Stretching Your Student Budget: How to Leverage Discounts and Deals for Financial Mastery

Budgeting hacks

As a student, you probably don’t have a ton of money. That’s only natural. This is a time when much of your cash might be going toward tuition. It’s great if you’re able to pay for your schooling without taking out student loans, but that’s the reality many individuals going to institutions of higher learning face.

Whether you’re taking out loans or not, though, this is a stretch of years when you are probably going to be on the lookout for deals and discounts much more than normal. Any way that you can figure out to stretch your dollars, it behooves you to do so. 

Building on this idea of financial prudence, it’s also worth exploring other resources that might help you manage both your budget and your academic obligations effectively. Henrique Bertulino, a writing expert, points out that students can get online college homework help with Studybay and other online platforms, acting as a homework helper for college students struggling with difficult tasks. Many people who need help with college homework consider these services to be one of the best financial decisions they can make when navigating the academic world.

There are plenty of other ways you can stretch your budget on various items and services during these lean years, though. Let’s talk about some other options right now. 

Finding Inexpensive Clothing

Trying to graduate from college isn’t about just learning the most effective studying techniques. That certainly matters, but you also need to think about things like:

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • A phone plan

All of these except for entertainment are necessities, and you could even make the argument that is necessary as well. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you’re dedicating yourself 100% to your studies and you never take the time to relax.

Clothing is something everyone needs, and, as a young person going to college, you want to get your hands on a fashionable wardrobe. How can you do that if you have very little cash to spend, though?

Often, being strategic with your timing is the answer. One thing you can do is to keep an eye out for promotions and sales specifically geared toward individuals who are currently enrolled in school. You may be able to score a deep discount just by showing a valid student ID.

Seasonal sales are another good way to go. For instance, Old Navy usually has a sale on Black Friday where everything on the site is 50% off. You might target that date and do most of your shopping for the year on that one day. You should also be mindful of student-related sales at:

  • Lululemon
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Zara

Cheap Food Options

If you live close to campus, you might look into getting a meal plan at the cafeteria. You can often get discounts if you sign up for a plan that allows you to get a certain number of meals during a designated time, such as a week or a month. However, maybe you happen to know your school’s cafeteria food is only subpar. 

If so, looking at restaurants nearby is often helpful. Any entities near a major campus that serve food will probably want to attract not just the students who go there, but also faculty and anyone else with a valid university ID. 

Look for a place that gives you 10-15% off your meal, or you might even be able to find one that does 50% off around dinnertime. You can sometimes find those same deals late at night if you’re taking a break from a late-night study session as well. 

Various Forms of Entertainment

While most of your dollars will probably have to be spent on things like tuition and books at this point in your life, that does not mean you need to forego entertaining yourself entirely. Look for discounts on things like:

  • Music streaming services 
  • Software
  • Electronics

If you’re interested in music, you can often get student-related discounts from streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, or Apple Music. Music isn’t all you get if you go that route, though. You can also listen to podcasts.

Electronic stores like Best Buy will often offer cheaper merchandise if you can establish that you’re currently enrolled in college. You can walk out with a good deal on a new laptop, smartphone, earbuds, or whatever else you need.

Inexpensive Transportation

Many individuals who are currently pursuing their degrees need cars to get to campus. You might be looking to buy a vehicle for the first time if you have never owned one before. It’s not too likely you can get a discount at a car dealership by saying you’re currently in school, but you can at least try to get a discounted parking pass to park in one of the lots designated for university attendees. 

If getting a car right now is simply not in your budget, then getting a discounted bus or train pass might be the way to go. That will depend on what city or region you’re in and what public transportation options there are. You can almost always rely on significant discounts being offered to students by whatever entity runs the buses or trains where you are.  

Phone Plans at Bargain Prices

Various cell phone companies like to tempt students by offering them deals. Look into ones like:

  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • AT&T
  • Consumer Cellular
  • Mint Mobile

Some of these companies offer plans where you get a free, brand-new cell phone if you agree to a multiple-year deal. Many individuals chafe at the idea of being locked into these deals, but if you get a new phone as part of the package, it might be a cost-effective option for you. 

Make sure you understand all of the details of whatever phone plan you get, though. If you try to back out of some of these contracts early, there is a hefty cancellation fee you’ll have to pay.

Student discounts

Explore Local Discounts and Carry Your ID With You

There’s one more thing that it makes sense to do at this point in your life, and that’s carrying your student ID everywhere you go. You never know what movie theater, club, restaurant, or any other establishment will knock some money off of your admission or bill if you mention you’re currently attending a local university. You’ll need to present that ID, though, for proof that you’re attending the college that you claim.

You should also ask about discounts for the academic community at any local businesses or attractions you visit. Online retailers and big brands might be willing to help you out with your bill, but don’t forget about places like gyms, museums, and other local attractions and points of interest. 

Stay on the lookout for flyers and other advertisements as you’re walking around your campus as well. They can often clue you in regarding establishments that will discount your meal or whatever else they’re offering. 

You may need to be a little strategic about how you conduct yourself during this time. Just because you don’t have a great deal of extra cash while you’re pursuing your degree, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some spectacular deals.  

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