{Couponing in College & Other Tips to Save Money as a College Student.}

          It is undeniable—as a college student, you are on a tight budget. You will learn that you can’t be picky about what kind of food you eat because chances are you will eat the same meal three times in one week because it is cheap. With a few useful money-saving tips from a fellow college student, you will learn the strategies to avoid paying full-price!

          Take advantage of stores who offer double coupons. {This is a thing… trust me.} During “double coupon week”, grocery stores like Harris Teeter will double a coupon up to $2. For example, if you have a $1 off coupon, it doubles to $2 off. If you have a $2 off coupon, it doubles to $4 off. It’s not rocket science, but it is a great way to get more ‘bang for your buck’ with the coupons you already have.

          Look for store ads and flyers. You have to do a little bit of research to figure out what items are discounted, when you can take advantage of the best deals, and which stores offer a better price on a specific item compared to other stores. It may be cheaper to buy Diet Coke at Harris Teeter one week, but at Kroger the next! You do not need to buy the newspaper to get the coupons. All of the daily newspapers that are not sold are (usually) brought to the local recycling center a few days later. Take advantage of this! This is how you are able to score large quantities of coupons in one convenient place for absolutely no cost. However, you must do the research to find out when the coupons are published in your local paper. Locally, the Sunday and Wednesday newspapers include booklets of coupons—therefore, the best time to go to the recycling center is on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

          Take advantage of your student discounts! MANY stores will give you an extra student discount—you just have to ask! J. Crew will give you an extra 15% off your total purchase, Banana Republic offers 15% for students (and teachers too!), Eddie Bauer will give you 10% off your purchase, as well as many other companies such as Apple and Allstate.

          Get a store rewards card. Many companies have some sort of rewards card (this is different than a credit card—don’t be fooled) such as a Harris Teeter VIC card. Not only will Harris Teeter give you the VIC Card Customer Discount, but they will also give you an extra 5% off your total purchase, just for being a student! However, you must make sure that you go to the customer service desk to get your student ID linked to your VIC card–you can’t simply show it to the cashier at the time of your purchase.

          Look for food coupons. Many local businesses (especially Chick-fil-a) will offer special coupons to anyone—you just have to look for them! Many of these coupons are found in local newspapers and local magazines. Panera Bread will offer you a special discount for every 5th visit or purchase you make. This also means that breaking up your order into separate transactions or “visits” will earn you rewards even faster!

          Join your alumni association! You would not believe the kind of discounts you get (not just on food and at restaurants). At UVA, it is free to sign up for the Alumni Association as long as you are a current student. After you graduate, there is a small fee to remain a member of the Alumni Association. Discounts/advantages of joining the Alumni Association include 15% off your Campus Cookies purchase, a 10% discount at barre.[d] studio strength training classes, and a 10% discount off tickets at the Paramount Theater.

          Understand store coupon policies. {You might have just hit the coupon “jackpot”, but it is important to understand the store coupon policy before getting up to the register.} Harris Teeter does not allow more three of the same coupon per transaction. This may mean you get a greater discount and/or can use twice as many coupons if you simply break your order up into two separate transactions. You may think that once a coupon expires, it is no longer useful. But this is not entirely true! Certain Bed Bath & Beyond stores will actually take expired coupons! {Yes, they will even take your expired coupon from 2004. Trust me, it will still work.}

          Do your research to find out if businesses offer special discounts over text. {Out with paper coupons and in with electronic coupons and discount codes!} For example, not only will Bed Bath & Beyond send you 20% off coupons by mail, you can also subscribe to receive coupons via text (you get these text coupons much more frequently than coupons sent by mail). Additionally, if you subscribe via text, your local Chick-fil-a will send you special discounts and promotions. You can’t argue with a free chicken sandwich!

          Never buy textbooks through the university student bookstore. {Trust me, don’t do it.} It may seem like the most convenient option, but it is certainly not the most economical option. Do your research before the semester begins. Find out what textbooks you need for your classes. Find out ahead of time and rent your textbooks! Slugbooks.com is a great option for renting your textbook. Simply type in the ISBN number of your textbook and it will compare the prices of that textbook from eight different companies! It will even compare prices if you absolutely must buy the textbook.

          Figure out what stores offer special offers (not just on food) but on other essentials such as gas and prescriptions too! If you have your prescriptions filled at Kroger, you will earn $0.10 off per gallon of gas you buy once you earn 100 points! {This is a blessing for all the gas-guzzling SUV’s out there!} Additionally, if you have a Harris Teeter VIC card, you are eligible for free prescriptions. {Yes, you heard that right. Totally, 100% free.} Harris Teeter will give you a free 30-day supply of generic diabetes medication and a free 14-day supply of antibiotics (with a prescription, of course!).

          Get an Amazon Prime account, it is a blessing! With an Amazon Prime account, you get a free 6-month trial of Amazon Prime with a valid .edu email address. Your Amazon Prime membership not only grants you access to free two-day shipping on participating items that are “Prime eligible” but you also get access to unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows through Amazon Video, access to playlists and songs through Amazon Music, unlimited photo storage through Prime Photos AND you are also able to refer a friend to get an Amazon Student membership which earns you and your friend an easy $5. Although it is $49/year for an Amazon Prime Student account (after the 6-month free trial), it is worth it. Granted, you have to figure out if you will really make the most of your Amazon Prime account—you may end up spending more than $49 in shipping costs throughout the year, in which case it would be cheaper just to buy an Amazon Prime membership! Amazon Prime could be your saving grace especially if you put off buying/renting your textbooks until the last minute.

          Always search online for store promotion codes! A simple Google search such as “[Store/Company Name] discount code” will result in a list of many websites such as RetailMeNot.com, dealspotr.com, and Groupon.com with a number of discount/promotion codes. Some of these promotion codes will not be valid… it’s just a matter of entering a few of the promotion codes to find out which ones work! These promotion codes could get you anything from free shipping to 20% off your entire purchase. Trust me, it is worth it!

I am a student at the University of Virginia and I had the privilege of writing this post, “{Couponing in College & Other Tips to Save Money as a College Student}”, featuring my own personal tips and advice, as a part of the DealSpotr, ‘Couponing in College Scholarship’. If you would like to check out this scholarship, you can follow this link… (https://dealspotr.com/scholarship-giveaway). I hope you learned some money-saving techniques from a financially-savvy college student. Thanks so much for reading!

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