If your all-Ramen noodle diet doesn’t tip people off to your sad financial state as a college student, your cinder-block bookshelves probably will. Luckily, businesses have taken pity on your poverty, and your student status can get you discounts on everything from burgers to Broadway plays.
You may even be able to buy your textbooks next semester with the money you save with deals like these:
Nice ride. That good-student discount on car insurance isn’t just for 16-year-olds. If you have a B average or a 3.0 grade point average, most insurers, including Allstate, Ohio Casualty and State Farm, will give you a price break. Discounts vary by state, however, so talk to your agent for details.
Card yourself. Carrying an International Student Identity Card means big savings on hotels, restaurants, flights, attractions and stores around the world, like discount admission to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 10 percent off your stay at the Aphrodite Youth Hostel in Athens or free chips and salsa at Taco Fresco in Chicago. And since the card costs only $22 a year, it could add up to a big return on investment. Get one online or through an ISIC office near you.
That’s entertainment. If your idea of high-class entertainment is watching “South Park,” you need to get out more. And with student rush tickets for Broadway shows, you can afford to. Line up a couple hours before curtain, and your student ID can snag you an unsold ticket to “The Producers” for $21, instead of $100. Other theaters offer discounts without the rush. At the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., a $60 pass buys you five admissions to any of their operas or plays — an 80-percent savings. In Southern California, college students can get special ticket offers by e-mail from the Los Angeles Opera.
Computer geek. The online Apple store has special student pricing on its iPods and PowerBooks, but you may get even better deals on Macs, Dells and ThinkPads at your campus bookstore. Also, check to see if your university’s computer sales or information technology department sells hardware and software to students. At Iowa State University in Ames, the best computer deals on campus are found through the school’s IT department.
Easy read. As if you weren’t wading through enough print already, you can get up to 50 percent off a subscription to the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune or the Christian Science Monitor. Student rates are also available on magazines from F+W Publications, whose lineup includes I.D., The Artist’s Magazine and Writer’s Digest.
Cool deal. You knew there was a good reason you chose a university in snow country. A college student season pass at Alta Ski Resort in Utah is $479, down from the $899 it costs nonstudent adults. At Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine, a student pass is $369.
Get around town. Students at Evergreen State College ride InterCity Transit lines around Olympia, Wash., for free when they flash their student ID card. Cornell University and Ithaca College students can buy a countywide bus pass for about half the annual $495 fee. Check with your local mass transit department to see what kind of offers they have going for the college crowd.
Cheap eats. Fast food is already a decent buy, but shaving another few bucks off the cost can’t hurt. Your Student Advantage Card could be worth $3 off a Papa John’s pizza, a free drink at Taco Bell, a buy-one-get-one sandwich at McDonald’s or a free doughnut when you buy java at Dunkin’ Donuts. The card costs $20 for 12 months, and discounts are good only at some locations, so make sure your town is one of them before you sign up.
Go local. The place you’re most likely to save money for being a student: your own college town. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, your student ID hooks you up with tons of local discounts, such as cheap oil changes and cut-rate car rentals. At Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, your ID can get you a 10-percent discount on your monthly apartment rent, among other perks.
Travel savvy. A number of consolidators specializing in student travel offer cut-rate tour packages, cruises and plane tickets. Some of our favorites include StudentUniverse.com, STA Travel, StudentTravel.com, Travelosophy, and the International Student Travel Confederation. Just watch out for fees that could offset the savings.