College 101: If you think your student I.D. is only good for discounted movie tickets, you haven't been doing your homework. Now that big business has caught on to the tremendous amount of discretionary spending power students possess, the flood gates of targeted marketing have been opened.
Your student I.D. is not just for the gym.
Inevitably, college students will succumb to the flashy ads, spending more money than they should on things they don't really need. But, being a student consumer can also work in one's favor. In an attempt to tap into the powerful 18-24 year old demographic, many business, including mom and pop shops, offer discounts to their collegiate customers.
Retailers like Apple and Dell both offer "customized" student discounts, each hoping to steal business from the other. They are not the only ones. Even Ford Motor Company offers cash back incentives for full-time student motorists (and recent grads too). If you dine out near your campus, ask the manager about student specials. Very often, they'll oblige. They want your business.
Discount codes and localized deals listed by state are available at Student Bistro and Student Savings Club. Student Advantage is also good for online purchases like Amtrak train tickets and for savings while traveling abroad, but it costs money to purchase the card.
Of course, the main objective here (in addition to taking your money) is to capture your contact information so those companies can send you more of the flashy ads that worked so well. To cut down on the amount of spam in your inbox and your mailbox, visit the Direct Marketing Association and have yourself removed from those lists.
Then again, junk mail may be a small price to pay when you consider how far you'll stretch those college dollars by flashing your student card over and over again.
So, happy shopping! Just remember, the next time you get carded, to pull out your real I.D.
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