A drawing of subscriptions shows floating website pages around college books.

Cheap Subscriptions to Help You Pinch Pennies

While college can be expensive, paying for services doesn't have to be. Here are some cheaper versions you can access as a student.
December 4, 2022
7 mins read

College is expensive. Really expensive. Students are offered a little help when it comes to subscriptions for services. News, music, food, travel and other service subscriptions are offered at a discounted price or in some cases are even free.

Schools have a part to play in encouraging and informing students of subscription opportunities as well. These deals are worthless if students are unaware of them, and this issue compounds if they pay full-price for subscriptions that are available for free.

Staying up-to-date on local and national news may be hard for someone who can’t afford subscriptions to online newspapers, but these subscription services can help. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic are all examples of national news publications that offer lower rates to current college students who use their student email addresses to make an account.

Local newspapers also often offer subscription deals to students at colleges or universities nearby. For example, the Lansing State Journal offers a free online subscription to students at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. Local news is as important as ever. Providing local and state news to college students during the recent Midterm elections was especially vital. College-aged students turned the tide of the election in ways that pollsters did not predict. Staying informed with local news stories will create more informed voters.

While becoming a well-informed person is a function of attending college, sometimes consuming too much news and information can be detrimental to one’s well-being. Everyone needs a break from the grind of a school year. All the assignments, exams, classes and extracurricular activities students engage in are tiring and stressful. Access to media and services that can be used for leisure is vital to a student living a balanced life.

Walking to class, working out and even studying are all activities that are made better by listening to music. Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora all offer their music streaming services to students for five dollars a month, as opposed to the regular $10 monthly fee. If a freshman student takes advantage of a deal like this as soon as they can and uses the service at a 50% discount for four years, they could save a total of $240. Knowledge and utilization of these deals can add up quickly in the long run and help students save money for things like books, rent and tuition. Let’s say that a student saving money on these services is aware of the savings, and pockets the extra money. Now this student can purchase school supplies like notebooks or even save up for a larger purchase like a laptop.

Amazon Prime, which usually costs $15 a month, offers a helpful student subscription called Amazon Prime Student. A Prime Student membership is free for six months, and $7.49 every month after. Students also get all the perks a normal Amazon Prime membership covers. These include free two-day delivery, access to Amazon Photos, Prime Reading, Prime Video and more.

Furthermore, tech giants like Best Buy, Samsung and Microsoft also offer student discounts for certain products throughout the year. Hardware like laptops and tablets are crucial tools for college students these days. However, the software that students download on them can be even more important.

Thankfully, many of these programs offer deals as well.

Microsoft 365 offers programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free to students who use their school email addresses to set up an account. This program can be very helpful for students who are busy and work from different places. All of the work is saved to the 365 servers and can be accessed from different devices.

Many students need Adobe products for their work. Lucky for them, Adobe Creative Cloud offers over a 50% discount on the monthly cost of a subscription to its services. Normally, the Creative Cloud subscription cost is $53 dollars a month and adds up to $636 annually. At that price point, only professionals can justify the cost of a membership.

However, students trying to make it in the digital design world may be unable to afford a program like this. While it is still a bit pricey for many students, Adobe offers Creative Cloud to students for $20 per month. Under the Creative Cloud umbrella, students get access to software such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign and Lightroom.

Every day presents new challenges, assignments and meetings to college students. Instead of spending money on a planner or a planner app, Notion offers its Personal Pro plan for free when students sign up with their school email account. Notion allows students to add their schedules to a planner and it creates a day-by-day checklist to stay organized.

Finally, if students want to relax and get away from work and school, streaming services like Hulu, Paramount + and Discovery + offer cheaper subscription plans. Hulu only charges students two dollars a month to gain access to all of the movies and shows that it offers. The normal price is six dollars a month for the same type of subscription. Paramount and Discovery offer less than a 50% discount, but students are only charged $3.75 and $3 a month, respectively.

While students enjoy watching a movie on a discounted streaming account, they may want to indulge in some food. Students can use their college email account to sign up for Student DashPass from DoorDash. The Student DashPass is $4.99 per month, compared to the $9.99 a month for a normal DashPass. Perks of this service include a $0 delivery fee and 5% back in DoorDash credits on pick-up orders.

Different colleges have different and unique deals as well. College students should check for deals before signing up for any subscriptions and schools should be proactive in terms of promoting the perks available to students.

Liam Jackson, Michigan State University

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Liam Jackson

Michigan State University
Creative Writing

Liam Jackson is a senior at Michigan State studying journalism. He is the sports editor at Impact 89 FM in East Lansing.

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