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Discounting student discounts

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With the holidays coming up — and the amount of money in my bank account slowly going down — I have become addicted to student discounts in order to afford flights, gifts, and super cute clothes for this upcoming season of festivities. 

However, while consulting my trusted resources (Google and TikTok) for these alleged discounts that are seemingly always being discussed, I couldn’t help but realize what a scam it all is. Luckily, as I scoured through them all, I took note of all kinds of student discounts: the good, the bad, and certainly the ugly.

Disclaimer: All discounts are, in fact, a discounted price of the original, which is inherently good! However, the marketing schemes behind these discounts are simply ugly to vulnerable and very broke students like myself. Oftentimes, a discounted price will find its way back into the subtotal through various vague taxes and overpriced shipping, which discredits the whole idea of the discount.

One of the nastiest student “discounts,” in my opinion, comes from Apple Inc. Sure, 10% off a MacBook sounds appealing, until you realize that 10% of $2,000 is still $1,800. Adding on tax plus the necessary AppleCare for when you inexplicably spill water on your laptop during freshman year (a canon event), it just brings the total right back to the original price – not to mention that this discount is only applicable during back-to-school season.

I’m not sure if it’s my  “Girl Math” mindset, but to me, a 1015% discount may as well be zero. I feel like 20% is the minimum number that sets a trigger in my mind as a true discount on something.

On a lighter note, there are a variety of student discounts that may be worth looking into to get a real bang for your buck.

One of the biggest tips for student discounts that consistently popped up through my research was the Unidays app. The app offers a plethora of student discounts ranging from fashion to tech. Like my ultimate muse, Carrie Bradshaw, I have the inclination to buy new shoes whether an occasion presents itself or not. The Unidays app offers student discounts on all types of essential shoe brands, including Doc Martens, Uggs, Reeboks and New Balances (plus free shipping).

In terms of tech, the Unidays app also offers hefty discounts on select HP products (computers, tablets, printers, etc.), JBL products (you’re welcome, frat bros) and Casetify paraphernalia (a super cute and cheaper alternative to Wildflower cases).

You probably already know about the amazing Hulu + Spotify + Showtime student bundle that is free for one month, then just $5.99 per month after your free trial. Likewise, Amazon Prime offers a six month free trial for students before charging $7.49 per month, which is a steal compared to the $16.43 that is expected from Prime-using, tax-paying adults.

If you’re looking for student discounts for sweet treats, I’ve heard through the grapevine that Krispy Kreme Donuts will give you one free donut for every A you receive on your grade report – this is unattainable for me personally, but if you are one of the few Berkeley students with straight As, I say go rack up!

I remember, as a freshman, being furious when wondering: “Why have a cafe on campus if they don’t even accept the allocated campus cash?” It’s very frustrating to say the least – so many of the cafes and other eateries on Cal’s lovely campus run every student bankrupt due to their extreme selectivity when choosing whether or not to accept the “flex dollars” that accompany each meal plan.

If I had the motivation, time and effort, I’d happily start a petition for Free Speech Movement Cafe, Caffé Strada and Cafe Milano to all start accepting flex dollars.

However, if you need a pick me up that includes a student discount, I recommend heading over to Jamba Juice and showing your Cal ID for a 10% discount. Pro tip: order a large smoothie and ask for it split into two cups for two medium smoothies for half the price.

Additionally, if you’re a student, Berkeley’s most widely recognized coffee shop, Peet’s, offers a free drink for every fifth coffee you buy. 

One last discount that I think is vital for every film bro on campus is the AMC student discount. Most websites say that it varies by theater, but from my experience at the AMC on Bay Street, it’s 10% off of your tickets. 

My biggest advice in terms of student discounts is to leech off of your parents’ subscriptions for as long as you’re able. However, once they finally do their due diligence of cutting your broke a** off, I hope you will come back to this article for all of your student discount needs.

Bella Hamilton writes the Thursday column on her personal experiences with finances as a low-income and first generation college student. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter