A dollar may not seem like much, and 50 cents may feel like it’s not even worth it. But that’s the thing about saving money — it adds up, and in a good way. Saving money as a college student can be really difficult, especially when tuition, housing, food and countless other expenses snowball. Students need to make a habit of carrying their IDs around with them and asking about existing student discounts at the register while also consistently checking student discounts apps such as TasteBud and Hooked.
Digging my student ID card out of my wallet feels like a pain that also poses an unnecessary hassle for the employees and people waiting in line behind me. However, the 10 seconds it takes for me to ask for a student discount, pull out my ID and put it back in my wallet is worth the large amount of money I could save over time. It can even encourage students behind me to do the same and save money for themselves.
Student discounts undeniably exist for good reason. All over the world, students work hard to pay for higher education and the ridiculous number of expenses that factor into obtaining a degree. Students, especially those who are responsible for supporting themselves in any financial capacity, can significantly lessen their financial burden over time by seeking out student discounts.
Ivana Párraga, an economics and urban studies sophomore, uses student discounts fairly regularly, including those offered by Greyhound and Tidal, but admits she could be more active in seeking out discounts and being financially smart.
“When you’re a student, a lot of times that’s like a full-time job which has no income and only has costs,” Párraga said. “School’s really important (in) bettering the future for everybody in society, so we need to try and help people stay in school.”
Areas around UT, notably West and North Campus, are filled with businesses and restaurants that offer various discounts to students. Dustin Braaten, an employee at The Pizza Press on 26th street, said their UT student discount is the same one they offer military personnel — 10 percent off. “If you get a $9.47 pizza, it shrinks it down to $8.77 or something like that,” Braaten said.
According to Braaten, even though the restaurant is right across from the school, students must still ask and present an ID in order for the discount to apply. “If the student asks, we’ll gladly do it,” Braaten said.
While it may not seem like much, even a 10 percent discount can help a student stay on budget. Student discount apps such as TasteBud and Hooked help students save money at their favorite restaurants. Regardless of whether you have a job or not, if you’re putting yourself through college, or if you’re lucky enough to be supported by your parents, every college student has the potential to benefit from fiscally responsible spending habits.
“If you’re a college student, you’re pinching pennies trying to get by,” Braaten said. “It’s nice to see where you can benefit from it, too. Kids need to start capitalizing on saving money, especially when you go to a place like UT and you’re taking all these classes.”
The only people who get to enjoy student discounts are students, and students only stay students for so long. If you’re interested in saving money, as every student should be, start carrying your student ID around with you, asking if student discounts exist and using free discount apps. Asking never hurts, and saving money always helps.
Caldwell is a Latin American studies and journalism sophomore from College Station.