website of the location nearest you to see what deals are currently available.

Check out more college advice articles by GirlSpring contributors!

Samantha Tolley

Hi, I’m Samantha! I am a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Advertising and this is my first summer being a GirlSpring intern. I’m so excited to be a part of this empowering community and can’t wait for y’all to read my articles! A little bit about me, I love photography, movie marathons, Disney, dogs (I have an English Cream puppy), and everything music (my favorite bands are NCT 127, P!ATD, AC/DC, and Queen).

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