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Smart Spending: Finding deals for college students

  • Article by: JOSEPH PISANI
  • Associated Press
  • August 23, 2013 - 12:50 PM

That plastic college ID card is worth more than you think.

Flashing the card at stores and restaurants can get you major savings. But many of the deals are not advertised, so it never hurts to ask.

Clothing seller Banana Republic and electronics chain RadioShack Corp., for example, offer discounts to college students year round. Online sellers, such as Amazon.com, will ask for your college email address in exchange for deals. Smaller local stores near campus are likely to offer deals, too.

"Always have your student ID with you," says Trae Bodge, a senior editor at online coupon and deals company RetailMeNot. "All college students need to inquire about discounts. A store might have a discount they are not aware of."

Companies target students for deals because if a product wins them over, the company might have customers for life.

The deals expire when your college education does, so take advantage of them while you can. Here's what you need to know:

TECH DEALS:

If you're in the market for a new laptop or other electronic devices, you're in luck. Many companies offer deals for college students. Apple Inc. has special pricing on its laptops and desktop computers, both at its online and physical stores. MacBook Pro laptops, for example, are discounted $200.

RadioShack, which sells everything from calculators to computers, offers a 10 percent discount online and in its stores. (You'll need to put in your college email address for the online discount here: http://bit.ly/1duaRsD .)

Best Buy Co. Inc., the electronics retailer, will send you new online coupon codes every month on a variety of items. You will need to register and give them your .edu email address at BestBuy.com/StudentDeals. Among its current deals, Best Buy is offering $100 off Apple iMacs and $20 off Beats headphones until Sept. 14.

CLOTHING MARKDOWNS:

You can also save money if you want to update your wardrobe. J. Crew, the clothing retailer, offers a 15 percent discount in its stores. Club Monaco and Ann Taylor both offer 20 percent off their goods, but only on full-priced items. Banana Republic gives 15 percent off full-priced items. Charlotte Russe's 10 percent student discount works in its stores and online.

FOOD DISCOUNTS:

Many fast-food companies, such as Subway and Dairy Queen, offer discounts, but not all stores participate. Fast-food restaurants are often owned by individuals, and not the parent company. The companies can't enforce the discount. So ask at the counter if they offer any discounts. Most are around 10 percent off.

MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM DEALS:

Some retailers offer deals on their membership programs. Amazon.com Inc. gives college students free two-day shipping for six months if they sign up at amazon.com/joinstudent. After that, you can sign up for Amazon.com's Prime service for $39 a year, almost half off its regular price of $79 a year. Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping, free instant streaming of select movies and TV shows and one free e-book loan a month.

Sam's Club, the membership-only warehouse club, gives college students a $15 gift card if they renew or sign up for a new membership.

DO THE RESEARCH:

Stores and restaurants near your campus might offer discounts, too. Check your school's website to see if it has a list of shops that offer deals, or ask the store's employees when you're there. Do a quick Internet search for a store and the words "student discount" before you head out. You can also search "student discount" on RetailMeNot.com's search bar for newer or limited discounts, Bodge says.

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