College is expensive. The average net price (in other words, what students and their parents actually pay) at a four-year public college is $12,830 per year, according to the College Board. At a private four-year school, the average yearly cost is $23,550.With tuition and other expenses so high, many college students are looking for savings and freebies wherever they can find them. You can rent textbooks rather than buying them, get discounts at many stores, cut back on dining out, ride a bikerather than drive, and live with roommates (or at home) to save on rent.
Even better than something you can get for cheap is stuff you can get for free. We’ve unearthed seven things that college students don’t have to pay for, from free shipping to no-cost career resources (so you can eventually get a good job and put the days of hunting down free deals behind you).
1. Amazon Student
Colleges students can sign up for a free six-month trial of Amazon Student, which comes with free two-day shipping and access to Prime Instant Video and Prime Music. After your trial ends, you can upgrade to a regular Amazon Prime membership for 50% off the regular price of $99 a year.
Keep your wallet fat by scoping out on-campus events where meals or snacks will be served. Need help finding a place to score a complimentary meal? The University Lunch Box app connects students at dozens of colleges with events that feature free food. You’ll never have to pay for pizza again.
Use your .edu email address to score free software like Autodesk, used by designers and engineers, and You Need a Budget, a personal finance app. There’s also OnTheHub, a website that helps college students find free or discounted software, such as Microsoft Office.
4. Museum admission
Most museums offer student discounts, but some go one step further and offer free admission to those with a college ID. The Museum of Modern Art in New York offers free admission to students from area colleges, a savings of $14 off the already discounted student price. Many other museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have similar programs.
5. Health center perks
This isn’t a case of getting something for free so much as taking advantage of what you’ve already paid for, since you were probably charged a student health center fee at the beginning of the semester. Head to the clinic where you may be able to get things like free flu shots, birth control, and STI tests. The University of Maryland even offers free meditation sessions to students.
6. Checking accounts
Many checking accounts charge monthly maintenance fees unless you sign up for direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance. But some banks offer free checking for college students, including US Bank, Bank of America, and Chase, which can help you save an average of $14.76 a month (based on a Bankrate survey of average monthly checking account fees).
7. Professional memberships
Many professional associations offer free memberships to college students who are preparing for a career in a related field. With your membership, you can usually get access to perks like job boards, networking opportunities, mentoring programs, and professional publications. Associations that offer free student memberships include the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Planning Association, theSociety of Petroleum Engineers, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.