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I've been signed up to Amazon Prime Student since before I even came to college. The summer before I started at Wellesley, I signed up through another student so that I could get free shipping for anything I ordered. Now, believe me when I say that I order from Amazon a lot. Whether I needed textbooks, paper for my printer, or new socks for winter, I would order from Amazon. If it wasn't at the local pharmacy, I knew that I'd find it online – and find it I did, to the tune of 183 Amazon orders over the course of four years.
Yes. I counted for you.
Though Amazon Prime Student has a ton of benefits (for example: exclusive deals for students, unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video), the free shipping was the main selling point for me, and you can see why. If you calculate an average shipping price of $3.99 per order, I saved $730 in shipping over the course of my four years at Wellesley. $730! That's the cost of a years' worth of textbooks for me, if not more. I know I also saved a lot of money through Amazon's deals, discounts, and their separate textbook renting program, and I can't even calculate what that saved me. Long story short: Amazon Prime Student saved me a ton of money in college.
Amazon Prime Student is free for the first six months that you're signed up, and after that it's only $49 per year, or half the cost of normal Prime. You can sign up here!
As much as I've saved with Amazon, there are tons of ways to save money in college. Finances can be a huge stressor for students, especially at the start of a new semester. In light of that pressure, today I'm sharing an additional three ways to save money when back-to-school shopping, in addition to Amazon student.
1. Reuse, Rent, Resell.
This one is pretty simple. I know it's tempting to buy new binders and notebooks with every semester, but I've found that four sturdy binders will last you for at least two years of college, if not all four. The same goes for things like pens, highlighters, and white-out; if you don't lose them and don't leave them open in your backpack all week, they'll probably last you a lot longer than you think. I made a point once I got to college to reuse my school supplies as much as possible: it's better for the environment and for your budget.
Another easy and obvious way to save money is to rent, rather than buy your textbooks. Most people do this already, but a lot of people go through the school bookstore (at least in their first semester). The bookstore almost always charges more than sites like Amazon because they can afford to: they're on campus and they can get the book to you in minutes, so they can over-charge you. Don't fall for it! I've always rented online and it's saved me a lot over the years. You can also always borrow from the library if you're in a bind!
2. Buy new cartridges, not new items.
This tip is less obvious. I can't take credit for this one; I picked it up from one of my best friends. Rather than buying new pens or highlighters when yours run out, just buy a set of new cartridges. Cheaper pens don't come with a refillable option, but if you have a favorite set of pens, it might be a smart option. A new box of pens can cost me $6, but new cartridges are only $2 for a box, and I get just as much use out of them. And, yet again, it's better for the environment!
3. Shop at second-hand stores or a student sale.
If you need new items for your dorm room, or if you're looking to spruce up the place on a budget, check out thrift stores and places like GoodWill. Fellow students will also often sell items in online groups called things like “Free and For Sale” or “Online Yard Sale,” and you can buy their old mini-fridges, pillows, or other decor items for cheap. It makes a huge difference in budget, and I have to say that the things you can get second-hand are just as nice as anything you can buy new.
These are just a few of the ways I've saved money with back-to-school shopping. How do you save money when it's time for a new semester? Are you signed up for Amazon Prime Student? Let me know about your experience in the comments!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.