Frugal students can save with variety of discounts

Elliott Puckette, Editor in Chief

You have your OneCard. Hooray! Because of your student ID you are entitled to all kinds of discounts that might make the cost of textbooks smart a little less. Here are my top ten discounts.

1. Food

The most important part of any student’s budget, and often the biggest, after rent. College students frequently spend hundreds of dollars on food each month, and while food made at home from scratch is often the cheapest, it’s also the most time-consuming, and you can’t always get your food to school or work easily.
When you do eat out, at restaurants, fast-food joint, or the school cafeteria, use your OneCard. At Madison College’s cafeteria you get a 10% discount if you use money from your OneCard, and places like McDonald’s, Chipotle, Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings will give you a 10% discount or free drink if you show student ID.

2. Theater and Music

Plays, musicals, operas, and concerts love to give out ‘student rush’ tickets the day or week before performances. These tickets are $10-40 for seats that often cost hundreds of dollars at full price, and unlike pre-bought tickets they can be for any open seat in the house, from the ground floor to the nosebleeds. Sporting events often have the same deal.

The Overture Center downtown in particular hosts touring Broadway shows, celebrity speakers, and local theater, opera, and symphony performances and frequently offers student rush opportunities that cost a tenth of the regular price.

The best way to find out about a venue’s student rush deals is to check their website, join their emailing list or contact the box office.

3. Museums

Most of the museums in Madison are free already, but if you ever go to the Field Museum or Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, showing your ID will save you a few dollars. The Art Institute in Chicago provides a one-year $50 dollar membership that covers admission and give you a 10% discount at the Museum’s store. Even without the membership, tickets will be only $6.

4. Movies

Most movie theaters offer a student discount. AMC knocks a dollar off each ticket on Thursdays and Marcus Theatres offer $5 tickets and a free 44 oz. popcorn, also on Thursdays. Sundance Cinema at the Hilldale Mall has ‘Student of Life’ Tuesdays, which offer $6 tickets and $6 popcorns, no ID required.

5. Retail

Hundreds of stores have discounts from Toms to Barnes and Noble to Goodwill. Lists of major chains that have discounts can be found online, but smaller stores with less brand recognition and web presence will also frequently offer a lower price for students. The most common rate is 15-20% off, or free shipping at online stores. If you buy in person, you will almost certainly have to show your ID.

6. Cell phone plans

Almost all the big names – Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, even Cricket – will give discounts on plans, reducing your monthly bill. Some of these companies only offer this for some schools, so a little independent research might be required to see if you and Madison College fit within their guidelines. If you do, any monthly bill that goes down is a cause for celebration.

7. The UW Memorial Library

The University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Library houses more than 3 million volumes and is visited by about 1 million people every year. As Wisconsin’s major research library for the humanities and social science, Memorial Library offers the chance to see and read books you can’t find at your local public library. Show your ID and get a visitor’s pass for the day.

8. Amazon Prime

Amazon is used by millions of people all of the world to deliver all kinds of products to their front door, plus they have Prime Video, which offers a wide range of original and classic TV and movie content. With the student discount, sponsored by Sprint, you receive Amazon Prime free for the first six months and 50% of the sticker price ($10.99/mo.) after the trial period. The free two-day shipping means you can save even more on textbooks you didn’t buy at the bookstore.

9. Software and Technology

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) is free for students, and other common software programs, like Adobe Creative Suite and Corel give students reduced prices. Apple will take $200 off the price of a Mac, and Norton protection software is 50% less for students. Lenovo and Sony also offer significant discounts.

10. Insurance

Car insurance can be a big drain for car owners, especially in your early twenties, the “dangerous” years. As our parking lots can show, Madison College has a lot of car-owning students. If you have good grades, usually a B-average or better, and are under 25 you can discounts from Allstate, Geico, Farmers or Travelers Insurance and State Farm.



11. Transportation

As a student, you can get a free bus pass that will let you travel all over Madison on the Metro bus system free of charge. Greyhound Bus will give you 20% off travel and 40% on shipping. Even overseas, Eurail and Rail Europe will give Youth Passes to students, which means discounted travel across a new continent.

The moral of the story: keep a hold on your OneCard and wherever you go, always ask if there’s a student discount.