Don’t Fear Saving Your Own Money

And Other Tips You May Find Useful

Let me start by saying that there isn’t anything to fear about using coupons. As a student, I’ve unfortunately found that there’s an odd stigma around getting bargains and seeing couponing as crazy. That sucks for people who think that- I’m going to save as much money as I can, college costs more than enough. I distinctly recall a time my friend and I decided to go out to buy ice cream, but weren’t allowed to go until we were each promptly handed a coupon from her grandmother’s envelope. “Sorry,” she said, “I hope you don’t think I’m weird” as we walked to the Dairy Queen up the road. “Of course not, we do the exact same thing at home.” As a seventh grader, this moment signaled to me that I had found a life-long friend with a strong mutual interest- not being frivolous with money. Thank you https://dealspotr.com/scholarship for giving me an outlet to talk about what I know and can share. 

What are wants and what are needs?

Don’t get these things confused! Stay organized and know what you need to save money. You need food to survive, but you want that Nintendo Switch and those games that cost $60 apiece (speaking from actual experience, oops). Needless to say, there’s nothing wrong with having goals and saving money up to reach them. Make a list and stick to it. Think a grocery list that will extend to clothing, textbooks, food, etc. To follow, you can organize what sales are available or plan out when to spend your hard earned money.

What are loyalty programs and what are their benefits?

Most loyalty programs vary from place to place, but their overall purpose is to keep people coming back to the same shop by offering extra benefits. Some, you pay for, like with Amazon. You know you’re paying that Prime subscription, so you’re going to keep buying from their site. Most smaller stores offer free programs, like your local fro-yo shop with the stamp out cards. I work in a plant shop with a loyalty program that works by a customer accumulating points through the money they spend in store and logging those points, in return they get back is a $10 gift certificate. They also receive select flyers with coupons and sale dates. On the other hand, people are too afraid of the program, fearing it costs money and never bother asking about it. If you get asked to join reward program, feel free to ask right back what it entails.

Apps?!

Yes, get those apps (if your phone still has the storage space). Places like Starbucks have loyalty cards there that are super useful if you’re a regular customer. Rack up those points and get yourself a free drink.

What about spam emails?

We’ve all had that problem when we get too many advertisement emails. I recommend setting aside an email address just for ads, alerts, and sale. You don’t have to have alerts on, just look at the email when you want to see if you have a coupon available. This way, you won’t be tempted by sales on things you don’t need and not be overwhelmed. If you do need something, take your list and utilise that little bar at the top and find what you’re looking for with the in-email search engine. It saves time and stress. Also, fun tip, emails must include an option or instructions on how to unsubscribe, so in theory, there’s always a way out.

What are these coupon sites?

Sites like Groupon, Dealspotr, and Retail Me Not all offer the general service of being a mass coupon database. These are useful when you don’t want to deal with haggling emails and know just what you need.

What places take student IDs?

Pretty much any museum. The general rule is that if it’s a resource for students, it’ll accept a student ID and therefore a student discount. Amazon, Spotify, Adobe- these sites all offer discounts as well. Exceptions include the rare store that honors them like senior discounts nowadays. Sam’s Club and several movie theatre chains still take IDs, so keep it handy. This was my problem when I forgot my student ID when I went on vacation and had to pay the adult price in England, Sri Lanka, and China. My point being, the price between student and adult prices is a life saver.

Should I get a credit card?

A lot of cards have caps that will limit exorbitant spending. If you don’t think you can handle spending on that level, then maybe it is best to avoid credit cards. For those of you who are willing to test yourselves, get a card with benefits that help you the most. There are cards with cash back and miles back on what you purchase. For example, you might want a miles card if you know you’re going to need the miles to fly back home for Thanksgiving. There are also student cards that give benefits for having good grades. Credit cards are also easier to recover if something happens to your account, which is why it’s better to use credit cards when shopping, especially online. Places like Target offer a card that takes off 5% of your purchase when you use it (trust me, when I bought those Switch games, it really saved me). Starting now will also build up your credit score with small spending in college so when you need that big loan later, you might have the upper hand. Overall, it’s up to you on if you should or not. Like all decisions concerning your money, think about it.  

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