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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Discounts divvy up dough

By Michael Williamson
Contributing Writer


Friday, October 8, 2004

Student discount: the mere mention of those words bring relief and bliss to any college student strapped for cash. And who isn't? An astonishing array of retailers, movie theaters, restaurants, travel companies and websites offer breaks to some of society's poorest, but often best, consumers. Simply put, student discounts can save us wads of cash. Movie theaters are the most surprising businesses offering discounts. AMC, a national chain, offers student discounts at most of their theaters. No branch is located close to Northfield, but there are theaters at the Mall of America, and in Edina, Eden Prairie, Roseville and Maple Grove. A student I.D. is all that is required when purchasing a ticket that can be obtained for as little as $6. When in doubt, don't be afraid to ask movie theaters if they have their own student discounts. In addition, many theaters, specifically in the Twin Cities, offer student rush discounts. A rush ticket allows students to show up at the box office 15 minutes before the show's opening to receive up to half off tickets with the requisite I.D.

These tickets cannot be booked in advance and are only available if there are remaining open seats. Inquire with theaters regarding their specific policies. For the musically inclined, the Minnesota Orchestra offers a Student Saver Card. The card allows students to get four tickets for $25 to be used one at a time or for a group. Airlines also offer great discounts for students. A traveler can save up to half the price of a ticket. Two websites, www.studentuniverse.com and www.statravel.com, promise to save students hundreds during breaks or study-abroad trips. These websites often negotiate special fares with the airlines, so these student fares are not offered directly. A word of caution: do not expect these sites to always offer the lowest available rate. Having worked for an airline this summer, I can personally attest that airfares are extremely complex and the student fares are sometimes higher. However, it never hurts to check.

Even more money can be saved purchasing a computer. Manufacturers may only offer one percent off their listed priced, but one percent off $2,000 or $3,000 is a significant savings. For more information, visit the manufacturer's website. Look for an education link or search. the website for student discount.

Students can also save on computer software. When shopping at your favorite electronics store for the latest must-have software (and I'm not talking about the latest shoot-em up which is all the rage), look for the student version, often up to 50 percent less than the original purchase price. Since Microsoft products cost over $100, savings add up. Companies specializing entirely in student discounts exist. Student Advantage (www.studentadvantage.com) sells a card which allows its cardholders to receive discounts at numerous retailers, entertainment spots and ventures supporting academic scholarship. A one-year subscription to the card costs $20. Four years will cost $60. The discounts seem endless. Get your fix of junk food by using your card at any participating fast food franchise, or save on travel with Amtrak or Greyhound. Looking to take up yoga but don't have the cash for gear? Going to Europe this summer and looking to save even more money on the already cheap hostels found there? Student Advantage cardholders save in those areas and many more. Remember to check the website often for current discounts and actually use the card If you forget to use the card, you're not only wasting the money you paid for the card, but you're also paying more than you need to. Obviously, student discounts are great, but why do companies offer them? Student Advantage explained that student discounts allow companies to build customer loyalty and increase brand recognition. Corporations are counting on us to continue paying for their services and products after we graduate and discounts disappear. So the best way to ensure better discounts in the future is to heavily use the discounts we can enjoy today. Do not ever be afraid to ask if an establishment offers a student discount, and always carry your student I.D. with you -- it will prove valuable.





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