Students are always trying to save money. Every student magazine that ever was has run an article on how to save during your academic term. These articles are not always as helpful as one might hope, however. With advice ranging from the very broad: "get a scholarship" to the oddly precise "save money on designer shoes at www.thingsyoudontneed.com," you begin to think that the writers of the articles are not students at all. In response to this, I have come up with my own list of very reasonable, non-life altering but proven ideas to help you save money as a student here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Student Price Card
If you spend any time at the mall, you have probably heard of the Student Price Card. You may not, however, realize just how much of a deal this card really is.
The Student Price Card (SPC), which costs just $9, saves students 10-15 per cent at more than 100 retailers. It is accepted at American Eagle, Bluenotes, Gap, Booster Juice, Sport Chek and many other stores in St. John's and throughout the province. If you spend $100 in one year you will be saving money on the card. It is a tough deal to beat. See www.spccard.ca.
Whether you are interested in shopping or not, you will have a few non-optional purchases for your academic semester – some of the most expensive of your purchases – namely, text books. Websites like www.coursesmart.com allow students to rent online textbooks for about 40 per cent of the book's cost. The online copy of the book may also come with extra material like multiple choice banks – which is great for studying.
Swagbucks is a new online search engine that is picking up steam around the world. The search engine, which is powered by Google, allows users to gain points or "swagbucks" for use on the website. The points collected on the website can be used for real-life purchases including gift certificates for PayPal, Starbucks and Amazon. Swagbucks is free to use and is a great idea for students and others to earn some rewards on the side. There is a catch, though: Swagbucks does not distinguish sponsored results or ads from the organic search results in the same obvious and predictable way that Google does on its homepage. The savvy web surfer, however, knows the difference between the website he or she is looking for and the one trying to sell something. Most students will not be easily tricked by mixed search results.
Tuesdays at Sobeys
Another great money-saving tip is the Sobeys student discount. After working at Sobeys for a term I was very surprised to discover how few people know about this deal. With the use of an Air Miles card (free from www.airmiles.ca) and a student ID, Sobeys stores offer students 10 per cent off all groceries purchased on Tuesdays. With the proximity of a Sobeys location to Memorial's St. John's campus, this deal makes a lot of sense for students.
These are just a few of the many ways you can pinch pennies as a student. You will always find discounts targeted at students — just consider each claim critically to decide if a "student deal" will actually save you cash. In the end, it will be your own decision to save that keeps you in the black.
Megan Denty is a fifth-year commerce student. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.