Sara Laughed

How Amazon Prime Student Saved Me $730 (and 3 Other Ways to Save Money in College)

January 17, 2017 24 Comments

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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!

How Amazon Prime Student Saved Me $730 (+3 Other Ways to Save) - Sara Laughed

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!

How Amazon Prime Student Saved Me $730 (+3 Other Ways to Save) - Sara Laughed

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!

How Amazon Prime Student Saved Me $730 (+3 Other Ways to Save) - Sara Laughed

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

24 Comments

  1. Reply

    McKenna Bleu

    January 17, 2017

    This is awesome! I cant believe you saved that much! I used to rent books on amazon and be able to send them back in school!

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 19, 2017

      Thanks McKenna! I was so surprised to see the number. Renting textbooks and getting free shipping sure does make a difference!

  2. Reply

    Kim

    January 17, 2017

    Number 2 is such a good idea! I was shopping for new pens this quarter and saw that they sold pen cartilages! It was such a surprise for me. I could save a lot of money without having to buy an entire new pen each quarter.
    -Kim 🙂
    http://www.simplybeingkim.wordpress.com

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 17, 2017

      Thanks Kim! I was so surprised to see that they can be purchased separately, too, but it can save a ton of money.

  3. Reply

    Katie

    January 17, 2017

    Such great tips! I will be a college freshman this year so I will definitely be testing some of these out!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 19, 2017

      Oh wow, good luck in your first year! I hope these tips make a difference!

  4. Reply

    Oksana

    January 17, 2017

    Ugh, I remember the woes of paying for university books… I’d spend anywhere from $400 to $800 a semester because I was getting two degrees at one time.

  5. Reply

    Nicole Booz

    January 17, 2017

    I signed up for Prime in college and am still an Amazon customer five years later. I can’t imagine life without it.

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 17, 2017

      I’m right there with you!

  6. Reply

    bella

    January 17, 2017

    Wow i cant believe you saved so much money!!!! I need to check this out.

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 17, 2017

      Yeah, I was so surprised too! I guess I spend a lot of time on Amazon, haha!

  7. Reply

    Rachel Ritlop

    January 17, 2017

    Such great tips! Who doesn’t love saving money? I am such a fan of Amazon Prime!

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 17, 2017

      Thanks Rachel! Haha, you’re definitely right on the saving money front! I’ve been reading your blog lots lately and am really enjoying it, by the way!

  8. Reply

    Alexis Reliford

    January 18, 2017

    Ugh I don’t miss paying for expensive textbooks at all, so I’m completely empathetic to the struggle. Kudos to you for finding these money hacks.

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 18, 2017

      Thanks so much Alexis! It’s definitely a challenge, haha!

  9. Reply

    Ashley

    January 18, 2017

    I use Amazon Prime as well! I love that with my student email, I can get 50% off. I use it for everything too – instead of having to drive to get something, I find it easier to just order it!

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 19, 2017

      Yes, I’m exactly the same way. That’s why I have so many Amazon orders – if it saves me a trip to the drugstore and shipping is free, why not, right? (:

  10. Reply

    Amanda

    January 18, 2017

    Wow, go you! I wish this had been available when I was in school, I would have saved so much money (and time!). Thanks for sharing!

  11. Reply

    Kennedy Olson

    January 19, 2017

    These are some great tips to save money in college! I love having my Amazon Prime account. I definitely don’t regret spending any money on it at all. Great post!

    • Reply

      Sara Laughed

      January 19, 2017

      Thanks Kennedy! I definitely don’t regret the cost either. Thanks for commenting!

  12. Reply

    Michaela

    January 19, 2017

    Buying textbooks from Amazon rather than the school store definitely makes a big difference.

  13. Reply

    Kayla

    January 20, 2017

    I’ve never thought about just buying cartridges! I’ll have to look into that, you know how much I love pens!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  14. Reply

    Macarena Ferreira

    January 21, 2017

    Girl, Amazon Prime is seriously a gift from God.

    xo // http://www.thematerialgirl.co

  15. Reply

    Meghan

    March 6, 2017

    I have like 183 Amazon Student orders a MONTH haha! LOVE Amazon.

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